Draw With Me | Starfish, Sea Urchins and Mussel Shells

Click on this link to view the tutorial video that goes with this sketchbook page.

Carrying on with the sea-life theme, I filled a sketchbook page with simple drawings of stylised, whimsical starfish, sea urchins and mussel shells. I recorded my process as a tutorial video, showing and explaining my step by step process of drawing. I start with simple shapes and gradually add more and more complexity.

There is something very intriguing and curiosity-provoking about exploring variations based on the same simple shapes and steps. The possibilities are endless and it certainly gives creativity a bit of a workout!

These kinds of exercises are what sketchbooks are perfect for. A sketchbook is a safe place to experiment and explore, and the end result is a valuable resource of ideas as well as a visual record of your development of artistic skills. They’re a place to practice fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and for trying out new media or techniques.

Sketchbooks chart the development of our skills, our pattern and motif preferences, and show how we develop and evolve our artistic style.

This revelation about sketchbooks is exciting to me. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to work this out. I think the Inktober Tangle Pattern Challenge back in 2021, the Fragments of Your Imagination Challenge earlier this year (both challenges hosted by the 7F5R Challenge Facebook group) as well as the Lettering Sketchbook course on Domestika have definitely been significant activities that have helped me reach this realisation.

The other major realisation I’m having at this time is that I think I’ve finally found what kind of YouTube content I like to make!

I was a science teacher for 28 years. Teaching is part of who I am. My focus as a teacher was always to inspire and encourage my students, to help them to believe they could do science, and to have better self-esteem and self-confidence. I loved to see them grow and develop and gain skills and knowledge they never thought they could, and that was a wonderful thing to be a part of.

If I can do the same thing for others, who have no confidence in drawing. If I can use my love of whimsical and stylised art/motifs, the function of a sketchbook to encourage others to take up pen and paper and draw, then that is a good thing!

I also think it’s important that I show my process, warts and all. Variations that are lovely, and others that are not so. It’s all part of the process of developing as an artist. I think my work with traditional coloured media is a testament to my ability to make a total mess of a fairly nice drawing! I am better with digital colours, but not much!

It all takes time to work these things out, and I can be really dense and stubborn at times! But I do get there … eventually. ‘There’ being a point of understanding myself and accepting something or a sudden revelation, you know the kinds of things. But ‘there’ isn’t the final destination. The journey of exploration and development never ends, and a sketchbook is now, for me, a vital companion going forward.

Draw With Me … Tangle Pattern Exploration of ‘Nova# by Beth Gaughan

Click on this link to view the video of the tangle pattern exploration on YouTube.

It’s a funny old day today. I think I’ve overextended myself in exploring/experimenting with art. I just felt I needed a bit of ‘comfort art’ today. It’s like comfort eating, but healthier! Something familiar, not too taxing, soothing to the senses and mind. So, some pattern exploration fitted the bill!

The pattern I chose to look at is Nova by Beth Gaughan. It’s a lovely pattern but not one that I would ordinarily choose. Just challenging enough to make things interesting, but not so challenging that I get more and more disheartened with artwork.

It turns out that Nova was a good choice. There are some interesting variations to be explored for sure.

I hope you’ll come and join me in drawing these variations over on YouTube. This kind of exercise is good for getting the creative juices working, coming up with ideas in my sketchbook, and continuing to work with and understand how to vary tangle patterns. In turn, these things have an effect on my other art.

Draw With Me – Part 2 – Adding texture, pattern and colour to circle motifs

Click on this link to view the video that accompanies this image on YouTube.

I felt the need to spend some time adding more pattern and texture to some of these abstract, stylised circular (ish) motifs. First, however, I added some colour to most of them. I used Ecoline Brush Pens which contain Ecoline watercolour ink. The colours are very intense and vibrant and so I use a water brush to add them to my drawings. I listened to Andy Serkis’ reading of Lord of the Rings while colouring before starting to video.

Water-based media do vex me somewhat. However, I’m beginning to see how the textures that can be achieved with them make interesting backgrounds behind the patterns/textures drawn in pen.

It was fun to experiment with dropping colours and/or water into the first layer of watercolour ink and watch them spread and mix. It’s a kind of magic and is totally mesmerising. The paper I’m using, Canson Imagine mixed media paper, isn’t the best for this, but it’s adequate. Time to dig out the watercolour paper again for sketchbook exercises like this I think.

It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours this Saturday morning. I don’t know when I’ll add more pattern/texture with pens, or possibly metallic inks or paints with fine brushes, to the remaining motifs. What I do know is it will be both explorative and intriguing and mesmerising and magical, and I’ll work out my relationship with all these mediums a little bit more.

And, perhaps, have a better relationship with colour!

This is one of the important functions of sketchbooks. Yes, I often do complete, polished, finished drawings in them. But finally working out that I can also practice, experiment and ‘art’ just for enjoyment in them is a bit of a revelation. One that I’m enthusiastic to share!

It’s also lovely that, through the medium of YouTube, I can ‘teach’ and encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, I make things clear and simple. And increasing someone’s confidence, the willingness to give it a go and see what happens without judgement, just learning from the experience. Sometimes the lesson to be learned is that it’s a relaxing process, a break from the outer world that can bear down on us. Other times it is trying out media or colour schemes or just practising.

I’m sure I’ve not given a comprehensive list! One of the most important things is that, just like a diary, no one ever has to look inside your sketchbook, unless you choose to share.

Creativity is part of being human. Working out the ways to express that creativity, what expresses a part of the inner self, is part of who we are. Art is one way to do that, and the only person we need to compare ourselves to is ourselves! As we journey and try things out we find out who we are by discovering who we are not. And it’s a journey that never ceases!

Draw With Me … Adding texture, pattern and colour to circle motifs

Today felt like the right day to start jazzing up these simple circle motifs with some texture and pattern before adding colour.

I kept the methods of adding pattern/texture really simple – just lines and circles combined in different ways. It’s amazing how just small, simple patterns can make a difference to the motifs, making them look a lot more intricate than they are.

It’s sketchbook work, so this is a pretty messy page, but that’s fine. I’m learning that getting ideas down quickly as a reference/resource for future work is a good thing. And if they’re messy, then that’s fine! Even with the messy bits, the ideas are clearly seen.

Colour is still the thing that vexes me, and the sketchbook is where I can explore colours and, perhaps, find my confidence in them.

Of course, there’s a video tutorial to go with this sketchbook page, which is only partly done. You can view the tutorial by clicking on this link.

Draw With Me … Leaves

Click on this link to see today’s YouTube “Leaves” drawing tutorial.

This morning was one where all I wanted to do was draw leaves and experiment with colour. So I did. And I videoed it and I invited you to watch and draw and colour along with me.

Whimsy was definitely needed too. So, whimsical leaves were drawn with a brush pen. Bold lines. Simple shapes and patterns. Plenty of space to add colour to each leaf.

Adding colour is a frustrating thing for me. More so with traditional media where you’re stuck with your colour choices. Digital colouring lets me play with colour a lot more, without the fear of making poor colour combination choices; it’s easy to change.

However, I’m aware that there are times when I want to add colour to sketchbook work. Times when only traditional media will do. And it’s time for me to experiment with them more often.

Today, I chose to use Derwent Colorsoft pencils along with a Caran d’Ache All Blender. Telling myself, and those who watch my videos, that as I’m working in a sketchbook, in my own imaginary world, I can use any colours I like. Also, there are no mistakes, just experiments that had unexpected outcomes that are sometimes not pleasant. But a sketchbook is the place to experiment, to try things out, to work out how to get a medium to work for you.

A sketchbook gives me permission to play around, try things out, have things not work out how I expected them to, to discover new things. After 20 years of really exploring my artistic side, only now has this realisation dawned on me. Yes, I can be a bit dim at times! But I eventually get there. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to understand and accept this before now. It seems that I am now.

The breakthrough has been taking the lettering course on Domestika. Encouragement to try different things out, not to worry if something doesn’t work, it may be useful in the future. Just keep going until something is good enough. Recognising that sometimes the unexpected outcome is just what is needed.

As well as becoming a bit more confident with lettering, these insights into the true power of a sketchbook have been a powerful lesson to learn.

Template Thursyay!

Thursday is the day I gift a colouring template to the members of Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans Facebook group. I know that not everyone uses Facebook, so I am working up the oompf to sort out a mailing list, so please bear with me while I do that.

This week, it’s a right feast of funky fungi, with some flowers and foliage thrown in for good measure. As far as I’m concerned, in my inner whimsical universe, all fungi are funkily coloured! And I had a lot of fun working with colour in this one, as well as a new brush or two in Clip Studio Paint.

Today’s Pattern Exploration Video

In today’s drawing tutorial video on YouTube, I take a look at Ansu by Lori Manoogian CZT. It’s a rather versatile tangle pattern that makes lovely flowers and foliage for sure.

You can view the video by clicking on this link.

More Mushrooms!

Link to today’s ‘Draw With Me’ video where I draw these mushrooms!

Absolutely no apologies for drawing yet more mushrooms today. I’m a 5’10”-ish tall hobbit as far as mushrooms are concerned!

Some different kinds/shapes of mushrooms drawn, step by step, in this video, but also some watercolouring (pretty inept) and some decoration with dots too.

It’s always so lovely to draw mushrooms, or botanicals of land or water. I never tire of drawing them. Each time I draw them, other possibilities come to mind.

So, I invite you to have a go at drawing a plethora of mushrooms with me. And have a lot of fun with colour and pattern too! These are whimsical, stylised drawings that can be anything you want them to be. That’s the beauty of a sketchbook – your imagination and creativity can express itself and the only limitations and/or rules are ones you set yourself.

Draw With Me … Zentangle Pattern “Huggins” Variations, Part 2.

Link to today’s Draw With Me video on YouTube

Exploring “Huggins” is way too much fun! Actually, exploring all patterns and motifs is, but Huggins just lends itself to so many variations in lots of different ways. Even as I’m typing, another idea has come to me. It’s never ending!

I look at just a few more variations in today’s video, and I invite you to join in with me as I draw these variations.

I have lots more variations in my sketchbook, no doubt soon to have some more added!

I’m noticing that the practice of exploring, working on iterations, of these patterns and motifs is making it easier for me to do this elsewhere in my art, particularly lettering. It is fascinating how just small changes make a huge difference and lead me down paths I may not otherwise have trod, so to speak.

Becoming flexible in my creativity is something I hadn’t thought about. But here I am experiencing it and loving the process! In some ways, more than creating new artwork! I do feel, however, this is a path I need to journey down on a regular basis to keep my creativity exercised and flexible.

Zentangle Pattern “Huggins” Variations … Part 1?

Click on this link to view today’s video.

One of my YouTube subscribers wondered what I could do with the Zentangle pattern Huggins. I think Linda’s exact words were ‘I’d like to see you take on Huggins’.

So I did. This page is as far as I’ve got for now, which is further than I got in the video. But what else is there to do while a video is uploading and processing?

Huggins is one of my favourite tangle patterns (there are many). It’s always fun to play around with varying the pattern, and it’s a very good one to add variations to!

Not my neatest drawing, but it is in a sketchbook. Sketchbooks are, sometimes, the place to get ideas down quickly as they come to you. And that’s exactly what I did in today’s video.

A Seed Pod Design

Well, what am I going to do with all the seed pod variations in my sketchbook? Well, create a drawing of course, including even more variations!

I also used a couple of Zentangle tangle patterns to add interest to the seed pods – between, purk, tipple and diva dance. The tangle Toodles created the foliage at the bottom of the page.

I had a lovely time this morning creating this design. I made use of a Tombow Fudenosuke, and black and brown 01 Micron pens.

It’s unusual that I use a second colour in my pen drawings, but today seemed a fine time to give it a go again.

I didn’t add shadow or colour to this drawing. Well, not this morning. I drew on marker paper so the ink does take a little longer to properly dry. I’m likely to use alcohol markers to fill this one with colour, and shadow, eventually. But not today.

If you’d like to follow how I drew this, step by step, then here’s the link to today’s YouTube video tutorial.