Typographic Portraits WIP

I’ve been working on another portrait of Nye Bevan while I take a break from the first one. I really think I’ve gone over the top with detail in this one. I wanted to do one of him in one of his typical oration-giving stances, but I really do feel I’m messing it all up. I really think that’s because I am trying to get too much in the way of quotes into the portrait.

So, I’ll be going back to the drawing board (or in my case, the Surface Studio screen) to try this one again.

Having said that, I’ve had a lot of hand lettering /hand drawn typography practice and have played around with the brush settings to find one that will work for me!

I also have just noticed that there’s not much differentiation between the different weights of text in the second version, and that adds, I think, to the more confusing appearance of it.

I was struggling with the values of the gesturing fist in the second image. So, I put the photo into Affinity Photo and used the Posterise tool to simplify the areas of shade for me. There’s still a personal interpretation to be done on how I translate these areas into spaces of text.

Hands, feet and faces. These were always the parts of humans I struggled with when doing life drawing.

Drawing typographic portraits is a new endeavour for me. I’m learning, experimenting. One of the main lessons I have to take away today is to not over complicate such a portrait! But there is a fine balance betwixt having enough detail to capture the essence of the person, and having too much so that the essence of who they are is lost.

The first portrait I did, on the left, does look better, but I do think it lacks a bit of detail in the face.

The second one, on the right, is way too busy!

So, my task is to find that point where less really is more.

So, I’ll take a break from them, again, and regroup and try once more!

Practice, practice, practice!

I did spend some time working on a second typographic portrait of Aneurin Bevan yesterday, using a photographic reference that had more detail in it in terms of grey scale.

Before bed, I wanted to relax with some colour (1). For some reason, I pulled out my set of Tombow Dual Brush pens and tried working with them on an A5 piece of Arteza mixed media paper. Hand lettering with gradients, with and without black outlines resulted, and then I wanted to try drawing with colour gradients.

To create gradients, I held the tip of one pen on top of the tip of the other. I then used the lower pen to draw or write with. I used the bullet nib for the lower examples. I used the brush nib for the larger lettering and also the leaves and flowers and so on.

I made some notes as I went, to remind me what I did and what I liked about them. I used a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen to do this, which is also waterproof. So, I used it to add lines.

This morning, I wanted to start my arty day experimenting with alcohol inks, once again (2, 3 and 4). All because I’d watched a YouTube videos where people use a straw to blow the ink and alcohol blending solution/rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol/propan-2-ol around the yupo paper.

One helpful piece of advice I heard along the way was it’s best to use only a small amount of alcohol ink. Which is what I did. One drop to start with and then add more ink of the same or different colour(s) as needed.

It took me a while to work out not to blow as hard as I could, and to try different angles to hold the straw at, as well as moving the ink in different directions.

I’m much happier with the results this time, though the scans have bleached the colours out a little. I really must work out the best settings on my scanner so that this doesn’t happen.

Anyway, I need to find a way to seal the alcohol ink so I can draw on top of it without wrecking the pens. I also want to do some better scans so I can make use of these alcohol ink backgrounds in digital art.

Today I want to continue work on the typographic portrait. This second one seems to be building up more quickly than the first one. I think that’s all due to me becoming familiar with the process and accepting that my hand lettering based on my handwriting is good enough. I’m also working out my own ways to fit letters to curves and the shapes at the ends of the sections.

So, all of these activities – using waterbased media, hand lettering, hand drawn typography, and alcohol ink backgrounds all have one thing in common – practice, practice, practice!

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday, after taking a walk and getting a few bits and bobs done, I settled down to spend some time with watercolours.

Each piece of paper is approx 4″ square. The top ones were just playing around with foliage, wet into wet, and adding some details with metallic ink, a gold glitter gel pen and a white Souffle pen. I just wanted to see how the different details could add to, or mess up, the watercolours.

I do like the one on the top left. It satisfies my inner need to not leave much in the way of white space.

The bottom image was me trying out painting plants in pots – the top row with very faint pencil guidelines and the middle with Pitt Artist pen outlines in black. The bottom two were comparing like ot like with black outline and pencil outline.

I had trouble with the details in the first two plants in pots on the top row. That was when I thought I’d try the black outlines.

I’m really not sure which I like most, or if either of them really work out.

I’m rather tired and headachy, again, today. I think that I’ll soon be going out for a walk. It’s another overcast and cooler day with a breeze. I love to walk on days like this.

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday, so that means it’s time for a new coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

One of the members suggested a Christmas in July template, so that’s what I did. A page full of iconic Christmas motifs, admittedly not all of them, but a fair selection.

If you fancy printing this template off, all you need to do is join the group! It’s completely free, as are all the templates I design for the group. All I ask is that you follow the terms and condtions of use.

I drew these little designs on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Tombow Fudenosuke (hard) pen. I cleaned the drawing up in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, then digitally added colour. Some are in the more traditional Christmas colours, others are less so. No rules for colouring! Whatever makes you happy or peaceful is fine! The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you do.

As for me, today I’m taking a break from the typographic portrait of Nye Bevan that I shared yesterday. My artistic intuition needs some time to work out what to do with it, both to complete the blank areas and to edit places that aren’t working.

I need to pop out for a walk too. I’ve been sat down, focused on art too much over the past couple of days. It’s overcast and there’s a stiff breeze, so it’s perfect for me!

Typographic Portrait WIP

Phew! This has taken me many, many hours to do, along with a lot of frustration and alterations. However, it’s getting there, possibly.

This is both the first portrait I’ve done, as well as the first large typographical project.

I’m following a Domestika course – “Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait” by Sara King.

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve fully succeeded. I seem to have a lot of white space, and that is all to do with the photograph I used. I thought it had enough detail in terms of tones of light and dark. I guess not! Or maybe this is just part of my style.

There are areas on his jacket to the bottom left and right that need pattern or image put there. I have yet to work out what to do about the shirt. Also, I need to try removing the lines around the jacket and collar too.

Aneurin “Nye” Bevan was the main architect of the UK’s National Health Service after WWII. He’s also considered one of the best political orators of all time. There’s an Aneurin Bevan website if you’d like to know more.

While this is hand-drawn, I chose to work digitally. My Surface Studio allows me to work with a digital pen directly on the screen as if I was drawing on paper. This makes it easy to edit as I work.

I now need a break from this particular artwork, so I can look at it with fresh eyes (and any feedback people offer on it) and then return to it another day.

Mandala

Today’s artistic offering is a mandala with a quote about meditation.

The simple typography was done in Affinity Publisher. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create the mandala.

I just needed some quiet time this morning. I spent quite a while meditating before breakfast. Then, my attention turned towards art.

I knew I wanted to include a quote in today’s art, and I found this quote about meditation that resonated with me.

Meditation and mandalas go together like bread and butter!

The mandala design is quite simple and bold, in quite subtle colours, for me.

It’s going to be a quiet day for me today. A self-care day. I may not get anymore work done on my typographical portrait, but I will be immersing myself in arty and/or creative activities for sure.

Watercolour practice

Good news – the headache has gone! Yay! The sun is shining, I have uplifting music playing, and I’ve spent some of the morning practicing watercolour skills and working out how to subtly draw/paint on top with white.

The little tiles at the bottom have designs painted on them with white gouache. There’s a lot more variability in line width with these.

The book marks have had the designs drawn using a white Soufflé pen by Sakura. The ink goes on clear but dries a matt and opaque white.

I used som Molin du Roy watercolour paper from Canson for these. The tiles are approx 2″ x 2″, the book marks are approx 2″ x 7″.

I may mount the tiles on greeting card blanks. The bookmarks need a hole punching in the top and then some string/ribbon threaded through.

I did try out the Sakura Quickie Glue pen and embossing powder yesterday, but really wasn’t happy with it. I also tried using a variety of Sakura pens to draw the outlines before watercolouring – black Glaze, metallic siver Gelly Roll and silver Stardust. They were waterproof, but just didn’t give me the borders for the patterns that I wanted. The black was very bold and gave a rather stained-glass feel to the tile. But, white turns out to be my favourite.

It’s been nice to spend quite a few hours working with watercolours and trying out ideas without any pressure to create anything that is finished. Sometimes making art for the fun of making art is enough and much needed to soothe some rather battered emotions.

Watercolour Tiles

Another day, another migraine type headache. Nothing helped yesterday, not even painkillers. I woke up with the same headache, though some painkillers did ease it somewhat, eventually. Enough that I could go out for a short walk around my local cemetery.

I needed to create in order to create a mindful space within me. So, I thought a collection of square tiles may be a nice thing to do. A way to practice with watercolours and to do a bit of pattern making on them.

I used a square template to mark the squares out, not very evenly it has to be said. Faint pencil lines that would, hopefully, become part of the watercolour.

I used Daler-Rowney Aquafine Smooth watercolour paper. That shows how little I was thinking clearly. I really don’t like working on this paper at all. The watercolours dried too quickly, and when they were just wet enough to drop more wet colour into them, they just didn’t flow and mix as I like them to.

I tried using watercolour pencils, with similar frustrating results. So much for this being a meditative, mindful, relaxing exercise!

Oddly, they all look fairly OK in the photo.

Once they’d dried, I used a mixture of metallic silver, silver glitter and white gel pens to add patterns to each tile. I could’ve used white gouache and/or pearlescent watercolours or pearlescent acrylic inks with a fine brush. However, by this point I was so frustrated with brush and wet media that I just wanted to draw. So I did.

It may not be a wonderful, finished, polished piece of art – it was never meant to be. It was practice.

What I may do, on a larger scale, is to heat emboss a design in white and then add watercolours. I can do this using a Sakura glue pen or a versamark embossing pen with embossing powders. Maybe not today, but another day. And I need to use a different paper to the Aquafine to avoid frustration.

Typographic Mushrooms

Just a little something I wanted to try out – using hand-drawn typography to create illustrations. I chose a mushroom, for no other reason than I like mushrooms.

It’s more about practising the hand-drawn typography or hand lettering than anything else.

What I realised, when I completed the black and white version, is that I could’ve varied the weight of the letters to produce highlights. That’s for another day, I think.

I also had to try adding colour, and in that way adding highlight and shadow.

I like both versions, but I think I like the coloured one a bit more.

I mentioned I’m following the Sarah King Domestika course – Hand-Drawn Typographic Portraits. I have started work on my first portrait, but it’s going to take me a while to do. In the meantime, little projects, like the mushroom, will give me plenty of practice as well as a chance to work out my process and way of working, as well as how I’d like to use it so it adds a note of harmony to my artistic song.

I started with a pencil sketch of the mushroom. Then, I added the words in rough with pencil. I scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then used my Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, to hand-draw the typography. Even though I’m using digital media. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is a lot like working on paper, but it streamlines the process and allows me to skip a lot of the tedious steps. It also lets me take a black and white drawing and add colour quite easily.

I’ve done this while I’m waiting for a migraine-type headache to subside enough that I can return to bed and sleep the dregs of it away. I’m nearly at that point now as I’m beginning to feel tired and sleepy. So, I’ll get the rest of the social media postings done, and then crawl back into bed to sleep.

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

This was so very enjoyable!

I started with the hand-drawn typography. I’ve just started another Domestika course — Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait by Sarah King. The first exercise is to letter words boxes divided by wavy lines. Then, creating letters in different weights. And of course, practice is something that needs to be done.

There was just something about her approach to this that grabbed me, and so, I now have many boxes with words and quotes in.

The first lesson shows how to use Photoshop to edit your lettering outlines and fill them with black. I found the process rather clunky and long-winded. Perhaps that’s because I’m used to working in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a pen on a screen as if they were pen and paper, that I could do this in my own way.

So that’s what I did. I used one of my pencilled samples to create the typography for the centre panel.

Then, it was adding the background. I just went with the flow on that one. I made use of the symmetry tools in Sketchbook Pro, and just had fun with a limited colour palette and my favourite kinds of shapes.

The course is about portraits. However, I have zero interest in drawing people. However, the techniques shared will spark ideas for how I can use them.

I’ve long been trying to incorporate words, quotes into my artwork and struggling to find my own style. I’m not sure if this will help, but I’m really quite happy with this particular artwork.