It is deliciously cool today. I woke up with strong winds blowing refreshing, cold air across my head and body. Loud thunder with the odd flash of lightning added a twist of excitement. The heavy rain showers have washed the dust from the world around me too.
I love sunshine, not the heat though. And for the heatwave to break is such a lovely, invigorating experience for me. I can cope with the grey skies and rain for a while.
To be able to spend time drawing in my usual studio space, with a fresh breeze blowing in through the open windows was so, so beautiful this morning. I know my heart and soul let out sighs of relief and contentment.
In celebration of a return to this comfortable creative space, I decided to draw with pens, a Tombow Fudenosuke (hard) pen in particular.
This drawing is by no means complete. Once it’s completed, I’ll scan it in and then think about adding colour. I may very well use the Ecoline watercolour inks on the original, but digital colouring could be interesting too. But first, the drawing needs to be finished!
Saturday is becoming sketchbook Saturday with a vlog on YouTube!
As well as showing the most recent page(s) in my sketchbook and talking about the media/techniques/inspiration, I spend some time working on the current, higgledy-piggledy page.
I’ve become intrigued with using the humble biro / ballpoint pen in art, especially as they are waterproof. There’s some amazing portraits and other work out there by seriously talented artists.
However, I’m working out how they may work for me, especially in my sketchbook when out and about (when that finally happens!).
As well as talking about the various techniques and inspiration for the art on this page, I also talk about how I want to include more writing in my sketchbooks. I’m intrigued with using creative writing record my experiences, feelings, thoughts and the presence of place alongside any sketches done when visiting somewhere.
I’m also thinking that if I take photographs of what interests me, then sketches and further work could be done later. This is going to be important when I’m not by myself and don’t have the luxury of spending as much time as I’d like.
I’d like to create a story that is in words and pictures, recording my whole experience. Perhaps, I may want to share this with others, so that they can get a glimpse into my mind and emotions.
I’m not too bothered about creating a work of fiction, but to capture all those abstract feelings and observations and communicate them with others…
Actually, it would be about sharing them with myself by becoming more aware of them and giving an outlet for those abstract thoughts and impressions I rarely verbalise as I’m unaware of them unless I’m asked to verbalise them.
Something else I’d like to do is to revisit typographic art with all of this in mind. Finding a way to incorporate words and imagery that expresses who I am, rather than taking quotes from other people.
I do love words, always have. During this past year, I’ve had so few opportunities to speak out loud, that I’m finding it hard to dredge up the right word at times. Previously this was so easy for me. So, it would be good to give my vocabulary a good work out as well as add new words to it!
It’s going to be a work in progress for sure. I doubt I can do this, or that it will be interesting to others, or that it will be any good at all. However, if I don’t take the first tentative steps on this strand of my life’s tapestry, then I may never discover if it is something I can do, nor will I discover where it will lead me.
All that it will take are basic supplies, and to create a new ‘habit’ of writing throughout the day, whether I’m at home, or elsewhere, and drawing things that are of interest/importance to me at the time.
This morning, I started to add watercolour to the abstract drawing I started yesterday.
I spent over 45 minutes doing this, but I’ve sped it up and added music.
I’m not at all sure about the colours used. It may be the Distress Ink from the background interfering, or it may be that the Arteza mixed media paper is a creamy colour rather than white.
It led to me experimenting with colour, working out how to get more intense colours from the pans. Knowing that is what I’ve done is likely to mean I will put this to one side as a learning experience, some time to relax and enjoy being creative and not worrying too much about mistakes.
Still, I may persevere with this. Though it is yet another artwork that isn’t finished. I seem to be collecting art that I’ve not finished adding colour to.
I may have to question myself as to why I start but never follow through with so many pieces of artwork when it comes to adding colour. I never have a problem working on drawings that may take several sessions and many hours to complete.
Is it that I fear failure? Or is it that I loose the oomph if I don’t finish it in one session. Or is it that I worry I won’t remember what colours I used and how I mixed them? Perhaps it’s that I doubt my colour palette? Maybe it’s that I doubt my ability to work with colour? Or maybe it’s a combination of some or all of these.
For now, I don’t know for sure. But I do persevere, even in the face of the bleedin’ obvious yeuchy colours!
Yesterday, I managed to focus and get plenty of art done for the book I’m working on. Not only did I scan in and clean up the drawings I’d already done, but I have two new ones almost completed. I just have to finish inking in the second, then I’ll scan them in and clean them up and get them sent over to my editor for the team to critique/approve.
I really enjoyed the work I got done yesterday. It was easier to settle into it now I’ve decided that I’m going to work with pen on paper and use digital tools to clean up and edit the images. Except when mandalas are concerned, I’m still going to draw them digitally!
I felt really good about the amount of work I’d got done, even though I’d not had much sleep the night before and I still wasn’t feeling 100%.
I was hoping for a good night’s sleep last night. No such luck. I was awake again after just a couple of hours, all hot and bothered. So, I drew until I was ready to sleep again. And I only slept for a couple of hours then, waking headachy and tired again.
I started my morning off with a big mug of tea and some time to just watercolour, even with all the frustrations it can bring me. It’s about learning and practicing and experimenting with the medium to work out how it can work for me and my style of art. As always, it’s the choice of colours that seems to vex me so much.
Still, despite me often saying I’m giving up on watercolour and sticking to adding colour to drawings digitally, I keep going back to it, and other traditional media. This is, I think, as I do want to get out to sketch in old churches and abbeys, in nature, and museums. Although I’m happy to photograph what I see, there’s nothing quite like sitting with sketchbook, pens and/or pencils and taking quiet time out to just observe and draw for pleasure and relaxation. And I’d like watercolour to, perhaps, be one of the tools I can take with me.
I remembered yesterday, as I was playing with watercolour yesterday after finishing the drawing I started yesterday, that I found working with watercolour from tubes so much easier than the pans. Duh go me! So, I’ve ordered a set of Mijello Mission Gold tube paints and a palette that should arrive today. They’re not the top of the range sets from Mijello, but they should be good enough for me to work out if this is the way I want to go, and not too pricey either!
Then, my plan is to work out which colours would be useful for me in a travel palette and create such a thing.
Looks like I’m going to be spending some time setting up the palette that arrives today and swatching out all the colours. That’s kind of exciting!
First, however, I need to get these colouring templates inked in, scanned in, and edited before starting work on some more templates.
I’ve spent some time drawing a third weird fish and intensifying colour on the two original ones.
For the top fish, I used Derwent Colorsoft pencils to increase the colour. The watercolour underneath does add to the colour in a subtle way.
I used Derwent Inktense pencils and a damp brush to add colour to the central fish.
Finally, I’ve been adding colour to the bottom fish with Inktense pencils too.
As pretty as the watercolours were, they were a tad too subtle for my liking with not enough contrast. So, I used them as the underpainting and then added layers of more intense colour over them. It seemed to work out just fine and well.
I’ve kept the color palettes pretty similar for each of the fish.
Also, I’ve re-drawn them digitally as vectors and I’ve just started colouring one of them.
No matter how I add colour – digitally or using traditional media – it takes me a long time. I fuss around until I get things looking as I like.
This is very much a fun project, and I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere. The important thing, however, is that I’m enjoying working with traditional media and I’m doing something a bit different too that I can learn from.
Here’s the video of today’s art. I’d appreciate it if you open it in youtube as then your views get counted.
Yup, a video. I’m finding it really useful to think out loud as well as share my art, inspiration, and random ramblings with people.
There are, apparently, two kinds of thinkers – those who are aware of their thoughts, and those who aren’t until they can speak them out loud. I’m the latter.
Being able to speak about my art, albeit through YouTube, is helping me understand more about myself, my art, and bringing thoughts out into spoken words so I can identify them.
These thoughts are different to the thoughts I journal about. That’s curious to me. Perhaps that’s simply because I’m creating art, talking to people who are interested in my art, and that’s the main focus.
This is a work in progress for sure. And by talking about my process, I realise that I’m not ‘doodling’ as such. There is thought, consideration and process going on as I create.
All I can say is thank you to the people who take the time to watch, who let me know I’m not speaking to myself, and that they’re enjoying watching my arty creativity in action.
It’s Monday. A bright sunshiny early spring morning, but with plenty of dove-grey clouds floating in the sky.
I’ve been working on this drawing and ‘cartouche’ idea and I realise that I need to consider the idea of proportion. Either the focal point piece of ephemera needs to be bigger, or the background piece of paper and drawing smaller. Still, you have to try things to learn from them, eh?
This kind of drawing really harks back to past work I’ve done. Thicker lines, clunkier details, very little white space. It feels crowded, overwhelming with detail and pattern. I think that describes how I’ve been feeling too lately, and it’s reflected in my artwork.
What I do with this drawing now is uncertain. It may just sit in the archives, digital and physical, an example of a lesson to be learned.
I always relax, feel my whole body let out a sigh of relief as I work on drawings like this one. Purely abstract, line and pattern being the focus, with healthy doses of black giving a very graphic feel to the design.
Playing with line width and pattern to bring layers and depth to the design is always something I’ve enjoyed.
I start with one single line, shape or motif and go from there instead of having an overall plan for the design all sketched out and ready to go. I like this organic, intuitive way of letting the design grow, developing it one pen stroke at a time.
I’m learning, slowly but surely, that areas of white space can be a powerful part of the overall design. It’s been a long journey to realise I don’t have to fill the whole sheet of paper with line and pattern.
I need to have a lot of trust in the whole of this process; that something pleasing will be created after hours of work with very fine nibbed pens.
What next when I’ve finished the pen-work? Do I add shadows, colour, highlights with traditional media or digitally? Do I just add a background coloured/textured paper? Do I leave it in it’s very graphic black and white?
Working digitally with a scan of the finished drawing allows me to experiment, though I’ve yet to work out how to add shadows in the way a blended graphite or pastel pencil would do. And I do have a tendency to use much brighter, saturated colours than I would with traditional media.
Perhaps it’s time I sorted out my own digital colour palettes from my traditional media. That is something for another day, however. For the rest of the day, I’m going to lose myself in completing this drawing.
Waking at stupid o’clock meant drawing until I could go back to sleep. I got all the inking done for this particular drawing. Now, the colouring needs to be completed.
Materials: 21cm x 21 cm (8.25″ x 8.25″) piece of Claire Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper – natural colour Aged Mahogany Distress Ink and a piece of cut and dry foam to distress/grungify the paper 03 and brush Uniball Unipin fineliner pens 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pen Staedtler Triplus fineliners Chameleon fineliners Water brush White Sakura Gelly Roll pen
I’ve been feeling out of sorts for the last day or so. It’s gradually intensified. A broken night’s sleep really hasn’t helped. House freezing cold (deliberately so!), Angela boiling hot in waves (not illness, just age).
I did draw in the darkest parts of the night when I couldn’t sleep, but what I produced was just a reflection of my ‘out of sorts’ mood. I added words and reflections to the drawings to try to elucidate where this has come from. And then that went to how I could use art in a journal, could I create journal pages, little areas for thoughts/words of meaning, and so on. So I jotted those ideas down.
The larger drawings I was doing in the night just overwhelmed me. The more work I did, the more overwhelmed and dissatisfied I felt. So, in an attempt to create some art that would soothe rather than disturb, I decided to create some small pieces of art and some borders seemed the right thing to do. This quartet of drawings is the result of that solution I sought to help me with my mood and my attitude to my efforts at drawing.