I had a wee bit of trouble doing this week’s template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. This is either the third or fourth I drew, and the only one I think is just about good enough. I think that’s a reflection of the stress-comedown I’m experiencing after a week of trying to make a decision, which is actually more like months. I finally did it, and now I have to find that sense of inner balance and peace again.
Anyway. I drew this design on Bristol board with a 05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen. The colours have been added digitally. And after my messing around with Chameleon markers yesterday, I really enjoyed adding colour digitally.
I think it may be more or less time for me to abandon traditional coloring media! I always get so frustrated in using them very quickly.
Pen and paper is still something I love to use for drawing, so that’s not going to change!
I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.
This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.
I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.
Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.
Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.
My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.
On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.
I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.
I’m no photographer, just saying!
I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings -pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke -a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up – tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips! – Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns
Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.
The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.
This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.
As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.
Taking a big of a break
I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.
I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.
Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.
I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.
Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?
Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.
I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.
Yesterday I had a godawful migraine-y headache. I managed to get some drawing done for Entangled Starry Skies. However the headache scuppered my plans to complete the templates.
I woke this morning, after a broken night’s sleep due to overheating and some hot ‘flashes’, my first night time ones. So, though I’m a bit tired, the headache has, thankfully, gone and I was able to focus on work. All the templates are complete, apart from any edits on the new ones and a couple of the very first ones drawn. So, the next job will be to colour in three of the templates that the editorial team will choose. I let them have that difficult job as I find it so hard to choose just three out of the thirty-one templates.
So, to celebrate I turned my attention to my Christmas ‘card’ for this year. I do need to get a design done sooner rather than later for the cards that need printing and posting. I suspect that Moonpig will be used this year for those.
The design above is the next iteration of the Christmas/winter tree idea I have. I’ve got as far as trying out some color palettes for the final design. Green would be traditional, but I rather like the opalescent colours at the top right of the test area.
After doing my social media posts, I’m going to go and sort a late lunch/early tea out for myself. It’s a tad late to organise myself to go out for a walk – with the skies growing darker with clouds dusk will fall early. Ho hum, perhaps tomorrow!
I’ve been having trouble sleeping through the night, again. I wake up feeling very hot and need to cool down again before I can, sometimes, fall asleep again. It’s pointless me tossing and turning, so I sit up and grab a sketchbook, pen and reading glasses and draw. I put the light on first though.
This is the product of last night’s periods of insomnia, and also drawing while having breakfast in bed. Once I was ready to get up, I scanned the drawing in and faffed around a little with it digitally.
The design was drawn in my 12″ x 12 ArtGecko sketchbook. I feared I’d not be able to scan the image in on my A4 scanner but I managed, just. I used a 05 Uniball Unipin pen to draw with.
A little drawing this morning, used to embellish a quote that describes my artistic journey, well part of it.
The quote also describes the long journey I undertook to heal CPTSD enough that I found a touchstone of contentment inside me. That touchstone was something I’d never experienced and it is a very precious part of me.
Part of the healing process through EMDR was learning to trust myself, my memory, my emotions (which I discovered in the process).
The wonky motifs that form the border are perfectly imperfect. The imperfections in my art are part of my artistic expression. I’ve learned to recognise when my art is good enough.
I accept that my art is often perfectly imperfect, much of the time. I’m still learning how to not be so hard on myself, to recognise when something is good enough with me. It’s a work in progress for sure.
The motifs were drawn with Uniball Unipin pens on Canson Marker paper. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Affinity Publisher to create the ‘meme’.
The patterns here remind me of the folds of fabric in Romanesque sculpture. The memories of visiting Romanesque churches, cathedrals and abbeys are filled with the sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of the sculpture, as well being fascinated, contented and happy.
The smooth curving forms, the play of light and shadow – these are things I love to play with in my work, whether pure abstract or with coloring templates.
The quote is how I feel about what I create. I know I put more of myself into my art than I realise, but creating beauty, allowing others to share in what I find to be beautiful and fascinating is what I do. And there is nothing wrong with that.
When I create, I carve out time to find a space of peace, calm, contentment in my life. Creating art is my sanctuary, a time and place where I can forget about the pressures of life, the pains of the past, and worry about the future for a while. If viewing my art, or colouring my colouring pages, even for a moment, gives another person a sanctuary from the pressures upon them, then that is a good thing.
Last night, I went to bed a bit earlier; I wasn’t feeling all that well again. I wasn’t ready to sleep, but I wanted the comfort of being in bed, as well as the comfort of drawing.
So, I sat in bed and just let my pencil take a walk on the page. No preconceived ideas. No idea of what to draw in my head, only the desire to draw before settling to sleep.
This design was what appeared. In pencil on off-white mixed media paper. It reminds me of the designs on the Nazca Plains of Peru, but also some hints of Hundertwasser trees. Maybe even prehistoric rock art.
It was nothing other than a bit of self-soothing and self-care.
This morning, I knew I wanted to re-draw it digitally and make it look like it was kind of carved into rock. I’m not sure I’ve pulled it off, but I’m happy with it as it is, for now. I think I used too smooth a pen to re-draw the design. I’ve not got the right settings for that illusion of depth and dimension.
I wanted to add shadow and highlight to the design, but I’ve run out of steam again and my brain is fogging over. I think I’ll be returning to this design (along with others) in the coming days, weeks and months. This is something I don’t often do – create iterations of designs and artworks to put into practice observations, ideas as well as to try out new things with the same design. Perhaps this is what I’ll do in the next couple of weeks as I focus on completing a contract, but still make time for personal projects. I’ll see how I feel.
The design is purely abstract. As my favourite abstract artist is Wassily Kandinsky, I thought I’d add a quote from him. This one seemed to fit my drawing today. It’s not meant to represent anything other than what brought me peace and comfort when I wasn’t feeling too grand last night.