Strata

Arty musings

I’ve been awake since silly o’clock. I have a delivery due before midday, so while awaiting it I have been arting.

This started off as a simple line drawing of patterns from the strata of rock formations of Raplee Ridge, Utah. Then, I added some patterns between them, zentangle or entangled style. I used fineliner pens on paper to do this drawing (left image).

My next job was to scan the drawing in and tidy it up digitally. Then, I thought I’d colour the design in. I kept to fairly earthy tones for this (middle image).

Finally, I thought I’d do a pure colour study of the line art. And I really like this one. I’ve played with shadow and light to give a sense of dimension to the artwork (right image).

I’m really pleased with the pure colour image. Not just for choosing a fairly pleasing palette, but for finally discovering how to use textured brushes to draw, colour and texture the different areas.

I’ve done work like this with traditional media, but have never really had much success digitally. It seems I have found some confidence here.

It does remind me of work I did some 15 or so years ago while studying for A level art as an adult, and how much pleasure I got from that. Now, as back then, I used simple colour palettes.

I suspect I’ll be doing more work like this – line art of patterns, followed by a coloured interpretation of those patterns. My mind is ticking over whether I could include some typography in these kinds of artwork too.

Moody mutterings

My mood is better today, I’m pleased to say. I’m not sure if it’s rest, self-care, Star Wars, knitting, art, or a combination of all these things that has helped lift it.

I know that my mood has weather, just as the world does. And in Wales, the weather can be changeable and varied! But like all weather, the gloom passes and sunshine returns. Though I wouldn’t say I’m sunshiny, I am content with a soft glow within. That is good enough for me, and for today as it’s rather wet and gloomy outdoors.

Purple Entalged Art WIP

I’ve been working on this drawing for a few days now and I finally managed to finish it this morning. That means I scan the drawing in, tidy it up digitally and then start to add highlight and shadow to bring out the design against a fairly dark background.

Today, I chose a lovely purple-magenta colour for the background. It seems to go with my mood today. I’m tired. I had a stressed-out day yesterday as my cental heating boiler was repaired and serviced. That meant letting someone into my home, something I’ve not done for months and months.

My ever present social anxiety has been ramped up during the pandemic, and yesterday it was given a huge boost. I know what the repercussions of this are for me – tiredness, upset digestive system and heightened startle response. These symptoms can persist for days, depending on the intensity of the experience.

So, today will be more of a self-care day than anything else. I’m now flagging after four or so hours focus on art.

I want to get my focus and oompf back. I am expecting a delivery of Sculpey polymer clay along with tools and accessories.

I’ve been watching videos on YouTube of makers using polymer clay to cover books. The videos have remined me of how much I liked to work with clay when I was doing my AS/A level art many years ago. So, I thought I’d give it a go, using polymer clay to sculpt my style of drawings in 3D and then paint them.

I don’t know if it’ll work out for me, but there’s no harm in trying it out that’s for sure. I have used polymer clay in the past for making jewellery and it wasn’t all that successful in many ways. Perhaps working on a bit larger scale and being able to add plenty of detail and texture will make it a better experience for me. As well as using a polymer clay that is softer than the Fimo I used way back then. Conditioning that stuff was murder on my joints!

Weekend WIP

This drawing is very much a work in progress. It’s being worked with black Unipin and Sakura Micron pens. When it’s complete, I will scan it in again, add a background, along with shading and highlights.

There’s some motifs in here inspired by fossils, others by flora and nature, and others that are purely abstract in nature.

Art is one of my self-care activities that help me manage my mental and emotional wellbeing. I mention this as it is World Mental Health Day #WMHD #WMHD2020 and, ironically, I need to do a fair amount of self-care today.

There’s plenty of information and advice out there on the internet. If you are struggling with your mental or emotional wellbeing, or if you just want to learn more about good mental and emotional health, ideas for how to look after it, then I’d encourage you to do a google and/or seek professional help.

We all have physical health and if something goes wrong with us physically, we don’t think twice about seeking out medical help and advice.

We all have mental and emotional health too. Yet too few of us will seek out help and advice when we need it due to the stigma and/or discrimination that cloud mental and emotional health.

It is high time that seeking help and advice for mental and emotional ill health was as natural and normal as seeking help for physical ill-health.

Tuesday Typography for Paleotober

I had to take a totally different approach to completing this piece of typographic art – pencil drawing the design and letter outlines on paper before inking and scanning into the computer.

Once scanned in, I could clean the image up, fill the shapes with black. I learned how I could use some of the tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to do this. However, in black and white the artwork looked just so flat and dull.

So, I added a chalkboard background in a lovely sea blue (ammonites were denizens of the oceans after all!), and added a colour gradient to the typography.

It then looked a bit better. But I thought I’d try adding highlights and some shadows. And that just did the trick and I was finally happy with what I’d produced. It was good enough for another step on my typographic art apprenticeship.

That doesn’t mean there are things I wouldn’t do differently the next time I try something like this. My hand lettering needs a lot of work on, as does my attention to the letter weights too. I’ve just realised that I meant to draw tiny ammonites in the dark blocks between words as spacers. Also, I could’ve spent a lot of time tidying up the lettering digitally.

I also learned that working on paper gives me a much better overall view of the design and how things sit together. For some reason I struggle with this when working digitally. It may be that digitally I can zoom in and out and often work unaware of what is around the design. With paper, that overall perspective is ever present.

Digital art is something I love to work with, but I’m realising that I do need to work on paper too, even if it’s a sketch or drawing that can then be enhanced, edited and completed digitally.

Moth WIP

This morning, I wanted to start a new entangled drawing. But what to draw? I wasn’t in the mood to do another monogram, especially as there are some ideas on the periphery of my conscious mind about monograms. I thought about drawing a skull, something I find interesting, but that didn’t feel right either. But the idea of a moth flittered into my mind, so that’s what I went with.

I drew the moth digitally, in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how my pen work would work on a moth, and I also like to use the symmetry tool. I’m fairly happy with the results. I started to add my entangled style motifs around the moth, and came up against two issues.

The first issue was that I would lose the detail around the head and antennae and I needed to come up with a way to preserve that. I came up with the idea of a simple circular border below the moth. This will also give me the option of adding colour to the central circle when I’ve finished the artwork.

The second was more of a problem – the sense of proportion. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to work digitally on entangled drawings like this with a proper sense of proportion compared to the main motif or the printed size.

It has to do, I think, with the ability to zoom in to draw small details, which results in me adding too much detail. The only solution was for me to print the moth and circular border out and then for me to draw on that.

The only thing I wasn’t happy about in doing this is that I have a laser printer. That affects the surface of the paper in a way that my Unipin pens don’t like it. Also, I can’t print on marker paper.

So, I’ve started to add entangled artwork to the design. I can now see that leaving edges of the upper wings white would help them to stand out. That is something I can adjust digitally when the design is finished.

I feel so much happier working on the printed image. I do need to consider changing my printer, however. Though the laser printer is quick and economical, the print quality of line art isn’t the best. There’s also the issue of the way the surface of the paper is changed once it’s been printed on. I shall think on this in the coming weeks and before the toner needs replacing.

Blue Entangled Mandala

I have been awake since stupid o’clock, so rather than toss and turn for hours I decided to do some art. And another mandala appeared from the tip of my pen.

For this one, I thought I’d make the ‘white space’ areas in the design transparent so that the vibrant blue background could show through.

I’m not sure how well this works; I’m now too tired to think clearly. I do think it has potential for future mandalas, maybe.

Entangled Mandala

I really enjoyed creating this mandala this morning! I used some of my favourite motifs in this one. it was lovely to use white on the kraft background, to bring out some highlights and add dimension here and there.

I love to use Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw my mandalas in. It streamlines the process and allows me to focus on creating the design rather than the mechanics/geometrics. Of course the design is drawn by hand, just as it would be on paper. That’s the beauty of having a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen – I can draw with the pen on the screen just as I would with pen on paper. The advantages are that if I mess up, it’s easy to correct, and the symmetry tool saves time, allowing me to focus on the fiddly details that I love so much.

WIP Wednesday

Wednesday is work in progress (WIP) day. So, I thought I’d share my monogram “a” and the progress I’m making on it.

There’s a clutch of pens there! I decided to see if I could add grey to heop areas of the design stand out more, as well as adding some depth and dimension. I figured I had nowt to lose if I tried as the the design was becoming all much of a muchness to my eye. Looking at the image above, it seems to be working well in some areas!

I started using some grey unipin pens to add shades of grey to the design. They worked kind of well enough, but they were picking up pigment from the black and moving it around.

So, I thought I’d see what greys in Pitt Artist Brush pens I had and found some warm greys. They worked better as the colour could be laid down more smoothly.

I do have some new motifs to add to my visual dictionary, a corner of which you can see at the top right of the photo.

I’m not sure if I like adding the greys more than if I don’t add them. I suspect I’ll like them more as I work with them as I love the sense of volume that has appeared in various areas thanks to the contrast they confer on the design.

Let me know what you think – drop me a comment.

Soul Shine

Sunday morning is always a time to breathe, relax and create something easy and pleasurable to do. Comfort art. Today, that meant a mandala and a quote that is quite appropriate for this morning.

Mandala creation makes me smile inwardly. It’s a familiar process and I can create a mandala that is complex and detailed, or simple, and the calming, relaxing effect is the same.

I do draw my mandalas digitally. By using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro’s symmetry tools, it streamlines the process for me. There’s also the removal of the frustration that is caused by an error or a smudge. I can focus on the relaxing, soothing process and on being creative.

In that vein, I decided to draw the mandala in black on white. But when it was finished, I wanted to use a background and a monochrome colour scheme.

I love kraft paper. I don’t know why. I think it’s that colours seem to almost glow against it. So, I chose that for the background. Then, I created a layer of creamy, orange-yellow tones to highlight the line art. Nice warm, comforting, gently glowing colours.

Finally, I created some drop shadows for the text and mandala.

I look at the finished mandala and I smile, gently. I feel my heart fill with some warmth and a sense of lightness.

Creating art, including mandalas, lets my soul shine. What makes your soul shine? Take time today to indulge your soul in activities that let it do so.

Template Thursday

Coloring Template.

Seven more days of the pandemic over and done with and gone to the past. That means seven less days before it comes to some kind of end! Always trying to look on the plus side of things, not always succeeding.

In the past week we’ve also left August behind us and entered September.

As it’s Thursday once again, it’s time for a new coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve created one of my signature ‘Entangled’ designs that includes seed pods, flowers, berries, foliage and plenty of arches with abstract, geometric patterns.

I drew this template on Canson Bristol Board with 05 and 03 Uniball Unipin pens. I’ve added colour digitally.

As I can feel autumn ready to burst forth soon, I’ve chosen colours that represent that season. Of course, any colour palette will work well. The aim is to have fun, relax, and take time out for creativity. There’s no coloring police to tell you you’ve done wrong, apart from our own inner critics.

As always, I look forward to seeing how everyone brings this template to life with colour!

To Inktober or Not?

We’ve been getting questions from our friends who don’t speak English about the word WISP.  It means a small thin or twisted bunch, piece, or amount of something.  "wisps of smoke rose into the air" “wisps of her hair danced in front of her eyes.”  Some might also notice a repeat of the word DIZZY from last year. Our internal editor here didn’t catch that, but we are rolling with it. It’s a fun word, and it would be cool to see you do a different interpretation of it this year.  Note: for #Inktober52 participants, prompts 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 are ALSO the weekly prompts.

I started doing the Inktober52 challenge at the start of the year, but quickly fell off the wagon, so to speak.

I really enjoyed doing Inktober last year, though I didn’t use the official prompt list as it really didn’t do anything for me. Instead, I used two alternative lists – one of skulls, the other of fungi.

I’m thinking of using this year’s list to practice typographic art. Mind you, that depends on what alternative lists I stumble upon, as I may use one of them instead.

I also discovered this Slowtember challenge on twitter from @megaelod:

Image

I am tempted to use this for this month. I’ll see what happens!