Hello August!

The calendar page turns over and we’re into a new month.

August always heralds the end of summer and start of autumn, my favourite season. It is the last full month of summer here in the Valleys of South Wales. The evenings come noticeably earlier, always a sign that the year is continuing on its endless cycle of seasons.

We have a grey, damp and blustery start to the first day of the month. There are shafts of sunlight finding their way through gaps in the clouds, but there’s a deliciously refreshing snap to the cool and fresh air after the night-time rain.

I thought I’d create a really simple mandala design for the start of this month, one that is full of warm colours, but that hint of autumnal tones in the background.

I kept things simply stylised in the design. If nothing else, working on it made me smile, inwardly as well as on my lips.

I woke early-ish today and did some work on one of the typographic portraits I’ve been doing. Then, in my rush to get to the shower, I clicked the wrong button and lost my work. Thankfully, it’ll be easy enough to do it again. I also think that with the version I’m working on, I’m finding my way with the process. I have a lot of the portrait left to do, but I feel less frustrated with it and have a clearer idea of what I’d like to achieve now I’ve taken a few days break from this kind of work.

Before I settle back to the typography, I am going to take a walk in the fresh air of the morning. Well, after I’ve done my social media posts!

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday again, so that means it’s time for a new coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I said that during the pandemic, I’d create a template a week for group, free of charge, to help people relax, calm and take their mind off all the awful things that are happening in the world for a short time.

This week, I’ve combined some typography my familiar entangled style of drawing. Botanicals, crystals and stars along with some repeated ‘zentangle’ style patterns. Some of my favourite things to draw.

To draw this template, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens (F and S), Copic Fineliner SP pens (05 and 025) and a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen with Rhodia dot grid paper.

Although lockdown has largely lifted in the UK, we still need to practice social distancing and wear face coverings when it’s not possible to do that, or in enclosed spaces. The Covid-19 virus has not gone away, and though the number of cases are falling, as are deaths, that’s due to people being sensible and following the guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus.

I’m very, very anxious about going out and about, and I know I am far from the only one. I mostly stay safe at home. Mind you, that’s not unusual for me. Even before the pandemic I wasn’t someone who was out and about all the time. I did pop out and about more often than I realised, however. But I’m still usually quite happy to stay at home and focus on my arty, creative activities. But, I know that’s not the case for everyone, and not everyone is able to work from home either, nor wants to.

Wednesday Wisdom

This was a perfect, small and quick project to do this morning as I was waiting for my weekly delivery from Able & Cole.

Some practice of hand-lettering /hand-drawn typography practice, starting with roughing the design out in pencil on dot grid paper. Then, inking it in digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

The addition of a rainbow background was the perfect way to bring a smile to my face this morning. When don’t rainbow colours cheer a person up? The bold, black letters on top of it really make the colours glow bright.

The quote is a perfect bit of wisdom for Wednesday, not that it’s a bad day for me at all. Apart from me suffering from a lack of sleep once again. The morning sunshine has lifted my mood, and the cool air flowing in through the open window is both beautifully fresh and wonderfully refreshing. I have bright and happy music on as I work, just to add to the upbeat start to the day.

Hand-drawn typography practice

This morning, I decided to leave portraits alone for a little while. I woke with the idea of using typography to fill some typography!

So, I drew the outlines of ‘Nye’, for Aneurin Bevan. I then used wavy lines to split the outlines into interesting sections. Then, I pencilled in some quotes by Aneurin Bevan. This let me adjust size/ spacing so that the quotes fit and made sense. In some places I’ve stretched the letters as there wasn’t enough space for the next word. I could’ve made all the letters in the line wider, but thought the wider letters would add some interest and flow. Of course, I now realise I could’ve stretched some letters at the start of the lines too, but I can always do that as I ink in the lettering.

Anyway, my next step was to scan the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro so I could do the inking digitally, and you can see what I’ve done so far. I do need to adjust some letters, like the B at the start of the line I’ve started to ink. I will also need to go back and clean up some of the edges of letters.

It’s a nice project for me to do today. I didn’t sleep at all well last night; I was up and down to the loo. I had a sudden attack of anxiety yesterday, a really intense one. The pilot light on my boiler had gone out and I couldn’t light it, so I had to arrange for a breakdown visit. There was the stress of ‘what if they can’t fix it’ as well as a stranger in my home for the first time since most probably February.

Panic mode! And it didn’t abate all day, no matter what I tried to do. This kind of anxiety/stress always hits me in my digestive system, so it was an unpleasant night for me.

All needless of course. The gas engineer arrived this morning and he lit the pilot light first go. And it’s stayed lit. I felt like a right numpty. However, all is well, as I have now booked it for a service too.

I’m still feeling on edge, as well as really tired. So, working on a portrait wouldn’t be the best idea for me as at the moment they are frustrating and overwhelming me.

So, I thought I’d go for some hand-lettering or hand-drawn typography practice. Just practice. No pressure. However, the idea I had may turn out to be a fairly good one. Maybe.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Template Thursday

It’s #TemplateThursday when I create and post a colouring template to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. The template is free to members, though there are a few terms and conditions associated with it’s use. It’s also free to join the group!

This week, I decided to draw some cute and whimsical bugs, each having their very own portrait. Lots of small, individual pictures that a perfect for quick, mindful colouring.

I know I often get overwhelmed by a huge artwork I’m working on and that is most likely to happen when I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety, and I seem to have waves of anxiety the like I haven’t seen for a long time, most related to the pandemic.

When I need to take time out, to do art that will soothe me, calm me, let me relax and find that mindful, content space within myself, I turn to creating small artworks.

I drew this template with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Colouring has been done digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.