Mandala of the day

mandala2 20 July 2017

I thought I’d try white on a kraft paper coloured background.  I quite like it.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book

Today’s Mandala

mandala 19 July 2017

Drawn on my Microsoft Surface Book using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen.

Pastel floral mandalas

FlowerMandala2

FlowerMandala1

This morning’s warm up art – a pair of pretty floral mandalas!

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Microsoft Surface Book with Surface Pen.

Rainbow Mandala – another

Rainbow Mandala01-Angela Porter

Late last night I spent some time playing with mandalas where the background is completely black and the design is in colour.  I came up with a few where the design was the same, but the colours were different.

This morning, I felt I wanted to try a bigger, more complex mandala, and this is what resulted.

I love the way the colours seem to glow against the black, there’s something almost magical about it.

Of course, I now want to play with different colour combinations, particularly complementary colours.

It’s fun!

Digital art- it’s a learning thing

Flower1_AngelaPorter2017

Over quite a few hours I’ve used this design to explore digital colour a bit more.  Of course, it’s one of my own designs.

Flower2_AngelaPorter2017

This is the first coloured version of the template.  I’ve left the black lines in and added some more line patterns for interest.  To colour the flower, I used a couple of pencil ‘brushes’ in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with two blender ‘brushes’.  The colours come from the Copic colour palette.

I’m quite happy with this; it’s very much like what I’d do with traditional media.  However, the digital environment means it’s far easier to correct mistakes.

As I’ve said before, you may think that digital colouring/art is faster and easier than traditional media; I have to tell you it’s not! It took me 2 hours or so to colour this simple flower – and that was just colouring one-eighth of the design and letting the symmetry tool copy it around the flower!  With traditional media it would have taken me much less than 1 hour to achieve a similar effect.

I don’t think that the extra time is due to me not being familiar with the ‘brushes’ I’m using, but more to do with the way that you can use layers as well as intensifying the contrast after each blending session.  It is quicker to lay colour down – it doesn’t have to be neat and smooth as the blending tools can help to smooth out the unevenness.

Flower3_AngelaPorter2017

Now, this one really is something quite different from me.  NO black lines.  Not one.  Just colour.

It took me a lot longer to do this one – 3 to 4 hours in total I think, and it’s only a small and simple design!  Part of that time is because this is something very different for me – no black lines…

I also made good use of layers to keep the colours separate so they didn’t blend; one layer for blues/purples and another for the yellows/oranges.  A third was added for the background.

Getting my head around the concept of working in layers after a long time only ever working on one sheet of paper, is a really challenge, but as  I work in this way it becomes more familiar to me.

I’m also a bit ‘stubborn’ in terms of exploring and discovering what works and how to do things my own way rather than reading/watching tutorials.

Like any skill, it takes time to develop some level of competence with it, and a lot longer to achieve a mastery.  The more I do with digital art, especially in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, the more I like working with it.  I like Sketchbook, lots.  It may not be as complex as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it does what I want it to do without struggling with a complicated interface.  It allows me to draw/create a lot like I would with paper and pen, and then to explore more media than I’d ever use with traditional art media, and media that don’t even exist outside of the digital environment.

The more I work with it, the more I know I will need a Microsoft Surface Studio sooner rather than later; as much as I love my Surface Book, I do find it difficult to understand how things will look 1:1.

I’m in no great rush though, my Surface Book works just fine, and if the worst comes to the worst, I can sketch my ideas out and scan them in and work from that, using layers of course!

Digital art musings

 

AngelaPorter_ColouredMandala2_26June2017

As you know, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time developing a good relationship with both my Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I’m fairly happy with drawing on the surface, though I’ve yet to get the texture of the ‘pen’ I use to be a little less perfect and a bit more ‘human’.  There’s also the issue of not quite getting how big patterns will be when printed out, and then finding out that a powerful magnifying glass along with microscopically fine pointed pens/pencils will be needed to colour the patterns if not done digitally.

Now, I have mostly been printing my designs out and then colouring them with traditional media; particularly my Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens.  I do love doing this – it’s a very sensory experience.

However, I am aware I have a different tool for colouring viz. Sketchbook Pro and it’s suite of brushes and textures and so on.

Believe it or not, it takes me longer to colour an image in digitally than it does with traditional media, and I mean a LOT longer.

AngelaPorter_ColouredMandala1_26June2017

I love the way the colours are clean, almost glowing, when I use the marker pen ‘brush’ or one of the watercolour brushes.  I’m getting to grips with which particular kind of blending or smudging ‘brush’ I like to use.  I’m starting to get the idea of working with layers.

What is vexing me, is how ‘perfect’ the finish is, and how simple it looks.  I wonder if it is way too simple a finish.  It also frustrates me that I’m kind of trying to replicate the effects of traditional media but with digital tools, and failing as everything either works out almost perfectly blended with bright, clear colours, or ends up as a bit of a mess as I try to use different brushes or textures.

5x7Flower3 coloured 1.1

A dear friend of mine pointed out to me that I’m trying to compare apples and oranges, that perhaps I should treat digital colouring as an art medium all of it’s own instead of trying to make it like traditional media.

It was also pointed out that I do have a tendency to give myself a hard time when things seem too easy to me, or end up too perfect.

All of the images in this post have been coloured digitally, and the colours have shading/gradation in colours, but there’s no texture in them.  But then, there’s little texture in the colouring when I use marker pens, such as my Chameleons or Copics, unless I deliberately add it, which I’m always disappointed with.  I much prefer to add texture with black lines, which I need to bear in mind now as I work with digital colour.

I also recognise that I need to do a bit more to make more ‘contrast’ between the paler and darker shades of colours, as well as making sure there’s good deep shadows to add that illusion of 3D to the drawings.

I will continue to experiment and explore the other digital media and brushes, as well as special effects, and in time I may work out how it can all work for me in a way that I’m happy with.

More butterflies

FourPatternedButterflies_AngelaPorter_17June2017

Another four patterned butterflies, drawn using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on a Microsoft Surface Pen with the Microsoft Surface Pen as the input device.