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.
Moths are becoming a bit of a thing with me at the moment. They’re great for practicing my line work. They’re also surprisingly cute, in a buggy kind of way.
Of course, I’m still working on the first moth entangled drawing/illustration, so adding a mandala behind this drawing is a quick and easy way of adding to the moth. Mandalas are kind of my thing to do.
Again, I’ve used that spot of highlight behind the moth to draw attention to the centre of the design along with the main motif.
Today, a terracotta background seemed to be just right. Perhaps because it’s quite an autumnal colour. This morning there’s a definite nip in the air that I associate with autumn and we are just a couple of days away from the equinox.
Terracotta is a deeper shade of orange and is comforting in it’s warmth and earthiness. I find it quite soothing.
I’m also enjoying floating the graphic black and white elements of my artwork above a simple coloured background. That way I have some colour in my art, but the colour doesn’t distract from the design elements.
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.
Finally finished it! It’s taken many hours to do – probably around 15 I think, and it’s taken some perseverance by myself to get it done.
Uniball Unipin pens (05, 03 and 01) on Claire Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper. Two pen nibs now wrecked; the paper is velvety smooth to touch, but just too rough for the tips of the Unipin pens. Will move to Bristol board for the next monogram.
I woke this morning, refreshed after a long, deep sleep, and wanted to draw something relatively simple, something I could work on in the future.
I used a Uniball Vision Elite pen on a sheet of dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine. If you zoom in, you can still see the dots of the dot grid.
I had no idea of what I was going to draw. All I knew was I wanted to draw, and I wanted to start with a flower. Which I did.
I then started to grow the design by adding the swirls. Those swirls had shapes in them perfect to add some round seeds.
Next, I thought a rectangular background panel, filled with a geometric design, would be a good counterpoint to the more organic flower and swirls. So, I did draw in a pencil grid to use as a guide for my inked lines.
After adding a narrow border to the panel, I decided to add some simple dangles to the lower swirls. I thought the design needed to be lengthened a little.
When I’d finished the dangles, I knew the design was complete. I felt no need to add anything more to it, despite having a lot of white space! So, I scanned it in and prepared it for posting to social media.
I’d like to work this one with some colour to the flower and swirls, maybe the dangles too. The geometric pattern I’d like to add shading to bring out a more dimensional appearance to it. I may add that shading as shades of grey, or maybe as lines.
If you’d like more ideas about drawing dangles, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start.
That’s where I have to leave it for now as I have a busy day away from home today.
This morning, I needed the calming and soothing process of drawing a mandala.
The last few days have been manic, tiring and emotional. I’ve also had to use a lot of mental concentration on a project that involves me. All this has resulted in evenings filled with headaches and emotional vulnerability.
I’m aware of what’s happening to me, and I do take steps to make sure that I practice self-care and self-soothing.
Drawing mandalas is always self-soothing for me. The abstract nature of them means anything goes, within the foundation of rings and angles. Drawing repeating patterns and shapes is also a soothing activity.
Today, I chose to draw in black and white and add a grey, textured background. Some subtle shading in greys helps to add the illusion of dimension to the mandala.
I drew this mandala digitally, using my favourite tool triad of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. This made it easy to alter what I wasn’t happy with as I worked on the mandala. This removed a source of potential stress and upset and allowed the perfectionist in me to smile.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t any imperfections in the design; there are plenty of them! It just means I can fix the big mistakes quickly. I wish it were as easy to do that in life, for myself but also for others.
I enjoyed drawing the mandala. It has helped to soothe my fragile head and heart and has set me up for the rest of my arty, creative day.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’ve not written much about my mental and emotional health lately. It’s mostly been good. However, I’ve had some challenges with it and have had some weepy, teary times.
Previously, I’ve mentioned that I was looking at leaving therapy soon. I still think that will be the case, but these challenges have caused some flotsam and jetsam from my past to surface. They need to be processed and released before I consider leaving therapy.
I have so much to do in terms of work and other commitments that I really do need to schedule in that self-care time. Also, I’m aware that the challenges I’m currently facing could, potentially, harm my mental and emotional health. All the work of the past five years in therapy could, possibly, be undone. I can’t allow that to happen.
During the recent difficulties, I’ve found my emotions and thoughts harking back to the dark days of my poor mental and emotional health. I managed to stop myself falling into the bottomless, dark pit of despair and anguish. I recognised it was happening. Also, I recognised the trigger for this. It was strong enough to breathe some life into the pale ghosts of my past. Those ghosts have now been dispelled, but I know they can rise to haunt me at my vulnerable moments.
What scared me most was that I lost that awareness of inner contentment that has been present for many months now. It’s now back, once the ghosts had been returned to their realm – the past.
I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it again – emotions are the weather of my inner being. Things happen or are said that can stir up a storm. The storm opens a portal to the past and ghosts can find their way to trouble my mind and feelings. I’m now more aware of myself, my emotions, and how to cope with this weather. I’m back to a calm sea where the contentment isn’t shrouded by the shades of the past.
Being able to banish these ghosts myself shows how far I’ve come since my darkest days.
Day 21 and it’s a pug skull, Pleurotus eryngii (King Oyster mushroom) and the Batnumber tangle pattern from the Inktober 2019 prompt lists from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.
I really enjoyed drawing the wood cut style of skull yesterday so thought I’d go with it for today’s short nosed dog skull – I chose a pug skull.
I echoed the wood cut style in the mushrooms forming a ring in the partial mandala around the skull.
I like the graphic black and white nature of the design elements against the coloured, textured background. I did, however, break up this graphic style with the foliage forming the outer ring of the design. I just felt I needed to push something to the background.
In 21 days I seem to have covered a lot of different styles in my work, though I think my favourite ones are where I place a mandala behind the skull, as in today’s illustration.
Although I love colour, I do think the more graphic designs are more ‘me’. Maybe it’s because my experiments in drawing in colour (as in day 18 and day 19) are outside my familar, comfortable work.
I don’t know where this will lead me, though I do want to do more mandalas like today’s, maybe get them available as prints or on t-shirts. What do you think?