Yes, another mandala, but I enjoy creating them so much! I’m also exploring how to create them in a different way than I would usually; instead of drawing with black ink then colouring, I’m drawing in colour itself.
An unusual choice of colour for me too – a navy blue. I must admit, I’m enjoying working in monochrome for these mandalas. The colours are always harmonious and while I love a riot of colour, it’s much harder for me to incorporate that into mandalas like this. Well, at this time it is. Who knows how this is going to evolve.
Yesterday was a busy kind of day that had me away from my workspace from mid-morn. It was fierce chilly out with wintry showers of sleet and heavy-duty hail interspersed with bright, clear winter sunshine which did little to raise the temperature but did raise the spirits.
I was still feeling quite calm after my therapy session on Monday, still having that gentle, subtle inner smile, which I’m doing everything I can to hold on to, gently of course!
It’s always nice when I can find a sense of some kind of balance within me. I sense that these periods are getting longer and longer. However, that means that any downward blips in my mood and state of my mind feel more extreme in comparison. I do have to mention though that the downward blips, though sometimes scary and worrying, don’t seem to last as long as they used to.
Back to my mandala. I used my usual tools trifecta – Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I love that I’ve discovered that I love to carve basic colour shapes into these intricately patterned mandalas.
I’ve spent another quiet, calm and contented few hours drawing this mandala. Admittedly some of the shapes look a bit weird around the edges. However, it’s all about me learning and embedding new skills when it comes to drawing digital art.
Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were my tools for this one.
Some of the areas have patterns in them that remind me of Celtic, La Tene art, or of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells. These are art forms I’ve loved for as long as I remember and I think there are times when those patterns bubble up to the surface of my mind and find their way out through the tip of my pen! It’s nice when that happens and it surprises me!
Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).
By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!
For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.
I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.
Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.
Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.
I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!
It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.
Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.
An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.
I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.
It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.
I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.
I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.
Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.
When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design
16cm x 8cm. Sakura Glaze pen in black, Derwent colorsoft pencils, Derwent metallics pencils and Cosmic Shimmer iridescent/metallic watercolour paints on black card.
I started this one before my return to work a fortnight ago. I noticed as I was completing it this weekend that it’s a little disjointed in places which may symbolise how I was feeling about the return to work. The photograph really doesn’t show the colours properly, nor the shimmer and shine of the metallics. However, you do get an idea of what it looks like.
Returning to work.
I made it back to work for the start of the Summer Term. My voice, however, is still not right. Work have referred me to occupational health and for speech therapy. Also, there’s a microphone/speaker system on order for my room so that I won’t have to raise my voice. My doctor has referred me to ENT to have my voice checked out.
The worst thing of all, is I still can’t sing. I love to sing, have always sung with one choir or another since I started secondary school. I join in the singing at any gathering where there is some. This bout of laryngitis has affected that part of my voice, and I really, really do hope it will return properly and fully.
Not the car, again!
The handbrake broke on the car a couple of days ago. As I’m writing this, I’m waiting for my nephew, who’s a whizz with cars, to come and see what needs to be done.
This is on top of a water leak from the toilet cistern a couple of weeks ago that came through the downstairs ceiling.
The ‘earphone’ on my mobile has stopped working too.