Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

This was so very enjoyable!

I started with the hand-drawn typography. I’ve just started another Domestika course — Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait by Sarah King. The first exercise is to letter words boxes divided by wavy lines. Then, creating letters in different weights. And of course, practice is something that needs to be done.

There was just something about her approach to this that grabbed me, and so, I now have many boxes with words and quotes in.

The first lesson shows how to use Photoshop to edit your lettering outlines and fill them with black. I found the process rather clunky and long-winded. Perhaps that’s because I’m used to working in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a pen on a screen as if they were pen and paper, that I could do this in my own way.

So that’s what I did. I used one of my pencilled samples to create the typography for the centre panel.

Then, it was adding the background. I just went with the flow on that one. I made use of the symmetry tools in Sketchbook Pro, and just had fun with a limited colour palette and my favourite kinds of shapes.

The course is about portraits. However, I have zero interest in drawing people. However, the techniques shared will spark ideas for how I can use them.

I’ve long been trying to incorporate words, quotes into my artwork and struggling to find my own style. I’m not sure if this will help, but I’m really quite happy with this particular artwork.

Friday Flower

It all began with a drawing in my A5 sketchbook. I then wanted to use it for digital art, and this is the result.

I’m really happy with the flower design. The black lines work in this instance; they give a stained-glass feel to the design.

I’m not at all sure about the background, however.I think I’ve just gone over the top, again. I just can’t seem to leave ‘white space’ in my art.

As a result, I tried some gold patterns on a rich, dark colour. Whatever I tried, just didn’t seem to work. Perhaps I could’ve created the line art in gold instead of black before adding colour. That may have worked out OK.

I’ve left it as it is, for now, as I’m tired and hungry. I’ll look at it with fresh eyes at some point. For now it’ll do, even as an example of art to remind me to work out when enough is enough!

Even though I’ve ended up a bit frustrated with my efforts on the background, I still enjoyed the process of creating this morning. It does make my inner light shine that bit brighter, and we all really need that extra bit of shine at this time of pandemics and more going on in the world.

I wanted a quote that went with the art, so I chose one about blooming and that sums up how I feel when I create, be it art or crafty pursuits. Even when the art goes in a direction I’m not happy with, there’s still a happiness inside that comes from just creating. There’s also a positive feeling about things not working as I want them to, artistically. It’s an opportunity to learn something, either artistically or personally. Today, the lesson is a reminder that I need to learn to leave ‘white space’ in my art.

And with that, it’s time for some tea and lunch!

Watercolor and Drawing

Today’s image is a collection of watercolors and drawings I’ve done over the past couple of days.

There’s a coordinating card and envelope (mail art), along with some small panels of watercolouring (approx 1.5″ x 1.5″, so a bit bigger than inchies). I’ve also included my foxglove experiments, which I did this morning.

Sometimes, black pen looks too harsh against the delicate but vibrant watercolours, so for the poppies, I tried pencil instead. I’m really not at all sure about them.

The foxgloves are symptomatic of how I feel today – out of shape, wobbly, ill-defined with harsh edges. I woke with a stinker of a headache again, definitely stress/anxiety/worry induced, as well as a lack of sleep last night. It will pass. In the meantime, I’m watching The Clone Wars on Disney+.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing any art for a few hours; my head and emotions are all bent out of shape at the moment. I’m dissatisfied with all the above; I know that’s me being so frustrated at the moment and it stops me seeing my art for how it really is. When I’m like this, I know that drawing will frustrate me, and the fact I’m not drawing will frustrate me more, especially as I have deadlines looming. However, I logically know that if I try to do things now, I’ll just prolong the feeling of frustration and I’ll end up having to do much more in the long run than if I’m kind with myself until the headache goes and my mood lifts.

The weird thing, however, is that I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me. It’s very confusing; on one hand my emotions are really unsettled, yet there’s contentment within. My EMDR therapist mentioned that it’s a peculiarly Western view that you can only experience one feeling at a time when I mentioned this kind of thing to her. So I know it’s possible to be both discontent and content at the same time – discontent with some parts of life yet still have an inner contentedness.

So, I wander off now to sit with these paradoxical feelings, to try to relax and let the headache ease off enough that I can sleep off the extreme tiredness it will leave me with.

Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.

Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

Template Thursday

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another week in lock-down has passed us by here in the UK, as well as many places around the world. That means it’s time for another weekly coloring template.

This week, the inspiration for this template has come from the pages full of capsules, pods and seeds in my sketchbook. Lots of opportunity to experiment with colour, but also adding little details to each tiny picture.

If you’d like to download and print this template, then pop along to the facebookgroup – Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans – and you can do so for free (terms and conditions for use do apply).

Drawn using Sakura Pigma micron pens (05 and 01) on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper.
Clean up of drawing, colouring and typography done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Entangled Borders

Entangled Borders ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve enjoyed creating this sketchbook sampler page. I drew the designs with a mixture of Uniball Unipin pens, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, a medium nib Schaeffer fountain pen, and an extra-fine nib Faber Castell fountain pen. I used dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine.

After scanning the page in, I removed the dot grid and added a grungy paper background. I then decided I’d like to add some colour and shadow/light to the designs. To do this, I used a messy chalk brush, so my colouring isn’t as precise as I usually like it. However, it’s loosened up my expectations of myself as I went with it.

Pastel colours were my palette of choice as I like the way they seem to almost glow against the grungy kraft background. I also like the way they help to enhance the 3-D appearance of the designs. I do enjoy playing with shadow and light.

Some of the designs are examples of my organic, entangled style of drawing. Others are repeating, geometric zentangle-style patterns. And then there’s some inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

I also enjoy working within a clear border. I like the sense of structure it brings to my work. It also satisfies some kind of aesthetic need within me. Every now and then I try work without a border, but the artwork I produce just never feels quite right to me. So, it’s time for me to accept the need for borders is part of my artistic voice.

There is a purpose for me creating these borders. I’m building up a library of them that I can use to embellish quotes and other projects.

Some of these borders would look fab as greeting cards note cards, bookmarks, and to use in other paper craft projects. They’d also work well as embellishments for BuJo, planner, diary, scrapbook and journal pages.

Others would be a great foundation for dangle designs (my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start drawing dangle designs).

What I do know, is that I find drawing soothing and relaxing. So, I’m going to be spending the rest of my Sunday drawing more borders.

Entangled Garden drawing

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have another entangled drawing for you to enjoy. I worked on it over the past couple of days. I think it’s taken me around six or seven hours to complete.

Because of all the floral and botanical motifs I’ve called it an Entangled Garden. A garden that has grown from my intuition and imagination.

I’m enjoying drawing these kind of illustrations at the moment. I really do have a fondness for botanical motifs, but also for arches and patterns inspired by Romanesque and Gothic architecture. There’s also some influence from Zentangle patterns too.

I’ve not added any shading to increase depth and dimension. There are places in the design that could benefit from a hint of shadow. However, I’m happy with it as it is.

As a drawing, it is a bit too fussy with intricate details to work as a coloring page as far as traditional media are concerned. However, I do know some colourists who would love the challenge of colouring a design like this!

Having said that, this kind of design, with less details, would be perfect for my next coloring book which I do need to start work on soon. I need the cover done for the publishers by the end of this month. So, I can take inspiration from the drawings I’ve been doing recently, though I do have some other ideas rattling around my brainbox too.

I used Uniball Unipin pens, along with ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. The size of the drawing is approx. 7.5″ x 10″.

I added the background colour and texture digitally, after removing the dots from the dot grid paper.

Entangled flora

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

One of the nice things about being between contracts is being able to indulge myself in art. It’s also a chance for me to do ‘comfort art’, art that is in a familiar style that I don’t often do.

This is an example of ‘comfort art’. Art that is soothing to do, is intuitive and surprising in how it turns out. I start with pen and paper (dot grid in this case), and just start with a single motif. I then let the design grow from that point, organically and intuitively.

There are always sticking points where I want to give up as it doesn’t look right, or I’m not happy with what I’ve just drawn. However, I’ve learned to persevere past these points and the end design is usually one I’m happy enough with.

There were many sticking points in this one, some of which I thought were going to be shatter points.

Although I’ve deemed this illustration ‘done’, as I reflect on it now, I can see places where some added line texture would help the design be less homogeneous in places and would add some contrast.

Also, some shadows would help add dimension to the illustration. Having said that, colour would really bring the drawing to life too.

For now, though, this design is finished. Whether I work some more on it remains to be seen.

I used Uniball Unipin pens to draw this design, along with ClaireFontaine Sketch dotgrid paper. The only things I did digitally were to scan the design in, remove the dots of the dot grid, and add the background colour and texture and watermarks.