Do you know the kind of days where it’s hard to get out of bed? Days when your body and soul need a day cwtched up safe and warm in bed? Well that was today for me.
A day spent doing very little. A bit of art. Watching geology videos on youtube. Playing games on my phone.
I’m now vertical, at my desk. I’ve scanned in one of my little drawings (approx 3¼” x 4″, or 8cm x 10cm) and digitally added a background, shadow and highlight. The shadow and highlight are a tad patchy, but they do help to bring the drawing to life.
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
This week, it’s a bold, entangled design. Lots of botanical motifs and some geometric patterns in there. I chose to fill the image with flat colours this week. The color palette I’ve used reminds me of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau.
It’s both unusual of me to use flat colour, or colours that are also muted. Some shadow and highlight would serve to add dimension to the design, but there’s something quite nice about it as it is. Something that I can’t put my finger on.
If you’d like to print and colour it, you do need to be a member of the facebook group. Membership is free, as are the templates to members. There’s just a few reasonable terms and conditions that need to be followed to use them.
In the past few years, there’s been a flurry of coloured templates appearing on the page throughout New Year’s Day, always something beautiful and wonderful to behold. Many members post their templates close to midnight when the year changes.
I’ve not coloured the template yet. I hope my focus continues over the next couple of days so I can get it done to join in.
I had a right ‘mare of a time getting the image above done. I think I tried four times in total, with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro crashing before I could save it. Sketchbook pro has always been very, very stable, so I guess the gremlins of 2020 got to it today. But I finally got it done. That could be a very perfect metaphor for 2020, perhaps.
Drawn with a fine Uniball Eye pen on acid-free cartdridge paper. Backgrounds added digitally.
This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.
As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.
Taking a big of a break
I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.
I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.
Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.
I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.
Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?
Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.
I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.
Yesterday really didn’t go to plan. I ended up having a major emotional and stress episode and I was so tired afterwards that I didn’t have much in the way of focus. It also gave me a seriously upset stomach, as any emotional/stress event does.
I did, however, work on these two zentangle-style drawings.
The one on the left I did during the night and early this morning as my sleep was disturbed. I used a small square of Claire Fontaine Natural Paint On mixed media paper and a 03 Sakura Micron pen. The paper is 5″ square. The colour and shading was adding using a selection of Daler-Rowney artist’s sketching pencils and a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I left a blank space so I could add a quote at a later time.
The one on the right I started after I’d completed the line-art for Entangled Starry Skies. I used a 6″ Strathmore Artist’s Tile along with Unipin pens. To add colour and shading I used Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils and Derwent Graphitint pencils with a light wash of water. I used this particular drawing as a way to try out different traditional media I’ve not used for a long time. I did mean to add gold to the white circular highlights, but it slipped my mind.
It was actually really nice to lose myself in the intricacy of these drawings. Intricacy, pattern, abstract, organic satisfy a large part of my arty heart.
I do feel a bit more settled today, but I am tired after yesterday’s stress and upset and a poor night’s sleep. But I do need to sort out my Christmas card design for this year!
This week, the design has one big focal point motif of a zentangle-inspired Christmas Tree. It’s cute and whimsical, and is surrounded by holly, mistletoe, gifts, stars and baubles. Of course there’s some hearts there too.
Although the drawing is quite detailed, it’s split into smaller sections. This is great if you only have a bit of time or feel overwhelmed by the whole image. This way you can do one section at a time.
There’s a couple of reasons I usually only colour part of the template. One is a question of time when I have other things that have to be done. The other is that it shows the difference colour makes to the drawing, how it brings it to life.
I love to see how colourists bring my drawings to life with colour and how unique each person’s approach to colouring is. Every time I see one coloured it brings a smile to my face. I have so many colouring books published, so many templates drawn that I don’t have time to colour them all myself.
But when I see a template I wasn’t happy with all coloured in and how wonderful it looks, it not only makes me smile, but it gives me a little confidence boost that my drawings may be just good enough after all.
Yes, I suffer with imposter syndrome and a lack of self-confidence still.
For the rest of the day I really do need to get on with my Christmas card design for this year and get the moonpig ones sorted out and sent off.
This week’s template is a combination of dangle designs and little pictures. Not one large and often intricate image to colour this week, but a series of little ones so that the template can be coloured in one little bit at a time. This is great for people who get overwhelmed by large, overly-complex colouring pages.
Just as a note, my book “A Dangle A Day” is available. It’s a tutorial book showing how you too can create your own cute and whimsical dangle designs. The dangle designs in the book are a lot smaller than this template!
This design was drawn on Rhodia Dot grid paper using a “F” Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and then cleaned up digitally. I then added a wintry background and added some colour to some of the motifs.
I always love to see the many different and unique ways colorists bring my designs to life. Colour really does make all the difference to the templates.
Yesterday, I got so focused on editing templates that time ran away with me. I only realised at bedtime I’d not blogged! By then it was way too late as I was tired, headachy and had an upset tummy (again!).
Today, the tummy is better, thank goodness. I was up early for the weekly Abel & Cole organic grocery delivery, and after breakfasting I ended up back in bed.
Before I turn my attention for the rest of my work-day to Entangled Starry Skies, I thought I’d put together a quick montage of my latest drawings, what I’m calling Entangled Assemblages. The weird exercise cyclist makes another appearance, but there’s a couple of drawings I’m working on during my insomniac periods of night.
For someone who doesn’t do faces/people artistically, there sure are some appearing in this style of my personal art. Personal as opposed to contracted work.
Whatever, I’m enjoying drawing in the moments I can do so just for my pleasure.
I will get to colour them in at some point, and add a funky background of mandala or other design too. Just not today. Today I need to turn my attention to the artwork for Starry Skies as soon as I’ve completed social media posts.