This morning, I decided to use Distress Inks to colour a 20cm x 20cm piece of smooth heavyweight cartridge paper and then to draw upon it. I also recorded all of this process as a youtube video (see below).
The paper is a bit more coloured than in this photo – the camera washed the colours out a bit. I will scan it in before I do anything else with this drawing for sure.
It’s always so nice to draw on a coloured background. White is such a stark colour, but a necessary one for so much of my work.
I just wanted to draw for the joy of drawing this morning. I had no fixed idea of what I was going to do or motifs and patterns I wanted to use.
Now, I have a drawing with a background colour that I’d like to add more colour to. That gives me the opportunity to use Distress Inks a bit like watercolours. And as blues form the background, I can use a monochrome palette of some of the blues I used – Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Peacock Feathers and a touch of Evergreen Bough (I know, it’s a green, but it is a blue-green!).
Central focal image – Tim Holtz’s Ephemera. Various designer series papers as the mats for the focal image. Overall artwork size approx 7″ x 8″ (18cm x 21cm) Distress Ink to colour papers and mats. Mossy green Staedtler Triplus fineliner. Black 03 Unipin pen. Mossy green and black Carbothello pastel pencils.
This one I am happy with. For cartouches/frames I prefer to work in borders rather than a rambling series of patterns and motifs. This seems to satisfy my love of symmetry/balance, yet still allows the use of organic patterns. I really did breathe a sigh of relief when I completed this one.
I am considering adding either colour or metallic ink to the seeds in the outermost border, possibly some shadow within each triangular motif as I realised I forgot to do that.
I did start work on another similar project. I’m really not happy with the penwork. So, I’m going to remove the central motif and mount it on a new piece of paper on which I can draw the borders/frame/cartouche. Not everything has been lost in this case.
Lots of things make my heart sing. Doing art, particularly creating intricate, abstract drawings. Music. Nature. Architecture. Patterns. Archaeology. Geology. Astronomy. Stories and films that transport me to somewhere else with characters that feel like friends. Sunrises and sunsets. Birdsong. Tea at just the right temperature to enjoy it fully. Time with friends. Deep conversations about life, the universe and everything. Driving for the sake of driving. And so much more.
In this drawing, I’ve put in some of my favourite motifs and patterns, as well as a bit of (clumsy) hand lettering. I think I’ll be doing some more drawing this afternoon. It’s snowing out and the best place to be is at home, in the warm.
Materials used: 21cm x 21cm piece of Claire Fontaine Paint-On Mixed media paper coloured with Tea Dye Distress Ink 05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pens 04 Sakura Pigma Micron Sensei pen 03 Uniball Unipin pen
I really needed some structure to my artwork yesterday and early this morning. This kind of work has really hit the mark. The smaller size also meant I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by the task. The symmetrical nature of the patterns/designs really soothed me. All these things let me find that sense of peace and contentment that I needed from art.
Making square ’tiles’.
I cut some 100% cotton watercolour paper into squares of different sizes, trying to get the most out of each sheet. These squares are either 4½” x 4½” or 3½ x 3½” in size (approx 11.5 cm x 11.5 cm or 9 cm x 9 cm).
Next, I used Tea Dye, Old Paper, Vintage Photo, Rusty Hinge, Gathered Twigs, and Old Burlap Distress Inks to colour the tiles. I used one colour only on each tile. On the watercolour paper the colour wasn’t even, and I really like the aged, distressed look that gives, along with the darker edge.
I set out a net of pencil lines to help keep my designs fairly symmetrical. I did draw the lines free hand rather than using a ruler. The result is perfectly imperfect symmetry. I then set to creating patterns/designs with 05 and 01 black Pigma Micron pens.
Other materials used.
In the bottom left tile, I used Carbothello pencils and a Prismacolor Ebony pencil to add colour and shadow to the design, smoothing them with a paper tortillon.
In some of the other tiles, I used Chameleon and Triplus fineliners to add detailed patterns to the design. A happy accident resulted in me using a waterbrush to see what I could do with it. The ink flowed to colour the space, but the pattern was still visible, but more subtle. I liked the effect! So, I made use of it in the designs.
That led to me experimenting with Inktense pencils and a waterbrush. These pencils are great for adding intense, waterproof colour to areas.
A white gelly roll pen was used to add highlights to all the designs. Also, a gold gelly roll pen was used to add metallic highlights to a couple of the designs.
I like all of these tiles for different reasons. But I can see how I could add more shadow and highlight to the designs to bring out an illusion of depth and dimension. I may turn my attention to that in a short while.
There’s an antique feel to all the tiles, which is an unusual thing for me. But I do like it! Working on a coloured background really prompts me to play with shadow and highlight.
I do want to scan in the blank, coloured tiles to use as backgrounds in digital art. It’s the distressed nature of the colour along with the darker border that really appeals to me.
Now, I need to work out what to do with these little works of art. Also, my mind is trying to work out how I can convert these designs to coloring pages/templates. But, these will have to be looked at later on today. I’m really needing to sleep. I was up at stupid o’clock again, and I’m now beginning to flag, a lot.
I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.
This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.
I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.
Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.
Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.
My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.
On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.
Yesterday, I spent some time adding colour to paper to add to my custom sketchbook. This is one of the papers that I created, with an abstract drawing on it, that is finished enough for the sketchbook.
The artwork measures approx 4″ x 6½”. I used a piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-on mixed media paper which I coloured with Distress Oxide Inks followed by some sprays and splatters of water to create a distressed look. The colours used were Seedless Preserves and Fossilised Amber.
I first drew the basic outline of the design with a M Pitt Artist pen from Faber-Castell. To add colour to the design, I used Distress Inks in Seedless Preserves, Fossilised Amber and Ripe Persimmon like watercolours.
Then, I started to add patterns, lines and stippling to the design to bring out the patterns and add depth, interest and dimension.
I think it’s worked out fairly well. I may well go back to yesterday’s ‘Blessings’ artwork and add colour and more patterns to it at a later date.
I went out!
My blog post is a little later as I decided to go out for a walk this morning. This was a big deal for me. Especially after the effects of the high anxiety/stress I experienced last week.
I went to my local cemetery, Glyntaff Crematorium. It’s fairly large, with lots of paths and roads sectioning the cemetery up. I wandered around the older section, which is full of fascinating funereal sculpture. I had my DSLR camera with me, and managed to take over 100 photos this morning, not just of gravestones, but textures too.
It was so nice to be out in fresh air, moving my body around more than I have done for nearly four months. I had nice music on earphones so that any loud sounds wouldn’t startle me. There was work going on around the crematorium as well as grounds work.
It was also nice to drive my car again. It’s been a week, and I really miss the freedom of just being able to take a drive. It’s important that we still stay home as much as possible and to limit our time where there are people. I think my choice to visit the cemetery was a good one. Very few people, alive or dead, haunt cemeteries!
I think I fall into the group of people known as tapophiles – people who are interested in cemeteries, gravestones and funerals. It’s not a morbid interest, just an interest about the changing styles of funerals, funerary sculpture , practices and how they change over time with society and culture.
I discovered the fascination with gravestones when I walked to and from school through this cemetery. It took me longer to get home than it did to get to school. On the way home I had the time to linger and explore and indulge my curiosity. I remember being too scared to look in the chapels there, but enjoyed popping into the columbarium, which has recently been renovated and reopened.
I think I’ll be looking for other cemeteries fairly local to me to visit in the weeks ahead, ones that offer me a good walk as well as interesting graves to look at.
This index card #ICAD2020 #DYICAD2020 was a bit of fun to create.
I used a mixture of Distress Oxide inks to colour the 6″ x 4″ index card. The colours I used were Old Paper, Bundlesd Sage, Dried Marigold and Chipped Sapphire. I built the background up in two layers, with chipped sapphire lightly dragged across the texture that the spray of water from the first background created. A final spray of water, a dab with some paper towel to leave some bleached areas and the background was done.
I decided I’d go with the typography theme today, so hand-lettered monograms for each letter. I used pieces of Canson XL Bristol paper coloured either with Distress Inks or Distress Oxide inks. After spraying the paper with water, I squished some cling film onto the surface to create abstract patterns in the colour.
Anyway, I used 06 and 03 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens to draw the monograms. Once I was happy with the designs, I edged the monograms with Ground Espresso Distress Ink. Then, I glued them to some brown-ish card, and cut them out with a border. I edged the brown paper mat with Ground Espresso Distress ink.
I then set to adding pattern and colour with Paul Rubens metallic watercolour set. Tiny dots and highlights were sparingly added to the monograms. Then, I used the same 01 brush to draw patterns around each monogram in colours that picked up the background colours of the monograms.
My final step was to edge the index card with Ground Espresso Distress Ink.
This was a perfect little project to practice my hand lettering as well as trying out the Paul Rubens paints. It was also good practice at using a fine brush to draw patterns. I do think a finer brush would’ve worked better.
The scan hasn’t picked up the sparkly, shimmery gorgeousness of the metallic paints.
This was a really nice way to come round after I’d slept off yesterday’s migraine-y stress-come-down headache. It was a small project that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by and there was no pressure on me for it to be perfect, as would be the case for my contracts for coloring books. So, it helped me calm and settle and find that sense of contentment, for a while at least.
On waking this morning, I wanted to work on the cover of my journal.
Yesterday evening, I managed to get a coat of gesso on to the cover and painted edge closest to the wire binding with gold. In hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.
I knew I wanted to use my silhouette iris drawing on the cover. Irises are my favourite flowers. Also, my aim for my journal is to use my own art as much as possible.
So, I printed out an arrangement of three irises, tore them out and coloured the paper with Distress Inks.
For the background, I used a piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper. I coloured it with Distress Inks – Old Paper, Tea Dye, a touch of Iced Spruce and a dusting of Vintage Photo around the edges and here and there on the main sheet.
This I adhered to the cover. I’d cut it narrower than the cover so that I didn’t have to butt it up against the wire binding. That’s why I wanted a gold border there.
Anyway, I decided to put some old book paper behind the irises. I added some ink to the edges of this paper too. I then glued them in place, along with the flowers.
I drew a border around this page with a copper-coloured Sakura Metallic gelly roll pen. Then, I used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to fill the background with tiny spirals.
I wanted to add the definition of ‘journal’ to the front cover. So, I did the typography in Affinity Publisher and printed it. After tearing the meaning out, I used Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to colour the paper, followed by Vintage Photo to ink the edge.
I then glued this to an old book page, tore that out and edged the paper with ink once again.
Before adhering the page to the cover, edged the paper with Ground Espresso Distress Ink as I didn’t think the edge was dark enough. I also coloured the edge of the journal cover with the same ink to hide the white.
An application of Distress Micro-glaze to seal the page and I could stick it to the cover.
I love the subtle sparkle of the spiral pattern on the cover. The micro-glaze picked up some of the fine glitter. It also makes the cover sheet feel very smooth.
I’m not happy with the gold edge to the journal, but I will, no doubt, find a way to make it look much better. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the cover. I think it needs something else there, but I’ll work out what that is in the fullness of time.
The first three pages.
Page 1 I’ve shown before, and it’s now complete (apart from me adding journaling to the envelopes and other spaces.)
On page 2, I’ve added an experiment I did with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and a blender pen to draw designs on paper. I have some ATC cards coloured in the same blues/purples as the background of this page, so I’ll be finding a way to display them on the page when I’ve finished them.
Page 3 is a tiered series of simple pockets. I made them by tearing the paper of each page and layering them to create the pockets. The inserts are pieces of Claire Fontaine Mixed media paper that have been coloured in the same colours of Distress Inks as the pockets have been. I used Distress Oxide Inks for the pockets.
I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the third page, yet. It will come to me, I’m sure!
I thought that I’d use Adobe Spark to make a short video rather than posting a montage of photos. I uploaded it to my channel on youtube so I could share it via social media more easily.
Adobe Spark is straightforward to use, and it does have a free option, though I pay about £10 per month for it. It makes creating simple content for social media really easy.
How am I feeling
I’m feeling much better today. The headache and light-headed/dizzy/drowsy feelings were with me for the whole day, including upset tummy and digestive system. I had weird pains in my right eye too. I slept a lot during the day, and just took it easy when I was awake. I wanted to crochet in the evening but found it hard to do even something familiar to me.
My digestive system is still uncomfortable and not quite right today, and I’m now beginning to feel rather tired. Like I’ve already done too much today. So, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of the day.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with making art journal bits and bobs over the last couple of days. This morning has been no exception, other than the more I do and watch, the more ideas that come to me.
Yesterday, I created some blank, printable, templates for inchies, twinches and tea cards. I printed them out on plain paper so I could draw in them. I also made a list of themes I could tackle for them too.
I spent an hour or two filling in a sheet of inches with various designs. Then, I printed them on plain paper and also vellum for calligraphy. The vellum has a rough texture, interesting colours and subtle patterns in them. I have a laser printer, so wasn’t sure if it would print on the vellum; it did, however the print does come off if I’m a bit rough with it.
Nevertheless, I coloured some of the inches with Distress Inks and then adhered them to some 1″ tiles of thick chipboard card. I edged them with tresure gold wax from Imagination Crafts. Then, I gently applied a thin layer of Ranger’s gloss multi-media medium, to see if it would seal the laser printing; it did! It also brought out the colours of the Distress Inks.
These are simple enough to make. There are plenty of tutorials online for them. I made them from ordinary printer paper, then coloured them with Distress Inks.
Next, I added some dot embellishments using a small ball tool with Imagination Crafts’ Starlights metallic paint in rich gold. This is a beautiful, glittery, shiny paint that leaves some dimension when applied this way.
Finally, I adhered the inchies I’d made, along with some vintage book paper, to the envelopes.
I’m not sure if these envelopes are finished. I do want to use them to store either journaling notes in, or little pieces of art or mementos in them.
I haven’t been at all sure about tags and using them. However, I thought I’d see what I could do with them after yesterday’s mucking about with a tri-fold tag that turned into one single tag.
I wanted to make some templates for cutting the corners at the top of the tags, so I did that, using various widths of paper and slopes to remove the top corners.
I then realised I needed something to store them in, so I made an envelope for them.
The envelope has a more rectangular top flap and a plain front, perfect for embellishments.
Something occurred to me this morning while watching someone make tags using background paper. I thought that I could use my colouring sheets and entangled designs as my own background paper. So, I thought I’d try to use some.
I found some old designs on my computer and printed a couple of them both as the black line originals and with a grey line.
I made a tag and cut out a piece of one of the designs. I coloured the design with Distress Inks and used them to subtly colour the tag.
I didn’t like the way the neatly cut out background pattern looked when I placed it on the tag. So, I tore the edges. I still wasn’t happy, so I tried tearing it into strips. That looked better, but I still wasn’t happy with it, but I stuck the pieces down.
I used a gold glitter gel pen to add lines and patterns between the torn pieces, which created some pattern and interest.
Finally, I added a distress ink coloured belly band along with a word, “creativity” to the tag. For now, I tucked one of the seed packets behind the belly band.
The background drawing may be just too busy, detailed, and varied to work well. I need to bear this in mind going forward.
I am keeping notes of how I make tags, pockets, and other bits and bobs in an A5 dot grid notebook, along with ideas for other things to do or try. It’s turning out to be rather useful as a reference.
I’m struggling with accepting that what I’m creating for my art journal is “good enough”, “attractive enough”, “pretty”. It’s not like others I’ve seen, which is part of my problem.
I seem to like, mostly, neat edges, borders on work, very organised, neat, and carefully, geometrically arranged elements in my designs. I know I want to use my own artwork to create a journal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be successful in any kind of way. I have no idea if I’m on a wild goose chase.
I know I enjoy making these bits and bobs, I just don’t know if the overall end products actually work, so I’m doubting myself. I’m not sure I like what I’m creating. I mean, I really like individual elements such as the inchies and little panels on the envelopes. It’s when I start to actually combine them or put them into a journal that it all seems to go more than a bit skew-iffy.
I’m at that uncomfortable place I often find myself in when I’m creating a mandala or drawing or digital painting; partway through I want to give up as I think that what I’m creating is awful and not working. With the mandalas, drawings and digital art, I’ve learned to work through that point and, mostly, to complete the work. I’ve learned by experience and perseverance that I can produce art I’m happy with.
I’m not at all sure of that with this art journal type stuff. I’m not sure at all if I can find my own creative ‘voice’ with this, or whether I have to accept that as much as I’d like it to be one of my ‘things’ it’s not meant to be and that I can continue to watch and admire others for what they create.
Maybe, I’ll end up making digital elements for journals for others to use in their creations. Maybe, I’ll find that collections of inchies are my thing (along with twinchies and tea cards and other little designs).
For now, I’ll take a bit of a break from it all, and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.