I managed to film some drawing this morning, putting into practice some of the things I learned from yesterday’s ‘messes’, and some kind of successes.
For this tile, I’m using Arteza Everblend markers to add colour, and a humble black ball point pen to add shadow.
Oh, what a difference the ballpoint pen makes. Graphite always feels a bit ‘grimy’ to me, which is fine. But the lines and cleaner grey that can be achieved by the ballpoint pen… well, they’re different.
And the third day of trees. Why? Because I can! And there’s so many variations on the theme I can share. It can be difficult to work out which to do so.
For this series of videos, I have drawn lots, and lots of trees in my A4 sketchbook (two pages full, near enough). Some are successes, others not quite so. Indeed, there were a couple of “Oh, that didn’t go so well” trees in today’s video.
All of this, however, is sketchbook work. It’s OK to try things out. It’s just fine that things don’t always work out the way you thought they might. It’s quite okay that what may have seemed like a good idea in the head doesn’t translate too well onto paper.
In fact, it’s the ‘oops’ trees (and other drawings) that lead to artistic growth. They make me work out what’s not right, what I don’t like about them, and what I can learn from this. Sometimes I have another go at the idea, but better informed from the first version. Sometimes I realise it’s a lost cause…for now perhaps. Other times, it’s worked out, but it’s not just my thing. And that too, is perfectly OK.
Without trying things out we won’t know what we do and don’t like. It’s like cooking and tasting to see if the seasoning and spices are right or need adjusting. And just like cooking, sometimes things just don’t work, and occasionally can’t be saved!
The only difference is I’m not likely to make someone ill by drawing in a sketchbook!
Today’s video really brought home how important colours is in artwork. And shadows/highlights. But colour especially. Colour serves not only to bring life to the drawing, but to lift it from the background.
Yes, that can be done with various ways of adding shadow – cross hatching, line width, stippling, and so on. But there’s just something about colour, even simple colour, that just helps things along.
Indeed, simple colour seems to be my kind of style. At the moment. And looking at the upper picture, mixing coloured elements with monochrome is an interesting approach too. That may be a way I can move forward adding more colour to drawings, but only to parts that are focal points or where colour would really help with the composition. Otherwise, shading is the way to go.
And not just graphite pencil shading. I need to spend some time experimenting with other media – alcohol markers, grey watersoluble media, Pitt Artist pens, and so on.
Lots of things to think about and consider today. All insights I may have missed if I wasn’t making videos and having to talk about what was passing ephemerally and abstractly through my mind. Giving those passing thoughts words results in awareness, understanding, and, perhaps, learning.
In yesterday’s vlog, as I was drawing the last part of this week’s template, I commented that the leaves in the top right reminded me of trees. That was followed up with a statement that it’s an idea I need to explore more.
And so I am! I spent sometime messing around with quick pen drawings to figure some things out. Then, I drew the best of the mini-forest to create a small copse in my A5 pattern explorations sketchbook. Which I filmed.
Of course, as it’s a sketchbook, I can try out variations as I go. Some of these worked, some didn’t. And others I got totally confused on.
Adding shadow with matt graphite pencils, then colour with Ecoline Watercolour Inks, helped to give volume and some life to these trees. I still think I should’ve done one pink and purple! Maybe the next seedlings in my copse will be such colours.
And yes, I’ve already been doing more variants in my larger, A4 sketchbook. That has surprised me as I got so frustrated with the A4 size when I started this long term project of pattern and motif explorations.
Behind with work!
I’m so late doing anything today. I woke with a migraine-y headache. The result of yesterday’s anxiety-provoking/stress-inducing trip to the pharmacy and then a small supermarket. So, headache tablets taken, a return to sleep when the pain began to wear off meant I didn’t wake up until gone 11am UK time.
I wasn’t going to risk starting a headache up again by working on digital inking of the Adorable Dogs templates straight away. So, I filmed a drawing session instead. That gave me time to drink tea, let some of the fuzzy-head, drifty-floaty feeling subside. So, once I’ve finished all of this I can settle to work for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.
I’m not so behind, really. It’s just that I prefer to work in the morning and early afternoon, then I can relax with other projects, like my vlogs.
Today was just one of those days where other things happened. That is life! I know, from past experience, there will be other days where it’s easy to work and a lot more gets done.
This page is getting fuller by the day! What started off as semi-circular botanical motifs has taken a direction of it’s own. Oh, the starting shape is basically the same – an arch. But some of my arches are now tall and thin!
They’re not all botanical anymore either. Some feel distinctly mechanical, others more coral-like. The more semi-circular ones look like fancy fish scales. The tall and thin ones look a bit like feathers.
Hence the name change. However, what is the same is the idea of exploring patterns/basic shapes and seeing where that leads. What happens is the page becomes filled with lots of variations on a theme. Like here.
I enjoy these more abstract motifs, lots. They’re fun to do and the only limits are your imagaination and/or creativity.
I didn’t film all of the new motifs being drawn, but here’s today’s vlog.
The humble 2B and 6B graphite pencils (the Pitt Graphite Matt versions) were used to create the shadows, the illusion of folds and curls, curves and edges. It took me a while to remember how to do this, to work out the effects I wanted to create. This is, however, like riding a bike – once learned you may be rusty, but you never forget!
There is a simple pleasure in using just the grey of graphite to give more form to these designs. Adding colour over the graphite added to this. I really am enjoying the way the careful shadowing with graphite works with transparent watercolour. Then, there’s the use of white charcoal and/or white ink to bring out the highlights.
If I use ink, I much prefer to use dots white, rather than a solid line or shape. I enjoy the subtle texture it gives as well as that brightness too. I find the white charcoal tends to bleach the colour out way too much, it feels not quite right. I will eventually work out how to do this in a better manner I think. Perhaps trying other colours of chalk pastel pencils maybe, or really making sure that the colour is barely there in the highlights. It’s a work in progress for me, that’s for sure! I may just stick to white ink dots, perhaps trying other colours that work with the colour of the motif.
Using various grades of graphite helps me to get that intensity of shadow that I like, without struggling with watercolour. I can vary the intensity of one colour (and I even tried two colours in one motif!), and let the graphite do the work of darkening the shade of colour.
The metallic looking result I find quite pleasing, now that it’s becoming familiar to me. I find I like the effect far more than adding graphite on top of the colour. The pigments in the watercolour pencil seem to sit over the graphite when they’re activated with water, tinting the graphite in a way that is pleasing to me.
I do love the Graphitint pencils very much, but this method gives me a way of getting more vibrant colours, which are pleasingly toned down by the under-shadowing of graphite.
It’s really nice to draw and share the process with others, allowing them to draw along with me.
In this design, I started with a simple seed pod design, and it’s morphed into other forms, including flowers.
It’s fascinating how one basic form can be the blueprint for so many other designs, often just by making a simple change.
I tried an experiment today – to add shadows with Faber-Castell Pitt graphite matt pencils before adding colour with watercolour pencils and a water brush. The result is rather interesting. It’s kind of metallic without the shine of specific metallic paints, if that makes any sense. I’m thinking about drawing designs in graphite and then adding colour washes over them. Maybe I’ll start with individual motifs though!