I have been working on the moth drawing from yesterday. It’s a long, laborious, yet enjoyable process. So, this afternoon I thought I’d create a mandala to sit behind my moth illustration.
I’m quietly pleased with this one. I like the choice of colour for the background, even though it’s an unusual choice for me. The central glow and shadow helps to lighten the background a little and brings attention to the moth, which is the main motif in this design.
I decided to use just black and white for the moth and mandala, though there are places in the mandala where I’ve let the background show through.
I will continue to work on the other design, it’s just going to take me a couple, or even a few, days to complete.
This morning, I wanted to start a new entangled drawing. But what to draw? I wasn’t in the mood to do another monogram, especially as there are some ideas on the periphery of my conscious mind about monograms. I thought about drawing a skull, something I find interesting, but that didn’t feel right either. But the idea of a moth flittered into my mind, so that’s what I went with.
I drew the moth digitally, in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how my pen work would work on a moth, and I also like to use the symmetry tool. I’m fairly happy with the results. I started to add my entangled style motifs around the moth, and came up against two issues.
The first issue was that I would lose the detail around the head and antennae and I needed to come up with a way to preserve that. I came up with the idea of a simple circular border below the moth. This will also give me the option of adding colour to the central circle when I’ve finished the artwork.
The second was more of a problem – the sense of proportion. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to work digitally on entangled drawings like this with a proper sense of proportion compared to the main motif or the printed size.
It has to do, I think, with the ability to zoom in to draw small details, which results in me adding too much detail. The only solution was for me to print the moth and circular border out and then for me to draw on that.
The only thing I wasn’t happy about in doing this is that I have a laser printer. That affects the surface of the paper in a way that my Unipin pens don’t like it. Also, I can’t print on marker paper.
So, I’ve started to add entangled artwork to the design. I can now see that leaving edges of the upper wings white would help them to stand out. That is something I can adjust digitally when the design is finished.
I feel so much happier working on the printed image. I do need to consider changing my printer, however. Though the laser printer is quick and economical, the print quality of line art isn’t the best. There’s also the issue of the way the surface of the paper is changed once it’s been printed on. I shall think on this in the coming weeks and before the toner needs replacing.
I really enjoyed creating this mandala this morning! I used some of my favourite motifs in this one. it was lovely to use white on the kraft background, to bring out some highlights and add dimension here and there.
I love to use Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw my mandalas in. It streamlines the process and allows me to focus on creating the design rather than the mechanics/geometrics. Of course the design is drawn by hand, just as it would be on paper. That’s the beauty of having a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen – I can draw with the pen on the screen just as I would with pen on paper. The advantages are that if I mess up, it’s easy to correct, and the symmetry tool saves time, allowing me to focus on the fiddly details that I love so much.
I got this monogram finished yesterday evening. I think I may have been a bit heavy handed with shading in some places. However, overall I like it and I like the volume or dimension that the shading adds.
I definitely enjoy working in such a detailed, intricate and organically intuitive kind of way. Having the monogram as a design to work around does help quite a bit.
On a kind of related point, I had a new A5 dot grid notebook delivered yesterday so I can start to make a collection of motifs and patterns as I use them or create them. The idea is I can winnow out those that I never/rarely use. The reason for this is that the dot grid notebook I’ve kept as a visual dictionary for the last couple of years is just about full! I will keep it as a reference, but it’s time to start a new, more relevant one I think.
I have a snazzy, teal coloured notebook, covered in vegan faux-leather. It has 218 numbered white pages that are a tad thicker than the usual dot grid notebook pages, The paper is velvety smooth and a pleasure to write/draw on. It’s made by Wordsworth & Black and I came across it on Amazon. Oh, the ink doesn’t feather, bleed through or ghost on the pages. I paid £15 for it and I’m very happy with it so far.
Wednesday is work in progress (WIP) day. So, I thought I’d share my monogram “a” and the progress I’m making on it.
There’s a clutch of pens there! I decided to see if I could add grey to heop areas of the design stand out more, as well as adding some depth and dimension. I figured I had nowt to lose if I tried as the the design was becoming all much of a muchness to my eye. Looking at the image above, it seems to be working well in some areas!
I started using some grey unipin pens to add shades of grey to the design. They worked kind of well enough, but they were picking up pigment from the black and moving it around.
So, I thought I’d see what greys in Pitt Artist Brush pens I had and found some warm greys. They worked better as the colour could be laid down more smoothly.
I do have some new motifs to add to my visual dictionary, a corner of which you can see at the top right of the photo.
I’m not sure if I like adding the greys more than if I don’t add them. I suspect I’ll like them more as I work with them as I love the sense of volume that has appeared in various areas thanks to the contrast they confer on the design.
Over the past couple of days I’ve started work on the next monogram. I took a fancy to a lower case ‘a’, so that’s what I’ve gone with!
Instead of working on the Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper, which wrecks the nibs of my UniPin pens, I’m using some Daler-Rowney Marker paper. It has a smooth, soft texture and the pens glide over it and it’s a joy to use. The ink seems a lot darker on this paper, probably because of the way it’s treated to work well with marker pens and stop them bleeding. The paper is also quite thin and this makes it translucent enough that I can easily see the letter template below.
I’m trying to use some different motifs in this template instead of my go-to ones. Of course I’m still going to use some of my favourites, but it’s nice to branch out too.
It’s going to take me a while to get this one done in between contract work. But I will get it done.
Sunday morning is always a time to breathe, relax and create something easy and pleasurable to do. Comfort art. Today, that meant a mandala and a quote that is quite appropriate for this morning.
Mandala creation makes me smile inwardly. It’s a familiar process and I can create a mandala that is complex and detailed, or simple, and the calming, relaxing effect is the same.
I do draw my mandalas digitally. By using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro’s symmetry tools, it streamlines the process for me. There’s also the removal of the frustration that is caused by an error or a smudge. I can focus on the relaxing, soothing process and on being creative.
In that vein, I decided to draw the mandala in black on white. But when it was finished, I wanted to use a background and a monochrome colour scheme.
I love kraft paper. I don’t know why. I think it’s that colours seem to almost glow against it. So, I chose that for the background. Then, I created a layer of creamy, orange-yellow tones to highlight the line art. Nice warm, comforting, gently glowing colours.
Finally, I created some drop shadows for the text and mandala.
I look at the finished mandala and I smile, gently. I feel my heart fill with some warmth and a sense of lightness.
Creating art, including mandalas, lets my soul shine. What makes your soul shine? Take time today to indulge your soul in activities that let it do so.
Finally finished it! It’s taken many hours to do – probably around 15 I think, and it’s taken some perseverance by myself to get it done.
Uniball Unipin pens (05, 03 and 01) on Claire Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper. Two pen nibs now wrecked; the paper is velvety smooth to touch, but just too rough for the tips of the Unipin pens. Will move to Bristol board for the next monogram.
Wednesday is WIP day! WIP is work in progress, and this is one of my current one.
I’m working on A4 (29.7 cm x 21 cm) Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper with 05 and 01 Uniball Unipin pens.
It’s taken several hours so far, and there’s several yet to go! I’m enjoying creating such detailed drawing in just black and white. Lots of botanical elements, but there’s also arches and spirals and geometric patterns in there too.
I never have much of a plan in mind when I tackle a drawing like this. I know what patterns I like, and if I lack inspiration I can always refer to my visual dictionary or design motifs and patterns. It’s all about intuition. It’s not entirely mindless. I do make conscious decisions about what design element to use, how to use line and pattern to add volume and contrast.
I sometimes wonder, when I see my work like this, why I try to work with colour. I always feel I struggle with colour, but black and white, with or without grey, always seems to work so well for me.
I love to play with the illusion of volume in a drawing, and whether that is done with density and shape of line/pattern, or with colour (even though I really do feel I struggle with colour).
I will persevere with this illustration, drawing, artwork over the coming days. In fact, I may spend time on it today. I’ve completed my morning errands, so I can remain at home, which is where I need to be. I’m tired today; I didn’t sleep at all well last night, or for the past few nights and my mood and ability to concentrate is suffering as a result.