Exploring ways of adding shadow | 29 December 2021

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

I needed to add shadows to the drawing completed and given a colour wash yesterday. As I so often regret my choices of how I do this, I decided to make a test page of various methods for my sketchbook.

They all have their own charm and feel. However, putting them side by side so I can compare and contrast gave me a better idea of what I really like.

To add shadow/highlight to a drawing, I really like the hatching/contour lines created by a micron pen or a biro. The biro I particularly like as it is much softer and I’m able to get a tone variation with the lines.

I also worked out that for using gradations of colour, they just feel a bit … plain. So, like in the drawing of medieval flowers and leaves, the combination of lines and colour works for me.

I found when I was adding shadow below the drawings that using Distress Inks like watercolours just wasn’t going to work. The use of water results in weird boundary lines that I’m not fond of. Of course, if I’d not coloured the background in Distress Ink, a gradated wash of colour may have created a lovely shadow.

So, I think I’d prefer to use chalk pastels for adding shadow. The ability to blend them out gradually, with no harsh line, is a great advantage. It’s also easy to add more of the pastel if a darker colour is needed.

So, that’s what I chose to do. Not just with the drop shadows, but with darker areas on the leaves etc. I even found that the pastel can tint the gold I’d added in places, which is a really interesting twist.

Bit by bit, I’m working out colour, shadow, highlight and what works for me.

It’s also no bad thing to spend time trying out techniques with various media. Mixing and matching. Making a reference page for my sketchbook / zibaldone has proven to be a very valuable exercise.

When I’m quite happy with the drawing. I will do my best to take a good photograph of it. It’s worked out much better than I thought it could.

Template Thursday!

Today, I have two wintery mandalas for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Books Fans facebook group.

Number 1 has some really intricate details in the inner rings of the mandala. Number 2, not quite so many.

They may be tiny, but I managed to add colour with the bullet tip of Arteza Everblend markers. So it’s not impossible to do, just a tad challenging. But I do know some people like that challenge.

One way is to colour the whole section in one colour, or a gradation of colours, and let the drawing just be like it’s etched into the colour, a texture if you will.

Another way is to take a larger section of pattern, and just colour it all in, like the small squares in template 1.

Whatever you feel comfortable doing is fine!

There’s no video today. I’ve tried a couple of times, but have spilled ink on the paper, made a total pig’s ear of colour, and so I need to focus on getting as many of the templates for Adorable Dogs inked in as I can. I only have a few left to do, and I haven’t done any over the last two days due to the stress of appointments. When I’m totally stressed/anxiety-ed out, I become incredibly tired and lacking any kind of focus for anything. The priority then is self care. Naps, quiet time, nothing that will get me stressed again as it will be all to easy to get stressed once again.

I’m not saying I’ve totally destressed, but the frustration with videoing today shows there’s still a fair amount there. Self care. Do what I can. If I get frustrated, take a break, even if it’s a break until tomorrow. When I’m not stressed, work flows and gets done more quickly than pushing myself and I end up redoing it all when I’m calm again.

Sometimes, you have to go slow to go fast. Not an easy lesson to learn, given the way that being productive is in your face everywhere, from adverts to social media influencers.

I’ve learned, the hard way, that taking care of myself has to be a priority. Taking those breaks knowing that by nurturing my mental and emotional wellbeing and getting that into a good shape I’ll soon get all the work done that I need to do.

Slow and steady …slow…and steady.

Pattern Exploration No.2, Day 2 | Stylised flower

More variations of stems as well as the view of the flower itself today. In today’s video, I talk through how to draw the flower and to add colour to enhance the sense of volume to the bloom.

It’s been so heart-warming to receive such kind, supportive and encouraging messages about my YouTube videos. It’s a really nice feeling, a warmth in my heart and soul, to hear that people are enjoying creating along with me, or being inspired to draw and create.

Here’s today’s video, in case you’d like to join me in drawing some pretty flowers too.

Sketchtember Day 13

It’s Day 13 of Sketchtember, and another seed pod style drawing, with lots of variations today. But there’s also a Zentangle style drawing using one of these seed pod variants.

Drawing the more traditional kind of Zentangle of design was actually fun to do. It helped it was on a smaller scale, I think.

I used it as an opportunity to play with a dimensional feel to the design, using black and white drawing pencils and a tortillon. The paper was already coloured; it’s a small piece of the Faber-Castell Toned Drawing Paper, which is really robust as it has 15% cotton in it.

I messed up in the bottom right area and tried a fix. Ho hum, I tried. I know ‘there’s no mistakes in Zentangle’, but it was irking me I’d messed up on the repetition of the patterns.. Still, it’s in a sketchbook and so is a reminder to me to pay a bit more attention in future.

I do need to bring out the layers by adding some more shadow. I may do that with either alcohol markers or Pitt Artist Pens. The graphite pencil really isn’t dark enough, even though I added layers of it.

Nevertheless, it’s all a valuable experience and opportunities to learn, grow, develop and practice my artistic voice.

I wonder what will appear from the tip of my pen tomorrow – day 14 of Sketchtember.

Sketchtember Day 12

I’m still on the seed-pod kick as far as Sketchtember goes. Today, I sketched out some lovely heart-shaped nuts/seeds.

After drawing and adding colour to the first couple with Arteza EverBlend markers, I re-drew more stylised versions. Finally, I had a go at designing some Zentangle style ribbon patterns. I particularly like the one on the bottom right.

A quiet Sunday morning has been had, and the afternoon is likely to be pretty much the same.

Entangled Art and Sketchtember

Entangled Art WIP

Adding more colour to the entangled drawing on the left has taken quite a bit of time this morning. As well as using the Arteza Ever Blend markers, I used some of my Chameleon Color Tones pens too. There were some colours that I wanted to use that aren’t in the Arteza set.

It’s going to take quite a few hours more to finish adding colour to this drawing. That bright green section in the bottom left is going to need toning down! But that’s easy enough to do by ‘glazing’ with a duller colour. I also went over the pods on the bottom right with the colours again to intensify them a little, and added some deeper shadows as I did so.

It’s coming along nicely, apart from that bright green! Ho hum, I really do need to pay more attention to which colour I’ve actually picked up to use rather than just assuming it’s the colour I wanted to use.

Sketchtember Days 7 to 16

Yesterday evening and this morning, I spent time drawing small drawings featuring various seed pods. I’ve decided to take a different direction for Sketchtember and abandon the prompt list I’ve been following.

Why? I was a bit bored with drawing leaves, the occasional whole plant, the odd flower and various enlarged views of the various parts of flowers.

I love plants. I do. But I really love capsules, pods and seeds! So, I went with this idea

After splitting the large 9″ x 12″ sheet of Arteza marker paper up into smaller rectangles and squares, I used Copic Multiliner, Tombow fudenosuke and Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs.

When the drawings were complete, I went to scan the sheet in and realised it wouldn’t fit on the glass plate of my A4 scanner/printer! Duh! But not a problem, I just split the page up into smaller pieces.

Next, I spent some time adding colour to a couple of the designs using the Arteza Ever Blend markers to test out the Arteza marker paper.

This paper is noticeably thicker than the Canson XL marker paper I’ve been using. But it works just as well with markers. It’s also as nice to draw on with the various pens I used.

The only thing I wished is that I’d remembered my scanner takes paper that is a little bigger than A4, but not this big! Not a problem though.

Sketchtember Days 2 and 3

Link to today’s vlog on YouTube.

Here are my sketchbook pages for days 2 and three of Sketchtember. I’m using DecayingDots’ list of herbs and spices for this one.

I’m enjoying working in a different way to my usual entangled art. And, I’m making some awful mistakes/art in these pages. However, these are learning moments, not least of which it’s ok to do things that are grim, mainly my use of colour. But, if I didn’t try things out and learn from the mistakes I’d not progress at all.

What I think it shows me is that pen drawing, with just shading or monochrome colour is my strength, colour my weakness. As if I don’t keep saying that, yet I keep going back to using colour.

Today’s vlog focuses on Day 3 – Saffron. Tomorrow’s vlog will be a look at all the art I’ve worked on in the past week.

Sketchtember 2021 | Day 1

Link to today’s vlog on YouTube.

I’ve decided that it would be quite nice to take part in a monthly art challenge, perhaps as a warm up to Inktober next month. Maybe.

So, I looked around at the challenges I could find, and settled on one from @DecayingDots on Instagram and Twitter. Their list of prompts is all herbs/plants. That, unlike others, inspired me to take up the challenge.

It’s been a long time since I used a sketchbook truly as a sketchbook. It may take me awhile to get back into such things. I do have some lovely, pre-coloured pages to make use of as a start.

Not only will I practice my kind of sketching – which is usually with a pen – I can practice hand lettering and handwriting. My idea is not only to sketch the day’s plant/leaves, but to add notes and information. Those notes may be about the plant, or about the colours I’m using, or even recipes/uses for the particular herb.

As it’s a sketch challenge, there’s also no pressure to complete every drawing, or even to do perfect drawings. It’s all about observational drawing for me.

Now, as i don’t have green thumbs (I can kill any self-respecting plant in a matter of hours, well days maybe) and I’m not feeling able to visit shops or gardens at this time ( social anxiety is a heckofa thing), photographic references will have to do. But that’s ok.

So, here’s my page for day 1, which is all to do with sage. In today’s vlog I talk about this page, the media I’ve used, and I add some drawings to day 2’s page – Rosemary.

I’ve got some work still to do on both pages I think … but that’s the fun of a sketchbook. It’s not meant to be finished at one go, pages can be revisited and added to as needed!

Entangled Art | Adding Colour Part 1

Link to today’s vlog on YouTube

I’m at a bit of an impasse with my other entangled drawing works in progress. So, I’ve started to add colour to this one.

Shadow was added with a grey Pitt Artist Pen on Saturday, along with some of the colour. I think my morning ‘art and a cuppa’ will continue for the next few days, with videos being released of the process.

I’m doing my best to work with a limited colour palette. I started with reds, oranges, yellows and browns. this morning I thought a couple of complementary colours were needed to lift the colours a bit. So blue and green was added.

Inktense pencils and a damp brush are being used, and the specific colours used so far are – Cherry Red, Madder Brown, Baked Earth, Mustard, Sienna Gold, Deep Indigo, Blue Aquamarine and Spring Green.

I did post a photo of the drawing with just reds/oranges/browns on Instagram on Saturday. Adding the blues and green is making the colours seem so much brighter. That’s the magic of complementary colours – colours opposite each other on the colour wheel.

The way that complementary colours, particularly blues with reds/oranges/yellows, is something I am really fold of. I think it harks back to the album covers designed by Roger Dean, to mention one artist! Being a child in the sixties and seventies and the preponderance of psychedelic art at that time.

My original plan was to use an analogous colour scheme (colours next to each other on the colour wheel). But as my mood is so much better and back to normal, complementary colours are totally necessary now!

Friday Flip-through

Friday seems the perfect day to have a look back on the week’s sketchbook art. A vlog seems the perfect way to do that.

I also start to add colour to the latest drawing using a limited colour palette of Ecoline brush pen colours – gold ochre, burnt sienna, indigo and prussian blue. Another colour (or two) may be added to the limited palette. I’ll see how I get along.

This particular drawing is being used as a place to test out ideas concerning adding shadow and highlight, simple colour washes, and anything else that springs to mind. It may never been completed, but that’s not the point! Experimentation and experience are the points of this particular exercise.