Moth WIP

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.

Template Thursday

Thursday means it’s Template Thursday for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week I have a mix of my entangled art along with some cute, whimsical, doodle-characters. Something fun, light hearted to lift the spirits somewhat.

I used a 05 Uniball Unipin pen to draw this design on Marker paper. I added some colour with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

As always, the weekly templates I draw throughout the pandemic are available from the facebook group to members of the group. They are free to members, and it’s free to join!

Entangled Mandala

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.

Monogram “a” WIP

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.

Soul Shine

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.

Monogram B

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.

Template Thursday

Coloring Template.

Seven more days of the pandemic over and done with and gone to the past. That means seven less days before it comes to some kind of end! Always trying to look on the plus side of things, not always succeeding.

In the past week we’ve also left August behind us and entered September.

As it’s Thursday once again, it’s time for a new coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve created one of my signature ‘Entangled’ designs that includes seed pods, flowers, berries, foliage and plenty of arches with abstract, geometric patterns.

I drew this template on Canson Bristol Board with 05 and 03 Uniball Unipin pens. I’ve added colour digitally.

As I can feel autumn ready to burst forth soon, I’ve chosen colours that represent that season. Of course, any colour palette will work well. The aim is to have fun, relax, and take time out for creativity. There’s no coloring police to tell you you’ve done wrong, apart from our own inner critics.

As always, I look forward to seeing how everyone brings this template to life with colour!

To Inktober or Not?

We’ve been getting questions from our friends who don’t speak English about the word WISP.  It means a small thin or twisted bunch, piece, or amount of something.  "wisps of smoke rose into the air" “wisps of her hair danced in front of her eyes.”  Some might also notice a repeat of the word DIZZY from last year. Our internal editor here didn’t catch that, but we are rolling with it. It’s a fun word, and it would be cool to see you do a different interpretation of it this year.  Note: for #Inktober52 participants, prompts 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 are ALSO the weekly prompts.

I started doing the Inktober52 challenge at the start of the year, but quickly fell off the wagon, so to speak.

I really enjoyed doing Inktober last year, though I didn’t use the official prompt list as it really didn’t do anything for me. Instead, I used two alternative lists – one of skulls, the other of fungi.

I’m thinking of using this year’s list to practice typographic art. Mind you, that depends on what alternative lists I stumble upon, as I may use one of them instead.

I also discovered this Slowtember challenge on twitter from @megaelod:

Image

I am tempted to use this for this month. I’ll see what happens!

Drawing!

I’ve been drawing!

I finished the top right design, and have completed the ‘A’ illustration on the bottom left. That leaves one space to be filled, no doubt later today.

I’ve used either Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens or Uniball Unipin pens to complete the drawings on ClaireFontaine’s Paint-On mixed media paper. This paper is fairly weighty (250g/m²) and has a lovely velvety feel to it.

The only pencil lines I’ve used have been to delineate the ‘boxes’ to draw in, and for a couple of the design elements in the top left image as well as the A.

Reflecting on the designs

The white space in the top left design works really well I think, and is quite an accomplishment for me. The same is true, to a lesser extent for the top right design. In both cases, the white space brings attention to the design.

In contrast, the densely pattered area helps to bring out the monogram A, making the white space the focus of the design.

I think I’m going to work on some more monograms in this style. They are fun to do, and dense, entangled patterns are one of my signature artistic voices. It’s been a long time since I’ve completed art like this, with a lot of detail to bring out dimension/volume in the design.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed using line and stipple to add volume in all the designs, exploring how I like to do this as I go. All the work I do with colouring books means I have put this to one side. It’s interesting how I’ve circled back to this style. It’s even more interesting to look at how my drawing skills have developed and evolved over time as well.

I found some peace, contentment and joy while drawing these, and feel a sense of accomplishment, particularly with the two on the left.

Do I prefer digital or traditonal drawing?

A difficult question to answer. I think it depends on what I’m creating.

I really do enjoy using pen on paper. I get a better sense of the overall design. Paper and pen is very portable too – whether I’m sketching when out and about, or drawing in different places at home.

Drawing on the screen of my Surface Studio with a pen is a lot like drawing on paper. The smoothness of the screen makes it a very different tactile experience. It also is great for inking in sketches. It also makes correcting mistakes or re-working areas a lot easier, and there are techniques I can use that are near impossible or very time consuming when working traditionally.

Sometimes, the lines produced digitally are too perfect. I’m still working on developing the brush styles that will mimic the unevenness of an inked line. I do have to use some element of line-smoothing as I draw; without it the lines are really wobbly, but with it they can be too perfect and I lose, to a degree, that personal and unique way that my pen moves on paper.

I also find it difficult to have a sense of proportion or detail when working digitally, even though I can look at the design at the same size as it will be printed. The ability to zoom in and work on a small area means I lose all sense of relative size and complexity/detail of a design. So, if I’m going to work on a drawing digitally, I prefer to start with a sketch to give me that sense of scale.

I rarely sketch out my design when I work on paper, except if I need the outlines of a design element as I’m drawing. I do tend to work very intuitively.

So the answer is, I prefer each for different purposes, and also to suit my different moods and purposes.

Of course, once I’ve drawn a design, I then have to decide if I want to add colour, and then what media I will use – traditional or digital!

Template Thursday

As it’s Thursday once again, it’s Template Thursday! That means I create a colouring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I have an entangled mandala design, with a zentangle-style background. It always seems a shame to waste the space around a mandala when it’s a page for breathing life into a design with colour.

I drew this design in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a brush that changed width with pressure. That allowed me to add some dimension to the lineart. But it is colour and shading that really brings a sense of volume to the design.

‘Aha!’ Sketchbook Pages

After trying out watercolours with my line art, I thought I’d try using coloured pencils.

I dug out some Derwent Professional coloured pencils, and found their leads very hard; my finger joints don’t like working with media that need a lot of pressure.

I then remembered the Derwent Coloursoft pencils that I had somewhere. Their leads are softer and more easily laid down. So, I dug them out and rediscovered how lovely they are to use!

That means I went to town adding colour to the uncoloured motifs, and also to some that had been finished to add contrast and depth.

And it’s another ‘aha!’ moment. I love the Coloursoft pencils, and they work well when combined with watercolour it seems.

I panicked a little when I wondered if Derwent still made them. They do! So phew! So, I get to use coloured pencils again, coloured pencils that my finger joints like.

I went on to draw some more designs, working out how to add depth and dimension with line work. They are drawn in my sketchbook – colour gradient and texture added to try to protect my artwork. These are much more my ‘entangled’ style of art.

Once that page is complete, I will scan the drawings in so that I can, if I wish, add colour digitally, or print them out to try out different colour palettes or different media.