Today, I share a glimpse into my current sketchbook. It’s an Arteza watercolour A4 sketchbook.
I’ve completed all the drawings in boxes now, and am adding colour to them using watercolours, graphitint watercolours, graphitint pencils and/or inktense pencils.
The paper is rather nice to draw on with Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens or a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen.
On the cover page I swatched my collection of Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to bring their true colours out.
Inktense pencils are intense in colour when activated with water. Also, once activated with water and dry they are permanent.
I like all the media I’ve used so far on this page. Which I use does depend on my mood. Today, I wanted to choose an inktense palette of colours that is like the rusty colours I’ve been using with watercolours.
I really am drawn to this colour palette in my work at the moment. The dark blues, rich red-browns, blue-greys, earthy-dark greens and the vibrant mustards. One day I’ll look up the psychology of these colours and see how they relate to my mood/life at this time. But not today.
Drawing done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. Arteza Mixed Media Paper coloured with Distress Oxide Inks (Stormy Skies, Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord, edged with Hickory Smoke). Paper measures 3″ x 8.25″ (8.3cm x 21cm).
“I make art to show my soul I am listening.” “This, too, shall pass.”
Art is my solace, my form of expressing my soul, my inner self.
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.
Wibbly-wobbly sculptural columns and arches surrounded by layers and layers of abstract bubbles, ripples and swirls of thoughts, wishes, blessings. Well, that’s what came to my mind as I added the architectural details.
No highlights, no sparkle, limited pattern and texture. Just flowing line work, for the most part. I’ve even left some ‘white space’ in the design, which is becoming less unusual for me.
Rounded arches with patterns reminiscent of Romanesque architecture. The columns are, however, more delicate, which is more reminiscent of the move towards Gothic architecture. Both forms or architecture have long been a source of artistic inspiration for me.
Soothing, relaxing and meditative to draw. Circles and spirals, arches and patterns are always comforting and endlessly fascinating to me.
Drawn using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens on paper coloured by PaperArtsy Fresco paints. The drawing is approx. 2½” x 6¾”.
I used a variety of PaperArtsy Fresco paints to colour a 5¾” x 3⅜” piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper. I chose, for me, an unusual mixture of colours. It’s ended up looking like old, distressed and grungy painted walls.
Next, I drew the abstract design with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. I did the basic outlines, leaving my decision whether or not to add details for later on.
Then, I tried adding some colour to the background with Inktense Pencils and a damp brush. As this is a sketchbook page, I tried different colours out to see which ones would work well with the background. The finish on the Inktense-d areas was rather chalky and dull, though a subtle colour was achieved on the acrylic paint background. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I find it difficult to resist a bit of shimmer and shine on my art, so I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to fill in some of the circles in the design.
Finally, I added some more complex patterns to some areas in the design. I could’ve filled in more areas, but I’ve decided that this is enough.
This wasn’t the only piece of paper I coloured with the Fresco paints. As they’re for the sketchbook, I coloured each piece on both sides. So, I now have quite a few prepared pages in my custom sketchbook to draw on as time goes by.
I think I’ve finally settled down after the trip out on Tuesday. I seem to be more settled, for sure. Meditation, self-care, self-soothing and enough rest has worked it’s magic once again. Sunshine today is helping as well, along with the refreshing breeze that is gently flowing in through the windows.
The simple things in life are often the ones that bring most peace to me – art, meditation, quiet times, sunshine.
Today’s arty offering is this little bit of entangled art. It measures 4″ x 3″, so is small in size, but big in detail, I think.
Distress Oxide inks were used to colour a 4″ x 3″ piece of Claire Fontaine mixed media paper, with water to add extra texture to it.
I drew the design using 08 and 02 Unipin pens. To bring the design out of the background, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens. Dots of gold and white finished the embellishment.
My final step was to apply some Distress Microglaze to add a subtle sheen that brings out the colours and layers of texture, not just to the Distress Oxide ink, but to the Pitt Artist Pens too.
I thought I’d try the Pitt Artist pens with this background as it seemed more dull and dusty, and that’s how I find the colours in the Pitt Artist Pens. Initially, I was going to keep it monochrome. However, I liked the nature of the colours in the pens, so experimented with them.
I enjoyed creating this little work of art. Now, it’ll find its way into my sketchbook-journal, with reflective notes for future reference.
Today, I have a simple dangle design greeting card along with a coordinating envelope. If you’d like some more ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions for drawing dangle designs then my book, A Dangle A Day, is a good place to start.
Materials and dimensions
4″ x 4″ Strathmore Bristol paper with a vellum finish 5″ x 5″ acid-free white card blank White envelope that card will fit in Distress inks in Tea Dye and Rusty Hinge Small piece of foam and a mini foam blending tool A piece of card with a 1.5″ x 0.75″ window cut in it to use as a stencil. Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in F, S and XS Ruler and pencil Adhesive Glass pen and coppper ink by J Herbin
Making the card.
Use the card stencil and a small sponge dauber to apply a rectangle of Distress Ink in the top left of the 4″ x 4″ top layer. I used Tea Dye to colour the whole rectangle in, followed by a subtle gradient of Rusty Hinge from the bottom up.
Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
Use a pen to draw the rectangles around the colour block. I like to do this free-hand as it gives a more organic, human feel to the design.
Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
Use a ruler and pencil to lightly draw a vertical line as a guide for the dangle. Also, draw pencil lines as guides for the position and size of the hand lettering. Sketch in the letters of the greeting.
Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
Ink the letters in. I did some faux calligraphy where I made the down-strokes thicker. I added some lines and shading to the top line.
Carefully erase the pencil lines.
Attach the top layer to the card blank.
I used a glass pen and copper ink to add copper dots to highlight the dangle design and the hand lettering. I also drew a box just inside the top layer and another just outside it on the card blank. Again, I free-handed the lines, embracing the wobbliness.
Making the envelope
I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
Once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’d apply a thin layer of Distress MicroGlaze to the front and back of the envelope to protect the Distress Ink and drawing from the elements. I’ve done this to other cards and they have traversed the UK and US postal systems with no problems.
Ideas for using the design.
Although I’ve presented this dangle design as a greeting card, which is, I think, a lovely way to share a little bit of artistic loveliness with others, there are many other ways the design could be used, with or without any hand lettering.
In a BuJo, journal, planner or diary it would make a lovely little design to fill in a blank space.
This is a design that would work really well as a bookmark.
I’m sure it would look charming as part of a scrapbook spread.
I also think it would look lovely on a ‘with compliments’ slip or decorating the edge of a hand-written letter.
I’m sure there are many other ways and media that this design would be suited to.
I’m really enjoying drawing these kinds of dangle designs. They’re simple and elegant, to my mind anyway. They’re also quite easy to draw.
I do prefer to free-hand the lines and let the wobbliness be part of my signature style. It gives that human, hand-made, hand-crafted feel to the finished project, and a warmth to the finished project.
I work hard at finding a way of drawing digitally that lets me keep this uniquely ‘Angela’ way of expressing myself through line and pattern. I’m still working on it and sometimes get frustrated that, to my eye, my digital art seems too, well digitally perfect.
It’s all part of the process though – learning, developing, experimenting, trying out new ideas, techniques and methods. That’s what helps me grow as an artist.
This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.
I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.
I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.
I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.
Warning – the following may contain triggers.
The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.
From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.
It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.
Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.
It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.
It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.
I don’t know who said these words, but they resonated with me when I stumbled upon them. Not only did they resonate, but they also brought tears to my eyes and my heart too. I have words for one of my goals for recovery from cPTSD. This is why I had to do something with the quote in my own inimitable style.
So, I took the words and chose a pretty font for them, arranged them as I wished and then printed them out onto acid-free paper. I trimmed the paper to approx 21cm x 21cm and added some pencil guidelines for space around the quote and the edge of the paper.
Next, I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw a design. I stuck to just a few motifs that I repeated to fill the space. I also let the design elements to spill over the pencil margins here and there to give a more organic feel to the artwork.
Finally, after erasing the pencil lines, I scanned the drawing in, increased the contrast a little to remove most of the remaining pencil marks. I then added a grungy, colourful, autumnal background.
I’m pleased with this one. I really like the way the Fudenosuke pens work for me now. I love the variation of line and the bolder line that I have used. I also think that using just a few design elements and repeating them to fill the space results in a more cohesive design.
I think I could have left a bit more space around the quote; however, it is good enough.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
And for me to say something is good enough is a sign that I am recovering from a bad day yesterday. I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile and vulnerable, but I’m able to see that my art is good enough.
Yesterday, nothing I did was good enough. I lost faith in my crochet, my digital art, my drawing. Nothing seemed to work out, and I really was doubting my abilities.
EMDR therapy for my cPTSD was rather distressing and left me exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted to begin with. Monday I wore my protective mask as I had to go somewhere where I’d be with people I didn’t know, doing something I was really anxious about, and I didn’t know the place I was going to. I was exhausted after keeping my mask on for just four or so hours.
How on earth did I find the energy to keep the mask up for all those years?
One good thing has come from this experience – I can see how exhausting it is to keep up a mask for even a short time. I wonder how on earth I managed it for most of my life!
Anyway, after EMDR, I was more exhausted and came home and slept. In the evening, I thought I needed to be creative. It all led to me being hard and overly critical of myself. Little comments made to me just made it worse, even though the comments weren’t negative, my emotionally vulnerable and exhausted state twisted them that way.
Even though I was emotionally vulnerable and caught up in a storm of thoughts and feelings, I was still aware of this contentedness inside me, but I just couldn’t anchor myself fully to it. I was a little bit adrift in the turbulent waters of my emotions and thoughts.
I should know by now that I need to choose what activities I do carefully at times like this. Last night, I didn’t do that. However, I eventually got back to sleep, and I woke this morning feeling more content.
There’s not quite the sunshine within present today; there are still some emotional clouds covering it up. However, I know that they will not persist and will move along as I practice self-soothing and self-care and do creative activities that won’t push me too much and won’t engage the inner critics.
I’m still drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I am in a better place today. I think my drawing above shows that too.
This could be the last piece of mail art from me for a few days. I need to get focused on art that is ‘work’ rather than just ‘for fun’. I enjoy my art, no matter what it is, but I can be easily distracted by the metaphorical shiny, bright new toy.
Mind you, once I’ve spent time doing art ‘for fun’, the commissioned work then feels like fun. A change is as good as a rest for sure. Different styles and methods of working keep everything fresh for me.
Here’s a brief outline of how I created the card:
Distress Ink background on watercolour paper. Use torn paper to use as a mask for the landscape. Use a circular mask for the sun.
Spray with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water.
Use Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw the design.
Add metallic highlights using a fine brush and Cosmic Shimmer Iridescent Shimmering Watercolour paints.
Add a distress ink ‘frame’ to the image.
Mount the design on black card. Attach the black card to the 6″ x 6″ card blank.
Use a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to outline the top panel and black panel.
And here’s a brief outline of how I created the envelope:
Use a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw the flower motifs.
Use a fine paintbrush to add Cosmic Shimmer Iridescent Shimmering Watercolour paints.
For the envelope, I used a rainbow of colours for the flowers.
I like using Sakura Glaze pens to draw motifs when I’m adding watercolour; the ink dries to give a raised line that is waterproof. The thicker line width can also give stained glass feel to the artwork; this is particularly true for the black Glaze pens.