The flowers are all rather whimsical and stylised, but that’s no bad thing. I’ll never stop thinking that we need some more whimsy in this turbulent world (and that’s putting it mildly!). If I can create a little world of beauty and whimsy with pen on paper, then I think that’s a good thing. And it’s even better if others can use colour to bring the worlds to vibrant life, or can learn how to draw their own whimsical worlds too.
I was a science teacher for 28 years, until I left to focus on my mental and emotional well being as well as art. My desire to help others gain confidence and inspire them to learn new skills, to find enjoyment in this process, then that’s a good thing too.
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.
Today is the third session of work on this drawing. I’ve added some more ornate seed pods, based on the same simple form as the original ones, and some foliage. Here’s the link to today’s video.
I wanted to see how Graphitint pencils worked with the Albrecht Durer water colour pencils. Mainly, I wanted to see how the graphite in the Graphitint would add shadow to the colour. I did this on a couple of the new flowers at the bottom left. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but it’s something for me to experiment with more.
I had a ‘ta-da!’ moment as I was talking about where to place the next collection of motifs. I realised that I do think about this, very quickly and not in words. There’s some kind of analysis that goes on that I don’t quite catch, probably because it is in symbols/abstractions rather than words. Having to put words to the thoughts and decisions I was making had two effects. One, my thoughts were slowed down. Two, the words let me realise that I do think!
I’ve mentioned this before, but there seem to be two styles of inner monologue – one is in words, the other rather abstract. Apart from my inner critic, my thoughts tend to be of the abstract kind it seems.
“As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they ‘hear’, and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person.”
I certainly have to consciously verbalise my thoughts, either by writing or by having to speak them out loud. The weird thing is, I’m often not aware of any opinion or idea or thoughts I have until I do verbalise them. That means I constantly surprise myself!
Anyway, by making YouTube videos, I’m having to vocalise my decisions and thought processes as I draw and that means I’m becoming more aware of what is going on in my head, well in terms of putting words to it. So, this ‘ta-da!’ moment is one of many I’ve had whilst being an arty vlogger. That is a very valuable experience for me.
So, this drawing is coming along quite nicely I think. I’m really enjoying these times to experiment and try stuff out without being invested in a finished, polished artwork. I’ve finally found a way to give myself permission to try things out when I think of them, without worrying about whether they work or not, whether I spoil an artwork or not. It’s a very freeing experience for the hyper-perfectionist part of me.
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!