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!

Sunday WIP

Today, I thought I’d digitally colour one of my recent drawings. I thought it would be nice to compare and contrast digital colouring with traditional colouring.

It’s been a while since I did much art digitally, I’ve been lost in traditional media this week as I slowly heal from some emotional wounds. Art helps with healing. Meditation helps too. But time is still needed for the healing to take place, and for rest to relieve the exhaustion that lingers still.

Any kind of art, digital or traditional, soothes my mind, emotions and body.

What I like about digital art is the way I can get such high contrast in colours to enhance the sense of volume the design elements have. I also like the vibrancy of colours. I also like the ability to add texture to the colour in so many different ways.

Of course, I like the ability to alter colours when they don’t work, without having to start over. I’m not sure if those leaves are going to stay that particular green-ish colour. Nor am I sure about the background colour.

As is my wont, I’ve used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add the colour and textures. My hardware is a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.

Typographic Mushrooms

Just a little something I wanted to try out – using hand-drawn typography to create illustrations. I chose a mushroom, for no other reason than I like mushrooms.

It’s more about practising the hand-drawn typography or hand lettering than anything else.

What I realised, when I completed the black and white version, is that I could’ve varied the weight of the letters to produce highlights. That’s for another day, I think.

I also had to try adding colour, and in that way adding highlight and shadow.

I like both versions, but I think I like the coloured one a bit more.

I mentioned I’m following the Sarah King Domestika course – Hand-Drawn Typographic Portraits. I have started work on my first portrait, but it’s going to take me a while to do. In the meantime, little projects, like the mushroom, will give me plenty of practice as well as a chance to work out my process and way of working, as well as how I’d like to use it so it adds a note of harmony to my artistic song.

I started with a pencil sketch of the mushroom. Then, I added the words in rough with pencil. I scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then used my Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, to hand-draw the typography. Even though I’m using digital media. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is a lot like working on paper, but it streamlines the process and allows me to skip a lot of the tedious steps. It also lets me take a black and white drawing and add colour quite easily.

I’ve done this while I’m waiting for a migraine-type headache to subside enough that I can return to bed and sleep the dregs of it away. I’m nearly at that point now as I’m beginning to feel tired and sleepy. So, I’ll get the rest of the social media postings done, and then crawl back into bed to sleep.

Tiny Botanicals

I have been really enjoying drawing tiny botanicals in little ‘windows’. So, I combined drawing with watercolor practice.

The image on the left involved me using a pencil to draw the boxes and their contents, then watercoloring. For some, I tried painting the image in sections and with layers of colour. I really wasn’t happy with the results. I painted the rest of the boxes with washes of watercolour and then either inked or re-drew the designs in pencil. I felt happier with these.

I used Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper and I’ve been struggling to get the paper to stay wet enough for long enough to mix colours wet in wet. Not even on these tiny little windows. It was becoming very frustrating.

A couple of days ago, I’d ordered a pack of 100% cotton rag paper and it arrived early evening. I used a small piece of it for the illustration on the right.

I started by painting rectangles of colour on the paper. I used a waterbrush rather than a paintbrush for this. I used the same kind of transparency of watercolour for each as I did for the illustration on the left. Oh my gosh, did the colours shine and show up so much more vibrantly! Not only that, it was so easy to mix colours, wet in wet. The cotton rag paper is an absolute joy to work with!

I was beginning to get frustrated with myself and watercolors once again. This has been a common feature of my love-hate affair with them over many years. This paper may change that totally.

This morning, after letting the paper dry, I drew tiny botanicals in each window. I used, as in the image on the left, a 005 Sakura Pigma Micron pen to draw with. I was worried it would struggle with the paper’s rough texture. The lines aren’t as uniform as they’d be on, say, smooth Bristol board. I just went with the rougher nature of the lines and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. They meant I loosened up my drawing style a little.

I really enjoyed creating these little artworks (the one on the left is approx. 5″ x 5″, the on on the right 4″ x 4.75″). There is something I find really satisfying about creating teeny tiny drawings, in the same way I find drawing intricate designs makes something inside me smile.

What I do want to try later on today is adding some more colour to some of the design elements on both drawings using both watercolours and watercolour pencils or inktense pencils. On second thoughts, I think I’ll do some samples to experiment on, annotate and add to my journal, just in case I don’t like what transpires.

Before I do any of that, I woke with a headache. It’s beginning to shift, but as it lifts it’s leaving me feeling really tired.

Monday mood

©Angela Porter

Another day on lock-down, and I started the day by colouring a Strathmore Bristol Board tile with Distress Inks, then drawing. You can see the result above, sorry for the poor photo.

The random generated tangle pattern for today is ‘BB‘, and it’s the wavy set of blocks across the middle of the design. The rest of the design is made up from some of my favourite patterns and motifs, as well as a few dangle designs.

The overall design doesn’t feel as if it flows. That may be a reflection of my emotional state, which is a mixture of anxiety, fear, being overwhelmed and exhausted.

So, self-care is in order. So that’s doing things that won’t frustrate me, or that won’t having me feel that whatever I do is rubbish.

Entangled Garden drawing

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have another entangled drawing for you to enjoy. I worked on it over the past couple of days. I think it’s taken me around six or seven hours to complete.

Because of all the floral and botanical motifs I’ve called it an Entangled Garden. A garden that has grown from my intuition and imagination.

I’m enjoying drawing these kind of illustrations at the moment. I really do have a fondness for botanical motifs, but also for arches and patterns inspired by Romanesque and Gothic architecture. There’s also some influence from Zentangle patterns too.

I’ve not added any shading to increase depth and dimension. There are places in the design that could benefit from a hint of shadow. However, I’m happy with it as it is.

As a drawing, it is a bit too fussy with intricate details to work as a coloring page as far as traditional media are concerned. However, I do know some colourists who would love the challenge of colouring a design like this!

Having said that, this kind of design, with less details, would be perfect for my next coloring book which I do need to start work on soon. I need the cover done for the publishers by the end of this month. So, I can take inspiration from the drawings I’ve been doing recently, though I do have some other ideas rattling around my brainbox too.

I used Uniball Unipin pens, along with ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. The size of the drawing is approx. 7.5″ x 10″.

I added the background colour and texture digitally, after removing the dots from the dot grid paper.

Monday evening

Mandala 11 November 2019 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s been a bit of a crazy day. Between trying to sort out things for a project I’m involved in, some deeply tiring and seemingly powerful EMDR therapy, and a meeting to round off the day, I’ve not had much time for art. I did manage to get one template done for my ‘Splendid Sea Life’ colouring book for the Creative Haven series from Dover Publications Inc. I have also spent some self-care and self-soothing time this evening creating this relatively simple mandala.

Mandalas are incredibly soothing to draw, especially black and white line art ones with a fair amount of repeating patterns.

Digital work using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I’m so tired I can barely type correctly!

Inktober 2019 Day 21

Inktober 2019 Day 21 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Day 21 and it’s a pug skull, Pleurotus eryngii (King Oyster mushroom) and the Batnumber tangle pattern from the Inktober 2019 prompt lists from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.

I really enjoyed drawing the wood cut style of skull yesterday so thought I’d go with it for today’s short nosed dog skull – I chose a pug skull.

I echoed the wood cut style in the mushrooms forming a ring in the partial mandala around the skull.

I like the graphic black and white nature of the design elements against the coloured, textured background. I did, however, break up this graphic style with the foliage forming the outer ring of the design. I just felt I needed to push something to the background.

In 21 days I seem to have covered a lot of different styles in my work, though I think my favourite ones are where I place a mandala behind the skull, as in today’s illustration.

Although I love colour, I do think the more graphic designs are more ‘me’. Maybe it’s because my experiments in drawing in colour (as in day 18 and day 19) are outside my familar, comfortable work.

I don’t know where this will lead me, though I do want to do more mandalas like today’s, maybe get them available as prints or on t-shirts. What do you think?

Inktober 2019 Day 16

Inktober 2019 Day 16 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a sunny day here in South Wales, a much-needed one for me as sunshine helps to lift my mood. It’s also day 16 of Inktober – halfway through the challenge to draw something each day using a prompt list.

I’m using three lists from three Instagrammers:
Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
Tangle Patterns by @havepen_willdraw

So, my Inktober art for today features a kangaroo skull, Lactarius torminosus fungi and the Trentwith tangle pattern.

After drawing the skull, I added colour to make it feel more dimensional. I used a monochrome colour palette based on the Lactarius torminosus mushrooms. I also needed to draw something calming for me, and that means a mandala. So, I included the circular Trentwith tangle pattern in the mandala along with very stylised Lactarius t. fungi. Again, I used the same colour palette as for the skull to make the overall design more cohesive.

I like the way the colours work and the way they bring the design together. I’m also glad I left the black line art on the skull; it helps the skull to stand out against the mandala.

To complete today’s Inktober challenge, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

Inktober 2019 – Day 8

Bat skull and Laccaria amethystina

Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com Bat Skull and Laccaria amethystina
Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I decided to colour the bat skull and mushrooms to contrast with the graphic nature of the zentangle patterns I used to draw the background mandala.

For a bit of fun, I added an eerie glow to the eye and nasal sockets of the skull. Well, bats, spooky and October-Hallowe’en just go together! Of course, black, white and purple makes for a spooky colour scheme too. I think I’ve made the purple a bit dark, but it’s good enough! I can always, always rework my design in the future if I need to.

I wanted to keep the skull and mushrooms quite stylised rather than realistic. That’s hard for me to do when I’m working from photographic references.

In the past, I have drawn objects in an almost scientifically accurate kind of way. However, I do think that one of my strengths as an artist is being able to simplify and stylise whatever motifs and design elements I’m working with.

I have used Inktober 2019 prompts on from three lists on Instagram for today’s drawing:

  • Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
  • Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
  • Tangles by @havepen_willdraw

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

Yesterday’s EMDR session was productive if a bit painful and distressing with the thoughts, emotions and body feelings that arose during the session. I was left feeling a bit dazed but not too bad; I even managed to stop on my way home and wander around three shops, though I did baulk at the fourth one and decided it was time to head home.

After having something to eat and a bit mug of tea I was cwtched up in bed and asleep before 8pm. I didn’t wake until past 8am this morning. Between a late night on Sunday and EMDR yesterday I must have been absolutely exhausted. I’m still feeling a bit tired now.

Although I do feel a bit tired, I’m also feeling quite content. That is helped by it being a sunshiny day and sunshine always helps my mood.

Back to EMDR. I’m working with a physical sensation in my body at the moment. There seems to be no memories of trauma associated with it. However, that may be because there’s lots and lots of similar traumas rolled into one, or I may have dissociated from the memory – the memory being too painful to remember. However, the trauma is stored in the body and emotions and it is being processed.

I’ve experienced a foul, nauseating smell, a horrible taste in my mouth, a sensation that my heart can’t ‘breathe’, a feeling of tentacles being wrapped around my heart, nausea, pains in my abdomen, back, neck, head, my face going numb, my fingers feeling as if they are being burned, electric shocks in my feet and hands, lumps in my throat, a feeling of being restrained by my upper arms, fear, disgust, overwhelming sadness, and a heavy emptiness inside me. There’s also been a an awareness that I just don’t feel right, a feeling of being out of balance, of not knowing what someone or some people expect of me, that whatever I do is never right or good enough. I haven’t experienced these things all at once as I process this particular trauma; each comes and then goes as I just let it ‘happen’. All this happens in the 25 to 45 minutes an EMDR session lasts.

So much goes on in my body, with my emotions and with distressing memories that I can be left exhausted afterwards.

Yet, I know it’s working and helping me have a healthier relationship with myself. That feeling of being content is proof of that!