Wednesday is work in progress (WIP) day. So, I thought I’d share my monogram “a” and the progress I’m making on it.
There’s a clutch of pens there! I decided to see if I could add grey to heop areas of the design stand out more, as well as adding some depth and dimension. I figured I had nowt to lose if I tried as the the design was becoming all much of a muchness to my eye. Looking at the image above, it seems to be working well in some areas!
I started using some grey unipin pens to add shades of grey to the design. They worked kind of well enough, but they were picking up pigment from the black and moving it around.
So, I thought I’d see what greys in Pitt Artist Brush pens I had and found some warm greys. They worked better as the colour could be laid down more smoothly.
I do have some new motifs to add to my visual dictionary, a corner of which you can see at the top right of the photo.
I’m not sure if I like adding the greys more than if I don’t add them. I suspect I’ll like them more as I work with them as I love the sense of volume that has appeared in various areas thanks to the contrast they confer on the design.
Today’s art is a simple mandala. A cool grey, black and white colour scheme on a soft, calming green background.
Drawn in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I am emotionally drained, confused and overwhelmed again today. I don’t have much in the way of focus. I was surprised I could complete even this quick and simple mandala.
I don’t have the focus or energy to reflect on the choices of colours and symbols in the mandala and how they relate to messages bubbling up from my unconscious mind.
I feel trapped, caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. The stress of it all is giving me a migraine, upset digestive system and is dragging my mood downwards.
Heck, even the mandala looks like it is either sinking down, pulling itself up or hanging on by the chains of teardrops. That is how I feel, and I had no idea that was how the mandala would appear when finished.
Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).
By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!
For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.
I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.
Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.
Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.
I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!
It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.
Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.
An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.
I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.
It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.
I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.
I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.
Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.
When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design
Can you believe it? September is just about all and over with. Time does seem to be flying by at the moment.
This was a really quick bujo spread due to me being away last week.
It’s also a very messily coloured one. I can tell I’ve barely wielded a pen in the last week! Talk about shaky and wobbly and lacking the fine skills I had.
Goes to show you gotta keep working it daily, even if it’s for a short while.
Mind you, I have new glasses and getting used to them is going to take a little while. For work, I have ‘occupational varifocals’. This means the lenses gradually change from intermediate distance at the top to reading distance at the bottom. I didn’t get to use them much last week, so it’s going to take a little while and some practice with them.
I also have varifocals of the usual kind (distance, intermediate and reading). They’re great if I’m sitting down and out sketching, or drawing, or knitting and watching TV. I find them a bit disconcerting for walking around and going up/down hills or stairs or twisty turny ways they cause me to feel a bit dizzy. I know my problem is that I have really good peripheral vision and there’s a part of the varifocal lens on the outside and innermost areas that causes fuzzy vision.
So, yesterday I took my favourite pairs of glasses which double up as sunglasses (they’re very cleverly designed to have removable polaroid lenses that look like they’re part of the glasses, which essentially they are) to have single vision distance lenses put in them so I can use them for walking around and driving. I can drive with the varifocals, but that fuzzy bit bothers me.
Anyways, I have a lot of practice to do with drawing in the next day or two before I return to my next Entangled Coloring book. I’m half-way through the templates and I have some lovely reference photos from my trip for the next ones, including some ideas inspired by Forbidden Corner, maybe.
Back to the BuJo spread. I drew the design on dot grid paper using Sakura Pigma Micron pens and coloured in with Chameleon pencils.
I like the design, not fussed on my colouring skills today that’s for sure.
What theme should I go with for November? Remembrance, bonfires, fireworks…feel free to leave suggestions!