Illustrated Journal – 2 Feb 2023

Illustrated Journaling

For a long while, I’ve been playing around with hand lettering, using my writing in art, and the idea of marrying together writing and drawing. Today, I started a new sketchbook dedicated to this idea and exploration. I woke up this morning with the concept clear in my head, and so I did!

A sketchbook is a perfect place to experiment and try things out. I’ve already got various notes on this page reflecting on what is working and what isn’t. And there’s some reflective journaling too. My handwriting is a mess. That Distress Ink-ed dot grid paper looks really grubby. The Inktense pencils and the use of a water brush may not have been a good idea on the sketchbook paper. However, it is a sketchbook. It’s not meant to be anything other than a place to explore, experiment, and unearth hidden thoughts and ideas.

The last paragraph had a lot of negatives in it. I do like the border, and this is something I’ll continue to do. The idea of collating notes onto a page intrigues me; even adding pockets and other things from junk journaling could be an idea. Places to store notes about ingredients and so on. I enjoy researching all kinds of things, including foods, ingredients, spices and condiments.

Food illustrations

What is new is me drawing food! I don’t know if I’ll ever draw a plate or bowl of food, but the ingredients or various elements interest me. So I’ve written a note to myself to see if I can make patterns or motifs for my more abstract, non-representational work from them.

I also must learn that colours can be imperfect; close enough is good enough! The ginger jam (more correctly, ginger preserve) was troublesome. But it’s good enough for now.

Soothing fraught emotions and thoughts

I’ve been relatively open with my mental and emotional health challenges, to a degree at least. And I thought it would be an excellent idea to combine that with food, and maybe more.

Art and food are two ways I can soothe and comfort myself. On good days, I’ll be adventurous with cooking. It may be a takeaway delivery or something quick and easy on bad days. On the in-between days, comforting food is the go-to, often more traditional recipes.

Cooking is always a challenge as a singleton. However, the motivation to cook and feed me wholesome and healthy food can be a considerable challenge, especially on my fraught and frazzled days.

Where will this lead?

I don’t know. I know it’s a personal project, but a friend and I have talked about collaborating on a project about cooking. So this may be a way of kicking the project off, even though I am still determining where it will go. If nothing else, it will give me a way to draw new and different things, explore various techniques, both in art and cooking, and reflect on all kinds of things. I’ll get to practice my handwriting and hand lettering as well. And perhaps work out how to create a pleasing layout!

This will, I trust, encourage me to take more care of myself in terms of nutrition. In addition, adding daily entries for at least one meal will hold me accountable.

A variety of meals/dishes will be required too and so will stop me from eating the same old things again and again! That’s a rut I can get stuck in. Also, if I find something I enjoy, I will eat it again and again, day after day, until I become sickened by it! That is not good either!

Am I overloading myself with projects?

I have a book to do for Creative Haven by the end of June. There are some self-published colouring books that I’d like to do too. Then there’s my creepy-cute monsters project. YouTube. Writing. And more!

I often can’t see the wood for the trees. Being able to prioritise has never been a strong skill of mine. However, I do need variety and options of what to work on. Otherwise, the work can become stale and uninspiring to me. And I can so easily get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, or tasks, to be done. And then there’s the fear of failure, of not being good enough, that results in procrastination.

Also, I know that at the moment, my emotions and, thus, my mental state isn’t the best; new challenges in life outside of art and creativity. But that means that art and creativity are more important to me to help me calm, relax, get in the flow and give my mind and emotions a break!

I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I’m not one for schedules of work day by day and hour by hour. That may be something I need to look into.

But not now. Now I need a mega-big mug of good strong tea! I’m British (Welsh), and we think tea will solve everything!

Monogram “A” Tag

After a day of focusing on inking in colouring pages, I needed something a little familiar and soothing to calm some overwhelmed emotions. So, I chose to make a little tag for my accordion journal. To decorate the tag, I created a monogram, a Zentangle style embedded letter A.

As I was drawing it, It struck me how much the folded patterns remind me of metamorphic rocks. That made me smile for sure!

I enjoyed the graphic black and white of the finished design, so I chose not to add any shade.

Click on this link to view the Draw With Me video on YouTube.

Tiny Tiles – Zentangle Inspired Art for Random Acts of Kindness.

Click on this link to view the accompanying video on YouTube.

I had an idea. It may not be a great idea. It may not be executed in the best way today. But it’s a start, but first, some background as to how this idea came about before I explain myself.

Last week, I went to a local café for a late lunch. So late that it was almost tea time! The first time I’ve been out for lunch by myself since the start of the Covid pandemic. I’ve had lunch out three times with a friend in this time, but I still rarely leave my home for such things.

It was a lovely lunch, broccoli and stilton soup with a large pot of tea. The people working in the cafe were lovely and helpful. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. I was made to feel very welcome there.

So, it took a few days, but yesterday I woke with an idea. Why don’t I do some tiny artworks to leave for people to discover. Little notes to thank those who run a café or restaurant. Little notes of kindness, inspiration, or compassion are on the back for strangers who may need to read them. Little notes to brighten up someone’s day. And maybe put my email address/blog address on there. Maybe. I’ve not decided if that will be a thing, yet.

So, the first step was to see what sizes of little envelopes I could buy. I really wanted glassine ones, so the tile is protected but visible. But the only tiny ones I could find were 6.5cm square (that’s 2.5″). So some have been ordered, and some watercolour card has been cut into pieces 6cm square, ready to use! The tiles in the image are 6cm square in size. So quite tiny!

The others I found are so sweet. They have a heart fastening on the rear flap and are made of kraft paper. Perfect! That way, what’s inside will be a surprise and, hopefully, a pleasant one for those who find it. These are a bit bigger at 10.5cm x 7 cm (approx 4.13″ x 2.75″), which is about the size of a gift card, business card or credit card. So, I cut paper to 10cm x 6.5 cm to fit these envelopes.

For this morning’s video, I decided to use two of the small squares. I started by colouring one side with Distress Inks. Then I drew the designs with various black fineliner pens. Next, I added more colour with Inktense pencils and a water-brush. Finally, highlights were added with white gel pens and a gold gel pen on the Aquafleur design. Not sure the gold pen was a good idea; I might have been better off using a dip pen and gold ink. It’s all a learning process!

Then, it was time to hand-letter a message on the back and decorate. This is where I think things went a tad to pot. In hindsight, I wish I’d coloured the reverse of the tile too, as, the white looks so stark. But they’ll do. My hand-lettering isn’t the best, but again it will do. My biggest problem is not letting the ink dry fully before erasing pencil lines and/or adding Inktense pencils. But they’re not too shabby…possibly.

What I may try doing, as these are test pieces, is using some Microglaze to seal them. Not only will it seal the Distress Ink, but will give a glossy finish that will bring out the colours more. The problem with Micro glaze is that it smears the black pen lines. But as these are test pieces, if that happens, I’ll learn not to do it again in the future, or use different kinds of pens. I wonder how the Dokumentas in the Twisbi’s will react to Micro glaze? That is an experiment I need to try out!

My only problem once I’m happy with this, apart from learning how to take better photographs of my work, is finding the courage to leave these things. The intense embarrassment and shame I know I’ll feel will be great. That will come out of the old fear that no one will like what I do or appreciate it or understand that it comes from a place of unconditional love and gratitude for our connections. And this is the reason why I’m dithering about whether or not to include my email.

I’ll work it out. I usually do, eventually! Until then, I have a small pile of tiles to decorate, Micro glaze and different pens to experiment with, and how to put messages on the back… part of me thinks printing them out and glueing them on could be a way to go. I have actually turned one of my hand-lettering styles into a font! Something else for me to think about.

Monogram “b”, Zentangle Inspired

To view the accompanying video which shows most of the drawing and adding background patterns and colour, click on this link!

I’m continuing with my exploration of monograms and patterns. This one is a bit odd with the ba sitting above a pool or pebble..or something. But I quite like the patterns I’ve used to embellish it. I’m also rather fond of the background patterns, especially the very faint ones to the bottom right.

I’m not too fussed about the greens, yellows and the colours I used for the flowers. Pretty much every colour apart from the background colours and the colours of the patterns around the b!

Must write a HUGE reminder and stick it where I can see it “WORK IN MONOCHROME!”

All the same, it’s a learning exercise for me, as drawing always is. The ones that turn out not quite to my liking at the ones I learn most from. Having said that, I still haven’t learned that ‘work in monochrome’ thing yet! One day, maybe, I will.

Monogram ‘a’ – Zentangle Inspired Art

I’ve mostly finished this 3.5″ (11cm) square ’tile’ with a monogram. It’s changed a little since my last blog post this morning.

Apart from completing the colour, I coloured over the brown section in the bottom right. I used dark and light grey Gellyroll Moonlight pens to add the crazy ‘N’Zppel’ Zentangle pattern. It needs tidying up and perhaps some highlight within the inner black spaces.

But for now, it will do. I think I need a break from it to eat and do other things for a while.

Zentangle Inspired Monogram WIP

Click on this link to watch the Draw With Me tutorial video on YouTube

This morning, I thought I’d share how I’m exploring creating some Entangled art, particularly monograms, via YouTube.

This little drawing is 11cm by 11cm, which is approximately 3.5″ square – took about an hour or so to get to this point. I wasn’t sure of the green, but I think it’ll work out just fine. There’s quite a way to go yet, but that will have to wait for another time.

The materials I used are:
* 03 black Sakura Pigma Micron
* Various Arteza Everblend marker pens
* Various fineliners in grey and green
* A white Sakura Gellyroll pen
* A metallic gold Uniball Signo pen

Illustrated Journal Page “Heatwave” – WIP

This was fun to do, though it’s not quite finished yet.

It’s tradigital art. I started by drawing the design on dot grid paper, then completed the inking and colour and so on digitally.

I’ll finish adding colour when it’s a tad cooler! It truly is sweltering here, and I need to find my way to cooler parts of my home.

Illustrated Journal Page and Lettering Practice

Sunday morning (and Saturday evening, which was when this page was started) is the perfect time to practice my lettering, a quirky kind of illustrated journal page, and digital art practice.

I had intended to use just three, maybe four, basic colours for this page, but the vegetables threw me a tad!

I drew the page on paper with a fine Zig Mangaka Flexible pen. The Colour was added digitally after scanning the page. And I had a lot of fun as ideas clicked into place to add colour to the lettering.

Admittedly, some of the inking work is a tad clunky, but that could be fixed if I wanted to. It is a sketchbook page, and so perfection isn’t required. Giving myself permission to work with what I deem as less than perfect is an important lesson I’m trying to learn. Expressing myself in this wobbly, wonky, imperfect, quirky, eccentric, whimsical kind of way is a work in progress.

Oh, I’ll still draw detailed, intricate black and white pen designs. But I suspect I’ll do much more of this style of art. I have much to learn about it, using colour with no black lines, for instance. But I know it’s all a process, and I’ll get to where I need to be. I know that I’m really enjoying the combination of traditional ink drawing with digital colour – tradigital?

I’m not sure my Doodleworlds critters belong, but I just couldn’t resist popping them in to fill an awkward space!

Lettering practice, 23 July 2022

I’ve had a funny couple of days, not necessarily in the funny ha-ha way, though!

I had a migraine yesterday, so no video nor post was possible. I’m feeling better today, just still very, very tired.

Today, I had plans. I was awake around 5am, again, and so did some pencil lettering ‘sketches’; the finished result of one is in the photo.

I thought I’d start to digitally ink the lettering in and add colour before turning my attention to a YouTube video. And the phone rang, and it was a friend. So, during the over two-hour-long chat, I managed to mostly get this done! Yup, I can ink in a sketch and so on while chatting. I just can’t chat and sketch, generally.

My plans to record a video this afternoon were then scuppered as I couldn’t keep my eyes open! So, on waking, I completed this particular piece of lettering and doodling.

It really is practice for me. I’m not only practising my lettering skills, but I’m also trying out new brushes and tools and so on in Clip Studio Paint. That is a constant practice for me. I tend to learn how to do something when I need to do that something!

This one is probably as good as it’s going to get. Time to move along to the next mini-lettering project and learn and practice more!

Sunday Morning had lettering and doodles.

Sunday morning, I drew this in pencil. Today I finally got it inked in by hand and colour added.

I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. I may actually be finding my way with this hand lettering lark!