Monogram ‘B’ (and a couple of others!)

Click on this link to view today’s video tutorial that goes with this design!

Watching some arty videos yesterday, I stumbled upon one that involved creating “Polaroid Pops”, part of a challenge hosted by AALL and Create back in January 2022. In this challenge, you had to create mixed media polaroid ‘photos’ using stamps by a specific artist in the AALL and Create range.

I really liked the format of the images created and thought it could be fun to try this for myself!

Polaroid photos have the following dimensions:
The image is 3.1″ x 3.1″ (approx. 8cm x 8cm)
The whole photo is 3.5″ x 4.2″ (approx 9cm x 11cm).

So, yesterday I cut up some of my Neocolour II backgrounds to 8cm x 8cm and got to drawing on them!

I really like the square format. At 3.1″ x 3.1″ (8cm x 8cm), they’re only a wee bit smaller than a standard Zentangle tile. And they do look fab when mounted on the white card to create the polaroid.

After drawing a kind of botanical scene in silhouette (not quite my thing, but you have to try, you know.), I tried popping a hand-lettered monogram into the square and using Zentangle patterns to fill in the negative space.

That was much more ‘me’. And in today’s video, I continue with the letter B, though it looks like an R because I deliberately drew it as bigger than the ‘photo’. Duh, didn’t check for it looking weird before inking it in. Luckily, there’s space on the white background to write in what it is!

While the video was uploading and processing, I drew the ‘H’.

I think I may make an alphabet collection for future reference and inspiration! So, if you fancy having a go take a look at today’s video on YouTube.

Shrouded in Celestial Light WIP

Late afternoon yesterday, I was listening to my “Liked Songs” playlist on Spotify and “Shining Light” by Ash came on. The lyrics “Shrouded in Celestial Light” just stuck in my head, so hand-lettering had to be done, followed by some entangled art!

I wanted to put the letters of “shrouded” overlapping, cwtched close together as if they were covering and protecting each other, apart from that brave S at the front (which I may alter digitally when I’ve finished this off). And that is one of the meanings of shrouded – to be protected and/or covered.

Naturally, stars had to feature in the entangled artwork around the hand lettering. What better to represent “celestial”, though the flowers and plants and seeds are related in a roundabout way.

Our sun is the star nearest to us and the source of natural light. The moon is closer, but it doesn’t generate any light itself, the light we see from the moon is reflected sunlight. Anyhoo, most life, as we know it, on Earth depends on the sun’s energy to remain alive. Without photosynthesis in green plants, there’d be no food. Some living things can exist without any energy from the sun, but they are extremophiles and live around extreme habitats, such as the deep ocean volcanically driven ‘smokers’.

I’ve digressed and slipped into science teacher mode! The point is, that though flowers and plants and seeds don’t seem to have a link to celestial light, they do, as they depend on sunlight to produce food, which gives them the energy they need to live and grow and reproduce and so on. All of us here on the Earth are shrouded in celestial light!

I really wasn’t sure how this was going to work out without a definite frame for the words, but I think by placing clouds and drifts of other things around the lettering it kind of looks like a view through to the celestial night sky, perhaps, with a bit of fanciful whimsy.

“Embrace Beautiful Chaos”, a work in progress

I had the hand-lettered part of this sketchbook page completed a couple of days ago. I didn’t really know what else to do with it. I knew adding colour with traditional media was likely to be a disaster.

This morning I woke up knowing what to do with this, along with other things. So, I spent some time adding a border around the lettering and starting to add patterns and motifs. And arches, lots of arches!

I then thought it would be nice to share some of the drawing process through a video, which you can see by clicking this link.

It feels like a long while since I did any entangled style art. The hand-lettering isn’t perfect, nor is the frame around it. But that’s OK. I think it goes with the ‘chaos’, the imperfection, the touch of an imperfect human hand.

A couple of months ago, I may have tried to do something like this, and would likely have been really dissatisfied with the result. Mainly because I wasn’t at all happy with my hand-lettering attempt. But now, after just a couple of months of working in lettering sketchbooks, working with different ways to form letters and finally accepting that whatever lettering I do doesn’t have to be perfect – good enough is good enough!

I’m using variations in the density of pattern and ink to create shadows and highlights in the design. I have no intention of using pencil or markers to add grey shadows to this one. If I decide to add colour, it will be in the style of a linocut or hand-coloured print, perhaps with some extra shadow and highlight added by the depth of colour. Perhaps. Maybe. And if I do, digital is the way I’ll go! First, though, I have to finish drawing this design.

What you create … Hand lettering practice

I had fun creating this design in my lettering sketchbook, well one of my lettering sketchbooks!

The main quote is something I’ve found difficult to accept throughout my time exploring and developing my art. I’d bought into the belief that for something to be good it has to be ‘perfect’.

I’m finally accepting that a piece of art I create only has to be good enough, and that means it’s OK to be perfectly imperfect. Just as I had to accept that I am good enough as a person, imperfectly perfect as we all are, then I’m recognising that I’m doing the same thing for my art.

I can accept now, most of the time, that it’s fine if there are imperfections in it, even mistakes that become part of the design. These imperfections, rather variations, add character to the work and make it uniquely mine. Even if others work in a similar way, each is unique.

Art is a practice, a life-long process of learning and developing, and self-discovery too. Is perfection possible? I don’t know, but I’m happy to settle for this is the best I can do now and it is good enough.

This drawing is finished, with cool grey shadows added. Now, I have to decide whether to leave it like this or add colour. If I add colour, do I go with alcohol markers or digital art? I’m not sure, yet. But there’s no rush to decide.

Adding shadows to the hand lettered “I”

Click on this link to see the video where I add these shadows.

I had a request on YouTube from a subscriber to show how I would add shadows to this design. So that’s just what I did, and of course filmed the process.

I used three shades of cool grey alcohol markers. Using alcohol markers is a bit of a dance from light to dark and back to light again, usually. Today, I did some really simple blending, so streamlined the process a bit.

It never ceases to amaze me how much such subtle shadows add depth and volume to the design.

My next conundrum is whether to add colour. I could use alcohol markers, or I could do that digitally. I’m not quite sure what I want to do, yet. I have digital images of both the un-shadowed and shadowed versions, so whatever I do I’ll always have a copy of the original.

Hand lettered capital I

Click on this link to see how I drew this letter I and draw along with me!

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this ‘I’ in today’s video. The combination of hand lettering and using various patterns and motifs… well it’s a match made in my idea of arty heaven!

The pencilled letter is just a space to add patterns to, and they can spill out of the lines just a little.

Drawing with a fountain pen (EF TWISBI Eco pen filled with dokumentus ink by Rohrer and Klinger) was an absolute delight! The paper I used was nice and smooth, and even though there was a bit of feathering, I was fine with that; it adds character and a human touch.

The more I do letters like this, the more I become comfortable with this kind of hand lettering.

For now, this will live in one of my lettering sketchbooks, along with, eventually, the rest of the alphabet. They’ll be a resource to dip into for some inspiration at later points in time.

I’ll also need to work out if I leave the letters as they are or whether I’ll try adding shadows and/or colour. I’m undecided on this.

The letter may be a bit on the wonk, but I’m quite happy with it. It makes me smile when I look at it and remember the process of drawing. That means it’s good enough!

Lettering sketchbook pages

I’m thoroughly enjoying exploring hand lettering that’s for sure. I’m still trying to find my way for how best to express myself using words and letters, or perhaps the best ways would be a better description!

I’ve absolutely loved creating these two pages. The top one was done first and is OK. I think colour may improve it somewhat.

I much prefer the bolder lines and higher contrast in the lower drawing. This one isn’t quite finished, and then I’ll have to decide whether I add colour or not.

I really like the imperfections that there are in this way of hand-lettering. Those imperfections make the lettering human and uniquely mine. This is definitely something I want to embrace, whatever directions my lettering journey goes in. And of course, combining lettering with my style of drawing is going to so important to me. I just have to figure out how to make it work for me!

I have a lot more exploration to do, but it’s a fun process and I kinda know I’ll get there!

Funky Fungi Lettering Practice

Carrying on with the mushroom theme … I’m taking a course on hand lettering and it just seemed a good idea to have some fun and combine mushrooms and letters!

I actually did this originally in pen in my sketchbook and I was quite happy with the result. However, I wanted to see how I could rework it digitally. So I did. And here it is!

I’m so much happier adding colour digitally. Though I do need to play around with different kinds of brushes to get different textures in the colours.

Onwards and upwards with the lettering, a little at a time!

A page from my lettering sketchbook

I’m having a lot of fun practicing hand lettering! I’m taking a course on Domestika :

Hand-Lettering Sketchbook: Techniques to Unlock Creativity A course by Adam Hayes

I really am enjoying it and I’m gaining confidence in creating and using hand lettering. I suspect some of that confidence in playing around with shapes and patterns comes from all the pattern explorations I’ve been doing.

While this page isn’t strictly what the course involves, it is my kind of thing. It combines both hand lettering, my kind of pen drawing, and a way for me to get used to using hand lettering in artwork.

While the black and white version is just fine. I think it needs colour to bring it to life. So, Inktense and Colorsoft pencils are being used to do this. Once I’ve finished adding colour, I may add pattern/texture using other pens e.g. Gelly Roll pens, coloured fineliners.

Oh, I did scan this page before I started to add colour, just in case I make a total mess of it!

The words/phrases are just things that came to me as I was drawing, often commenting on my life at the time I was drawing parts of the design.

“Because I can!” is a phrase I use often during my video tutorials. Talking of videos, there won’t be one today. Time has run away with me and I have things I need to do today. There’ll be another video tomorrow, all things being well!

Zentangle Drawing “Love”

Pen drawing on 5.5″ x 4″ (14.5cm x 10cm) Canson Imagine paper coloured with Victorian Velvet Distress Ink.

I’m not at all sure about this design. It started fairly well with the hand-lettering and corner designs. But it went a bit downhill from there, in my opinion. In hindsight, the use of pink metallic pen was a bit of a mistake too. Seemed a good idea at the time though!

By the end of the drawing process, I think it is more a melange of heart-themed tangle patterns than anything else. That is how I’d describe today’s video for sure.

The video is an hour-long, real-time tutorial.