WIP Wednesday

‘The pen is the tongue of the mind’ is a quote by Horace, a Roman who lived between 65 BCE and 8 BCE. Today, we may add that the keyboard is the tongue of the mind too. Though sometimes I wonder how many people actually think before they type what they do in social media!

The quote refers to writing, but I also think it refers to art. Not all of our thoughts are in words. Our subconscious/unconscious mind takes in a lot more information than our conscious mind does. Also, the subconscious mind works in metaphors, symbols, stories.

Sometimes I can manifest the abstract and symbolic thoughts that wander around my head in writing. Others need to be brought out in conversation, by questioning by another. And then there are times, when words aren’t adequate. That’s when art has its role to play.

I rarely plan art out, other than perhaps a vague guide as to where I’d like particular motifs to be. I tend to let it flow as it needs to. If I overthink my art, it all goes to pot. It feels disjointed, contrived to me and I end up quite dissatisfied with it. Going with the flow seems to work best for me.

This particular work in progress does have a little planning in it – the placement and arrangement of the quote along with the pencil border. I do like a border to work within and up to.The rose motif is a current favourite, so roses were the first part of the drawing to be done. Everything else will flow from there. I do like a border to work within and up to.

I’d like to finish this today. However, I do need to create a template for this week’s Template Thursday.

For those of you are curious, here’s the details of the materials used:
A5 natural Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper
Faded Jeans Distress Ink
04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen
05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen

Art is …

…but dirtying the paper delicately” – Ruskin

Note to self : Use a paper size that fits the scanner bed, or leave slightly larger margins.

I found this delightful quote by Ruskin yesterday and knew I wanted to use it in a drawing. So I did. Some of my favourite motifs, and some I don’t often use.

For this one, I used Strathmore smooth Bristol paper and as I cut it down into a square shape, I forgot that the width was too big to fit my scanner.

Anyway, I used bundled sage Distress ink to colour the paper before setting to it with Uniball Unipin pens. I’ve not added any shadow/highlights yet.

I’m fairly pleased with the vast majority of this drawing. There are bits at the bottom right I’m not happy with. However, shadows and highlights may help to sort that out.

A well read woman …

… is a dangerous creature.

Another entangled/zentangle style drawing. 21cm x 21cm square piece of Claire-Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper coloured with rusty hinge distress ink (I think). Drawing done with a mixture of 03 Uniball Unipin and 01 Sakura Micron pens. Shading is in the process of being added with a deep red-violet Carbothello pastel pencil and a blending stump.

I think I’ll need to use a darker colour to really bring out the edges of layers as well and to help to separate each area of the design. I also have a hankering to add some gold to this one. I may or may not act on that very tempting idea though. I have a way to go yet before I decide on the final embellishments. White may win out!

This mixed media paper really holds on to the pastel pencil; it’s really difficult to blend out. However, that also gives an interesting finish and stops me from blending it out so much everything looks the same!

This was lovely to do, as art usually is for me. It’s quite different for me and it doesn’t seem to flow as well. Perhaps that’s simply because it didn’t feel like it was flowing as I was drawing it. I started with the large motif of three weird seeds and the ribbon border wrapped partly around it. Not something I would usually do and I think it threw me a little. But it’s done now, and I just keep reminding myself every drawing is an experiment. it’s only some time, paper and ink, so if thing’s don’t work out, nothing much is wasted and new lessons are gained along the way.

What makes your heart sing?

Lots of things make my heart sing. Doing art, particularly creating intricate, abstract drawings. Music. Nature. Architecture. Patterns. Archaeology. Geology. Astronomy. Stories and films that transport me to somewhere else with characters that feel like friends. Sunrises and sunsets. Birdsong. Tea at just the right temperature to enjoy it fully. Time with friends. Deep conversations about life, the universe and everything. Driving for the sake of driving. And so much more.

In this drawing, I’ve put in some of my favourite motifs and patterns, as well as a bit of (clumsy) hand lettering. I think I’ll be doing some more drawing this afternoon. It’s snowing out and the best place to be is at home, in the warm.

Materials used:
21cm x 21cm piece of Claire Fontaine Paint-On Mixed media paper coloured with Tea Dye Distress Ink
05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pens
04 Sakura Pigma Micron Sensei pen
03 Uniball Unipin pen

Be gentle to yourself

I often say to myself, “Angela, what on earth were you thinking?” This is one of those times.

I started with hand lettering the words. Ok-ish Good enough to mess around with. And mess around them I did – with an “aura” and pattern, then more patterns and repeated motifs … until I’d mostly filled a square sketchbook page.

The drawing was OK. I liked some bits, others I didn’t.

Then, I thought, “What would it look like with colour? Let’s try Inktense and water!”

How often have I mused here about how I struggle with colour? All was going OK-ish with just pinks and greens … and then I added blues and browns…

The geometric pattern at the bottom were colours that didn’t fit well. So, I added watercolours to glaze the colours. Big mistake. I lost any sense of shadow and highlight …

So, I used a white graphite/chalk pencil to try to add the highlights back in …

YEUCH!

So, I put it to one side while I did some other stuff and had lunch.

Then, it caught my eye and with fresh eyes I thought that maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it was .. maybe.

I constantly do this – try to add colour with traditional media and fail. Monochrome seems to work best for me. Monochrome where I can play with shadow and light. Monochrome colours that are added digitally seems to work the best of all.

No matter how often I tell myself this, put notes up to remind me of this, I still insist on trying to use traditional coloured media.

I just think that I hope one day that something will just ‘click’ with me. Today wasn’t that day it seems!

So, back to either white or simple coloured backgrounds, and adding monochrome colours for the sense of dimensionality I like. And I have no hopes that I’ll remember this in a day, a week, or a month or two and I’ll end up asking myself the exact same question; “Angela, what were you thinking?”

The end result may be something I’m unhappy with, but adding colour was enjoyable. I just seem unable to stick to just one or two colours, with variations in their intensity and tone. Then, I descend, bit by bit, into insecurity and self-doubt and incredulity that I did it again!

Ho hum! Not to worry, it’s only pen, paper and some other media. It’s yet another experience to help me, hopefully, learn more and be more comfortable with my artistic style. If we did everything perfectly every time we’d never learn and grow.

So, back to a blank piece of paper with pens I go, and may make some art to remind me, “Angela, monochrome is best!”

Insomniac Art 20 Jan 2021

It was one of those nights. I woke way too early feeling way too hot, even though the windows were open in the Welsh Winter. Hot flashes, again. So, the only thing to do was to draw until I was cool enough to get back to sleep. That took until nearly 8 am, GMT.

These are the little drawings I completed during my insomniac hours. My Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen is nearly done – either the nib is too worn to work properly or the ink is mostly gone, I’m not entirely sure which. I know I have a heavy hand with pens and tend to wreck them before all the ink has gone.

Anyway, I witter. I’m still trying to figure out how to add words into my drawings. I’m not entirely sure I’m being successful in this. No doubt I’ll keep on trying though!

These were drawn on A4 acid-free cartridge paper in one of my current sketchbooks. I added the background colour digitally.

Sketchbook flip-through

I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.

I’m no photographer, just saying!

I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings
-pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke
-a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up
– tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips!
– Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns

Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.

The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.

Happy Thanksgiving! Template Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you
who are celebrating it today.

This week’s template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group is a thanksgiving themed mandala, along with some simple hand-drawn typography.

I create templates for the members of the group as my way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting my work. I am thankful that I am able to bring some joy and peace into others’ lives through my colouring books and my art.

If you’d like to download and print the template for personal use, head on over to the facebook group. Some simple terms and conditions of use apply.

I’ve chosen warm, autumn colours for my version of the template. How would you bring yours to life with colour? I love to see how people colour my templates, and I can be tagged on twitter and instagram as @artwyrd.

Today in South Wales

It’s a beautiful late autumn day. A hard frost this morning has now melted. The dragons-breath mist flowing down the valley has dissipated leaving the air filled with a silvery mist that diffuses the bright sunlight beaming from the pale blue sky. Trails of smoke and steam trickle through the fairly still atmosphere, making a statement that the colder months are now upon us.

Once I’ve completed all my social media posts, I’m going to put some sunblock and boots on, wrap up warm, and go for a much needed and long-put off walk. It’s time for me to face some of the social anxiety that has built up in me during another lockdown.

Then, it’ll be settling down to ink in some coloring templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I was going to do some yesterday. Unfortunately, I was overcome by the intense fatigue that plagues me from time to time, which hasn’t been helped by a few insomniac nights. I slept lots yesterday, and fairly well last night, so feel better today than I have done for a while.

Tuesday Typography for Paleotober

I had to take a totally different approach to completing this piece of typographic art – pencil drawing the design and letter outlines on paper before inking and scanning into the computer.

Once scanned in, I could clean the image up, fill the shapes with black. I learned how I could use some of the tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to do this. However, in black and white the artwork looked just so flat and dull.

So, I added a chalkboard background in a lovely sea blue (ammonites were denizens of the oceans after all!), and added a colour gradient to the typography.

It then looked a bit better. But I thought I’d try adding highlights and some shadows. And that just did the trick and I was finally happy with what I’d produced. It was good enough for another step on my typographic art apprenticeship.

That doesn’t mean there are things I wouldn’t do differently the next time I try something like this. My hand lettering needs a lot of work on, as does my attention to the letter weights too. I’ve just realised that I meant to draw tiny ammonites in the dark blocks between words as spacers. Also, I could’ve spent a lot of time tidying up the lettering digitally.

I also learned that working on paper gives me a much better overall view of the design and how things sit together. For some reason I struggle with this when working digitally. It may be that digitally I can zoom in and out and often work unaware of what is around the design. With paper, that overall perspective is ever present.

Digital art is something I love to work with, but I’m realising that I do need to work on paper too, even if it’s a sketch or drawing that can then be enhanced, edited and completed digitally.

Slowtember Prompt list

This morning I needed a quiet, slow, simple time with some arty stuff.

Firstly, I get so frustrated working in a bound sketchbook. The binding always gets in my way even though I like the paper. I much prefer working on loose sheets of paper. I want to keep a sketchbook, or series of sketchbooks. So, the pennies dropped that I needed to put together a discbound sketchbook filled with acid-free cartridge paper and bristol board, and other papers I may wish to draw on.

Yes, I know I’ve got a disc bound sketchbook filled with papers coloured in many ways to draw on. But, my recent forays into art, the realisation that black and white line art is my favourite way of working, needed a solution too.

So, after a while of sorting out such a discbound sketchbook, I thought I’d like a cover page for the Slowtember part of my this sketchbook. It gave me a chance to practice some hand lettering, and to mess around with Tombow Dual Brush markers.

I also added drawings for pancake plant, the prompt for days 10 to 12 which I missed out and went straight to rubber plant!

I suspect that by the end of the month I will have a visual reference for leaves of these indoor plants.

Naturally, I messed up the numbers for the dates for each prompt. My hand lettering isn’t wonderful, nor are the leaves around the title. Let’s not mention the colouring. However, it will do; after all it is a sketchbook page not a finished, polished piece of art. That means no pressure on myself to get it perfect, or as near as I’m happy with. It’s about trying things out and if they don’t work then it’s an opportunity to reflect and learn more about my skills and artistic voice. It’s also a chance to use media that I wouldn’t normally use, and possibly to remind myself why I don’t usually use them as well!