I am so, so tired today. So tired that my head feels heavy and my thoughts are slow. All due to me waking around 5 am and not being able to get back to sleep. So I drew. In my sketchbook. With biros.
I thought I’d like to see how adding colour to these drawings changes them. If it’s an improvement or a mess up. Whether it’s best to put the biro down first, or the colour, or a little bit of the biro shading.
I’ve found that either way of adding colour works, though it seems the pen lines are a little darker over the Inktense. Colours bring the drawings to life. The uncoloured biro drawings (other than the colour from different biros) work really well and nicely, but that addition of colour.
I’ve said (typed?) it before; I’m enjoying this journey of exploration with abstract art, the humble biros in particular.
Another day, another abstract WIP. This is an iteration of the first one from earlier this week. This time, I’m using analogous colours – Fuchsia, Thistle and Mauve Inktense pencils. I’m also using Canson Moulin du Roy 100% cotton paper, which allows the inktense pigments/dyes/inks to spread far more smoothly than other papers. The photo makes it look like the gradients aren’t all that smooth, but they are much better when seen with the eye. Though, I do have a little work to do with the purple mauve areas.
Today, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself. I’ve done all the work I can on Whimsical cats for now. There’s just one template needed to make the total up to 31. I’m awaiting the review of the one I sent over recently. Then, I’ll need to work on colouring three templates, which are yet to be chosen.
I suspect I’ll spend some time today working on art. I’m lucky that it’s both something I love to do as well as my source of income too. Today, though, I get to spend as much time as I like on some personal projects, such as these abstract art experiments I’ve been doing.
I spent nearly an hour adding colour to the inner section of this artwork yesterday afternoon. This morning, I started work on adding colour around them. Again, I spent nearly an hour doing this.
I’m trying to play with where the lighter and darker areas of colour in the sections. I want dark next to light. It’s a kind of play with highlights and shadows, though I’m not quite sure how well it is, or isn’t, working.
Once I’ve completed this, I need to decide what to do with the tiny gaps between the various motifs. I’m tempted to fill them with black and then some metallic over it, gold or copper maybe.
Then, I need to decide if I leave the rest of the colour as it is, or whether I add more to intensify areas that are a bit insipid and to increase the contrast in colour saturation.
Finally, do I use a very fine brush to add metallic patterns/highlights to areas of these motifs, connecting them to the tiny pools of metallic between them. That’s if I use the metallic colours of course.
I think I may try this out first on the experiment I started with and see how I like it, or not.
The rest of the day…
For now, though, I need to get along with another sketch for the Whimsical Cat books. I realised I can’t count! I thought I’d done the requisite 31, but I’ve only done 30. So, if I can get one done and off, I’ll have it approved (or not) soonest.
I did get all the approved sketches inked in yesterday. So I’m now just waiting for approval/feedback on the sketches I submitted for review last Friday.
Having a bit of a break from the weird fish today. Instead, I drew this abstract, entangled frame and started to add some colour to it.
I’m working on A5 Arteza mixed media paper which has been coloured with Aged Mahogany and Rusty Hinge Distress Inks. The pen drawing was completed with a 0.38 Uniball Signo DX pen, which is both a consistent, fine line and is waterproof. I’m adding colour with Inktense pencils ( Red Oxide, Baked Earth, Crimson, Deep Blue and Sienna Gold).
I may add some more pen work as I work out if I’m happy with the inner space; I hope to add quotes to that space once the design is finished.
As far as the weird fish go, I have scanned them in and re-drawn them digitally using the vector drawing option in Clip Studio Paint. I’ve been experimenting with adding the shadows and highlights first then using different layer to add colour to the sections. I’m bumbling around with this at the moment, but I expect I work out how to get it to work in a way I like.
Yes, I know there are going to be tutorials out there that will show me how it can be done, and lots of ways of doing the same thing. However, by me bumbling and bimbling around the software, I’m learning more about it on my own terms.
Oh, I also filmed my drawing and adding colour this morning and the video is below. If you do choose to watch the video, then please choose to view it in YouTube as your view then counts to the channel stats, along with thumbs-ups! Cheers!
After a walk and lunch yesterday, I eventually settled to working with my aha moment. This sketchbook page is the result, though I have work left to do with it.
The designs are inked in with Pitt Artist Pens and I’ve used watercolours and Inktense paint pans and pencils to colour the motifs. Well, most of them. I’ve left some parts in black and white to show the difference that colour makes.
I used a Daler-Rowney artist’s sketchbook. The paper is acid free, but is not specifically for watercolours. It held up surprisingly well to multiple layers and glazes of colour, though it does grab the colour and it’s difficult to move it around as on watercolour paper.
I also found the wet brush lifted some of the pigment from the Pitt Artist Pens. That surprised me as they were totally waterproof on watercolour paper.
Having an ‘aha moment’ and working with that realisation can be quite different. It’s nice to try different ways of using line and stippling to add shadow and volume to the drawings.
The half-beetle was an interesting one to work with. On the lower wing I could’ve used lines to add the illusion of curves, but for some sections I just used colour. I also used the beetle to practice adding lines and stippling.
I tried drawing the beetle digitally, but it just didn’t feel ‘right’. I didn’t get the same satisfaction as I did drawing it with pens on paper. I’m sure that’s due to me having my brushes set up incorrectly. That’s something I’m going to have to work on. I ended up with a drawing that was too perfect. That surprised me too, as I love to work digitally. Perhaps that was a function of my current mood and energy levels.
I do tend to switch between digital and traditional media, sometimes mixing the two. That is certainly an option moving forward – drawing the line art on paper, then colouring digitally.
I do like the earthy tones I’ve used to add colour to many of the design elements on this page. That still continues to surprise me, as much of my work has been brightly coloured, often with ‘in your face’ colour palettes used.
The smaller designs I’ve drawn here also have their own sense of satisfaction and enjoyment for me. Usually, I draw full page designs for colouring books. But here, I’ve drawn small compositions, and that is not so overwhelming for me at this time.
Today, I share a glimpse into my current sketchbook. It’s an Arteza watercolour A4 sketchbook.
I’ve completed all the drawings in boxes now, and am adding colour to them using watercolours, graphitint watercolours, graphitint pencils and/or inktense pencils.
The paper is rather nice to draw on with Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens or a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen.
On the cover page I swatched my collection of Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to bring their true colours out.
Inktense pencils are intense in colour when activated with water. Also, once activated with water and dry they are permanent.
I like all the media I’ve used so far on this page. Which I use does depend on my mood. Today, I wanted to choose an inktense palette of colours that is like the rusty colours I’ve been using with watercolours.
I really am drawn to this colour palette in my work at the moment. The dark blues, rich red-browns, blue-greys, earthy-dark greens and the vibrant mustards. One day I’ll look up the psychology of these colours and see how they relate to my mood/life at this time. But not today.
I used a variety of PaperArtsy Fresco paints to colour a 5¾” x 3⅜” piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper. I chose, for me, an unusual mixture of colours. It’s ended up looking like old, distressed and grungy painted walls.
Next, I drew the abstract design with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. I did the basic outlines, leaving my decision whether or not to add details for later on.
Then, I tried adding some colour to the background with Inktense Pencils and a damp brush. As this is a sketchbook page, I tried different colours out to see which ones would work well with the background. The finish on the Inktense-d areas was rather chalky and dull, though a subtle colour was achieved on the acrylic paint background. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I find it difficult to resist a bit of shimmer and shine on my art, so I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to fill in some of the circles in the design.
Finally, I added some more complex patterns to some areas in the design. I could’ve filled in more areas, but I’ve decided that this is enough.
This wasn’t the only piece of paper I coloured with the Fresco paints. As they’re for the sketchbook, I coloured each piece on both sides. So, I now have quite a few prepared pages in my custom sketchbook to draw on as time goes by.
I think I’ve finally settled down after the trip out on Tuesday. I seem to be more settled, for sure. Meditation, self-care, self-soothing and enough rest has worked it’s magic once again. Sunshine today is helping as well, along with the refreshing breeze that is gently flowing in through the windows.
The simple things in life are often the ones that bring most peace to me – art, meditation, quiet times, sunshine.
My latest design. It took nearly 2 days work to complete, though I may add some metallic highlights here.
I used Inktense pencils and blocks with water brushes, Uniball Unipin pens and Daler-Rowney Aquafine smooth watercolour paper.
Black line definitely keeps my need for that high contrast work happy, but the ability to add layers of colour or create gradations in colour with the Inktense also keeps me happy. Together, they work for me.
I did start off the central area with shapes of colour, but then I started to draw in the designs around the edge and then add colour. Both ways work for me for sure. Also, there’s a kind of randomness to the colour and some over-spill outside the lines, and that is something I’m learning to live with and like.
Just like me. Just like us all. We are all perfectly imperfect and that is OK. In fact, it’s more than ok, it’s just perfect and I think we should all embrace it. The imperfections are what contribute to our uniqueness, our individuality as much as anything else (perhaps even more). Society sends a message we all need to be perfect as people with perfect lives and perfect homes and perfect bodies and perfect smiles, hair and so on.
The reality is, however, that we aren’t.
We are all imperfect. Life is imperfect. Nature is imperfect.
But all is perfectly imperfect.
And that is good. It is. At any moment in our lives we are all doing the best we can. Sometimes things work out perfectly. Sometimes they go wrong. The balance of it all is that it is all perfectly imperfect.
My artwork is perfectly imperfect. I do my best with digital art, but I’m not really happy with what I do often. I learn each time I do some, and move forward, improving. The same is true when I use traditional media.
The same is true of life. Of my life. Of all our lives, our perfectly imperfect lives from which we can learn and grow as people.
Two index cards worked on over the last day or two. The focal points are shells I drew, first on paper, then the image was worked on on my Surface book with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and my Surface Pen,
I had to use scissors to cut out the shells (not my favourite task as I’m not good with scissors) after I’d coloured them using the Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens. I’m really pleased with the colouring.
Lots of different techniques/media were used on the index cards – stamping, stenciling, inktense pencils, distress inks and distress oxide inks, pebeo dyna paints, perfect pearls sprays, gesso, clear holographic embossing powder from WOW!
I’m happy with them, though I’m not sure they’re quite finished, especially the little one.
Digital drawing library
I’m beginning to build up a library of my own digital drawings – fungi, flowers, shells at the moment, oh and one angler fish skeleton that I’ve not used yet (but that’s an idea for later or tomorrow maybe).
I have to decide if I put these images together as packs of ‘digi-stamps’ for sale…I’m really pleased with my shells here, but the fungi have worked out fine too. With my limited scissor skills, I’m keeping it in mind I need to keep the outlines relatively simple, but the inside of the design can be rather detailed, which is fun.