Today’s been a tough day emotionally for me. Monday is, usually, EMDR day, and today’s was really emotionally upsetting. The memory I’m using led to quite a few insights that caused some distress, which was at a 7 out of 10 at the start and went up to 10 at the end of the session. This happens. I have a lot to think about and process before my next session in a fortnight.
I’m absolutely exhausted. I did have a sleep when I got home, but I’m still exhausted.
I’ve tried to sit and draw and I’m not able to work in a manner that is satisfactory to me. So, I thought I’d set up a colour palette in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and colour the drawing from yesterday. Well, more like start to colour it.
Oddly, I’ve gone for rather muted, vintage colours in this one. Perhaps a reflection of how I feel. Or, maybe it goes with the lino cut ‘feel’ of this particular drawing with the strong, black lines.
Tomorrow, I hopefully start to colour in some of the templates for my next coloring book. My editor and her team at Dover Publications Inc have chosen their favourites. I do intend to give you some sneak peeks as the coloring progresses.
My tools for drawing this image were a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and a pencil. To colour it I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
Creating this mandala has had me smiling. Gentle smiles on my face and in my heart. There’s something about the graphic black and white, the grey foliage in the background and the mystical, magical moonlight illuminating the design. I look at it and I feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction with this one. It’s not perfect. There’s things I want to do with it, and working digitally allows me to do that. However, for now, it’s more than good enough. I need more tea and a bit of a break from it.
I have to say that it looks really nice in just black and white. but, the simple gradient background really sets the atmosphere for the design. I did use a gradient fill tool to create the coloured background, but I do want to go back and create one that I can have a bit more control over for sure, maybe using watercolour brushes to do that, and adding spots of glow too.
I’m really pleased with the lighter foliage in the background, adding depth and dimension to the design, adding interest. It’s delicate and ephemeral, misty too.
I want to try not letting the background colour the motifs. That’ll involve me adding white to the white spaces. For some reason I created them with transparent ink.! No great problem to go back and sort that out though.
I also want to try working on a landscape that isn’t a mandala, using the same kind of style of drawing and adding magical, mystical coloured backgrounds.
But overall, I’m pleased with this and I’m pleased with the progress I seem to be making in both digital art and in developing my art ‘voice’.
There’s been quite a few pieces of art I’ve created that have made me smile recently – many of my mandalas and entangled drawings, my cute kitty ‘cartoons’ spring to mind, especially one I did of the pink anti-stigma badger as a Jedi knight!
I can honestly say that this mandala, and my previous one, have made me smile more than most.
Given my experiments with thermal foiling this week, today’s dangle had to be foiled, in gold this time.
As I enjoyed creating a dangle design inspired by Art Nouveau last week I thought I’d like to do that again this week, and this is the result.
I drew the design digitally, using my usual tools of choice viz. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I coloured the design in using Chameleon Markers. Then I added the blue background with Distress Inks, followed by a pink edge to the card. Not sure pink was the right choice, but it’s ok I suppose.
I mounted the design on an A5 card blank and drew a glittery gold line around it with a Uniball Signo gel pen. I also added some small groups of glittery gold drops to the design.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with this one. I like the combination of the more geometric designs with the more organic motifs.
I didn’t add any hand lettering or a sentiment so it makes it perfect for any occasion or as a note card. It would also make a fantastic page design for a BuJo (bullet journal) or as part of a scrapbook, journal, diary or notebook spread.
If you’d like to try your hand at creating your own dangle design but don’t think you could, well you could find my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ helpful. Not only are well over 100 different monograms and dangle designs included that you can use, but help and advice is given for creating your own, as well as plenty of words of encouragement. I’d love to see your dangle designs too.
I really needed some quiet, creative time this morning. Some time without any pressure on me in terms of requirements from publishers and others. Dangle designs are simple to draw, and there is a soothing quality in simplicity. Colouring is also a very soothing activity and the magic of hot foiling always makes me smile.
I’m feeling a bit below par in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing. I have a stinking headache, which isn’t helping, and I’m feeling exhausted again. That’s all to do with emotional exhaustion.
Fortunately, I can take time today to just do what I need to do in terms of self-care. I managed to get three and a half out of the four edits for my next coloring book done. I have until Monday to get the other half finished, so that’s definitely do-able, either later today when the headache subsides or tomorrow.
My emotional and mental sea has some smooth waves on it, not stormy, not choppy, just swells that come and go. I may be in a bit of a trough at the moment, but I’ll soon be heading back up to the crest of the gentle swells.
This took me a bit longer than I expected this morning. I did, however, enjoy creating this card.
First, I drew the design out on a piece of paper that is 10cm x 14cm using various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens.
I copied the image using my Brother Laser printer. I didn’t scan it in at this time, but will do later on. All I needed was a copy to play around with.
The next step involved the use of Chameleon Duo Tone and Color Top markers to colour the design elements in. Even though some areas were quite small, I still managed to get bits of shading there.
Once the colouring with the Chameleon markers was done it was time to hot foil the design, and you can see where the gold foil catches the light in places as I took the photo. A friend of mine saw some of my foiling yesterday in person and she was said she was wowed by it. She thought it was good in the photos, but the photos really don’t do it justice at all.
After foiling, it was time to colour the background. I used a selection of Distress Inks, starting with mustard seed in the centre to give a subtle glow, then tumbled glass, crushed olive, peeled paint, pine needles and evergreen bough. I used a piece of cut and dry foam and a very light touch to add the colour.
I was worried that the Distress Inks may muddy up the colouring done with the Chameleon markers. Yes, they subtly changed the colours in some places, but I was careful to choose colours that wouldn’t make mud. Also, so little Distress Ink is added it barely alters the colours.
I can tell you I was well relieved by that!
Distress Inks are water reactive, so I gave the image a light spray of water knowing that only the Distress Inks would be affected. After a short while I dabbed the water off with a piece of paper towel. This lifted some of the colour leaving a subtle background texture.
As this point, after letting the paper dry completely, I could’ve added more Distress ink. Instead, I decided to use aged mahogany, again on a small piece of cut and dry foam, to edge the paper, to give it a border, and also to add a darker layer at the bottom of the design to ‘ground’ the image.
When I can find my Wink of Stella pen from Kuretake I’ll add some very subtle shimmer to the dragonflies, maybe to the seeds in the seedpods too. I also think some gold dots in small clusters would enhance the background.
I also need to think about adding a bit more shading to the bottoms of the laves to give a more dimensional look to them I think. I could definitely do the same to the dragonflies’ wings too.
Those are simple and quite minor changes that will make a difference I think. It’s only as I’m looking at the finished image now that I can see how those things would help. I often don’t think to step back and give myself time to look at the image with fresh and kindly critical eyes, seeing what I could do to improve my work.
In hindsight, the dragonflies may have worked well as black silhouettes in the design, which would then become totally covered in foil. Or just outlines that would be foiled. That’s something for me to try another time and see if I like that idea more.
I think you can tell I’m really enjoying this branch of my artistic journey. I’ve concentrated a lot on digital art of late. I’m not going to abandon my digital art journey at all; I can do things digitally that I can’t with traditional media.
However, it is showing me that working with traditional media is also a pleasurable and successful activity for me to do.
What am I going to do with this? I don’t know. Part of me wants to add it to my BuJo. Another part wants to mount it on a blank greeting card to send to a friend. Another part of me wants to put it into a reference sketchbook or folder for inspiration in the future.
I stumbled across this quote from Albert Einstein yesterday. It sums up how I feel about my art and how I create art. I work very intuitively, generally. I choose one place to start, with one motif and I just let everything else flow from that point. If I am thinking about what I’m doing, I’m not aware of those thoughts. In this way, drawing is, for me, a rather mindful activity where I can lose myself in the flow.
My art tends to go wrong if I over-think or try to over-plan it, as I’ve found out recently as I did the first sketches for the coloring book I’m working on.
For this drawing, I printed out the quote and borders on an A4 sheet of Bristol Board. I then used various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs in. If you’re interested, I started at the top left corner of the quote box and it is from this point that the rest of the design flowed out from, sort of.
I’m actually quite pleased with this one. I actually like use of thicker lines to delineate the individual motifs and to give a more structured, layered feel.
I also dug into my visual reference libraries to revisit patterns and motifs I’ve not used in a while, as well as using some of my most favourite ones.
I like the stark, graphic nature of the pure black and white, but I may very well add colour to this one in a way similar to yesterday’s quote. I haven’t finished colouring that one yet, but it is something I will return to later today, though I may not finish it today.