Start of a new page in my lettering sketchbook

Again, I woke before 5am today, even though I didn’t go to sleep until nearly midnight. This is getting ridiculous!

What else to do until I’m either ready to sleep again or give up on sleep and start my day proper? Oh, art of course!

So, I decided to divide a page up in my lettering sketchbook. Then, I coloured the vertical sections with distress inks. The colour themes from left to right are blue, pink and green, with bits of crossover.

Next step? Collage some papers to create areas for hand lettering to go. That squared paper needs to be toned back a bit – white gesso will be just the ticket!

Then, I did some hand lettering and added some patterns. I thought I’d use some fineliners – Inktonic Pens from Arteza to be exact. the collaged paper does like to soak the ink up when just the edge of the pen nib touches it.

Fineliners are not my favourite pens to colour in with. But, they usually have water-soluble ink in them. So, on the lower panel, I used a damp brush to move the ink around to even out the colour.

On the upper panel, I splattered some water on it and used a paper towel to lift the water up. That created a nice splatter pattern. Then I had a thought, “What would happen if I sprayed water on it, lightly and used a paper towel to pick the water up?” I lost the pretty water-bleached spatter patterns. But, some of that ink really bled into the edge of the collaged paper. That was unexpected and rather interesting.

So, some more interesting experiments with this idea I’m working with.

Oh, the letters of lacuna had colour added with a deep indigo Inktense pencil, brush and water.

Oh, I did use a pencil to write out the letters and position them, and I still made a pig’s ear of the ‘And still I rise”. Sheesh! Perhaps I’m being way too critical of my own lettering and what is there. I focus on all the imperfections I perceive, rather than taking a step back and trying to see what I’ve drawn and lettered through someone else’s eyes.

Time for tea and breakfast it is, I think.

More lettering practice … WIP

I managed to get myself totally engrossed in creating these small designs in my lettering sketchbook.

I much prefer the quote in a band across the whole design, though I do have to work on weight of line, the arrangement of words and so on.

This leaves, of course, plenty of space for bands of patterns and different colours and so on. which has been fun and kind of interesting to do.

I don’t know how many of these I had to redo the quote as I misspelt ‘believe’ in ink. Another note to self – pencil in the quote first and then check the spelling and adjust the arrangement of the words!

The one at the bottom left isn’t finished yet.

My two favourites, I think, are the top two. Monochrome colour schemes, no surprises there!

Lettering Practice WIP

Lettering WIP

I woke before 5am today and so I did what I do until I’m ready to go back to sleep – letter and/or draw.

Today, this quote from the wonderful Maya Angelou appeared on my Facebook newsfeed. So, it deserved to be used in some way.

This lettering thing is still vexing me. Today I thought I’d try using some vintage, grungy lined paper from a digital download from WhichCraft Do You Do.

Yes, lined paper. Because, why not! Not that it’s made much of a difference to me feeling a bit better about my lettering. But, you gotta keep trying things out until you find what just sits right, yes?

Next step, after gluing the quote in what seems a suitable space on my sketchbook page, was to add patterns to the background. I started with the border of the Zentangle pattern Crescent Moon around the quote. Then, I added the river of Diva Dance upon which the quote floats. The tangle pattern at the bottom is Crazy ‘Nzeppel.

It seem that looking at and creating some work inspired by Rebbeca Blair has influenced me here. Instead of splitting the background up into smaller sections, like a quilt, I’ve worked in layers that look a bit like torn paper. Now that is an idea to explore further.

I’ve started to add colour with Inktense pencils – Red Oxide and Deep Indigo so far, but I will use some Mustard too. I also intend to add some gold to design, probably in the narrow channels either side of the rusty red section and a few ‘Nzeppel ‘pebbles’.

I think I prefer the torn paper edge of the quote panel, though I may re-try this with straight cut edges.

Digital Downloads

Using digital downloads is a bit new to me. Well, in this fashion at least. I have used digital backgrounds a lot in my digital art, and still do. But printing them out is something I’ve not considered before.

I do think I could make my own papers, going forward, to use in this way. All I need to do is remember to scan them in before using the paper! Easier said than done though. We’ll see.

Having some papers already in my digital stash is a worthwhile start to experiment and see where this leads me.

Draw With Me – A pattern and motif sampler.

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

This seems to be the natural progression of my work earlier this week where I put motifs in boxes and added background colour only.

When looking at Rebecca Blair’s artwork, which I absolutely love, I got inspired to create the first ‘sampler’ on the left. I say sampler because splitting space up in this way reminds me of needlework samplers created to practice different stitches.

This is a lovely way for me to indulge my love of hand-lettering, patterns, stylised motifs, colour, shadow, texture and boxes split into boxes!

Colour continues to vex me. I think my favourite is the centre example in a monochrome colour scheme. No chance of any weird colour combinations with that one!

I keep saying this about me and colour, don’t I? But I really need a huge sign that lights up and flashes to remind me to stick to monochrome colours, possibly analogous, and with tiny flashes of a complementary colour. Actually, I need the sign to detect when I reach for colour and shout this advice at me!

Of course, I wanted to share my experiments with the world; well, a few hundred people may be, who may find this an interesting idea to try. If you’d like to see the video then click on this link!

It’s been a quiet day for me. My digestive system is playing up, and self-care is the order of the day. That means not doing anything that has to be the best I can do. I know today that it’ll be harder for me to get things done because I’m under the weather. Fingers crossed, I’ll be fine and dandy again tomorrow.

Lettering Practice WIP

How I spent my afternoon – adding colour to this particular design. The colour isn’t even, but I’m fine with that as I do want to add subtle patterns in the coloured sections eventually, I think.

I’m now taking a break from this as I just don’t know what to do next. Do I add more colour? Or is it time to add more pattern or texture? Or, do the patterned areas need shadows and highlights added rather than colour. Dare I add any sparkle and shimmer in places?

I just don’t know at the moment. What I do know is I quite like this way of combining words and patterns – two things I love very much.

A second thing I know is that it’s time for a mug of tea, a biscuit, maybe, and some slow stitching. Oh, and watch episode 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi!

Lettering Practice – 29 May 2022

Finishing my work quota for the day deserves a treat, and that involved some hand lettering practice and exploration. So, these two pages from my A4 lettering sketchbook have been worked on over the past couple of evenings.

I still haven’t found a way of lettering that resonates with me, though both of these pages resonate with me more than other lettering work I’ve done. I really want to combine lettering and my love of patterns and abstract design. Working out how to do that in a way that feels right and makes my heart smile, is proving to be a difficult task!

I think, however, that I may be circling in on some ways of achieving this. One style that may bear fruit I stumbled upon several days ago and I blogged about it then (Hand Lettering and Entangled Art). Thoughts and quotes and words in shapes with entangled, zentangle inspired, patterns connecting them and creating a background pattern. I’m still not sure about this particular mode of expression. But I’ll work with it and see where it leads me in time.

Another way of lettering I stumbled upon was in lettering an alphabet in the style of “Hand-lettered capital I”. That was the inspiration for the image on the left above.

Last weekend, I bumbled my way through “Choose to Shine”, and the abstract patterns in the background gave me an idea to try out. Which I did in the right-hand image above.

There’s a fair amount for me to think about with these experiments. I’ve finally found a way to make use of Gelly Roll Moonlight pens – both for drawing patterns in letters, but also as patterns that flow over or behind letters – as in Shine and Because in the right-hand image. I also used the Moonlight pens, along with some Zig Writers and some vintage coloured gel pens in the left-hand image and the “A Curious Pattern” and “Never give up” designs in the right-hand image.

It’s so unusual for me to draw in colour. I usually stick to black ink for drawing, but suddenly I may have found a way for colour to appear in my whimsical and entangled worlds.

At the moment, though, I’m still not at all sure about this. My head hurts (another migraine feels like it’s on the way) and I’m not able to think clearly or write all that coherently, or so it seems to me.

One last thought to share. For both of these pages, the only thing I may have looked back on was my own work. I didn’t look in books or at work online for inspiration, I only used my lettering sketchbook and my love of abstract patterns. Learning not to compare my work to others, trusting myself that what I produce is good enough because it is an expression of myself, is not an easy thing to do. But I’m working on it and here it may have paid off with examples of lettering by me that I kind of like.

“Choose to Shine”

I’ve finished it, I think. I’m feeling a bit happier with it now. I really like the abstract, curvy, swirly bits that remind me of La Tene (early Celtic) art. I’m still not happy with that central ‘moat’, though.

Oh, I’m also really pleased I stuck to an analogous colour scheme, mostly. Having the words in an almost complementary colour to the blues and purples makes them stand out. But I still rather like the swirly abstract patterns, and I’m so glad I added them!

I’ve not quite found my way with hand-lettering. I keep trying new and different things out, but nothing seems to sit well with me yet. Although I like the more formal lettering layouts, I don’t think that’s for me. I tend to work fairly instinctively and intuitively with little forethought or planning. When I do think my way through something, that’s when disaster tends to strike!

I suspect a looser, expressive, intuitive kind of style is going to work for me, along with my style of entangled, abstract art. Probably. Possibly. Perhaps…

Hand-lettering and Entangled Art

I’m a tad out of sorts today, just a dose of gloomy emotional weather, that’s all. It’s also beginning to pass on by too, which is a good thing! Even with the gloomy weather, I’ve been able to feel the touchstone of contentment within me, but my thoughts have been on shaky ground concerning art.

I was drawing last night, and this morning a different page, and lots of questions came up about my art style. I wasn’t feeling happy with my hand-lettering journey and what my ‘style’ is. I’m finding it really hard to feel comfortable with the hand-lettering I’ve been doing lately. I don’t know why that is, not entirely anyway.

So, my solution is to draw! Well, hand-letter and then draw, but hand-lettering is drawing letters rather than writing. So drawing it is!

Instead of popping words/phrases into my ‘entangled’ art style as I draw, I thought I’d place them on the page first. Then I can do the pattern stuff, repeating various motifs to bring some coherence to the whole design. Not sure I’ve managed it.

Instead of filling the whole space with lots of black pen work, I thought that I could use a brown pen to add just lines to the spaces between. I think I like this as the spaces just looked cold and empty before.

I’m still not sure I’m finding my way with this. I know I do get all flustered and fed up with my art from time to time and start to question myself and be quite harsh with myself.

Working on this, and talking my way through some of it in today’s video, has certainly helped, and my mood is lifting. But regardless of my emotional weather, this was something that still needed to be thought through to do my best to pinpoint what I was struggling with when it comes to including hand-lettering in my art.

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.

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!