I started this drawing yesterday evening. It’s not finished yet and, as always, I’m not entirely sure where it’s going. Intuitive art is me it seems!
This is being drawn on A4 marker paper with a Fountain Pentel pen – which is a disposable fountain pen with a plastic nib that allows different thicknesses of lines to be drawn. It’s actually rather nice to draw with.
I’ve added a light creamy-brown background digitally.
I realised that I haven’t drawn a mandala in quite a while. So, that’s what I did! Intricate, geometric and organic repeating patterns. It was a pleasure to do.
I’m quite happy with the highlights and shadows on this one, and keeping it all monochrome works for me today as well. A calm and soothing green – just what I need today as I’m still recovering from the stress from earlier in the week.
Tools – Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
As it’s work in progress (WIP) Wednesday, I’m sharing my current sketchbook page. A sketchbook is always a work in progress.
At the moment, I’m being inspired by a couple of books : “Fantasy Genesis” by Chuck Lukacs “Fantasty World Building” by Mark A. Nelson
I’m using an Art Gecko sketchbook that is almost 12″ square along with Pilot Hi-Tec C and Pilot G-Tec Maica pens and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.
I’ve said it before – I’m not really into characters (unless they’re cute, whimsical, fun ‘doodle’ kinds of characters, usually non-humanoid). However, I’ve always loved to draw plants and patterns as well as designs from architecture, nature, machines and even animals (patterns, textures and such more than the animal itself).
My ‘Entangled’ drawings bring together these various elements to create more abstract or whimsical designs. But to put them together to create entirely new things isn’t something I’d ever thought of.
I’ve always admired fantasy and sci-fi artists, but never considered myself capable of anything like that. However, trying new stuff out is how you grow and develop as an artist.
Not that I’m going to become a fantasy artist, but maybe exploring these avenues will allow me to add new things to my art in ways I never expected. In much the same way my adventures in cardmaking, mixed-media journaling, watercolour and other such things have helped me to develop my digital art and drawing.
I’m also realising how important sketches are for my digital art – be it drawing or painting or just colouring in line-art of mine. I think it has to do with me being able to have a good overview of the whole design, something I seem to be unable to do when working digitally, even when I zoom out entirely. I’ve mentioned it before, but I do have a bit of a problem relating to size and scale even in everyday life.
There’s a different kind of sensory pleasure in working on paper – the tactile and sensory feedback is quite different to that gained from digital work. That’s not to say I don’t get pleasure from working digitally, it’s just different.
There’s also the fact that each page doesn’t have to be a complete or finished piece of work. It’s a place to try things out, explore, experiment, and just let the pen/pencil/brush take a walk across the paper to see what happens. Serious work and not so serious work all have a place in a sketchbook.
As do written notes, ideas, observations, sources of inspiration, lists, reflections and more.
Finally finished it! It’s taken many hours to do – probably around 15 I think, and it’s taken some perseverance by myself to get it done.
Uniball Unipin pens (05, 03 and 01) on Claire Fontaine Paint-on mixed media paper. Two pen nibs now wrecked; the paper is velvety smooth to touch, but just too rough for the tips of the Unipin pens. Will move to Bristol board for the next monogram.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been drawing small designs in pen, including plenty of line detail to add volume and shadow.
Today, I scanned the drawings in and printed them out (after cleaning them up a tad digitally) so I could try colouring them.
I wanted to print them on mixed media paper, which I know my printer will take. However, even with clean scans, the prints were really messy. However, when printed on ordinary paper, the prints were pristine.
I wasn’t happy as I wanted to use a paper with a bit more ‘tooth’ so I could make use of the Derwent Colorsoft pencils. But, I persevered and the results are above.
The first I coloured is in the top middle. My colour sense isn’t always wonderful. Lots of colours, but it just doesn’t feel coherent in any kind of way.
So, I moved on to the next design. This time, I thought I’d use analogous colours (colours next to each other on the colour wheel), with a touch of a complementary colour to add brightness. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel.
I like this second one much more. It feels cohesive, like everything belongs together. And the little bursts of yellow/orange just lift it all.
The third design I’ve been colouring is only partly done. I’ve veered away from entirely analogous colours, but I am trying to keep the colour palette simple and with, perhaps, an autumnal feel to it.
As I was working on printer paper, I needed to use some way to blend the colours. I remembered I had some ‘Zest-It’ blending solution and some paper torchons. They worked well. The big frustration was that I couldn’t lay down intense colour. However, as these are prints, I’m not too worried. I do need to find some toothy paper which will go in the main paper drawer of my printer. I do have some cartridge paper here somewhere which should go through it.
Of course, scanning the drawings in means I can also work on adding colour digitally. It means I can try things out until I’m happy with the results.
I never have much luck with printers. Inkjet printers die on my quickly, even the more expensive professional ones. I thought I’d try a laser printer, but I seem to have problems with this one now not giving clean prints when I use the sheet feeder for specialist papers.
I don’t print much out, to be honest, but it’s frustrating when I want to print artwork out on specialist paper.
A note to self about colour.
What I have learned is that I like to watercolour the designs, but then the addition of coloured pencils to intensify the colours and add shadows works really well for me. I like the intense contrasts that I can get with coloured pencils that I just can’t seem to achieve with watercolours.
Of course, I can always colour digitally, which lets me play with colours, change them, until I get something I really like.
Today, I’ve had a reminder that limited palettes, particularly of analogous colours, seem to be working rather well for me, especially with those accents of complementary colours.
I really do need to put a big ‘note to self’ where I can see it to remind me of this. I can get carried away with colours
After trying out watercolours with my line art, I thought I’d try using coloured pencils.
I dug out some Derwent Professional coloured pencils, and found their leads very hard; my finger joints don’t like working with media that need a lot of pressure.
I then remembered the Derwent Coloursoft pencils that I had somewhere. Their leads are softer and more easily laid down. So, I dug them out and rediscovered how lovely they are to use!
That means I went to town adding colour to the uncoloured motifs, and also to some that had been finished to add contrast and depth.
And it’s another ‘aha!’ moment. I love the Coloursoft pencils, and they work well when combined with watercolour it seems.
I panicked a little when I wondered if Derwent still made them. They do! So phew! So, I get to use coloured pencils again, coloured pencils that my finger joints like.
I went on to draw some more designs, working out how to add depth and dimension with line work. They are drawn in my sketchbook – colour gradient and texture added to try to protect my artwork. These are much more my ‘entangled’ style of art.
Once that page is complete, I will scan the drawings in so that I can, if I wish, add colour digitally, or print them out to try out different colour palettes or different media.
Another morning, another play around with watercolours, this time digitally.
Soft balls of watercolour, fuzzy edges, with white ink details added on top. Layers of transparent colour.
I overlaid a watercolour paper texture, which helps give the right ‘feel’.
This is my favourite attempt at digital ‘watercolours’ so far. I definitely like using white ink in this instance; black ink was just too harsh, hard and jarred uncomfortably with the softness of the watercolours.
I tried lots of ways of adding colour; not just brushes, but different brush effects. In the end I was happiest with white ink.
A nice way to spend a couple of hours as I wake up.
Over the week I’ve been adding to my sketchbook- notes and images, ideas and reflections.
Each page has been coloured with combinations of Distress Inks, applied using the black side of a piece of Cut and Dry foam, followed with a spritz of water to bring out some water-staining grungy loveliness.
All the little drawings have been done on either Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper (300gsm) or mixed media paper, either from Claire Fontaine or Daler-Rowney. The papers have been coloured with Distress Oxide Inks, Distress Inks, or a combination of them. Most of the pieces have had the inks applied with the foam, but some were made by brayering Distress Oxide inks onto a gelli plate and taking a print of them.
The reflection about what I like, what I don’t like, and ideas that arise is important to me in my sketchbook/journal. I do reflect on my art, a bit too much in my head. When I write it down, it forces my sometimes abstract and swirling thoughts into some kind of order. When I make these thoughts a material manifestation by writing them down, it helps me to recognise the thoughts, sift through that which is useful, and still record those that are not particularly useful at this moment but may be in the future.
I think I need to find a way to do this with my digital art. My mind goes to using One Note to do this. I shall think on this one, and make a note of it in my physical sketchbook/journal.
Gosh, Thursdays seem to come around so quickly these days! Thursday is the day I post a new colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, and above is this weeks offering.
I drew the line art on mixed media paper from Claire Fontaine with Tombow Fudenosuke flexible nib brush pens. I like to use variable line widths in my art from time to time. They give instant depth to the drawing and increase the graphic nature of the design.
I’ve used some really weird colours, for me, in my sample coloration. They’re really quite muted. That’s a hint to me that something is awry with my emotions/mood. I feel quite subdued and ‘meh’ at the moment, which is reflected in my colour choices.
Anyway, if you’d like to colour this, or any of many others in the archives, please pop along and join the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I create these exclusive templates as a way of saying thank you to those who like my coloring books.
I like to use a word in my artwork from time to time. Truth was the word I knew I had to use as the central point for some artwork, and that’s where I started, along with one of the Distress Oxide backgrounds I made yesterday (in the middle of the image).
After I’d decided on the typography and placed it centrally, I then started to draw digitally. I made use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with a flexible nib and fineliner brushes.
I had no idea what kind of design would result, I just went with the flow and intuition and thoroughly enjoyed doing so and losing myself in the art.
I added shadows and highlights once the drawing was finished for that sense of dimension and ‘life’.
I am really pleased with the finished artwork. There’s something about symmetry, spirals, repeating patterns, and intricate, abstract designs like this that just makes my arty heart smile and sing. I always return to this style, it seems to be at the core of my being.
I also love to draw on coloured and textured backgrounds. I also think I’ve found a way to combine more traditional media (making the backgrounds) with digital art (drawing and adding shadows and highlights) in a way that really works for me.
My only problem is that I do tend to try to branch out into other kinds of art and never seem quite so satisfied with them. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon them; they need a lot more work and thought and maybe structure.
Perhaps that’s why I like this particular piece of art so much – it has clearly defined structure. The colour palette is defined by the background and so I’m not struggling with what colours to use. Having the black line structure defines clearly where shadows and highlights need to go.