Medieval & Zentangle Inspired Pen Drawing

Link to today’s video/vlog on YouTube.

Oh, I really enjoyed drawing this design!

The paper is 8″ x 4″ in size and coloured with various Distress Inks in shades of brown. The flowers and leaves were inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts, and there’s some zentangle-ish stuff going on at the bottom.

What I really enjoyed was adding contrast with pen strokes. Not graphite pencils, not chalk pastels or markers, just a very fine pen. The end results reminds me of an etching.

I have since added simple washes of colour, using the same colours I used on the paper, with the adding of Old Paper Distress Ink. I’ve mucked up a bit in trying to add shadows beneath the flowers, perhaps. I’ve also added some gold accents. This work isn’t shown in this photograph; I will show it when I’m happy with how things are. Well, happyish. I’m thinking that adding colour may not have been such a good idea after all!

The video is a long one, showing most of the drawing process. But hopefully I’ve done it in a way that if you want to ‘draw with me’, you can!

Medieval Monogram Dangle Design ‘C’ – 18 December 2018

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve spent around two and a half hours on this monogram. I’m still playing with metallic/glitter textures rather than black line work.

I still haven’t ‘cracked’ how to achieve a more dimensional look to the gold lines/beads. No doubt I’ll have a bright idea to try sometime soon.

Medieval, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Romanesque art and architecture has long been an inspiration for me, though it’s not often I express it in such an obvious way. This definitely has a medieval ‘feel’ about it, but there’s also a more modern take with the rectangular dangle charms and the very  contrasting gradient colours that fill the patchwork pattern inside of the letter.

I was thinking of adding more complex patterns inside some of these patchwork sections. However, I decided that could be way too busy and went with the dots.

Dots are  a very common embellishment in Anglo-Saxon and Celtic manuscripts. After adding dots to those patchwork panels, I had to go and add them elsewhere. Such a simple thing, the humble dot, but how much it can add to a design.

I love the plain blue panel behind the C, so the letter doesn’t get entirely lost in the background pattern – my favourite little spirals. I like the thicker lines around the letter too, but they’re too ‘flat’ for my liking at the moment. The little square-ish gems in the main outline help to break that thick gold line up, adding a bit more opulence in the process.

I love the dimension in those rectangular panels, particularly the lower one. The high contrast gradations in colour really give it some dimension. I wasn’t at all sure about using the pale yellow to orange color gradations anywhere in the design, but once I’d completed this particular ‘charm’ I absolutely loved it!

Although I don’t show such complex monogram dangle designs in my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘, this design really isn’t all the complex to do. 

Talking of ‘A Dangle A Day’, Lydia at #quartocreates sent me a link to a nice review of the book by Funky Frugal Mommy.

This is a piece of digital art using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and some texture files purchased via Creative Market.  I did start with a pencil sketch of the monogram and dangle design which was then redrawn digitally.

Another, possibly the last, version of ‘B’ monogram dangle design

©Angela Porter 2018

The previous and latest version of the monogram dangle design. The variation is the background paper colour as well as a drop shadow for the design.

I had a lot of fun as well as some frustration when I found it difficult to do what I wanted to do, though I got there in the end, I think.

I certainly have a few more tools in my digital art toolbox.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro really makes it easy to create art like this. Though this may have been simpler for more accomplished, learned digital artists, for me it was a bit of a process. However, I have managed to create something I could only dream about doing in traditional media, I think. 

The skills required are, in my opinion, equally as demanding, whether working digitally or traditionally. Don’t forget, this started out as pen and ink line art on paper – very traditional! I just made use of digital tools to develop it into something that definitely has a medieval feel to it but in a modern medium. Indeed, all the lines/patterns were re-drawn digitally using a pen and the screen as ‘paper’ to arrive at these final versions. I did make use of the color-fill tools to colour these ones in, but the addition of textures makes them less digitally perfect and more ‘perfectly imperfect’.

This certainly has inspired me to create a whole series of such monograms over the coming days, weeks or months. Goodness alone knows what I can do with the digital versions as having them printed wouldn’t result in any sparkle where there’s sparkle. However, I do have an idea about foiling my line art, as well as working with metallic inks once more. Indeed, I had a deliver of Encres A Decorer by Herbin yesterday and dug out my glass pen to use with them. So some experimentation with those is likely (as well as digging out my dip pens and nibs too). I think I have some calligraphy ‘parchment’ or ‘vellum’ paper lurking somewhere in my stash as well.

Finally, I think I’m getting comfortable with my style of hand lettering. It sure ain’t perfect. It’s sure ain’t as slick as that of others. But it’s mine, not theirs.

Of course, some of the ideas/tools/techniques I’ve used here I can make use of in my more usual style of art. For today, I want to work on a design for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook page to help celebrate the changing over of the calendars at midnight on New Year’s Eve as it turns into New Year’s Day. A liminal point of time between one thing and another. A boundary between the old year and the new. 

So, finish my toffee nut latte mocha morning drink I will, then it’s to some hand lettering and drawing, while keeping warm and dry on a chilly, rainy and windy day.

‘A Dangle A Day’ is released on 8 Jan 2019.