The day be soon upon us! National Coloring day in the USA, but that can apply to the whole world!
In celebration, I’ve created a free coloring template, a partly coloured version of which you can see above. You can get the template by visiting my facebook page, just click on this link to go directly to the post – Angela Porter Illustrator.
Have fun! I have been – lost several hours colouring in the template, and it’s only about half done, if that! Yes, I’ve been doing this one digitally, well partly. The mandala was drawn using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, printed out, and then the doodles and zentangles and so on were drawn using a Sakura Micron Pen. Scanned the finished image in, cleaned it up in Sketchbook Pro, then started to colour it digitally, and I actually like how the colouring is turning out. I’m finally getting to a stage where I can say I like what I’m doing … for this style of drawing at least. Somehow, I think that bold, bright colours with high contrast shadows and highlights to create a strong illusion of depth/dimension is me, and I perhaps need to forgo the desire to do ‘watercolours’…we’ll see in the fullness of time!
Inbetween working on a colouring book for Dover, I get to play with mandalas from time to time. This is today’s coloured mandala.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Book, Microsoft Surface Pen.
I thought I’d try white on a kraft paper coloured background. I quite like it.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book
Late last night I spent some time playing with mandalas where the background is completely black and the design is in colour. I came up with a few where the design was the same, but the colours were different.
This morning, I felt I wanted to try a bigger, more complex mandala, and this is what resulted.
I love the way the colours seem to glow against the black, there’s something almost magical about it.
Of course, I now want to play with different colour combinations, particularly complementary colours.
As you know, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time developing a good relationship with both my Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
I’m fairly happy with drawing on the surface, though I’ve yet to get the texture of the ‘pen’ I use to be a little less perfect and a bit more ‘human’. There’s also the issue of not quite getting how big patterns will be when printed out, and then finding out that a powerful magnifying glass along with microscopically fine pointed pens/pencils will be needed to colour the patterns if not done digitally.
Now, I have mostly been printing my designs out and then colouring them with traditional media; particularly my Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens. I do love doing this – it’s a very sensory experience.
However, I am aware I have a different tool for colouring viz. Sketchbook Pro and it’s suite of brushes and textures and so on.
Believe it or not, it takes me longer to colour an image in digitally than it does with traditional media, and I mean a LOT longer.
I love the way the colours are clean, almost glowing, when I use the marker pen ‘brush’ or one of the watercolour brushes. I’m getting to grips with which particular kind of blending or smudging ‘brush’ I like to use. I’m starting to get the idea of working with layers.
What is vexing me, is how ‘perfect’ the finish is, and how simple it looks. I wonder if it is way too simple a finish. It also frustrates me that I’m kind of trying to replicate the effects of traditional media but with digital tools, and failing as everything either works out almost perfectly blended with bright, clear colours, or ends up as a bit of a mess as I try to use different brushes or textures.
A dear friend of mine pointed out to me that I’m trying to compare apples and oranges, that perhaps I should treat digital colouring as an art medium all of it’s own instead of trying to make it like traditional media.
It was also pointed out that I do have a tendency to give myself a hard time when things seem too easy to me, or end up too perfect.
All of the images in this post have been coloured digitally, and the colours have shading/gradation in colours, but there’s no texture in them. But then, there’s little texture in the colouring when I use marker pens, such as my Chameleons or Copics, unless I deliberately add it, which I’m always disappointed with. I much prefer to add texture with black lines, which I need to bear in mind now as I work with digital colour.
I also recognise that I need to do a bit more to make more ‘contrast’ between the paler and darker shades of colours, as well as making sure there’s good deep shadows to add that illusion of 3D to the drawings.
I will continue to experiment and explore the other digital media and brushes, as well as special effects, and in time I may work out how it can all work for me in a way that I’m happy with.
Over the last couple of days, my focus has been on designing mandalas. I also have been learning a little more about Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and how I can import images, cut them and have them as an opaque image that ‘floats’ on top of other layers or designs. The image above is an example of the work I’ve done.
My only issue with it is that I’ve used too thick a pen for the mandala. Now I know how to do this, I can always re-do the mandala part, or the dragonfly!
I also spent a fair part of yesterday doing some mixed media work. A friend of mine asked if I’d do something with her wedding speech for one of her family so it’d become a keepsake for them.
I’d been puzzling about how to do it, when inspiration struck with the colours I needed to use, and off I went! I’ll post a photo of it once the wedding is all done!