I have been working on the moth drawing from yesterday. It’s a long, laborious, yet enjoyable process. So, this afternoon I thought I’d create a mandala to sit behind my moth illustration.
I’m quietly pleased with this one. I like the choice of colour for the background, even though it’s an unusual choice for me. The central glow and shadow helps to lighten the background a little and brings attention to the moth, which is the main motif in this design.
I decided to use just black and white for the moth and mandala, though there are places in the mandala where I’ve let the background show through.
I will continue to work on the other design, it’s just going to take me a couple, or even a few, days to complete.
I got this monogram finished yesterday evening. I think I may have been a bit heavy handed with shading in some places. However, overall I like it and I like the volume or dimension that the shading adds.
I definitely enjoy working in such a detailed, intricate and organically intuitive kind of way. Having the monogram as a design to work around does help quite a bit.
On a kind of related point, I had a new A5 dot grid notebook delivered yesterday so I can start to make a collection of motifs and patterns as I use them or create them. The idea is I can winnow out those that I never/rarely use. The reason for this is that the dot grid notebook I’ve kept as a visual dictionary for the last couple of years is just about full! I will keep it as a reference, but it’s time to start a new, more relevant one I think.
I have a snazzy, teal coloured notebook, covered in vegan faux-leather. It has 218 numbered white pages that are a tad thicker than the usual dot grid notebook pages, The paper is velvety smooth and a pleasure to write/draw on. It’s made by Wordsworth & Black and I came across it on Amazon. Oh, the ink doesn’t feather, bleed through or ghost on the pages. I paid £15 for it and I’m very happy with it so far.
Wednesday is work in progress (WIP) day. So, I thought I’d share my monogram “a” and the progress I’m making on it.
There’s a clutch of pens there! I decided to see if I could add grey to heop areas of the design stand out more, as well as adding some depth and dimension. I figured I had nowt to lose if I tried as the the design was becoming all much of a muchness to my eye. Looking at the image above, it seems to be working well in some areas!
I started using some grey unipin pens to add shades of grey to the design. They worked kind of well enough, but they were picking up pigment from the black and moving it around.
So, I thought I’d see what greys in Pitt Artist Brush pens I had and found some warm greys. They worked better as the colour could be laid down more smoothly.
I do have some new motifs to add to my visual dictionary, a corner of which you can see at the top right of the photo.
I’m not sure if I like adding the greys more than if I don’t add them. I suspect I’ll like them more as I work with them as I love the sense of volume that has appeared in various areas thanks to the contrast they confer on the design.
Over the past couple of days I’ve started work on the next monogram. I took a fancy to a lower case ‘a’, so that’s what I’ve gone with!
Instead of working on the Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper, which wrecks the nibs of my UniPin pens, I’m using some Daler-Rowney Marker paper. It has a smooth, soft texture and the pens glide over it and it’s a joy to use. The ink seems a lot darker on this paper, probably because of the way it’s treated to work well with marker pens and stop them bleeding. The paper is also quite thin and this makes it translucent enough that I can easily see the letter template below.
I’m trying to use some different motifs in this template instead of my go-to ones. Of course I’m still going to use some of my favourites, but it’s nice to branch out too.
It’s going to take me a while to get this one done in between contract work. But I will get it done.
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.
Today’s art is a simple mandala. A cool grey, black and white colour scheme on a soft, calming green background.
Drawn in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I am emotionally drained, confused and overwhelmed again today. I don’t have much in the way of focus. I was surprised I could complete even this quick and simple mandala.
I don’t have the focus or energy to reflect on the choices of colours and symbols in the mandala and how they relate to messages bubbling up from my unconscious mind.
I feel trapped, caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. The stress of it all is giving me a migraine, upset digestive system and is dragging my mood downwards.
Heck, even the mandala looks like it is either sinking down, pulling itself up or hanging on by the chains of teardrops. That is how I feel, and I had no idea that was how the mandala would appear when finished.
This mandala took an unexpected turn as I was adding colour. I was experimenting with brush settings in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, particularly the ‘colour’ setting. This will change the colour of any area, but preserves the shadow/light values. I thought I’d see what happened when I used grey as the colour, and I liked the monochrome that resulted. So, I completed the mandala in a similar way.
So, quite a different kind of mandala from me, and very different from my usual bold use of colour.
A simple, monochrome mandala today, using some of my favourite patterns (plus a couple that are entirely mine).
Drawing mandalas is so soothing, mindful, meditative. The repetitive nature of drawing patterns is part of that relaxing experience.
It was also nice to use some of the patterns from my ‘visual dictionary‘ or ‘visual zibladone’ in some art.
I have some new patterns and motifs to add to my visual dictionary; they spontaneously appeared as I was drawing. I like when this happens, when I don’t over-think things and just go with my instincts.
I wanted to add a colour gradient to the mandala. However, when I tried to do so, it just didn’t feel right. So monochrome it is.
Drawn digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I’ve just managed to get today’s Inktober drawing mostly done. I’m now too tired to do any more work on it this night.
My prompts for today were an otter skull, Tremella mesenterica fungus and Diva Dance tangle pattern.
As otters are water creatures (and one my my favourite animals – did you know they have pouch of folded skin where they keep stone that is special to them?) I chose watery blues and blue-greens. I also kept the fussy drawing behind the skull monochrome. I’m too tired to work out what else I could do. I quite like that the background design is a tad etheral and ghostly.
I’m so tired now; it’s nearly 11pm here in the UK. I’ve spent the last two or three hours working on the illustration above.
So, Angela, how are you feeling?
My day began with getting myself sorted to give a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk to the CHAMPS Group based in Pontllanfraith. Champs stands for ‘Chartist Help 4 All Mental Health Peer Support Group.
I was invited to talk there by a friend of mine that is involved in CHAMPS and I met a fantastic group of people, all of whom experience mental ill-health. So, after telling them about Time to Change Wales and the story of my own mental ill-health, there were lots of conversations, some taking the chance to talk to me to say how my story mirrors theirs in many ways, or how something I said made a penny drop for them. I’m also an example of someone well on the way to recovery from CPTSD, and that shows people it really is possible to heal from a mental illness.
I think it was a positive experience for everyone, myself included. However, it did leave me drained and after having some lunch I retired to bed to sleep – all part of my self-care routine.
I woke in the early evening and had a long chat with a friend who is struggling with mental ill health, had supper and then turned my attention to Inktober.
I woke after my nap feeling quite awake and alert. I felt that way until just half an hour or so ago; my mind has become foggy, I’m tired and I will soon be back in bed to sleep.
I know the toll doing talks like this can take on my energy. There’s anxiety about a number of things – finding my way to the venue, meeting strangers, sharing my story to name the main ones. However, the Time to Change Wales campaign is a cause I feel strongly about and if by giving my talks I can help others to understand what it’s like to live with mental ill health and the impact of how they behave towards us as a result of stigma/discrimination, or help others to feel they’re not alone, or to consider other aspects of their mental health that they’ve perhaps not considered before, then my day or so of emotional tiredness is worth it.
Yes, for a day or so I may feel drained but I now know that this drained feeling doesn’t persist for long. Even though I’m tired, I can still sense that inner contentedness glowing warmly with in me as a smile in my heart.