Today, I woke with the idea to create an ATC (Artist Trading Card) using a monogram from one of the hand lettered alphabets I’ve been drawing in my lettering sketchbook.
The monogram is a simple one, with some of the spaces filled with tangle patterns. The background is formed from the tangle pattern A-Frame by Angie Gittles CZT. When I chose it, I wasn’t fully aware it was based on the letter A; I really can be a bit dense at times!
Some indigo chalk pastel and a tortillon to add shadows and some gold watercolour paint to frame the monogram and all was done!
I enjoyed the process of drawing. I’m fairly happy with the end result. However, I think a more organic background may have worked better with such a strongly geometric shape. It’s all a experimenting, exploring, experiencing and learning.
I may end up doing a series of monograms. It’s a good way to work with lettering and to get some practice in of figuring out how patterns and letters/words can work for me.
Today’s YouTube video is a step by step tutorial of how you too can create this ATC.
This is my current drawing. I’m adding tiny patterns to various areas of the ‘skeleton’ of the design. That’s making me feel a little happier about it, but I’m still not all that satisfied with this drawing.
It just feels disjointed, incoherent. Just a tumble of bits and pieces that just happened to fall together. I started with the monogram “a”, thinking I’d do a series of drawings with little monograms like this kind of hidden in the design. But I don’t think this has worked out at all.
I think this drawing is a snapshot of that shows I’m feeling out of sorts with my art at the moment, and that is a reflection of me feeling out of sorts with myself.
I know I can be hard on myself when it comes to art, or anything actually, and I’m sure others will view this differently to how I do. Maybe there’s even a story in the drawing of how my emotional weather has shown itself in how I’ve put together the patterns and motifs.
This happens from time to time – I get into a funk with my art. Eventually, however, I find my way again, often a slightly new way, and off I go again! So I’m not worried about this. I just know I need to be kind to myself and perhaps take a little break from arty stuff, though with what I don’t know. Whatever I’m trying at the moment is irritating me, even digital art.
“This, too, shall pass,” shall be my mantra until it does pass.
One thing that’s not frustrating me is my foray into baking with a bread machine. I’ve had success with a delcious spelt flour loaf. At first I thought it was a disaster as it was flat on the top. But, it’s absolutely fine when cut – pleasantly moist, as airy as proper wholemeal bread can be, and nutty in flavour.
I’ve also just baked a spiced fruit loaf, the second I’ve done, and I know how delicious it will be! My home is filled with the delicious and heart-warming smells of sweet spices and yeasty goodness.
That’s all the baking I’ll need to do for a couple of days, however. There’s only so much bread I can eat! And I really don’t want either to go to waste.
I’ve enjoyed doing these! The squares are 3.25″ x 3.25, 3.5″ x 3.5″ or 4″ x 4″ in size. The circles are almost 3.5″ in diameter.
The tiles were cut from a variety of papers – watercolour, bristol vellum and heavyweight smooth cartridge paper. I used Distress Inks to colour the paper tiles before drawing on them.
I’ve used Sakura Pigma Micron pens (05 and 01), along with some brown and one blue-green Stabilio fineliner pens.
I like them all, But my favourites are the ones that are much more geometric in nature – my initials and the A in particular. My least favourite is the E; the background to the letter just feels disjointed. I think that’s why I like the more symmetrical, geometrical designs more.
I’ve enjoyed using one or two tones of colour to add variety, interest and ‘dimension’ to the tiles. I’ve not added any shadow or highlight to these. That’s when things tend to go wrong for me as far as traditional media is concerned!
It also occurred to me that if I were to draw these on a different shaped paper, I could add dangle designs to them. (My book “A Dangle A Day” is still available). Maybe I’ll try that out in a while. Of course, I’d like to get a full set of monograms done too.
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.
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.
Wednesday is WIP day! WIP is work in progress, and this is one of my current one.
I’m working on A4 (29.7 cm x 21 cm) Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper with 05 and 01 Uniball Unipin pens.
It’s taken several hours so far, and there’s several yet to go! I’m enjoying creating such detailed drawing in just black and white. Lots of botanical elements, but there’s also arches and spirals and geometric patterns in there too.
I never have much of a plan in mind when I tackle a drawing like this. I know what patterns I like, and if I lack inspiration I can always refer to my visual dictionary or design motifs and patterns. It’s all about intuition. It’s not entirely mindless. I do make conscious decisions about what design element to use, how to use line and pattern to add volume and contrast.
I sometimes wonder, when I see my work like this, why I try to work with colour. I always feel I struggle with colour, but black and white, with or without grey, always seems to work so well for me.
I love to play with the illusion of volume in a drawing, and whether that is done with density and shape of line/pattern, or with colour (even though I really do feel I struggle with colour).
I will persevere with this illustration, drawing, artwork over the coming days. In fact, I may spend time on it today. I’ve completed my morning errands, so I can remain at home, which is where I need to be. I’m tired today; I didn’t sleep at all well last night, or for the past few nights and my mood and ability to concentrate is suffering as a result.
I finished the top right design, and have completed the ‘A’ illustration on the bottom left. That leaves one space to be filled, no doubt later today.
I’ve used either Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens or Uniball Unipin pens to complete the drawings on ClaireFontaine’s Paint-On mixed media paper. This paper is fairly weighty (250g/m²) and has a lovely velvety feel to it.
The only pencil lines I’ve used have been to delineate the ‘boxes’ to draw in, and for a couple of the design elements in the top left image as well as the A.
Reflecting on the designs
The white space in the top left design works really well I think, and is quite an accomplishment for me. The same is true, to a lesser extent for the top right design. In both cases, the white space brings attention to the design.
In contrast, the densely pattered area helps to bring out the monogram A, making the white space the focus of the design.
I think I’m going to work on some more monograms in this style. They are fun to do, and dense, entangled patterns are one of my signature artistic voices. It’s been a long time since I’ve completed art like this, with a lot of detail to bring out dimension/volume in the design.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed using line and stipple to add volume in all the designs, exploring how I like to do this as I go. All the work I do with colouring books means I have put this to one side. It’s interesting how I’ve circled back to this style. It’s even more interesting to look at how my drawing skills have developed and evolved over time as well.
I found some peace, contentment and joy while drawing these, and feel a sense of accomplishment, particularly with the two on the left.
Do I prefer digital or traditonal drawing?
A difficult question to answer. I think it depends on what I’m creating.
I really do enjoy using pen on paper. I get a better sense of the overall design. Paper and pen is very portable too – whether I’m sketching when out and about, or drawing in different places at home.
Drawing on the screen of my Surface Studio with a pen is a lot like drawing on paper. The smoothness of the screen makes it a very different tactile experience. It also is great for inking in sketches. It also makes correcting mistakes or re-working areas a lot easier, and there are techniques I can use that are near impossible or very time consuming when working traditionally.
Sometimes, the lines produced digitally are too perfect. I’m still working on developing the brush styles that will mimic the unevenness of an inked line. I do have to use some element of line-smoothing as I draw; without it the lines are really wobbly, but with it they can be too perfect and I lose, to a degree, that personal and unique way that my pen moves on paper.
I also find it difficult to have a sense of proportion or detail when working digitally, even though I can look at the design at the same size as it will be printed. The ability to zoom in and work on a small area means I lose all sense of relative size and complexity/detail of a design. So, if I’m going to work on a drawing digitally, I prefer to start with a sketch to give me that sense of scale.
I rarely sketch out my design when I work on paper, except if I need the outlines of a design element as I’m drawing. I do tend to work very intuitively.
So the answer is, I prefer each for different purposes, and also to suit my different moods and purposes.
Of course, once I’ve drawn a design, I then have to decide if I want to add colour, and then what media I will use – traditional or digital!
Today I thought I’d create a monogram dangle design for ‘F’ with some cute fish, as well as a couple of shells. Of course a whimsical crown with golden foliage tops the design off just nicely!
Fish means a water theme, so I used blues, and blue-greens quite liberally. However, golds and shades of red and magenta really give a tropical feel to the jolly little fish.
Fairly simple gradient colouring this week. No drop shadows, other than the one around the whole design.
Looking at it now, I think the monogram might benefit from a drop shadow or two. However, it’ll do just fine as it is I think.
It would be lovely on a card for someone with the initial F, especially if they love fish or fishing. Of course the colours can be adjusted accordingly, as can the particular kind of fish. I’m particularly fond of cute, whimsical, happy little fish.
It could happily find a place in a BuJo, scrapbook, planner, journal or diary. Making the monogram narrower and the dangles longer, it would make a lovely bookmark too, I think.
Just a little mention here about my book “A Dangle A Day”. It’s a dangle design tutorial book, Angela -style dangles that is. Lots of monograms as well as dangle designs for use around the year. It’s a good place for beginners, but is also full of ideas for the more experienced among you. And, of course, I add a new dangle design on this blog most Fridays which you can use for inspiration. I’d love to see what you create! Tag me on social media!
It’s definitely a sampler of patterns, ideas, and playing around with digital techniques.
It is, however, quite an accomplishment – at more than one point along the way I just wanted to give up on it.
Looking at it now, there are parts I’d want to change, such as that ‘waterfall’ of green scales in the bottom centre of the A.
I have learned quite a few things, and put together other stuff too in a simpler way.
I’ve also learned that starting with a sketch may be a good idea in future – a sketch with at least the main beams of the supporting structure and main design elements in place, even if just in outline shape form.
At one point, I’d had an idea about continuing some of the ‘tubes’ to the edge of the canvas, maybe making them appear as if they were diving down into the paper, and popping up along their path, acting like laces holding the crazy A down.
However, I didn’t do that this time. Matching up colours, shading, patterns etc would be a tad awkward and frustrating for me, especially if I just wanted to carry the ‘tube’ on from the edge of the letter.
It is, however, something I can consider trying to do in the future.
Despite me thinking it yesterday, I haven’t left any white space in the letter itself, just leaving the white space around it. I tried, but it just didn’t feel quite right in this particular design.
I have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on this – many tens of hours I would think – with very few frustrations along the way.
I think I have some fish to finish along with the ‘Be Brave’ design I was working on before I wandered off to have a go at this idea for a crazily entangled monogram.
So, between them and work for the next colouring book I have quite a bit of stuff to keep me busy for sure.
All I need to say now is that I used my usual trio of tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I’ve got a bit more work done on this entangled monogram. It’s coming along fairly well, though I’m still not at all sure about the colour choices. Mind you, that often happens with me and I persevere and it works out fine at the end.
As usual my trio of digital tools are : Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
So Angela, how are you today?
I’m still really, really tired. I got to bed early-ish (for me). I had weird dreams again. That’s the third night in a row.
I could just go back to bed, but I can’t. I’m taking my sister out for lunch and she’ll be arriving soon.
I’m still content, but there’s a shadow there too. It may be tiredness. It may be the inner critic taking advantage of my tiredness. It may be that sense of deflation after EMDR. Or it could be any combination of these or something else entirely!
What I do know is that I’ll focus on that contented feeling that is there, if a little in the background today.
It’s not that long ago that this kind of tiredness would have me really down in the dumps, sad, miserable, fed up. I’m tired, but my lack of energy is due to tiredness, some of which is emotional tiredness after EMDR. It is taking a while for me to recover this week.
That’s OK though, for recover I will. I’ll soon be full of energy (relatively speaking) once again.