This became yesterday’s self-care drawing. When I’m not feeling all that right my default setting is this kind of drawing. It really does help soothe my unbalanced mental and emotional health. Thank goodness that today I’m feeling a lot more myself, whatever that means. In this context I think it means more emotionally calm and kind of content and a less worrisome and fretting mind. My background anxiety levels are still a tad elevated, but not as bad as they were over the weekend and through to yesterday.
I hand lettered the monogram on an A4 sheet of Daler-Rowney Bristol Board using Uniball Unipin pens. I then just let my pens draw some new and old favourite motifs and patterns to create this abstract, entangled art.
Yes, the P is a bit off-centre, but I didn’t measure it out! I just drew it. I didn’t plan on doing the entangled drawing stuff. I was just going to spend sometime with hand lettering…just goes to show that instinctively I knew what I needed yesterday to help soothe me. I could lose myself in the flow and give my mind and emotions a bit of a break.
It took me several hours to complete, and this morning I scanned it in, added a background texture and the watermarks with digital wizardry.
My only consideration for it at the moment is whether to leave it as is (black and white), to add shading in greys, or whether to add colour. I’m also quite tempted to add some gold to the monogram, just in places. I could print it out and try that on a copy before I commit myself to altering the original.
Today I do need to settle to inking in some sketches for the next coloring book. Maybe do some more sketches as well.
I wanted to start my arty day with some intricate fountain pen drawing, and this is the result.
I didn’t draw on coloured paper though. I tried on some parchment paper from Manuscript, but the ink smudged so easily…so I thought I’d try some mixed media paper from Claire Fontaine, and I still had some faint smudging, but not as much as on the parchment paper, so I worked with it, knowing that I’d be able to clean it up digitally, which is what I’ve done.
I also added a coloured background to the artwork, trying to mimic the parchment paper. I think I’m going to have to scan those papers in to create texture backgrounds I can use digitally.
I kept the monogram shape really simple, though as I look at it now there’s space inside for some embellishment – maybe a bar or two with finials or beads on, nothing fancy though. Mind you, I’d love to add gold leaf to the borders and colour to the K as well. Maybe something I can do sometime in the future, with another monogram styled like this one but without the ink smudging that I could only remove digitally.
Note to self:- use paper that fountain pen ink will dry thoroughly on, on bleed on and won’t smudge easily!
I enjoy the tiny, intricate drawing as well, it is something that brings a gentle smile to my being.
Oh, I did use fountain pens to draw with. I used a broad Kaweco pen for the outlines of the letter and boxes. I then used a fine point Kakuno pen by Pilot for the patterns.
There were lots of oohs and ahhs and wows from me as I browsed around and picked up a fair selection of pens and pencils – a pink Brunnen fountain pen, a teal Faber-Castell Poly Matic 0.7 automatic pencil along with a couple of cases of 2B leads, some spiral pen/pencil grips by Tombow, an set of coloured Pentel Energel pens (12 pens in fabulous colours!), and an R2D2 fountain pen from Shaffer!
I know, I have a problem!
I had a lovely chat with the lady in the shop (whose name I’ve forgotten) about stationery, pens, drawing, teaching and so on. We also experienced a huge bang as a car collided with a big van outside the shop. We weathered the ensuing drama quite well, all things considered.
My pen stash has some lovely new additions, especially the R2D2 pen! If you didn’t know, I love Star Wars, amongst other things.
I’ll definitely be visiting The Pencil Case again, and I’ll be using the pens, fountain and Energel, to draw with alongside my other fountain pens.
Here’s a pretty pair of whimsical and cute dangle designs card and envelope.
For the focal point of the card I used a butterfly from a pack of Ephemera from Tim Holtz called Botanical. I added some metallic gold ink highlights to the butterfly as I knew I’d be adding gold to the design. I also edged the butterfly with some Peeled Paint Distress Ink using a sponge ink applicator.
I then cut my paper to fit the card blank I wanted to use; I learned my lesson from the the last card I made! The card blank measured 8½” by 4¼”. So, I cut a piece of Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper 7¾” by 3¾” to create the dangle design on.
I used the butterfly as a guide as to where I wanted to add some flowers upon which it could alight. I also drew pencil guidelines in for the centre of the design and the sentiment banner.
Then it was drawing the design. I used a 05 Unipin pen from Uniball.
I started by drawing the flowers at the top of the design.
Next, it was the hand lettering for the sentiment ‘Just for you’.
Flowers, hearts, stars and spherical and teardrop shaped beads are my goto choices for dangles. I did add a charm that was based on some jewellery, as well as a square charm with a geometric pattern inside it.
When I’d drawn the main dangle I realised I wanted to add a bit of width to it. So, I added two bars stretching out from the side of the square charm and used the ends to hang dangles made up of hearts and beads.
Colouring was the next task. I used Tombow Dual Brush pens to colour the design in. The colour gradients weren’t strong enough for me, so I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to add depth to the colours.
Then, it was time to attach the butterfly using some foam squares.
I then used a dip ink pen to add some dots of gold FW Pearlescent ink around the design. I also used gold to fill in the lettering of the sentiment and various elements of the dangle design.
Next, I added white dots highlights to some of the design elements using a Sakura Souffle pen.
I also used a blue-grey Chameleon pencil to add shadows to the design at this point.
Before affixing the design to the card blank I used a sponge ink applicator and Peeled Paint Distress Ink to edge the design. That was the card done.
I then thought it would be fun to create an example of an addressed envelope using a dangle design as a monogram. I used some of the charms from the card for this design. I also drew some simple, whimsical butterflies above the monogram. I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to colour the dangle design and to add a shadow to the dangle.
Pencil guidelines helped me to keep my lettering evenly spaced and of a consistent size. In this case I just guesstimated them, but in future I think I will need to measure the spacing of the lines!
Finally, I added some glittery golden stars with a gold glitter Uniball Gel pen as well as some white dot highlights using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
One thing I realise I didn’t do was to make the colours in the dangle more harmonious with the butterfly. The color tones of the butterfly are quite antique and grungy and I used rather bright, clean colours to colour the design with. I also am not happy with the monogram on the envelope; it’s too small and the lettering style doesn’t seem sympathetic to the rest of the lettering.
I’m going to put these down to me still suffering the lingering effects of the stinking cold I’ve had for the past three days. It’s definitely broken now, but I’m still not 100%.
It’s also a learning experience. I’m not a wonderful card maker; I do dabble in it from time to time, however dangle cards are fun to make and with the decorated envelopes it’s double the fun! I think I need to start sending happy mail to people! I’d be happy to receive this card with a letter inside – how would you feel about it?
The design for the Q monogram comes from my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ (published on 15 Jan 2019). I printed the design out on heavyweight printer paper and used a combination of Chameleon markers, Copic Markers and Chameleon pencils to colour the designs. The original drawing was hand drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on a Microsoft Surface Studio using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Once I’d finished the colouring, I then added some embellishments. I’m not a good photographer and sparkly and shiny elements are not easy to photograph, and even worse to scan!
Here’s the details of the embellishments I added:
Aqua coloured Nuvo Glitter drops can be seen dotted around and within the design. These really sparkle and catch the light; they also dry raised, like a sparkly water drop. I also used a Wink of Stella brush pen to add subtle sparkle to the hearts and flower. Then, I realised that the Q was lost in the blue background which was similar in tonal value to the letter. So, I used an extra fine fountain pen to add a pattern made of various sizes of tiny circles to the background.
I just used gold Nuvo drops to embellish the design as well as Wink of Stella to add some subtle shimmer to the hearts and flower.
I used a Spectrum Noir clear sparkle pen to add shimmer and shine to the letter and the hearts. Dots of silver Nuvo glitter drops were added around the design. I also used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to add dots to the letter and the centre of the flower. Finally, I used an extra fine fountain pen with black ink to add the patterns in the frame. This helps the letter to stand out in the design. I also used Sakura Stardust Gelly Roll pens to colour in the arrow feathers. These pens allow the underlying colour to show through in a subtle way.
Orange-gold Nuvo glitter drops were added around the design. The clear Spectrum Noir sparkle pen was used to add shimmer and shine to the letter and the dark blue ‘bars’ in the frames around the Q. Finally, I used the extra fine fountain pen with black ink to add patterns to the bars and the letter as well as a solid drop shadow to the left and bottom of the design elements to help them stand out.
These designs could be used for note cards or greetings cards, bookmarks and more. However, they’d make a beautiful ‘drop capital’ at the start of a quote or message.
Of course, it would be easy to substitute the Q for another letter or numeral, or even a cute doodle drawing. Instead of a drawing, you could affix an object such as a dried flower, a metal charm, a dimensional sticker, an inchie, or anything else you can think of. You could even put a small photograph in the frame instead of the letter, and this would make a unique, charming card or feature on a scrapbook, journal or bujo page.
Your options are only limited by your imagination and creativity!
In my book, ‘A Dangle A Day’, I mention that just by changing the colour scheme you can easily change the appearance of a dangle design for an occasion or to match someone’s favourite colours. So, I thought it would be nice to show an example of this.
I chose a simple monogram dangle design from the book; you can see it in the top left corner. This dangle design has a very spring-like feel to it with the lovely bright pinks and greens of the new, fresh flowers and leaves that blossom and bloom at this time of year.
Taking my cue from this, I coloured in three versions of this design in the seasonal colours.
At the top right is a summery version, with a lovely warm sunrise as the background to the letter, blue summer skies, warm golden sun, and the bright and warm colours of the flowers. A golden summer glow could be achieved by using a hint of gold Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake, or by adding dots of gold glittery wonderfulness.
Autumn tones were used in the bottom left version. Fiery oranges, reds and yellows and clear autumnal sky blues were used. Enamel dots, glitter pens or stickles would add sparks of autumnal glory to this design.
The final design has a definitely cool wintry colour scheme – icy blues, cool purple and the blue-green tones of evergreens, along with silver. To this I could add white snowflakes or stars with a gel pen, or dots of silver glitter with Stickles from Ranger or Nuvo Drops or a glitter gel pen. Using a Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake to colour over the design would result in a lovely, sparkly, frosty finish.
Of course, there are many, many ways that the designs could be embellished to suit your taste, supplies or the recipient. So much fun can be had adding embellishments which also personalise the design even more.
I hand drew the original design on paper and then digitally for the book. My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which I also used for the colour variations above. I set the ‘brush’ pens up for the book so they mimicked the shapes/patterns pens on paper create and left lines a little wobbly and imperfect, just as I would when drawing on paper. Indeed, I very much treat my Surface Pen and Surface Studio screen as if they’re pen and paper in the way that I draw (and colour).
I do hope you’ll give dangle designs a go, and that you’ll show me the results of your work. You can find me online here:
Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).
By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!
For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.
I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.
Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.
Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.
I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!
It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.
Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.
An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.
I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.
It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.
I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.
I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.
Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.
When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design