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.
I had an idea yesterday for a different way of creating a monogram. This is my work on it so far. The green-grey background is just to show the letter shape. I did hand letter the outline of the A.
I wanted to try this out with the way I’ve been creating digital art of late. I’m trying to keep the motifs simpler just so I can see how, or if, this will work out. So far i’m really not all that sure about it. As I’ve put a few hours into it so far, I’ll keep going and see how it progresses.
I’m wondering if using flowers may be the wrong kind of idea and I should’ve stuck to my more abstract patterns, arches and so on.
I’m really not sure about my colour choices either.
However, as it is a test piece of an idea that popped into my head I do need to work with it some more.
My mood isn’t helping me today, more about that further along this blog post.
As usual, I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m fecking shattered. I hadn’t fully recovered from EMDR on Monday and doing an anti-stigma talk drained me more than I thought it would, even though I focused on what CPTSD is, how it affects my life, the stigmatisation I’ve experienced, and both the helpful and unhelpful things people have said and done.
After the talk I was absolutely ravenous and rather than go home before going out again to something I had on in the evening, I thought I’d eat out.
So, I went to a pub/restaurant I’ve been to before and bravely went in and had a meal! All by myself! Whether this was out of sheer hunger and desperation, or whether I really was feeling brave and more confident I don’t know. But I did it!
I didn’t get home until late after the evening meeting, and though I slept long and well I am still tired now.
I have that weird double, or even triple, feeling inside me. I can sense the underlying anxiety, though it does seem to be diminished a little since EMDR on Monday. I can also feel that contentedness that seems to have taken up residence in me. However, I’m overly emotional, tearful, and sad in waves.
My therapist has said that it’s a very Western thing to think that we can only experience one emotion at a time. In the East they accept that we can feel multiple emotions at a time.
For some reason that helped me to accept that this is what is happening in me, and that I’m more aware of my emotions and thoughts after a lifetime of avoiding/ignoring them and pushing them away.
I think my mindfulness training with a Buddhist tutor really helped in accepting this too. One of the metaphors he used is that we are like the sky. The sky it’s self is calm, still, peaceful. However the winds and clouds move through the sky and they are like our emotions, the come and go in different amounts and strengths.
The contentedness I feel is that sky within. Today I have multiple clouds scudding through and circling around. Just like the clouds in the sky above me today, they will float on by.
These moods and tiredness don’t help me at all with my confidence in my creativity. When I’m emotionally exhausted I do find it hard to find the good in anything I say or do.
However, I know that in time my exhaustion is healed and my confidence increases once again.
Today is another day where I need to be kind to myself. And that kindness will begin with another mug of tea and then a good long nap. After the nap, I may feel refreshed and ready to tackle colouring a template for the cover of a book. If not, there’s tomorrow to do so.
I spent some time drawing this design yesterday (around 4 hours) and didn’t finish it. This morning I woke up wondering if I could tuck a letter away in the design, making it part of the design rather than putting the design around the letter, kind of.
So, I looked at the small-ish space I had left to the right of the design and managed to, rather clumsily, tuck a capital A in amongst the design.
The A is a bit more obvious than I’d wanted, but I worked with what I’d already done to see how it could work, or how I’d mess it up and learn from it.
Yes, I know, another A. There are letters of the alphabet I’ve never either done as a monogram or used in a design of some kind.
I quite like the idea of adding letters as part of the design, either as one occurrence of the letter or by creating a motif of some kind that contains the letter which can then be repeated as part of the overall design.
My mind is ticking over on this one…I definitely need at least one more, if not several more, cuppas before I get my head around my own idea!
I’m positive that this idea is not likely to be unique in the realms of creativity, but it is a new idea for me. Now all I have to do is to follow through with it and see where it leads.
The original drawing is approx 6″ x 6″ (15.5cm x 15.5cm) in size. I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei 04, Unball Unipin 0.1 and Pentel Sign pens to draw the design on Daler Rowney Simply… Sketch extra white paper. The paper isn’t as smooth as I usually like and it tends to ‘grab’ pencil lines, even in soft 2B, but it did the job.
Digitally all I did was to clean up the image and create a transparent background and then add a coloured, textured watercolour paper as a background to the drawing before adding my watermarks.
I do want to do some shading on this drawing, but I also have hankering to draw a mandala. Which will win out with me?
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.