Keep the alliterative theme going; today is #MotifMonday! Also, happy Valentine’s Day to you all too.
A motif is something I use either for a focal point or in clusters as part of my drawing. Although motifs can form patterns, I tend to use the term for a particular design I like to use. I tend to use the word ‘fragment’ for that kind of motif that would fit into a grid (reticulum in Zentangle-ese).
As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d start off with roses, which led to other favourite flower motifs. Along with some, hopefully helpful, suggestions about creating volume in the drawings.
I use a lot of floral, botanical, organic motifs in my artwork, so I’m looking forward to sharing some of these with you.
This page is getting fuller by the day! What started off as semi-circular botanical motifs has taken a direction of it’s own. Oh, the starting shape is basically the same – an arch. But some of my arches are now tall and thin!
They’re not all botanical anymore either. Some feel distinctly mechanical, others more coral-like. The more semi-circular ones look like fancy fish scales. The tall and thin ones look a bit like feathers.
Hence the name change. However, what is the same is the idea of exploring patterns/basic shapes and seeing where that leads. What happens is the page becomes filled with lots of variations on a theme. Like here.
I enjoy these more abstract motifs, lots. They’re fun to do and the only limits are your imagaination and/or creativity.
I didn’t film all of the new motifs being drawn, but here’s today’s vlog.
This morning, I decided to add some motifs to my visual journal from the drawing I started, and finished, yesterday.
Last night, UK time, I met up with some of the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group on Zoom. It was lovely to meet them. They actually pointed out some connections between me being a scientist and my visual dictionary/zibaldone being organised in categories. I’d never thought of that before.
In fact, the discussion about where I get my inspiration and my visual dictionary resulted in the idea for the video this morning.
This morning I needed to do something arty to give me a bit of a break from the butterfly. So, I decided to create a digital sketchbook page in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It dawned on me that I could record the steps I took to create this page as a flipbook, which is what I did.
The little drawings include just a few of my favourite motifs/patterns that crop up in my colouring book pages or templates quite often, as well as in my artwork in general.
Creating little blocks of colour to draw on that aren’t perfect shapes is different for me, and not so easy for me to do it turns out.
I find creating flipbooks fun, and it’s a nice way to share a little of my process with people too. It’s also a nice way to shake up my creativity a little, to do something a bit different, especially when I need a break from a project I’m working on.
I used Movavi Video Suite 2020 to slow the flipbook animation down so it can be followed as a tutorial, as well as to add the intro/outro screens and music.
As always, my digital tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
Today, I’ve been drawing little flower motifs and borders to go along with a lovely quote about flowers and hope.
The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Colour, typography and background texture have been added digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Flowers are some of my favourite things to draw, whether they be highly stylised or more realistic.
My snowdrops and crocus have the feel of being wood cut or lino cut and printed, that kind of vintage feel. The flexible nibs on the Fudenosuke pens help me achieve this look. Also, the fairly simple colouring and addition of texture help too.
I’ve left the colouring as is, maybe for now. However, I now have these motifs ready to use in other projects, as they occur to me. Colour certainly helps to lift them off the background and bring them to life.
I’m still in self-soothing mode after Monday’s emotionally draining trigger and EMDR session. I’m feeling a lot brighter, content, and not worried, but I’m tired as the stress from Monday is still affecting my sleep. It takes days for the stress hormones to leak away from me, bearing in mind I always have an elevated level thanks to the CPTSD.
Any way, back to art…
My self-soothing arty activity involved adding some patterns and motifs to my visual Zibladone (kind of a journal thingy). Always a soothing kind of experience for me. It also gave me the practice with pen on paper that I’ve discovered I need to do daily.
While drawing these patterns and motifs, I knew I wanted to try to create some of them in colour, with a lot of texture and dimension. So, the best way for me to do this is with a mandala. Well, that’s what I ended up starting work on. Originally I wanted to create a page similar to one in my Zibladone, with examples of motifs and patterns that are drawn/coloured digitally.
I may turn my attention to that after I’ve had some lunch. I’ll see.
Yesterday, I also completed the August template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I’ll post an image of it tomorrow, but it’s up in the group already, along with a colour palette challenge for August. The template is exclusive to members of the group, and new members are always made welcome there. I’m always blown away by the beautiful and unique ways in which the members of the group bring my line art to life with the magic of colour.
One of the things that is really nice about being between contracts is the opportunity to create art just for the fun of creating art and not having to stay within the limits of the contract. Not that drawing to fulfil contracts isn’t fun, it is. It’s just that I have to work within the remit of the contract.
Yesterday evening and this morning I’ve been having a contented time creating some entangled monograms. I’ve cut some Winsor and Newton Bristol Board down to approx 15cm x 15cm (approx 5.75″ x 5.75″).
I penciled in some guidelines for the edges of the artwork and for the position of the monogram.
First job was to hand letter the monogram. I did start with pencil guidelines for each letter, then used a hard Tombow Fudenosuke pen to ink them in.
Then, the real fun begins, which is the entangling of the space around the monogram. I used the Fudenosuke pen along with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Uniball Unipin 0.2 and 0.1 pens.
All done in plain black and white, with just the weight and concentration of lines adding depth and dimension to the finished design.
I do want to add colour to these at some point. I love pure black and white artwork, but colour can bring them to life as well. Digital colouring is my favourite way of adding colour these days, but I may print copies out on to marker friendly paper and then use Chameleon Duotones and Color Tops to add colour. I’ll see how I feel about that.
As is my wont, I had no preconceptions of how the entangling would unfold. I just let it flow. Some of my favourite motifs and patterns have been used. I did refer to my visual BuJo for ideas/inspiration from time to time too.
Yes, a visual BuJo (bullet journal). Or, rather, it’s a collection of motifs and patterns that are being organised using ideas from the Bullet Journal system of keeping a journal. It works for me. I have a way to help me find continuations of collections, or to start a new one, and not worry about a collection being on consecutive pages.
My visual BuJo is an A5 sized, dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine. It’s a soft back one so isn’t quite as weighty as Leuchtturms and the like. It is also a little less bulky in size, which helps when I want to travel light on a day out.
Mind you, when fill this present visual BuJo I may use a Leuchtturm for my next one. We’ll see…
It is also something that encourages me to seek out new patterns and motifs to add to it, as if I didn’t have enough already! Doing this is a good way to just practice my drawing skills and observation skills, as well as analysing a motif or pattern, breaking it down into simple shapes and steps to draw a stylised version.
I do tend to favour more stylised motifs and patterns in my art, that’s for sure.
So, I now no longer feel the need to try new ideas out for keeping my reference material, constantly redrawing them again and again. The visual BuJo is working for me for sure.
When I’m having a tough time emotionally/mentally with my CPTSD and/or EMDR it can be soothing, comforting for me to use the familiar, and of course I can still do that. I just don’t need to spend a lot of time drawing and redrawing and redrawing again the same things in my search for a perfect record keeping system for patterns and motifs.
The BuJo inspired system may not be perfect, but it works for me.
One other positive that has come from me using a BuJo is that I’ve had to learn to let mistakes go and just leave them in the notebook. The mistakes are what I need to make in order to understand how to draw a pattern or motif. Sometimes, though, a new pattern or motif arises from the mistakes.
Something else I’m starting to do is to make notes alongside the patterns with where to start, the order in which to draw the parts of the pattern or motif, and ideas for varying it.