Just a little something I wanted to try out – using hand-drawn typography to create illustrations. I chose a mushroom, for no other reason than I like mushrooms.
It’s more about practising the hand-drawn typography or hand lettering than anything else.
What I realised, when I completed the black and white version, is that I could’ve varied the weight of the letters to produce highlights. That’s for another day, I think.
I also had to try adding colour, and in that way adding highlight and shadow.
I like both versions, but I think I like the coloured one a bit more.
I mentioned I’m following the Sarah King Domestika course – Hand-Drawn Typographic Portraits. I have started work on my first portrait, but it’s going to take me a while to do. In the meantime, little projects, like the mushroom, will give me plenty of practice as well as a chance to work out my process and way of working, as well as how I’d like to use it so it adds a note of harmony to my artistic song.
I started with a pencil sketch of the mushroom. Then, I added the words in rough with pencil. I scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then used my Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, to hand-draw the typography. Even though I’m using digital media. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is a lot like working on paper, but it streamlines the process and allows me to skip a lot of the tedious steps. It also lets me take a black and white drawing and add colour quite easily.
I’ve done this while I’m waiting for a migraine-type headache to subside enough that I can return to bed and sleep the dregs of it away. I’m nearly at that point now as I’m beginning to feel tired and sleepy. So, I’ll get the rest of the social media postings done, and then crawl back into bed to sleep.
It’s a sunny day here in South Wales, a much-needed one for me as sunshine helps to lift my mood. It’s also day 16 of Inktober – halfway through the challenge to draw something each day using a prompt list.
I’m using three lists from three Instagrammers:
Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
Tangle Patterns by @havepen_willdraw
So, my Inktober art for today features a kangaroo skull, Lactarius torminosus fungi and the Trentwith tangle pattern.
After drawing the skull, I added colour to make it feel more dimensional. I used a monochrome colour palette based on the Lactarius torminosus mushrooms. I also needed to draw something calming for me, and that means a mandala. So, I included the circular Trentwith tangle pattern in the mandala along with very stylised Lactarius t. fungi. Again, I used the same colour palette as for the skull to make the overall design more cohesive.
I like the way the colours work and the way they bring the design together. I’m also glad I left the black line art on the skull; it helps the skull to stand out against the mandala.
To complete today’s Inktober challenge, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
Another sketchbook style of page from me. The prompts for today were rabbit skull, Macrolepiota excoriata fungus and Yin-cut tangle pattern (Instagram lists from @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).
Simple, fun, with space for more additions if I should choose to do so in the future.
As I’m typing this, I realise that I could have added some patterns etc. from the skull in boxes. Duh go me!
On this skull I have increased the contrast between highlighted/shadowed areas. I’ve forgotten to sort the teeth out, however, and they do look a tad flat.
To draw the mushrooms, texture panels and the tangle pattern I used a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen with Rhodia dotgrid paper.
I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to draw the skull and also to add colour/shading to the skull, some of the fungi drawings and the colour swatches and gradient. I also added a vintage, aged, grungy textured paper as the background.
I’m a day late posting this Inktober drawing. My plans for yesterday went somewhat awry as I went to help out a friend in need. So, no beating myself up for the tardiness!
The prompts of the day were a snake skull, the Schizophyllum commune fungus and the Floo tangle pattern (from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).
I started with the fungus as I really wasn’t really enthused by snake skulls. The caps and gills of the Schizophyllum c. formed lovely shapes and lines, and so I focused on areas of them to do some small drawings using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on dotgrid paper. All I wanted to do was capture the flow of the lines and the interesting shapes and patterns too. I wanted to keep it simple, so no shading or highlights – just pure pattern.
As I was drawing the squares filled with line and pattern I was reminded of how I used to create sketchbooks while doing my AS and A level Art exams around 15 or so years ago. I used to colour the pages or use interesting paper to draw on and collect the patterns and shapes that really interested me. I often focused on small areas of the object of interest and drew the details in squares and rectangles. I added an example of the Floo tangle pattern to a rectangle, just to make sure I’d included that challenge for the day.
So, it was a natural segue for me to add the grungy, vintage paper to the background as I turned Inktober Day 12 into more of a sketchbook page.
I was also reminded of how I used to use charcoal and white pastel or chalk to draw on coloured papers, and I thought I’d do that with the skull, but with my signature black outlines. I drew this digitally, and mimicked the process of laying down charcoal and chalk and blending the colours. I think I’ve managed to do that quite successfully digitally, though, yet again, I could have done with a bit more contrast in places.
So, rather than an illustration that combines all three prompts for the day, I’ve ended up with an interesting melange of images.
If I were to spend more time on this page, I’d add some highlights/shadows and maybe colour to some of the drawings of fungi. I’d also overlay some dot grid paper to the background. I’d also add some hand-lettered information and commentary on the drawings.
However, if I did that it would eat into my time to take on Day 13 of Inktober today, as well as get some work done for commissions/contracts.
Today’s Inktober prompts were rat skull, Lactarius indigo fungi, and the cubine tangle pattern from Instagram lists by @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.
What did I end up with? A very stylised drawing that is rather Art Nouveau in style.
I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the rat skull. I also am rather enamored by the Art Nouvea-y fungi and fronds.
Simple colours were needed for this design, along with a texture overlay that makes it look a little less ‘digitally perfect’.
Yes, I did draw this digitally, again using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.
I may not get tomorrow’s Inktober done, as I won’t be home until quite late tonight I think.
World Mental Health Day 2019
I’m currently sat in a hotel in Llandudno, having breakfast and getting myself ready to go and set up a table and take part at an event in a different hotel.
I’m going to be at the Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit where I’ll be talking to delegates but also taking part in the ‘Open Minds’ workshops in the afternoon, which is all about taking positive action on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
I’m there as a Time to Change Wales champion, and so will be giving a short version of my mental health story at the start of the workshops.
Time to Change Wales is an all-Wales campaign that aims to reduce, if not end, the stigma and discrimination around mental illness by getting people to have conversations about mental health.
I’ve suffered poor mental health all my life, having developed cPTSD in early childhood. The rest of my life, until the past few years, saw my mental health decline until I had two big breakdowns. EMDR therapy has been the ‘magic pill’ for me, that is helping me to process and release the traumas of my past and replace the negative beliefs I have about myself with more positive ones.
If I had known what good mental and emotional health was, as well as what it wasn’t, sooner in my life I may have sought help sooner. The self-stigma I have experienced around my own mental health prevented me from recognizing I had a problem and also made it difficult for me to seek help.
Indeed, my mental and emotional ill health would cause physical ill health in me when I was ignoring the stress, depression, anxiety, fear, hypervigilence, and other symptoms of cPTSD.
If I can change attitudes, make people more aware of what good mental health is, help people to recognise that they too may be suffering and then seek help, then I’m doing a good thing. Oh, and of course getting people to talk about mental health, thus beginning to break down the stigma.
So, today is a good day for everyone to ask those they meet not just to ask ‘How are you feeling?’ and accept the first answer given, but to repeat the question, ‘No, really, how are you feeling?’ to let them know you really are interested in them it’s ok for them to tell you that they’re not ok.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m tired. I never sleep well away from home and I did have quite a broken night’s sleep.
However, I am also quite pleased with myself. I managed to stop at a Starbucks on the 4 hour journey to Llandudno for something to drink and eat. I then had a good walk along the sea front and pier after booking into my hotel and having a mug of tea. Then, I actually went to an Indian restaurant by myself to have an evening meal!
Maybe it was out of sheer necessity I went out. However, I could’ve just picked sandwiches or some such at a Sainsbury’s local a short walk away. But I didn’t.
I also didn’t feel all that awkward in the restaurant. I did wish I’d brought my Kindle along so I could read while waiting to be served throughout my visit. I do have the Kindle app on my phone, but I didn’t have a good enough signal in the restaurant to download the book I’m reading.
I am also feeling a little anxious about today, which is only to be expected. I’m going to a strange place, talking to people I don’t know about something that is important but that also can provoke an emotional response in me.
I realised my skull and fungi Inktober illustrations were becoming a bit samey, so I’ve tried something a bit different.
Today, I used three Inktober prompt lists – Animal Skulls from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms from @nyan_sun, both of which are on Instagram. The third is the Inktober 2019 tangle from everythingis_art.com.
I kept the tiger skull drawing very simple, but added a complex patterned mandala behind them, incorporating the Mycena chlorophos mushrooms as the final ‘ring’. I did add some very simple (and rough) shading to the skulls.
As I wanted a more graphic feel to the design, I left it in black and white, though I did place a paper texture to overlay the artwork.
Again, I worked digitally, making use of the available symmetry tools to help speed up my work. Even then it took me more than a couple of hours to complete this design.
I do like the contrast betwixt the more scientific skull illustrations and the busy background of the mandala.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
It’s Monday and so it’s EMDR therapy day for my CPTSD. I am tired today from a lack of sleep, but underlying that tiredness is that contentedness that now seems to be constantly present within me. When my emotions and thoughts are in turmoil, whipping up a veritable storm on the surface of the ocean that is me, I can still sense the contentedness in the ocean-depths.
I have no idea how EMDR will go today, nor do I have much of an idea of how I will feel after it. Last week’s session was so very confusing and not all that clear that I think that a new negative thought about myself may be started upon to bring EMDR back to a definite focus.
I thought it would be fun to do a really simple turtle skull drawing along with those Xerocomus fungi and turn them into a dangle design.
I kept to simple line drawings, focused on ocean-themed charms for the dangle, and added really simple colour in places just to give an idea of how it could look fully coloured in.
I worked digitally, with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.
The splashes of colour show how the line drawing, as simple as it is, just comes to life with colour.
If you’d like to know more about drawing dangle designs, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start. I show you how, one step at a time, you too can draw dangle designs and I have over 150 examples of dangle designs you can copy or use for inspiration.
Inktober – day 5
My prompts for day 5 are owl skull and Favolaschia calocera. The prompt lists I’m using are from two people on instagram – @book_polygamist and @nyan_sun.
I’m partway through my design – the owl skull is drawn and I’m rather pleased with it. I have yet to draw the Favolaschia and other design elements around it.
Again, I’m working digitally for day 5 and pushing stylised design just a little bit more with this one.
Reflecting on Inktober so far.
Five days in and I am really enjoying it. The hardest thing for me is to not let it dominate my arty work each day. For three out of the four days so far I have also managed to get my goal of at least two illustrations for the coloring book I’m working on done. The Inktober drawings are also giving me some ideas for the illustrations for the book as well.
I’m also finding I’m ‘rediscovering’ styles of art that I haven’t done for a long time; the owl skull is an example of this and I will write more about that when I post day 5’s ink.
Here’s two dangle designs for dangle day Friday. Simple designs, perfect for getting into the weekend vibe.
These are both experiments where I’ve worked on vellum/parchment, the kind that is used for Pergamano.
The one on the left – the monogram A – is nowhere near as garish in colour in real-life; I really don’t know what the scanner has done to the colours. I drew the design with a metallic gold Sakura Gellyroll pen. I then used Tombow Dual brush pens to colour the design on the reverse. I used shades of yellow, orange, red and magenta, but the scanner seems to have removed much of the red. I also managed to smudge the colours too. I don’t think I’ll be using Tombows on Vellum again.
I do like the gold linework and I think I’ll draw this design out again and colour on the reverse with coloured pencils, like in the dangle design on the right.
You may recognise the design on the right as last weeks dangle design. I traced that design onto vellum using a white Uniball Signo pen. I altered some of the details and the style of lettering.
Next, I did a little bit of ‘whitework’ on the reverse. This gave the highlights on the design that help to give the illusion of dimension as well as some texture. I let the design rest under a heavy book for an hour or so.
Finally, I used my Chameleon coloured pencils to colour the design in, again doing this on the reverse.
I like the colours on this one. The vellum mutes the colours somewhat, but it also softens any imperfections in the colouring.
I’m not sure about the white lines though. I need to try this one with some coloured paper underneath to help the lines stand out a bit more. I’ll post an image of it if it works.
I’d like to draw this design in gold and see how that looks. I may try black too. As well as using coloured pencils, I want to try using Copic or Chameleon markers to colour the designs in, to see how they work on vellum.
These certainly were experiments, which I’ve learned from. Not only that, I’ve got some ideas to try out the next time I use vellum. I’m trusting I’ll find the combination of line colour and colouring medium that works for me and my style of working.
What would I do with these designs? Well, they would both work really well as spreads in Bujos, planners, journals and scrapbooks. I also think the monogram would make a lovely bookmark. They’d both make nice greetings cards or notecards. I’m sure there’s lots of other things they could be used for, such as framed pictures.
If you have any suggestions for how they could be used, leave a comment.
We’re a week into September and autumn is nearly here in the Northern hemisphere, so I thought my dangle design should be one for this season. I think this would be a lovely BuJo page to separate the autumn months. I also think it would make a pretty notecard or greetings card. The hand lettering could be changed for another sentiment and it would be suitable for an autumn celebration. Alternatively, it would look great framed and hung as part of a quartet of designs that cover the four seasons; now there’s a project for me to do!
I drew the design on squared paper using Sakura pigma micron pens.
Then, I scanned the image in, used GiMP to remove the squares and create a transparent background
Next, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to colour the image, create the textured background and add a shadow to the design.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love autumn! I love the way the world changes in terms of colours over the space of a few weeks, and the colours can be absolutely glorious.
I don’t know how the long, very hot and dry summer in here in the UK will affect autumn this year.
If you would like to design some dangles and not quite sure how, then my upcoming book A Dangle A Day (available for pre-order) will lead you through the steps as well as giving you plenty of ideas for dangle design.
Just a reminder that today is the last day for you to enter any of my giveaways, the prizes being signed copies of Eerily Entangled Art, my latest book in Dover’s Creative Haven series of coloring books.
See my previous blog postfor details on how to enter. I’ll be drawing the winners at random tomorrow evening, UK time.