Seven plane symmetry, using a flexible nib pen to carve through black to reveal the design in copper. Done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
I really have been enjoying creating this kind of design lately and I make no apologies for showing so many that seem to be similar. I find creating these so soothing and calming.
Here, I wanted to see how a metallic background texture would work, and it does really well, just not on WordPress and how the website shows images. The colours never seem to be as vibrant as they do elsewhere.
What I love about this process is that I have no idea of what the end product will be. It’s all about being in the flow, working intuitively, and trusting my skills and creativity.
Often, I’m so zoomed in to the section I’m drawing I’m not aware of how the overall design is looking and working. That means I really do have to trust my instincts, and trust that it will all fit together to create a satisfying end result, and I am happy with it.
Another lovely day or so spent hand lettering and drawing the etntangled designs around the monograms.
I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on 15cm x 15cm pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.
The Tombow Fudenosuke pens are giving me a much thicker line than I’d usually use, along with variable line width too. I must admit I rather like the bolder lines as they really define the designs. What do you think about my use of bolder line?
I have scanned these, and yesterday’s A and B monograms, so I can add colour digitally, should I choose to do so. At the moment I’m really just enjoying the graphic quality of the black and white line art.
Today is EMDR therapy day for me. My appointment is mid-afternoon and it’s been almost a fortnight since my last one as there’s been a Bank Holiday in between.
I must say that I’ve had quite a contented fortnight. The last session was rather disturbing and distressing and though I was absolutely exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically after it for the rest of the day and part of the next, I think I found my balance much quicker than I expected.
I’ve had my moments, hours, mind you. Often when I’m tired and need a nap. So, I take a nap if I can. That’s one of the fab things about being a self-employed/freelancing artist/illustrator/author. It’s a lot easier to do self-care things when self-care is needed. If I need a nap, I can often take a nap. If I need a day or three to recover from EMDR I can take that time, or at least break the time up so I have chunks of self-care in amongst the work I need to do to fulfil contracts.
I really am grateful for this flexibility, a flexibility that is in sharp contrast with the very structured, timetabled, hamster-wheel existence of my life as a teacher.
Flexibility and freedom – a double edged sword
It’s really difficult for me to make full use of the flexibility and freedom I have. I often have an urge to go out somewhere, but I can never decide on where to go, or when to go, or whether I should even bother going as really, what do I want to go there for. Telling myself it’s to sketch, draw, photograph, gain inspiration, for the experience, because I like to walk when I do go and walk, because being in nature is good for my emotional and mental wellbeing, or just because I CAN just doesn’t cut it with the problems that arise from the CPTSD, especially anxiety and social anxiety that forms part of the experience of being a survivor of trauma.
Sometimes I manage to sneak up on myself and surprise myself and get out and about and visit somewhere either familiar or new to me.
More often than not the inner critic manages to talk me out of it.
I think I need to make a list of places close to me, and a bit further away, that I’d like to visit. A list that contains both familiar and unfamiliar places.
Familiar places are less stressful for me to visit on my own. Knowing my way around, knowing where I can enjoy lunch or tea, knowing where I can park my car and knowing I can find my way back to the car, and so on and so forth makes it a much easier experience for me.
Going somewhere unfamiliar increases stress for me as simple things like going into an unfamiliar cafe for some tea or lunch causes me huge anxiety when I’m by myself. The worry about not being able to find my way back to my car is another added source of anxiety too. Even going into unfamiliar shops, cathedrals, museums and so on provokes anxiety in me.
It’s that old fear from being a bullied, abused child that rises up where I worry if I’ll get hurtful comments from people, if I’ll make a fool of myself in some way and people will laugh, if they’ll pass comment about my choice of food or tea.
None of these things have happened to me as an adult, yet the anxiety that lurks within me rises up and tells me again and again that these things may happen. The voice of my anxiety, of my inner critic, can paralyse me or cause me to flee back home without even getting out of my car, that’s if I even manage to drive to where I’d like to go.
If I have company I’m really brave. I’m often the first to enter a cafe or similar and ask for a table and so on. I’m the one who will bravely explore a new cathedral or museum or place quite eagerly.
On my own though, the inner critic is way too strong as I feel vulnerable. As vulnerable as I did when I was a child and all the way through my adult life.
I can overcome this vulnerability, the anxiety, if there is a purpose to my trip, such as giving an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I do it because I don’t want to let others down (as well as because I believe in the mission of Time to Change Wales).
Part of my anxiety is that I never, or rarely, ask anyone to go out with me (not go out in a romantic sense, just go out as in a jolly day out visiting somewhere of mutual interest and enjoying pleasant company). The fear of rejection is still too huge. I’m also very much aware that people I’d call friends and family are busy with their own family and work and so on, and I never, ever, want to become a burden to anyone.
That’s something that I learned early in my life – not to bother anyone with my needs or problems or issues. It’s something as an adult I’ve not gotten over yet.
I also am aware that there are trips I need to make solo. I like to sit and draw and write in places I visit. I can lose myself in this for a long time, I can take as much time as I need to look at . If I’m with someone I don’t want to spoil their day by indulging myself in such an activity. If I’m by myself I don’t have to worry about them not enjoying themselves as much as they could, so I tend to put my needs completely to one side to make sure they’re happy.
Being a people pleaser is part of the CPTSD. It’s what I did to try to gain approval of people who would never approve of anything I did or said or how I looked. Rejection, ridicule, being put down was par for the course no matter what I did. That didn’t stop me trying to please others, to make sure they were happy as if they were happy then perhaps I’d have an easier time of it and wouldn’t be pushed away yet again.
CPTSD sure messes a person up.
I know that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety who are able to do these simple, everyday, taken for granted things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea. They’re able to overcome that anxiety and don’t buy into it’s messages.
I’ve not learned to overcome it or have disempowered the inner critic enough that I can do these simple everyday things, well not yet. I think the critic has a way to go to be disempowered first.
Still, there are days when I’ll be able to sneak up on myself and head out and actually visit places, sketchbook and visual BuJo in my bag, and take that time and will wonder at how I don’t do things like that more often as it’s really not that bad.
I hope those days will eventually outweigh the days where the inner critic wins out.
Until that days comes I just need to be kind to myself and not beat myself up about giving in to the inner critic once again and remind myself a day will soon come where through sneakery or just disempowering the inner critic enough that I can go out.
Today I thought you’d like to see my current work in progress, including the tools I’m using for it – Unipin Pens from Uniball and a mechanical pencil.
The pencil was only used for drawing the margins delineating the space within which I’m working. This helps stop me run off the page as well as keeping my mind’s desire for straight-ish edges happy.
This has already taken some hours to complete; I’m not sure how many as I don’t really keep track of my time. I know that I may get it finished at some point this evening (I’m writing this mid-morning UK time) if I manage to get all my errands and other tasks done in a timely fashion.
My process is quite simple really. I start with a motif somewhere on the page, a simple outline shape. I then add detail to this shape. I then let shapes flow out from this point, first drawing the foundation lines, then adding the detail.
Finally, I’ll decide if I’m going to add shadows/shading and with what medium I’ll do that. Sometimes I may decide to colour the image, or digitally alter the colours of the lines or background.
If I decided to draw digitally, my steps are the same, though I may start with a sketch on paper of the main lines in the design so I can make sure I have some reference to the actual scale of the design.
Oh, and I rarely draw in pencil first when I work directly on paper. The only times I do is when I may use circle stencils or french curves to add a large curve/shape. Mostly, it’s pen without any pencil guides.
I work very intuitively; I just let the lines and patterns flow in a way that is pleasing to my eye and mind at the time I draw designs such as these.
This is now finished! It’s taken a lot of time over the past few days, but I’m happy with it now.
It’s been completed on A3 mixed media paper using a variety of media. Details have been added using coloured pencils and iridescent/metallic paints, hence the shimmery, shiny spot to the left. These details are a nightmare to photograph, but hopefully you’ll get enough of an idea from what you can see in the image.
Adding the iridescent patterns was a bit like using ithildin; I had to have the light at the right angle so I could see what I was doing and that also involved me cricking my neck at awkward angles!
My only problem now is to put a price on my work to sell it; so any sensible help/advice would be greatly recieved! Oh, I also need to find a name for it too…
Well, it’s been snowing here. The school was closed today for pupils and staff and I can’t say that I’m sorry. It’s been a long, busy, hardworking and stressful week with the inspection going on. Few of us were seen – just 25 lessons from over 70 staff. The reporting back is delayed until next week due to the closure today, but at least the evidence collecting was done before the school closed so we won’t have to face this again for a while …
I am shattered. I have very mixed emotions about the inspection and the great sense of aloneness/loneliness I felt throughout it all. I found it hard to not put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to do more and more and more as others around me were doing more and more and more to dazzle and impress. No wonder everyone is exhausted and many looking haggard, increasingly so as the days went by.
I had little time for art, little time for myself. I’m exhausted today, teary, with the negative self-talk in full force at times.
I did manage to get a little art done. These two are my efforts. Both around 6″ x 8″ (15cm x 20cm) in size. One worked with Rotring pens, the other with an ultrafine Sharpie. Titles for them, ‘Flowing from the heart’ and ‘Flowing from the heart 2’.