Each had its own challenges, but I feel I have a few options to work with when I choose to use these patterns.
I worked in black and white, using a Pitt matt graphite pencil to add shade. That is unusual for me; usually, I like to work with colour.
Although not every section has had shade added, nor has the line weight been adjusted, I’m happy with what I produced. It will be added to my sketchbook, which is fast becoming a repository of ideas and inspiration!
Step 1 – Create a Gesso and Neocolor II background
Yesterday, I had a delivery of Finnabair Art Basics Clear and Heavy White Gessos, made by Prima Marketing. Neocolor II backgrounds are a lot of fun to make, but they do leave a smooth, waxy finish to the paper. I like drawing on it, but my pens aren’t too keen.
So, I wanted a way to seal the Necolor IIs into the paper and a surface I could draw on. Yesterday, I tried some glassy gel medium from my stash. It worked well, and the colours appeared more vibrant. It was OK to draw on, but the pen took a long while to dry, and I’m not sure how permanent the Micron ink would be on it.
Synchronicity-like, some suggested videos cropped up on YouTube where gesso had been used to prepare the paper and then seal in the Neocolor IIs, even using the gesso instead of water.
I have used gesso in the past, but it always felt very rough and gritty. However, the Finnabair Art Basics gessos had reviews that suggested they are smooth and chalky in feel. So, I had to try them.
I’m glad to say that they are smooth and chalky! I did spend a little time last night testing them out and gessoing some “polaroid pops” image tiles.
In today’s video, though, I wanted to quickly show what gesso is and how I’m thinking of using it, particularly in my sketchbooks with paper that won’t take much water.
I covered a page in my Hahnemuhle D&S sketchbook. The paper in this book is for drawing and sketching and is not designed for water-based media. I can get away with a barely damp brush on the paper, but only one, maybe two layers are possible before the paper starts breaking down. Gesso solves this by sealing the paper’s surface and creating a thin, flexible layer that can be worked upon. I used the heavy white gesso to do this.
Gesso dries really quickly, but a craft heat tool (or hairdryer) can help to speed the process up.
The next step was to add colour with the Neocolor IIs. I used water to activate them, though I could’ve used gesso. I wanted to create an uneven, weathered or worn kind of background. I started with the browns, sealed them with clear gesso. After this had dried, I added the blues and finally another layer of clear gesso.
Then, I was ready to try drawing on this.
2. Drawing on the gesso surface
I really didn’t know what would happen. I know I’ve used gesso in the distant past, but couldn’t remember if I’d used pens to draw on it or not.
As it happens, it was really lovely to draw on! The Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen did feel like it caught on the tooth of the gesso from time to time, but nothing more than a rough-surfaced paper. It may be my imagination, but the ink seemed darker on the gesso, perhaps because it dries on the surface and doesn’t sink into it, like it would with paper.
I did a test to see if, once dry, the ink would be affected by water or gesso. There was a tiny amount of pigment that seemed to move, but nothing noticeable.
3. The arch motifs/fragments
I really love round arches! It stems from my love of Romanesque architecture. I use them a lot in my artwork. So, I thought it was about time I explored individual arches as if they were fragments of a tangle pattern.
I’m so glad I rediscovered gesso. I’d forgotten how it could be used. I know the rough grittiness of the gessos I’d used in the past really did put me off using them again. However, this lovely, chalky smooth gesso is really nice to draw on. It also opens up more ways to create backgrounds and use colour. I’m sure I’ll continue to experiment and explore it going forward.
I have a big fondness for Tomas Padros’ tangle patterns, particularly Taiga. Blooming Kangular is new to me, and it’s lovely as is. But, it’s fun to do some pattern exploring to understand the tangle, and it’s possibilities, more.
Some of these patterns remind me of snowflakes. Another of star anise. And of course there are plenty of flowers too!
I had a lovely time drawing these, and I hope you will go take a look at the video and have a go a drawing along with me too!
This morning, I completed filling in the ‘Huggins’ spaces in this drawing. As always, it was a lot of fun to do, and possibly some unusual filler patterns appeared.
Given that I’m working at a lettering course, I’m particularly pleased that I got some lettering into the grid! It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I rather like how it’s turned out.
This sketchbook page is now complete. However, I have so many more variations to look at – filler patterns, various grids, ribbons, arches and so on. I think I’ll stop bothering Huggins for a little while and do something different for my next Draw With Me video tutorial.
Exploring “Huggins” is way too much fun! Actually, exploring all patterns and motifs is, but Huggins just lends itself to so many variations in lots of different ways. Even as I’m typing, another idea has come to me. It’s never ending!
I look at just a few more variations in today’s video, and I invite you to join in with me as I draw these variations.
I have lots more variations in my sketchbook, no doubt soon to have some more added!
I’m noticing that the practice of exploring, working on iterations, of these patterns and motifs is making it easier for me to do this elsewhere in my art, particularly lettering. It is fascinating how just small changes make a huge difference and lead me down paths I may not otherwise have trod, so to speak.
Becoming flexible in my creativity is something I hadn’t thought about. But here I am experiencing it and loving the process! In some ways, more than creating new artwork! I do feel, however, this is a path I need to journey down on a regular basis to keep my creativity exercised and flexible.
I always enjoy exploring tangle patterns and motifs. I never quite know what I’m going to end up with. Today, I stumbled upon ‘Flurry’, a tangle pattern by Suzanne McNeill CZT. It reminds me of ‘Shattuck’, which is one of my favourite tangle patterns to use as a border or ribbon filler.
So, I took a look at variations of Shattuck that I often use before having a little exploration of Flurry.
So, as the video was uploading and processing, Used the time to draw some tripoli-style gridded patterns.
The one to the centre-right was not a happy outcome. The one to the left is much happier! It reminds me of the view through the Millenium Falcon’s windows when jumping to hyperspace, just a bit, not exactly the same. That was a fun realisation.
I didn’t do as many variations of the patterns as usual. I like the triangular shapes of the basic fragments too much.
On another positive note, I finally figured out how I can draw the tripoli style arrangement of triangles! I don’t know how long I’ve struggled with it, but finally, the penny dropped today. Huzzah!
Gingajava, a tangle pattern by Donald Wilka CZT, is not a pattern I’m familiar with, though I think I tackled a fragment similar to this when I did a few fragments in one go a few days ago.
It’s an interesting fragment, and does lend it’s self to variations fairly well. However, to keep the essence of the tangle, not as many as I’d thought.
Having said that, my creative mind isn’t firing on all four cylinders this morning; one at best I think. So, this fragment does deserve another look at at another time.
Beyond the fragments of your imagination challenge…
Just two more fragments to do in this year’s #FYIC2022 challenge. So, my mind is turning towards what next.
These challenges are fun. They give me a defined task to do each day. I find that really helpful as I’m not very good at motivating myself at the best of times.
So, I’m not sure what to do next … not just in terms of projects for my business, but videos and social media posts.
It’s always a funny feeling I have at the end of a challenge, project, commission, contract – there’s a sense of accomplishment, but there’s also a kind of sadness, emptiness, that it has come to an end.
I’ll figure it out; I usually do. But for today, I really do need to put my head down and have a sleep. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night and my attention is straying way too much. That also means it’s not a good time to come to decisions about what to do next, other than give my mind a chance to rest.
DooDah is a tangle pattern I use fairly regularly in my entangled drawings. It has an elegance of simplicity.
Having said that, when I saw it in a fragment form I thought, “What on earth…”. I had very little idea of what would transpire. I felt it’s simplicity of construction would result in limitations. And to an extent, that is true. However, I do think I came up with some variations that were true to the way Doodah is constructed, others are deviations from that to a degree.
Adding shadow helped to bring life to the fragments, and sparked off further ideas. So at the last knockings of today’s video, I had a flurry of ideas to add to this page. These were more like aide memoire rather than polished fragments, or indeed borders. But they’re now noted down for possible future use.
I’m learning with these pattern, or fragment, explorations to expect the unexpected, especially when I think I have no more ideas!
Every single fragment in this year’s Fragments of Your Imagination Challenge has been lovely, and Gamusinos by Oswaldo Burbanos CZT is no exception. I had a relaxing, enjoyable time coming up with a page of variations for this fragment.