Insomniac Art 20 Jan 2021

It was one of those nights. I woke way too early feeling way too hot, even though the windows were open in the Welsh Winter. Hot flashes, again. So, the only thing to do was to draw until I was cool enough to get back to sleep. That took until nearly 8 am, GMT.

These are the little drawings I completed during my insomniac hours. My Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen is nearly done – either the nib is too worn to work properly or the ink is mostly gone, I’m not entirely sure which. I know I have a heavy hand with pens and tend to wreck them before all the ink has gone.

Anyway, I witter. I’m still trying to figure out how to add words into my drawings. I’m not entirely sure I’m being successful in this. No doubt I’ll keep on trying though!

These were drawn on A4 acid-free cartridge paper in one of my current sketchbooks. I added the background colour digitally.

Sketchbook flip-through

I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.

I’m no photographer, just saying!

I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings
-pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke
-a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up
– tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips!
– Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns

Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.

The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.

Sunday…

A little drawing I’ve been working on this morning. The paper tile is 5″ square. Sakura Pigma Micron 05 and Faber Castell Pitt Artist pen 1.5 were used, as well as some digital stuff to add the star, which doesn’t quite work.

The black square resulted from a whole host of mistakes made in that little section. I was deeply unhappy about what I’d drawn there. So, out came the thicker black pen and I covered it up.

I thought It would be fun to add something gold there. I’ve tried lots of different motifs, but stuck with this one. I have very little sense of scale when I draw digitally, and this golden star is a classic example of that!

The rest of the design I’m quite happy with. Shadow and highlight are needed to bring it to life as it looks just so flat.

But I’m tired again and don’t have the energy or desire to sort out that bleedin’ star nor the shadow/highlight and/or colour at the moment. I need to snuggle up with a warm and cuddly blanket, mocha and films that lift my spirits. I sense a Star Wars marathon in the offing…

Entangled Assemblage #01

I’ve finished it! Well, I think I have. One crazy assemblage of all kinds of bits and bobs. I will look at it again in a few days and see if I want to add anything to balance the design. Fresh eyes are always a help in this. I’ll also decide if I want to add shadow and light to bring out more of a sense of dimension.

I really, really enjoyed doing this drawing. It’s my favourite style of drawing, yet different to things done in the past.

To complete the drawing I used a 0.25 Rotring Rapidograph pen, which is the same thickness as the Pilot G-Tech-C4 pen I drew the first part of this design with. The difference is that the Rotring pen’s ink flowed more freely onto the paper.

I didn’t realise it until last night, but the sketchbook I’m using is one by Sea White. The acid-free cartridge paper is sized so that it is more robust with wet media. That causes problems for pens, however, as the size tends to clog the nib/point/ball up. The Rotring pen seemed to have fewer problems.

Also, I found the larger barrel of the Rotring pen easier and more pleasurable to hold and draw with. I need to dig out some pen grips to use with the Pilot pens.

Saturday morning art

A different work in progress today. I started this one late last night and continued for a while after breakfast this morning. I used a Pilot G-Tec C4 pen, which has a very fine tip, on white acid-free cartridge paper (the camera flash has turned it a creamy colour, I have no idea why!).

It is always a pleasurable experience to draw with such a fine pen and to created such detailed and intricate designs. No real thought or planning, just trusting my intuitive creative instincts.

Purely abstract drawing, using my favourite shapes, motifs and texture patterns, along with a few new motifs that have developed as I’ve drawn this. It looks like a weird assemblage of bits and pieces, mechanical and sculptural, botanical and textural.

Assemblage is a fairly good way to describe my signature style of drawing. There are layers of all kinds of bits and pieces – flowers, mechanical tubes and pieces, textural areas, pipes, sculptural bits and bobs, seeds or berries and curls.

What is hidden beneath the various layers? Where did all the bits and pieces come from? What was disassembled or broken to liberate the pieces? Who or what did the disassembling, and why? What new things could they be assembled into? What dream fragments, story parts of my unconscious mind do they represent?

I can spot various influences in the bits and bobs present in the drawing – Mayan sculpture, dials and mechanical levers, pipes and conduits, discs and berry lights, flowers and seeds, textures and patterns, arches and columns, rocks and strata.

What do you see in this drawing? Leave me a comment, I would be intrigued to know!

Saturday Mandala

It’s Saturday. I woke early and got to work in one of my sketchbooks where I’m drawing thumbnails and design elements with a focus on things starry. I needed a break from that, so turned my attention to creating a mandala.

Pink seems to be a bit of a thing at the moment, today it being a dusky shade of pink.

Oddly, the mandala has a star-shaped motif in the centre. That was not a conscious decision!

Anyway, it’s been a nice way to spend an hour or two while listening to podcasts. But, after another mug of mocha, I’ll be going back to work in my sketchbook. Which is also pleasurable, but in a different kind of way. My drawings are definitely sketchy, but that’s the whole point! Just getting ideas down. A nice way to spend a lockdown day.

Saturday arty day

Artsy ramblings

Today I’m feeling a tad ‘meh’ to say the least. I’m tired despite sleeping plenty last night and yesterday. The weather is gloomy – leaden grey skies and rain. At least the autumn colours are glowing a little in the gloom.

So, today I just needed some arty fun. Nothing too big and overwhelming, something with a little whimsy, and no pressure for anything other than making art for art’s sake.

Hallowe’en is my favourite festival, so that’s where I started, along with pen and paper.

The drawing isn’t all that big – 8cm x 10 cm approx (3.25″ x 4″),s o it was relatively quick to complete. I scanned it in to tidy it up, but decided to add a spooky border around it, which I did digitally.

Then, I set to colouring the image, in Hallowe’en colours, mostly.

I played with texture brushes and how I can work with colour. I’m pleased to get some areas that seem to glow eerily. My brain won’t let me fully process that or go back to the image to add this effect to other design elements.

It was, after all, a few hours of fun, arting for art’s sake, and to do what I can to lift my mood.

Polymer clay

I spent sometime yesterday afternoon playing with polymer clay. The Sculpey clay I purchased is soft enough to work with almost straight out of the packet, which is a good thing.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to work with it. What I thought would work just didn’t for me. So, I’m going to let the ideas rumble around my subconscious and come up with how I could work with the clay my way.

I was disappointed with myself, but worked hard be easy on myself as this is a new skill to learn and develop. It won’t happen overnight. Also, there’s no rush or panic to get it done either.

In the meantime, I’m wrangling with myself as to whether I should invest in a pasta machine to roll out the clay or whether that’s a decision that can wait until I work out if polymer clay is for me or not.

Monogram B

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.

Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.

Journal – pages 4 to 7

Over the past day or so, I’ve done some work on my journal and have pages 4 to 7 mostly complete. I’ve included lots of pockets to slip paper or artwork or other surprises into. I’ve also used some artwork I created as ephemera and embellishments.

Page 4 – top left.

This page has three pockets. One made by adhering two pages together, with a thumb notch punched out. Another is made from a sheet of tracing paper. The third is behind one of my signature entangled drawings; it’s a fairly secret pocket, unless I add something that peeks out from it.

I coloured the reverse of the drawing with Distress Inks as I didn’t know how they’d react with the pen drawing. Then, I adhered the tracing paper to some old book paper, and then adhered this to the tracing paper pocket, applying glue along three sides to create the pocket.

Once the glue was dry, I added some zentangle style patterns to the tissue paper pocket, just for fun. I used one of the Chameleon Fineliner pens to do this, using a colour that went well with the colours I’d used to ink the paper.

Page 5 – bottom left.

Page 5 is a little bit bigger than half the width of a page. I folded up the bottom of the page and adhered it along the edges to make a tuck-in. I punched out the thumb notch with a circle paper punch.

I decorated the tuck in with flower art at that I created myself. I also added some zentangle style patterns in between the flowers. I used Chameleon Fineliner pens, this time using a red and orange to get a gradient.

Page 6 – top right.

Again, a page that is a little more than half the width.

The drawing was done in gold ink on tracing paper. I used Distress Oxide inks to colour the reverse of the tracing paper before adhering it to some old book paper. The text and diagrams on the book page shows through faintly, as it does with the drawing on page 5.

Page 7 – bottom right.

This page just has a flower painting I created along with old book paper that have been collaged onto the journal page.

You can see the thumb notch on the edge of the page, showing I created a pocket by adhering two pages in the journal together.

Next steps…

None of the pages are fully completed. I’d like to add quotes or meaningful words or phrases. Some pages have gaps where I can add ephemera or pockets and so on. There’s certainly many spaces on the pages where I can draw patterns and designs.

I’m going to let the pages rest for a while as I turn my attention to other things today.

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘off’ or ‘meh’ in the last couple or so days. I’m finding it hard to settle to work of any kind. That I’ve been able to focus on getting some little bits and bobs done for the journal shows I’m feeling a bit more focused than of late.