Wednesday is WIP day! WIP is work in progress, and this is one of my current one.
I’m working on A4 (29.7 cm x 21 cm) Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper with 05 and 01 Uniball Unipin pens.
It’s taken several hours so far, and there’s several yet to go! I’m enjoying creating such detailed drawing in just black and white. Lots of botanical elements, but there’s also arches and spirals and geometric patterns in there too.
I never have much of a plan in mind when I tackle a drawing like this. I know what patterns I like, and if I lack inspiration I can always refer to my visual dictionary or design motifs and patterns. It’s all about intuition. It’s not entirely mindless. I do make conscious decisions about what design element to use, how to use line and pattern to add volume and contrast.
I sometimes wonder, when I see my work like this, why I try to work with colour. I always feel I struggle with colour, but black and white, with or without grey, always seems to work so well for me.
I love to play with the illusion of volume in a drawing, and whether that is done with density and shape of line/pattern, or with colour (even though I really do feel I struggle with colour).
I will persevere with this illustration, drawing, artwork over the coming days. In fact, I may spend time on it today. I’ve completed my morning errands, so I can remain at home, which is where I need to be. I’m tired today; I didn’t sleep at all well last night, or for the past few nights and my mood and ability to concentrate is suffering as a result.
Today, I thought I’d digitally colour one of my recent drawings. I thought it would be nice to compare and contrast digital colouring with traditional colouring.
It’s been a while since I did much art digitally, I’ve been lost in traditional media this week as I slowly heal from some emotional wounds. Art helps with healing. Meditation helps too. But time is still needed for the healing to take place, and for rest to relieve the exhaustion that lingers still.
Any kind of art, digital or traditional, soothes my mind, emotions and body.
What I like about digital art is the way I can get such high contrast in colours to enhance the sense of volume the design elements have. I also like the vibrancy of colours. I also like the ability to add texture to the colour in so many different ways.
Of course, I like the ability to alter colours when they don’t work, without having to start over. I’m not sure if those leaves are going to stay that particular green-ish colour. Nor am I sure about the background colour.
As is my wont, I’ve used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add the colour and textures. My hardware is a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.
I woke at around 4:30am again today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I got up, made tea, and did some work on my art journal / sketchbook.
Making Distressed Paper
I spent a good two or three hours making the papers you can see to the left. I used the following:
printer and layout paper, cut to A6 in size (UK size)
Distress Oxide Inks
5″ x 7 ” Gelli plate
small Brayer roller
water in a spray bottle
pieces of cut and dry foam
metallic inks and paints
For some of the pieces, I brayered the Distress Oxides onto a Gelli plate and then pulled the print onto a piece of paper. For others, I used the Brayer to apply the ink to the paper. I also used the black side of a piece of cut and dry foam to apply ink to some of the papers.
I sprayed the papers with water to activiate the Distress Oxide, and used the heat tool to dry them. After doing this, I crumpled up a lot of the papers and then used the brayer to flatten them out. Both of these techniques resulted in textured paper. So, I used the cut and dry foam and some Distress Oxide ink to lightly brush the paper to help to accentuate that texture.
Finally I used cut and dry foam to brush metallic paint or ink over the paper to add some shimmer and shine. I used some textured cut and dry foam to add patterns too.
I now have quite a stash of very distressed papers to use in my art journal in the future.
Both the printer paper and the layout paper are much thinner than I would usually use for such a task. The light spritz of water on each, however, created a lovely, bumpy texture. They were also easy to crumple up, adding that kind of leathery texture.
The subtle shine that the gold metallic ink gave is rather lovely, though I do like the bright, shiny gold of some paint I found in my stash.
I can see me using these papers for collage, for making pockets/envelopes and other bits and bobs for a journal, and no doubt for other things I’ve not yet thought of.
Storing my custom papers.
I realised the papers I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been piling up and I really needed to do something that would let me find them easily. So, the quickest and easiest solution was to use A4 poly-pockets and a ring binder, both of which I had to hand! That certainly has let me have a tidier desk, and I’ll be able to find the papers easily too.
Art journal pages.
I also finished up the two pages shown to the right. I attached inchies, to fill in some gaps.
I used simple paper hinges to attach the ATC cards on page seen in the bottom image. If I ever wish to remove them to swap/share/gift, then I can remove them easily. That simple solution has relieved my anxiety about adhering them permanently into the sketchbook!
I’ve also folded some squared paper, used distress inks to colour the edges and folds, and put them in the vellum pockets I’d made earlier, all ready for me to journal on. Unusually for me, I made use of some washi tape to embellish the pockets.
I’ve also noticed that I’m very ‘regimented’ about how I put things in my art journal. I much prefer carefully cut paper to torn edges most of the time. Everything needs to be arranged ‘just so’ with me. Just as it is with my line-art – precise and neat. I suppose it’s another example of me expressing my personality through my art.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m exhausted. I’m practically falling asleep as I type this; that’s what happens when I wake up at stupid o’clock once again. I’m now officially overtired! I may try to get back to sleep soon; I do have work I need to do today!
As far as me being under the weather goes…
Well, I still have a sensitive digestive system and I feel nauseous from time to time. I did wake with a bit of a headache today, but that could just be lack of sleep, as is the tiredness I feel. I have eaten and my tummy doesn’t seem to be objecting as it has done. This all makes me hopeful that I’m almost over this bout illness. I was really quite grumpy about it yesterday, and I’m entirely sure I’m not grumpy today!
Other than that, emotionally I’m doing just fine. The sunshine helps with my mood for sure, as did being able to hear the bird song as the world was slowly waking up this morning.
Over the week I’ve been adding to my sketchbook- notes and images, ideas and reflections.
Each page has been coloured with combinations of Distress Inks, applied using the black side of a piece of Cut and Dry foam, followed with a spritz of water to bring out some water-staining grungy loveliness.
All the little drawings have been done on either Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper (300gsm) or mixed media paper, either from Claire Fontaine or Daler-Rowney. The papers have been coloured with Distress Oxide Inks, Distress Inks, or a combination of them. Most of the pieces have had the inks applied with the foam, but some were made by brayering Distress Oxide inks onto a gelli plate and taking a print of them.
The reflection about what I like, what I don’t like, and ideas that arise is important to me in my sketchbook/journal. I do reflect on my art, a bit too much in my head. When I write it down, it forces my sometimes abstract and swirling thoughts into some kind of order. When I make these thoughts a material manifestation by writing them down, it helps me to recognise the thoughts, sift through that which is useful, and still record those that are not particularly useful at this moment but may be in the future.
I think I need to find a way to do this with my digital art. My mind goes to using One Note to do this. I shall think on this one, and make a note of it in my physical sketchbook/journal.
I like to use a word in my artwork from time to time. Truth was the word I knew I had to use as the central point for some artwork, and that’s where I started, along with one of the Distress Oxide backgrounds I made yesterday (in the middle of the image).
After I’d decided on the typography and placed it centrally, I then started to draw digitally. I made use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with a flexible nib and fineliner brushes.
I had no idea what kind of design would result, I just went with the flow and intuition and thoroughly enjoyed doing so and losing myself in the art.
I added shadows and highlights once the drawing was finished for that sense of dimension and ‘life’.
I am really pleased with the finished artwork. There’s something about symmetry, spirals, repeating patterns, and intricate, abstract designs like this that just makes my arty heart smile and sing. I always return to this style, it seems to be at the core of my being.
I also love to draw on coloured and textured backgrounds. I also think I’ve found a way to combine more traditional media (making the backgrounds) with digital art (drawing and adding shadows and highlights) in a way that really works for me.
My only problem is that I do tend to try to branch out into other kinds of art and never seem quite so satisfied with them. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon them; they need a lot more work and thought and maybe structure.
Perhaps that’s why I like this particular piece of art so much – it has clearly defined structure. The colour palette is defined by the background and so I’m not struggling with what colours to use. Having the black line structure defines clearly where shadows and highlights need to go.
Day 21 and it’s a pug skull, Pleurotus eryngii (King Oyster mushroom) and the Batnumber tangle pattern from the Inktober 2019 prompt lists from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.
I really enjoyed drawing the wood cut style of skull yesterday so thought I’d go with it for today’s short nosed dog skull – I chose a pug skull.
I echoed the wood cut style in the mushrooms forming a ring in the partial mandala around the skull.
I like the graphic black and white nature of the design elements against the coloured, textured background. I did, however, break up this graphic style with the foliage forming the outer ring of the design. I just felt I needed to push something to the background.
In 21 days I seem to have covered a lot of different styles in my work, though I think my favourite ones are where I place a mandala behind the skull, as in today’s illustration.
Although I love colour, I do think the more graphic designs are more ‘me’. Maybe it’s because my experiments in drawing in colour (as in day 18 and day 19) are outside my familar, comfortable work.
I don’t know where this will lead me, though I do want to do more mandalas like today’s, maybe get them available as prints or on t-shirts. What do you think?
This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.
I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.
I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.
I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.
Warning – the following may contain triggers.
The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.
From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.
It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.
Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.
It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.
It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.