Wednesday Work In Progress

Work In Progress

Here’s a small section of the April Colour Palette Challenge Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I thought it would be a nice way to further explore Clip Studio Paint Pro and to become familiar with the tools. Also, it’s useful to try to get a way of organising various menus on the screen that suit me. I’ve still not found the right positioning, but I will!

I’ve just realised I forgot to save my work on this particular template. Ack, that means I’ll have to start over again. Typical, given the kind of day today is being.

Weird start to Wednesday

I was awake around 4:30 am and didn’t try to go back to sleep as it’s delivery day for my Abel & Cole organic produce. Today, the delivery was much later than usual – close to 8 am! By the time I’d put my order away and had my Wednesday treat of a cinnamon and raisin Danish for breakfast, it was time for me to go back to bed.

And I slept through until around midday. I really didn’t want to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, but I had to as an Amazon delivery was due.

The long sleep, and the need for more has me feeling a bit spaced out today. Hence why I forgot to save the full template.

Domestika course

Yesterday evening, I finally settled down to start the Character Factory course by Patricio Betteo. I think the unexpected way I was forced to change art software has also forced me to shake up my art a little and to try and learn new things.

I always struggle with characters in my art. I’m OK drawing cute, kawaii characters, but I’d like to develop my own style of drawing rather stylised characters. To do that, I need some help and I reckon this course will help. Not only will it give me ideas, but it will shake me up a bit and help me out of the rut I sometimes feel in to a broader, more solid path.

In fact, I’ve signed up to a few new courses lately, and I’ll gradually work my way through them.

The rest of the day…

Not that there’s much left of the day, but I do need to have a late lunch/early tea soon. And as I’m feeling dazed I may spend some time with the course I mentioned above. That would be nice.

Also, when I feel a bit more focused, I completed this week’s coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group this morning while waiting for the Abel & Cole delivery. I need to scan it in, edit it and then partially add colour. I need my mind to focus while I’m doing this. It may be a job for tomorrow morning instead of this evening.

It’s a lovely afternoon here. The sunlight is tinged with gold and the rust on the roof of a garage opposite me is a beautiful colour. Someone’s put bread on it and there are plenty of birds, jackdaws and magpies, paying it a visit to gather the harvest.

I would’ve liked to go out for a walk, but … the social anxiety I now have when outdoors coupled with the spaced out feeling won’t make a good combination.

One day soon, I hope, I’ll get myself into gear and go for a walk in a familiar place where I know there won’t be many people. One day. Just not today it seems. Today is a day for some self-care and accepting that I could go for a walk and accepting that I’m not in the right place to do so at this time. Tomorrow, things may very well be different.

Nature

Nature – an entangled artwork. It looks like batik, silk painting or stained glass!

The design was drawn in pen on bristol board and then coloured digitally in Clip Studio Paint Pro using a textured watercolour brush.

I’m determined to find my way around this piece of software, along with Affinity Designer at some point. The effects are the same as Sketchbook, but just not quite so easy to find the tools I want to use at first. It’s all a case of familiarity and I’m definitely outside of being familiar with the software at the moment.

Having said that, all that I’ve learned about layers, the various effects that can be applied, brush settings and so on, apply to all digital art platforms. It’s just finding my way around the software and learning more about it.

The one thing that’s top of my list at the moment is setting up a custom colour palette.

I’ve discovered that Clip Studio Paint has symmetry tools – phew! And these tools do a thing or two not available in Sketchbook as well as working slightly differently (and making certain things a lot easier for sure.

So, onwards and upwards I go.

So frustrating!

It’s been a frustrating few hours. I scanned these two drawings in, went to edit and colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, only to find that Autodesk has cancelled the pro, subscribed version and the only one available is the free version.

The free version doesn’t allow me to alter contrast, or work at different dpi, and it is a tad unstable it seems.

Also, there was no warning of this and I had no chance to save all my own custom brushes.

To say I’m gutted is an understatement. Sketchbook Pro has been my pathway into digital art and I absolutely love its intuitive interface.

So, I’m now looking into other software I have on my ‘puter. I learned to edit and colour and add texture layers, background and text using Clip Studio Paint.

It works well, but the interface isn’t so intuitive, it’s so much like the Adobe products, with menu after menu after menu. I can see that it’s more powerful.

Trying to look on the bright side, maybe I’d become way too comfortable with Sketchbook Pro and it’s now time for me to learn new digital skills and extend the ones I already have. So this may be a blessing in disguise.

All I know is that it’s going to be darn frustrating for a while until I get to grips with this new software.

I’m tempted to have a look at Corel Paint, but I suspect it’s user interface is as confusing and not intuitive either.

I still have access to the free version of Autodesk Sketchbook. But it is missing some of the features I loved so much about the subscription version.

Anyways, I discovered the watercolour brushes in Clip Studio and used them to add colour to the top design, and I like these ones very much. I’ll see how I get along with it, but first I need breakfast. Yes, It’s nearly 2:30pm and I’ve not had breakfast yet! So I’m going to eat and then it’ll be onwards and upwards digitally, I trust.

Now I’ve had my moan, here’s some info about the drawings:

14.5cm x 14.5cm Bristol board
Faber-Castell fineliner pen
Colours and textures added digitally using Clip Studio Paint

Serendipity Part 3 – a video

Friday is YouTube video day for me. Before I’d even had breakfast, I was filming the next part of this video series. I did get myself a mug of mocha first, in an insulated mug so it stayed nice and hot throughout the filming.

I changed the pen I used today. I’d bought a couple of Faber-Castell Grip 2010 fineliner pens to see what they’re like. I like them. They’re refillable and the ink is document safe but not waterproof I will use them for art that I’m planning to scan in. Oh, I’m not being paid or sponsored in anyway to mention this pen.

Anyway, the video is nearly an hour long and I chat away as I draw, particularly about Romanesque architecture/sculpture and it’s influence on me, along with mentions of La Tene/Iron Age/Celtic art and others.

Tuesday – time for self-care

Well, I pushed on yesterday and finished this particular drawing. Lots of texture/patterning has been added. I’ve also temporarily added a pale grey-blue background until I decide how I want to add shadow/highlight/colour to this particular drawing.

I won’t be doing that today, however. I’m still feeling all out of sorts and I really don’t trust myself with colour, shadow and highlight. I’ll get frustrated and irritated with myself. I also woke with a headache that isn’t clearing up anytime soon it seems.

So, today is likely to be another day of binge watching stuff. Yesterday it was The Killing on Disney+. A dark tale of murder and the crazy awful ways humans tangle their lives with others it seems.

It’s an American version of a Danish noir murder/mystery series. I started watching the Danish version, with subtitles, quite a few years ago, but mislaid the DVDs. It’s full of twists and turns in the story line, and a surprising ending to the first story line – the murder of Rosie Larsen. And it’s nice to be surprised by such a tale for a change.

So, I think I’ll spend a fair amount of today finishing watching season 3 and making a start on season 4, the final season.

Once the headache clears, I may turn my attention to some arty stuff. I’ll see how it goes. Self-care is important, not just physically but emotionally too. I know from bitter past experiences that if I push myself to do things when I’m not up to it, whatever I do usually ends up disastrously. I still feel the guilt of giving myself time and space to return back to a point of balance, but I know that when I do return to that point the guilt will fade away and be replaced with relief and a sense of gratitude that I didn’t give into to the guilt. There’ll also be a touch of pride that I’m strong enough, now, to recognise when I need this time to just lose myself in fiction, do nothing else, and let whatever is the cause of the imbalance work itself through.

I suspect the headache is an expression of that imbalance and is the way my mind, body and soul have of telling me, “Woah there Angela! You have to stop and take a break from this, now! You’ve pushed yourself too far, so I’m going to get you to stop and do other things for a while.”

I am learning to listen to what I need, rather than what I think I should be doing. So, today, I will listen to them.

Monday meanderings

Frustration

This is my current drawing. I’m adding tiny patterns to various areas of the ‘skeleton’ of the design. That’s making me feel a little happier about it, but I’m still not all that satisfied with this drawing.

It just feels disjointed, incoherent. Just a tumble of bits and pieces that just happened to fall together. I started with the monogram “a”, thinking I’d do a series of drawings with little monograms like this kind of hidden in the design. But I don’t think this has worked out at all.

I think this drawing is a snapshot of that shows I’m feeling out of sorts with my art at the moment, and that is a reflection of me feeling out of sorts with myself.

I know I can be hard on myself when it comes to art, or anything actually, and I’m sure others will view this differently to how I do. Maybe there’s even a story in the drawing of how my emotional weather has shown itself in how I’ve put together the patterns and motifs.

This happens from time to time – I get into a funk with my art. Eventually, however, I find my way again, often a slightly new way, and off I go again! So I’m not worried about this. I just know I need to be kind to myself and perhaps take a little break from arty stuff, though with what I don’t know. Whatever I’m trying at the moment is irritating me, even digital art.

“This, too, shall pass,” shall be my mantra until it does pass.

Bread making

One thing that’s not frustrating me is my foray into baking with a bread machine. I’ve had success with a delcious spelt flour loaf. At first I thought it was a disaster as it was flat on the top. But, it’s absolutely fine when cut – pleasantly moist, as airy as proper wholemeal bread can be, and nutty in flavour.

I’ve also just baked a spiced fruit loaf, the second I’ve done, and I know how delicious it will be! My home is filled with the delicious and heart-warming smells of sweet spices and yeasty goodness.

That’s all the baking I’ll need to do for a couple of days, however. There’s only so much bread I can eat! And I really don’t want either to go to waste.

Experiment in Entangled art

Today, an unfinished experiment into ‘tranzending’ layers.

I dug out a piece of natural mixed media paper that had been coloured with some Distress Inks. My aim was to see if the white under pattern would work with such a piece of paper.

It did. You can see the underlying pattern coming through the more darkly coloured areas. Also, the Zig clean colour real brush pens (what a mouthful of a name!) worked beautifully on the background. I was careful to choose colours that would work sympathetically with the Distress Ink background. Distress Inks are water-reactive so any wet media will reactivate them

I haven’t finished colour this one; it was just an experiment. The final part of the experiment was to add a layer of Distress Micro-glaze. This seals in the art, making it waterproof and just about impossible to work on again. Why did I do this? Well, the micro glaze is a bit like a gloss varnish and it enhances the colours, making them more vibrant and more transparent too. I wanted to see if the glaze would move the black ink and/or the posca pen. It didn’t. Sure, there was some black pigment on the paper towel I used to polish the surface, but not much.

The microglaze is likely to be handy should I choose to decorate envelopes in the future. It may be useful in other ways.

There’s a constant spiralling round of techniques and media with me. And I usually end up returning to digital art in one way or another. What is interesting to me, though, is how these experiments give me ideas for things to try out digitally. My mind is ticking over those ideas at the moment and I’m likely to go and them out in a short while.

Entangled Experiment

This was a fun little bit of art to do. I was inspired by a YouTube video by Zen Linea about the Tranzending technique developed by ZentangleHQ.

It involves drawing a background pattern with a white pen – I used a white Posca pen. Next, the black design is drawn over it. At the moment I’m enjoying using Uniball Eye pens – they’re waterproof when fully dry and their nibs last a lot longer on rough paper like the mixed media paper I used for this sample. I used the natural version of the ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper as the white would show up well.

Finally, I used applied colour using zig clean colour real brush pens where I wanted the darkest part of each section. Then, I used a damp brush to create a colour gradient. I prefer a traditional paintbrush to do this as I can control how damp it is. I find the waterbrushes that have a reservoir filled with water are a lot more difficult to control how damp the brush is.

Adding shadow around the whole design was the next step and I thought I’d messed it up. However, I like the uneven, grungy look that has resulted. I’m going to learn to embrace the unexpected!

Finally, I added some white dots with the Posca pen.

The background pattern subtly shows through the colours, adding a layer of interest and an intriguing one at that. It was fascinating to watch it happen.

I did try this technique on white paper and it doesn’t work anywhere near as well, so it’s something I’ll reserve for toned papers.

An unexpected surprise for me was how much I like the way the Zig brush pens work on the toned paper, and how easy it was for me to create gradations in colour to get the shadow and highlight.

So, an interesting time with art, and explorations I’ll continue with for sure. It is really fascinating!

Serendipity – Part 2

I’ve added and filmed a little more to the ‘Serendipity’ drawing I started in last week’s video.

This time, the drawing is in real time with me talking through my thought processes, along with some random waffling too. No music, just talk, and I think you can hear the nervousness in my voice.

I hope you enjoy watching the video – it is around 30 minutes long.

Template Thursday

And a new colour palette challenge too!

Not only is it Thursday but it’s also a new month and also April Fools’ Day.

I needed to draw some cute kawaii goodness the other day, and as the characters are fooling around in the template I thought it would be perfect for this week’s template.

Unusually for me, I’ve gone with a cute pastel rainbow color palette for the month long color palette challenge.

The template, and the color palette challenge, are via the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. Free to join, free to download and join in, all that I ask is that you follow the terms and conditions of use.

I loved seeing everyone’s coloured version of last month’s colour palette challenge and template on the group. So much fun, and so many different ways of using the same few colours to bring life to the lineart template.

Drawn on A4 paper with Unipin 05 pen.
Coloured digitally.