Another week in lock-down has passed us by here in the UK, as well as many places around the world. That means it’s time for another weekly coloring template.
This week, the inspiration for this template has come from the pages full of capsules, pods and seeds in my sketchbook. Lots of opportunity to experiment with colour, but also adding little details to each tiny picture.
Drawn using Sakura Pigma micron pens (05 and 01) on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Clean up of drawing, colouring and typography done digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
Just a quick bit of fun this morning. I thought it would be nice to create a little banner for my facebook account and page, and this is the result. Something a bit mystical in nature.
Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with the usual Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.
I used this as an opportunity to try out some new ideas, and it’s worked out well enough I think.
Today, I’m feeling content, at ease and that inner smile is back. It’s nice, once again, to have the windows open a little and to feel the gentle flow of cooler air into my work space warmed by hazy sunlight.
Being creative certainly does help me to find and keep my sense of contentment and to keep the anxiety and fear at bay.
Now, it’s time for me to go get my breakfast. I was so determined to create this new border that I got lost in it!
It’s the first day of astronomical Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere – Spring for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere.
The signs of autumn are all around me. leaves are starting to don their fiery autumn hues. Shiny-red rowan and hawthorn berries festoon the branches. Shiny purple-black bramble-fruits mask the sharp thorns on their canes. Nuts of all kinds are changing from green to brown – a veritable feast for all kinds of critters. Bunches of sycamore helicopters and ash keys can be seen peeking out from the dark-green-tinged-with-brown leaves. Fluffy seed-heads of clematis coat the hedgerows like some kind of Hallowe’en web-like decoration.
It is my favourite season of the year. I love the colours. I am fascinated with how nature reveals it’s underlying architecture as the foliage falls, creating piles of colourful, crunch leaves that remind me of glowing embers.
Nature really does prepare for the long winter sleep by donning her party clothes for a final blaze of glory , a memory that will stay with us throughout the cold, dark Winter months to remind us that she merely slumbers and will reawaken in the Spring.
So, given my current fascination with freeform crochet, I have created some seed pods; at least that’s what I had in mind as I created these forms.
I do want to add some beads to them; I can’t resist adding some sparkle!
Of course, seed pods are quite apt for the season the world is entering; they are in abundance. I do love seed pods; they feature in my artwork quite a lot. So, it’s quite natural that I’d want to try to recreate some of my weirder ones in crochet.
This kind of crochet is turning out to be a bit easier to do than I thought it would. I do have a lot to explore and discover and a lot more confidence to gain, but I think I’m making a good start. I do need to learn some more textural stitches as well how to create spirals just to start.
To give you an idea of size, the largest seedpod is approx. 12″ in length. I used a 3.50mm hook with DK yarn. I will make some more pods in four-ply yarn with finer hooks. They should work out smaller.
I suspect that on my travels I may come across some interesting yarns with various textures and finishes that I can use to add some interest. However, for now I will just focus on how I can achieve the shapes and curves that I’d like to form seedpods.
Don’t tell me it’s all about maths – I’m absolutely a nightmare at maths. I have to figure it all out my way.
Now, if anyone should ever like to create seed pods or anything else I create, I will try to work out a written pattern. But just not yet. I’m still working this all out myself!
This took me a bit longer than I expected this morning. I did, however, enjoy creating this card.
First, I drew the design out on a piece of paper that is 10cm x 14cm using various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens.
I copied the image using my Brother Laser printer. I didn’t scan it in at this time, but will do later on. All I needed was a copy to play around with.
The next step involved the use of Chameleon Duo Tone and Color Top markers to colour the design elements in. Even though some areas were quite small, I still managed to get bits of shading there.
Once the colouring with the Chameleon markers was done it was time to hot foil the design, and you can see where the gold foil catches the light in places as I took the photo. A friend of mine saw some of my foiling yesterday in person and she was said she was wowed by it. She thought it was good in the photos, but the photos really don’t do it justice at all.
After foiling, it was time to colour the background. I used a selection of Distress Inks, starting with mustard seed in the centre to give a subtle glow, then tumbled glass, crushed olive, peeled paint, pine needles and evergreen bough. I used a piece of cut and dry foam and a very light touch to add the colour.
I was worried that the Distress Inks may muddy up the colouring done with the Chameleon markers. Yes, they subtly changed the colours in some places, but I was careful to choose colours that wouldn’t make mud. Also, so little Distress Ink is added it barely alters the colours.
I can tell you I was well relieved by that!
Distress Inks are water reactive, so I gave the image a light spray of water knowing that only the Distress Inks would be affected. After a short while I dabbed the water off with a piece of paper towel. This lifted some of the colour leaving a subtle background texture.
As this point, after letting the paper dry completely, I could’ve added more Distress ink. Instead, I decided to use aged mahogany, again on a small piece of cut and dry foam, to edge the paper, to give it a border, and also to add a darker layer at the bottom of the design to ‘ground’ the image.
When I can find my Wink of Stella pen from Kuretake I’ll add some very subtle shimmer to the dragonflies, maybe to the seeds in the seedpods too. I also think some gold dots in small clusters would enhance the background.
I also need to think about adding a bit more shading to the bottoms of the laves to give a more dimensional look to them I think. I could definitely do the same to the dragonflies’ wings too.
Those are simple and quite minor changes that will make a difference I think. It’s only as I’m looking at the finished image now that I can see how those things would help. I often don’t think to step back and give myself time to look at the image with fresh and kindly critical eyes, seeing what I could do to improve my work.
In hindsight, the dragonflies may have worked well as black silhouettes in the design, which would then become totally covered in foil. Or just outlines that would be foiled. That’s something for me to try another time and see if I like that idea more.
I think you can tell I’m really enjoying this branch of my artistic journey. I’ve concentrated a lot on digital art of late. I’m not going to abandon my digital art journey at all; I can do things digitally that I can’t with traditional media.
However, it is showing me that working with traditional media is also a pleasurable and successful activity for me to do.
What am I going to do with this? I don’t know. Part of me wants to add it to my BuJo. Another part wants to mount it on a blank greeting card to send to a friend. Another part of me wants to put it into a reference sketchbook or folder for inspiration in the future.
Yesterday turned out to be a different day than I expected.
The anti-stigma talks I was booked in to do didn’t happen. No one knew about them. So, I drove to some services not far away for a wee, tea, something to nibble and time out to relax and draw.
Then, I wended my way to Neath for lunch in forty-six, a cafe in Queen Street that I love for it’s quirkiness. I finished the drawing over lunch, and the result is above. I used various Pitt Artists pens from Faber-Castell, grey Uniball Unipin pens, and some coloured pencils. I wanted to work in monochrome, but I also wanted to experiment with scanning a monochrome drawing in and adding colour to it digitally. I tried that last night, but my mood plummeted and well, I abandoned the idea for now.
EMDR therapy followed lunch and then a drive back home.
I thought the therapy was quite gentle this week, though there was lots and lots going on in my body. We haven’t quite finished processing the memory I’m working on at the moment. Maybe next week will see it finished. I felt tired and a bit spaced out when I left EMDR, but positive and hopeful on the way home.
However, when I got home, after preparing a vegetable stew and putting it on to cook, my emotions crashed in on me.
I was so disheartened with myself, my art, my life. I felt so sad, so tearful. I was so tired too. Emotionally tired, mentally tired.
I didn’t know why I was bothering to do art, to draw coloring books, to write words, to speak up about mental health and my journey to achieve some measure of healing from CPTSD. I felt so lonely, so alone. I didn’t believe my own story, that I was making everything up as an excuse for being overweight, for being a failure, for being useless at everything I do.
I’ve not felt this disheartened for many weeks, time. The suddenness surprised me. No warning. No gradual decline that I could pick up on and work towards halting it.
I ended up going to bed early to escape these thoughts and feelings.
I woke up this morning feeling a bit better but with a horrible, horrible headache behind my eyes. I feel the pressure to complete the book I’m working on before the end of this month, but I’m not sure I’m in the right place to continue with it.
I suspect EMDR has shaken some stuff loose… and I need to give it time and space to be processed and released. I’ll have to see how I go with drawing later on, when the headache tablets kick in, to see if I can do anything today.
I need to tell myself I have time to complete the requisite number of illustrations, plus a couple extra so choices can be made. That it may be better to take a day to find my balance again.
I finally managed to finish coloring this design in yesterday. I’m quite pleased with it. I’m more pleased with the lessons I learned on using different kinds of brushes as well as the need to use higher contrasts in tones. But that is something I can practice on later along
My focus in the next fortnight has to be the book I need to finish by the end of the month. I will get it done.
I’m still feeling very, very tired emotionally and mentally today. I do intend to get at least one coloring template done today. If I can get one done an day, two on some days, I’ll have the book all done before the deadline.
One a day is more than achievable, and allows me some days for self-care, something that I realise is important on days like today. It’s going to take me a while to recover from all the therapy and anti-stigma talks of the past week. As the adrenaline and other stress chemicals leave my body, the exhaustion settles in more and more for a while.
I know I will be just fine and dandy. I just need to take it as easy as I can and take time for myself too.
I can do that.
One or two templates a day is absolutely do-able, even on days where I feel as I do today. When the template’s done, I can then take the selfcare time and not feel guilty about it.
This morning, I wanted to do a small drawing (the bristol board is approx. 10cm x 21cm) and try not to get overly fussy and trying to fill every space in. I used fountain pens to draw the line work, and I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio to add colour to the design.
I’ve often said it on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group that the members work some fantastic magic in using colour to bring my drawings to life. And they do.
So, I’m working a little of my own magic here!
I don’t often colour my own art in – time constraints can limit me in this. Also, I love drawing so much and it takes me a lot less time to draw a design than it does to colour it. I can safely say I’m quite prolific when it comes to drawing, not so when it comes to colouring.
I’m also colouring this relatively small and less detailed design to fathom out the mysteries of the synthetic brush setting. I think I may be getting the hang of it and how I can make it work for me.
I actually like the less than perfect finish I’ve achieved, which has surprised me for sure. I actually really like the slightly battered feel to the orange pods in the artwork.
I’m usually obsessed with perfectly smooth colour gradients, whether achieved by digital tools or by more traditional methods of blending (whether working with traditional or digital media).
A good friend of mine (yes, you know who you are if you read this) did tell me when I bought my first Microsoft Surface a couple of years ago that it would open ways for me to create art and develop my artistic skills. It certainly has, and continues, to do that for sure.
I am aware that it’s quite a slow process where I’m concerned. Yes, I could go and watch and read tutorials on how to use the various brushes and settings.
I’ve tried that. The information given totally overwhelms me.
Being easily overwhelmed by information or sensations is something that is part of my cPTSD. If I get too overwhelmed, I tend to either walk away, end up in a panic or become fearful to face something again.
However, I do get a sense of satisfaction out of working out or discovering something for myself, when I actually need that something. Once I’ve become confident and comfortable with a particular skill, I’m then ready to discover more add more skills to my personal skill/tool box.
I never stop learning, discovering, and finding new ways to express myself creatively. I may no longer try to use a huge range of different media – my default these days is definitely digital. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. No doubt I will dabble with new kinds of media or creative skills from time to time (such as my toe-dipping into paper quilling; it’s not at all my kind of thing, but I had to try it to find out).
I still love drawing with pen on paper, but being able to scan that in and add colour digitally means I can make the best of both worlds. I can also keep all the little imperfections and smudges that result from drawing with pen and ink on paper, that add that more human touch to them, if I wish. Or I can draw digitally, keeping things clean and a bit more perfect. Either way works for me.
And so I finally overcome my own personal stigma concerning digital art vs traditional.
It’s Monday so it’s EMDR day for me. I have no idea what the session will bring for me.
What I can say, though, is that though last week’s session was rather emotional and distressing, I seemed to recover quite quickly from it. By Wednesday I’d returned to a state of some contentment and that has mostly stayed with me since then.
I do know I have a busy week with anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales being given tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, and then a double talk next Monday. As well as working on templates for the newest coloring book for Dover Publications Inc, I need to make sure I have time to look after myself and not avoid the feelings I may have after EMDR today.
I also know I have a busy week with other commitments too…
At least there’s some sunshine today, even though there are some big, puffy, grey and white clouds mostly covering the sky. There’s plenty of breaks in the clouds.