Given how unsettled my maelstrom and tsunami stricken inner being is, I really needed to draw a mandala.
I love the soothing creativity that drawing a mandala brings. This one, partly coloured in monochrome greens with those little dashes of purple-ruby, looks like some weird succulent or an alien sea creature of some kind. Maybe a jellyfish.
This was a lovely way to start my day. At the bottom is a tangle pattern that is new to me – Zhuer by Yuru Chen.
I also wanted to add a motif across a couple of boxes in the sample. This one ended up like a stylised ear of wheat. As I look at it now, I wish I’d had it going behind the boxes and maybe the top bending towards the left and reaching outside of the upper box. That’s something to think about for the next motif I add.
Still, it was a nice half hour or so before my attention turned to inking in colouring templates.
My page of whimsical houses is now done. Well, the drawing is at least! I think I’d be happy to live in any one of them, except perhaps the one that has a loooooooong ladder to climb up to. Need to have that changed to an elevator!
It’s always a happy and joyful time to draw houses of whimsy. In fact anything whimsical. It always makes me smile.
I’ve started adding colour to this drawing with Inktense pencils and a damp brush. I have a plan as to how I’m going to add colour – I talk about that in my video. All I have to do is remember what that plan is! Having said that, this is a sketchbook drawing so whether it gets finished or not is another matter. Colouring is not my favourite thing to do, nor an activity I feel I do well. Still, leave a comment if you’d like to see it finished!
In the video, I show, step by step how to draw the last couple of houses. Draw along with me! Follow my steps or change, adapt, or invent as you fancy. I’d love to see what you come up with, so tag me on social media.
After drawing whimsical fish floating through the air, I thought it was time to draw some other water-based things. Sand dollars (or sea urchins) and cockle/scallop shells seemed like a good place to start. And I do my best to start simple and gradually get more complex!
Sand dollars begin with a circle and a five-pointed star. Then things get more complicated, one step at a time. The first step is to divide the space up. The next step is to add pattern/texture and/or colour and/or shadow. The steps are totally interchangeable and can be repeated.
This is sketchbook work. A chance to practice drawing skills. A time to exercise creativity. And a time to relax and enjoy what you’re doing with no expectation of perfection. The only expectation is to do, experiment, explore, learn and, most importantly, experience the simple joy of a creative process.
Joy, contentment, inner peace. These are such important things to experience, even if for a short while each day. That’s why I draw so much just for pleasure. And that’s why I’m finding my feet in the realm of YouTube and realising that I can help others, you, to do the same, simply and one step at a time.
I took a short break from social media over the last couple of days. I had other things that needed to be done, not least a trip out for brunch in a local cafe with a friend. That’s the first time in over two years I’ve eaten out!
I was highly anxious and stressed, but had a lovely time. The cafe was quiet, thankfully. The food and drink were delicious. It’s our new favourite cafe to go to, one that’s close to us both as we, like most people, are mindful of the cost of fuel at the moment.
The comedown from anxiety and stress leaves me exhausted, and unable to focus my mind. So, some simple colouring of my whimsical flowers sketchbook page from my last blog was just the thing I needed. Nothing to tax my mind. Sketchbook work is a place to experiment, practice, and enjoy the creative process with no pressure for anything to be perfect!
To add colour I used a mixture of Pentel Brush Sign and Tombow Dual Brush pens, along with a water brush. Both of these pens are filled with water-soluble inks and so work a bit like watercolours. I feel I have much more success with these media than I do watercolours, especially as the colours are so bright and vibrant – saturated I think the arty term is.
Just a bit of colour brings the line art to life. It’s its own kind of magic.
I filmed this process and turned it into a vlog. I speeded the footage up, as the original colouring took over an hour and a half.
I then spent another half hour or so experimenting with fineliners and white, metallic and glitter gel pens to add texture and pattern to the coloured areas. I didn’t film that though, but the results are in the photo above.
I set myself three intentions for this morning: a) enjoy the process of working with the media b) experiment with fineliners and pens to add pattern, highlight/shadow and texture c) to not invest in the outcome or fret about colour choices
I think I achieved those intentions.
Sometimes, often even, just enjoying the process of creating, with no expectations or pressures of any particular outcome is so important. To be able to relax and enjoy the process, the colours, the way the media work is as valuable an experience as producing for a specific purpose.
It’s nice to be able to take the time to do this, without worrying about any particular project. Being able to put aside the “I should be doing x, y and z” and realising that just taking time to do something that makes me smile inside is as important as doing projects that fulfill a contract or business thingy.
One drawing I’m working on and three Zentangle tiles that are complete.
TheA4 drawing is very much full of contrast and drama, very ‘graphic’ in nature. It’s not finished yet, but I’ll get there with it for sure.
The smaller tiles are rather geometric in nature with repeating patterns. I find drawing this kind of art soothing and pleasing too. I also enjoy the combination of the vintage brown tones with the black and grey. They just seem to work so well together.
I turned to work on the smaller ’tiles’ as I was feeling a tad overwhelmed last night. I really do find smaller pieces of art help me to settle back down. The repetitive nature of the patterns is soothing in itself.
I seem to be constantly circling around and returning to Zentangle – watching YouTube videos, looking at artwork online, and creating my own. I’ve been thinking about becoming a CZT – a certified zentangle teacher. I’m dithering about it, and I don’t know why that is. It’ll sort itself out I’m sure.
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
Sunday morning is always a time to breathe, relax and create something easy and pleasurable to do. Comfort art. Today, that meant a mandala and a quote that is quite appropriate for this morning.
Mandala creation makes me smile inwardly. It’s a familiar process and I can create a mandala that is complex and detailed, or simple, and the calming, relaxing effect is the same.
I do draw my mandalas digitally. By using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro’s symmetry tools, it streamlines the process for me. There’s also the removal of the frustration that is caused by an error or a smudge. I can focus on the relaxing, soothing process and on being creative.
In that vein, I decided to draw the mandala in black on white. But when it was finished, I wanted to use a background and a monochrome colour scheme.
I love kraft paper. I don’t know why. I think it’s that colours seem to almost glow against it. So, I chose that for the background. Then, I created a layer of creamy, orange-yellow tones to highlight the line art. Nice warm, comforting, gently glowing colours.
Finally, I created some drop shadows for the text and mandala.
I look at the finished mandala and I smile, gently. I feel my heart fill with some warmth and a sense of lightness.
Creating art, including mandalas, lets my soul shine. What makes your soul shine? Take time today to indulge your soul in activities that let it do so.
More art therapy was required yesterday and today. This time I messed around with watercolours and botanical motifs.
Some I like, some are hideous, but all resulted in me finding some calm amidst a maelstrom of emotional and mental pressures being exerted against me.
Although I’ve not yet tried to express my emotions via colour and pattern today, working with motifs from nature is soothing in it’s own way.
Perhaps there’s more of me expressing my needs in creating botanical art. I do feel the need to be out walking where there is nature. With Covid19 still doing the rounds, my places of choice are cemeteries; so few people visit them and I feel safe there in a way I don’t feel safe in nature when I’m by myself.
So, as it’s fairly overcast and there’s a good breeze, I’ll head out as soon as I’ve completed my social media stuff for the day.
Materials and method
I used mostly watercolours, but I did try out the Inktense paint palette I received yesterday for one motif. For some of the motifs I used a faint pencil outline. On others I darkened that outline once I’d painted the motif. And I tried black outlines using a Signo DX 0.38 pen on some others. I also used white Signo gel pens to add highlights. Finally, I splattered some gold watercolour over the page, and added some bigger dots of gold.
Oh, I worked on one of the smooth textured pages in my A4 Arteza watercolour journal.