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.
This morning was a morning that I needed to do some art that was familiar, calming, soothing and intricate enough that I could lose myself in it. A mandala always fits that bill. Always. It doesn’t matter if it’s drawn with pen and ink on paper or digitally. The mindful, calming effect is the same. It’s the process that matters, the repetitive shapes and patterns that are drawn that contribute greatly to the soothing effect.
I do tend to gravitate towards digital art, and I find the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro helps to save a lot of time. The ability to erase ink removes the frustration that a mistake creates for the hyperperfectionist part of me.
Other than those time-saving (and frustration-saving) tools, the process of mandala drawing is the same for me.
It starts by using a compass, protractor and ruler to set out the circular grid. Then, it’s digital pen on screen to draw the mandala in exactly the same way as I would on paper, just without so much repetition of sections.
However this was created, it has served it’s purpose – given me some time and space for inner peace and contentment.
It’s #TemplateThursday when I create and post a colouring template to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. The template is free to members, though there are a few terms and conditions associated with it’s use. It’s also free to join the group!
This week, I decided to draw some cute and whimsical bugs, each having their very own portrait. Lots of small, individual pictures that a perfect for quick, mindful colouring.
I know I often get overwhelmed by a huge artwork I’m working on and that is most likely to happen when I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety, and I seem to have waves of anxiety the like I haven’t seen for a long time, most related to the pandemic.
When I need to take time out, to do art that will soothe me, calm me, let me relax and find that mindful, content space within myself, I turn to creating small artworks.
I drew this template with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Colouring has been done digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
This week, it’s another of my collections of little windows. Yesterday was a day where I needed to draw a template that wouldn’t overwhelm me, and a collection of tiny drawings and patterns is a way to break the task down into bite-size, cute, whimsical pieces. As I result, I enjoyed the process and found some contentment and peace too.
In fact, some of the colorists in the group have told me that the really like the way the page is broken down into pieces that can be finished quickly if they are limited for time. The different sizes allow them to choose something that can be coloured in the time they have available. That part can then be left finished, freeing them of the worry of leaving something unfinished.
Coloring, like any creative activity, can help calm, relax, soothe and give a break from negative self-talk, to name a few of the benefits. I know that scientific studies have shown this to be the case and that losing yourself in coloring has a similar effect on brain activity as mindfulness meditation.
I use art to help me with times when my emotional weather is stormy, dull, unsettled. As I said earlier, drawing a collection of small designs was far less overwhelming than drawing a full page illustration yesterday. Yet, I still end up with a full page of mini-templates to colour.
I feel I struggle with colours. I tend to try to put all colours available to me into one template. Every now and then I do work with a limited palette, which also has it’s own problems. My window templates take away any pressure I put on myself regarding colour. Each window is a unique image in it’s own right and I can use whatever colours I wish in it without worrying about the overall cohesiveness of the project.
These window templates are also great fun for trying out different colour combinations, for blending colours, and even for trying out new techniques. You could make notes on the template, or cut out the pictures you want to keep and start an art journal where you note down the media, colours and techniques used to get the effects/blends you like. No longer any need to remember what they are, just refer to the journal!
Talking of cutting the designs out, that is a perfect way to make use of a finished coloring page like this one. The individual images, or groups of them, can be used to make greeting cards, bookmarks or to embellish art journals, journals, scrapbooks, diaries, planners and bullet journals!
As always, I love to see what people create using my templates – share with and/or tag me on social media : f: @artwyrd t: @artwyrd i: @artwyrd