Adventures in Watercolor

I’ve had a stressful couple of days to say the least and all my plans to edit templates and create new ones went out of the window. It was like I had ‘ants in my pants’ and I just couldn’t settle to anything that required concentration and focus.

Last night I was beginning to settle a bit. I’d had some news that had helped to calm me a little, but not enough. While I was attending an online talk, I drew this design on watercolour paper. I used a 05 Sakura Pigma Micron pen. I also scanned the finished drawing into the ‘puter. I really like this drawing, I have to say.

This morning, I wanted to start the day with something relaxing and meditative, so I broke out the watercolour pencils. I have a collection of Derwent Aquatone and Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer. I used them to colour the trios of large flowers at the bottom left and bottom right. For the small flowers, leaves, tendrils and the large flowers at the top I used White Knight watercolours.

I found the watercolour perncils slow and laborious on such a large scale, and I had to lay down layers to get the intensity of colour I like. However, they did mean I could control the gradients a lot more.

On larger flowers, watercolours frustrate me a bit. I can’t seem to get to the right amount of dampness so that colours will flow one into another.

I also found that by drawing the flowers to begin with, I felt compelled to paint each petal one at a time, and I found that may work against me in terms of making the most of watercolour.

Watercolour has always been a medium that vexes and frustrates me, and it’s continuing to do so at times, even as I explore adding colour. I think I’m realising that the best way for me to work with watercolor is by using it for backgrounds which I then draw upon and add more colour to the drawings.

Or, its where I make use of the randomness of loose watercolour, droping colours into a damp surface where they can bloom, flow and blend as they will, without me trying to make them anything in particular. Then, I can draw on this, picking out shapes and colours, bringing structure to where there is none, and I can get intricate with the details too.

Anyway, with the flowery drawing above, I tried to add details using some Paul Rubens metallic watercolours to add patterns of dots, as well as drawing more black or white lines onto the drawing. I really don’t feel they worked out at all well.

I knew this was going to be a bit of an experiment, and I have plenty of flowers to try out different media, such as Inktense pencils, and maybe adding more lines to to add more detail before I start coloring.

It’s been a nice way for me to spend Saturday morning, lost in art whilst listening/watching season 1 of The Clone Wars. I think I’ll continue to watch that this afternoon as I turn my attention to drawing.

Abstract Botanical 19 September 2018

Angela Porter 19 September 2018

It’s a lovely, sunny late summer morning here in the UK and it’s been a perfect time to finish this design off.

Yes, it’s another abstract, zentangly, entangled botanical design, which seems to be my signature style of art, though I do dabble in other styles, as you know, particularly my kind of dangle designs.

This one, like many of my previous ones, was completed in these stages:

  1. Draw the black and white line art on Rhodia dot grid paper using a black 08 Sakura Pigma Micron pen.
  2. Scan the drawing into GiMP. Use tools to remove the dot grid and remove the noise. Save with a transparent background.
  3. Import the image into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Any edits to lines can be made here using a pen ‘brush’ that mimics the texture of the Micron pen on the dot grid paper. Then layers are used to create the background, add colour to the design before adding texture and highlights.

It takes a day or more to create a piece of art like this. The drawing of the design alone can take anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, depending on the intricacy and size. This one was A4 in size and isn’t very detailed; I let the colour and texture add details to the design in this instance. I want the colours to shine. The colouring etc. has taken a few hours to do.

It takes me at least as long to create a piece of digital mixed media art as it does to draw and colour the design using traditional methods such as Chameleon markers or Inktense pencils.

What I love about working digitally is the ability to change the colours I use for the elements, and then being able to add texture and highlights/shadows. I can see where I need to go back to the image and add or deepen shadows to increase the sense of depth in the design. A drop shadow on the background isn’t really needed as I think the background is like a sunset sky or alien sea.

The other thing about digital work, is the ability to use the black and white outline to re-work the design using a different colour palette, different textures. I also have the option to print the design out and colour using other media, such as marker pens, perhaps changing the size of the image so that I can create, say, a greetings card or note card, or even a page for my BuJo.

I spent some time on Monday playing with Repper Pro and had some fun creating repeating patterns using the last couple of abstract botanical images. Just from a couple of artworks, I have more than a hundred seamless tiles for patterns; it’s just sorting through them and working out which are the best. I may post some of the best ones later today or tomorrow, and maybe create some based on today’s art above too.

I actually think some of the tiles would, with a border, make amazing patterns for square cushions/pillows worked in tapestry, canvaswork, cross-stitch or similar. You can decide for yourselves when I post them.