What else would the word ‘knot’ conjure up for me but Celtic knotwork!
I’ve loved it since I was a child. The intricacy and puzzlement about how they were created, the repetition and symmetry are all things that please my arty heart.
From Early Celtic art of the Iron Age (La Tene), to Anglo-Saxon and Viking ornamentation and sculpture, to the wonderful illuminated manuscripts of the early Medieval period, to the present day, knotwork has a fascination that seems to speak to the human psyche in some way.
It’s been many long years since I had a go at learning how to draw knotwork. I seem to remember I found it easier than I did today! Perhaps my younger brain was able to deal with the intricacies. However, once I found a method I could follow I found it easier, though not without mistakes.
I dug out my copy of “Celtic Knotwork Designs” by Sheila Sturrock, and re-created these few, simple patterns.
Not perfect. Not finished. Wibbly, wobbly grids and lines mean they are imperfect, but perfectly imperfect and somehow feel more an expression of my inner being. I may continue exploring knotwork now I’ve opened the door on it once again.
These are two drawings I’ve been working on over the past three or so days. The whole page is A4 in size.
To draw them, I’ve been using Pilot Kakuno fountain pens with black ink. To add shadow and colour I’m using a mixture of Stabilo Carbothello, Daler-Rowney Artist’s Drawing and Prismacolor Ebony pencils. Along with some paper tortillons to blend the colour out. I’m also keeping the colour palette pretty limited – graphite black, two green Carbothello and Sanguine and Sepia Drawing pencils.
It’s fun to draw with a fountain pen. It’s also a lot of fun to use graphite and colour to bring depth and dimension to the drawing on paper rather than digitally for a change. I like to work both digitally and traditionally. Art is art!
I suspect the rest of the day is going to be filled with artsy pursuits, including finishing adding colour to these drawings.
We had snow overnight and the air is filled with a white fog too. Even though the layer of snow is just a couple of centimetres thick, it’s enough for me to want to stay inside. Snow is pretty to look at, but my sense of balance means it’s safest for me to stay cwtched up in the warm!
Over the past few days I’ve been sketching in a black paper sketchbook. I’ve been indulging myself in sparkle and glitter, as well as using Derwent Colorsoft pencils, a Derwent blending pencil and a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen for these particular sketches.
In both cases, I started using coloured pencils. Only when I had finished the design did I add the white pen work to see how it would look.
I also enjoy the contrast between the sharp, bright white pen work and the softer, more fuzzy and hazy coloured pencil areas of the designs.
There is also something fascinating and enjoyable about bringing pattern, form and light into to the dark. Which works well as a metaphor for abstract art bubbling up out of the depths of my unconscious mind.
I enjoy creating abstract patterns. Like all my art, it brings peace, contentment and joy to my creative heart. By manifesting these designs on a page, I bring further ideas for art in the future.
Yesterday, I spent some time adding colour to paper to add to my custom sketchbook. This is one of the papers that I created, with an abstract drawing on it, that is finished enough for the sketchbook.
The artwork measures approx 4″ x 6½”. I used a piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-on mixed media paper which I coloured with Distress Oxide Inks followed by some sprays and splatters of water to create a distressed look. The colours used were Seedless Preserves and Fossilised Amber.
I first drew the basic outline of the design with a M Pitt Artist pen from Faber-Castell. To add colour to the design, I used Distress Inks in Seedless Preserves, Fossilised Amber and Ripe Persimmon like watercolours.
Then, I started to add patterns, lines and stippling to the design to bring out the patterns and add depth, interest and dimension.
I think it’s worked out fairly well. I may well go back to yesterday’s ‘Blessings’ artwork and add colour and more patterns to it at a later date.
I went out!
My blog post is a little later as I decided to go out for a walk this morning. This was a big deal for me. Especially after the effects of the high anxiety/stress I experienced last week.
I went to my local cemetery, Glyntaff Crematorium. It’s fairly large, with lots of paths and roads sectioning the cemetery up. I wandered around the older section, which is full of fascinating funereal sculpture. I had my DSLR camera with me, and managed to take over 100 photos this morning, not just of gravestones, but textures too.
It was so nice to be out in fresh air, moving my body around more than I have done for nearly four months. I had nice music on earphones so that any loud sounds wouldn’t startle me. There was work going on around the crematorium as well as grounds work.
It was also nice to drive my car again. It’s been a week, and I really miss the freedom of just being able to take a drive. It’s important that we still stay home as much as possible and to limit our time where there are people. I think my choice to visit the cemetery was a good one. Very few people, alive or dead, haunt cemeteries!
I think I fall into the group of people known as tapophiles – people who are interested in cemeteries, gravestones and funerals. It’s not a morbid interest, just an interest about the changing styles of funerals, funerary sculpture , practices and how they change over time with society and culture.
I discovered the fascination with gravestones when I walked to and from school through this cemetery. It took me longer to get home than it did to get to school. On the way home I had the time to linger and explore and indulge my curiosity. I remember being too scared to look in the chapels there, but enjoyed popping into the columbarium, which has recently been renovated and reopened.
I think I’ll be looking for other cemeteries fairly local to me to visit in the weeks ahead, ones that offer me a good walk as well as interesting graves to look at.
I used a variety of PaperArtsy Fresco paints to colour a 5¾” x 3⅜” piece of ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper. I chose, for me, an unusual mixture of colours. It’s ended up looking like old, distressed and grungy painted walls.
Next, I drew the abstract design with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. I did the basic outlines, leaving my decision whether or not to add details for later on.
Then, I tried adding some colour to the background with Inktense Pencils and a damp brush. As this is a sketchbook page, I tried different colours out to see which ones would work well with the background. The finish on the Inktense-d areas was rather chalky and dull, though a subtle colour was achieved on the acrylic paint background. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I find it difficult to resist a bit of shimmer and shine on my art, so I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to fill in some of the circles in the design.
Finally, I added some more complex patterns to some areas in the design. I could’ve filled in more areas, but I’ve decided that this is enough.
This wasn’t the only piece of paper I coloured with the Fresco paints. As they’re for the sketchbook, I coloured each piece on both sides. So, I now have quite a few prepared pages in my custom sketchbook to draw on as time goes by.
I think I’ve finally settled down after the trip out on Tuesday. I seem to be more settled, for sure. Meditation, self-care, self-soothing and enough rest has worked it’s magic once again. Sunshine today is helping as well, along with the refreshing breeze that is gently flowing in through the windows.
The simple things in life are often the ones that bring most peace to me – art, meditation, quiet times, sunshine.
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.
Today, I thought I’d tackle the last three weeks of #Inktober52 in the form of a digital sketchbook page.
I took it as an opportunity to try out the new techniques I’ve been learning in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and a chance to try out different ways of using them.
One of the prompts was for ‘spider’. You can see the basic sketch I started with for one spider, and the main steps I took. I drew a cuter, face-on spider as well, trying out some other techniques.
I’m really pleased with the cute spider; I really had to figure out how to lose the line art I drew to begin with and I kind of ‘dissolved’ it into the colours.
For wave I ended up drawing some simple waves and colouring them in ‘flat’.
Elf was the most troublesome prompt. I don’t like to draw people, so did a couple of elf hats, and then I thought I’d write the word elf in different styles, including an elvish script, runes, Star Wars alphabets and some hand-lettering too. This turned out to be a good idea as I got to practice my digital hand lettering!
I would like to revisit the lettering and add shadows/highlights to the letters to help them look less ‘flat’. Maybe I’ll do that after I’ve done my ‘adulting’ that I need to get done today.
Just in case you’re interested, this sheet took me over five hours to complete. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
This morning I needed to do something arty to give me a bit of a break from the butterfly. So, I decided to create a digital sketchbook page in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It dawned on me that I could record the steps I took to create this page as a flipbook, which is what I did.
The little drawings include just a few of my favourite motifs/patterns that crop up in my colouring book pages or templates quite often, as well as in my artwork in general.
Creating little blocks of colour to draw on that aren’t perfect shapes is different for me, and not so easy for me to do it turns out.
I find creating flipbooks fun, and it’s a nice way to share a little of my process with people too. It’s also a nice way to shake up my creativity a little, to do something a bit different, especially when I need a break from a project I’m working on.
I used Movavi Video Suite 2020 to slow the flipbook animation down so it can be followed as a tutorial, as well as to add the intro/outro screens and music.
As always, my digital tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
I’ve enjoyed creating this sketchbook sampler page. I drew the designs with a mixture of Uniball Unipin pens, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, a medium nib Schaeffer fountain pen, and an extra-fine nib Faber Castell fountain pen. I used dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine.
After scanning the page in, I removed the dot grid and added a grungy paper background. I then decided I’d like to add some colour and shadow/light to the designs. To do this, I used a messy chalk brush, so my colouring isn’t as precise as I usually like it. However, it’s loosened up my expectations of myself as I went with it.
Pastel colours were my palette of choice as I like the way they seem to almost glow against the grungy kraft background. I also like the way they help to enhance the 3-D appearance of the designs. I do enjoy playing with shadow and light.
Some of the designs are examples of my organic, entangled style of drawing. Others are repeating, geometric zentangle-style patterns. And then there’s some inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.
I also enjoy working within a clear border. I like the sense of structure it brings to my work. It also satisfies some kind of aesthetic need within me. Every now and then I try work without a border, but the artwork I produce just never feels quite right to me. So, it’s time for me to accept the need for borders is part of my artistic voice.
There is a purpose for me creating these borders. I’m building up a library of them that I can use to embellish quotes and other projects.
Some of these borders would look fab as greeting cards note cards, bookmarks, and to use in other paper craft projects. They’d also work well as embellishments for BuJo, planner, diary, scrapbook and journal pages.
Others would be a great foundation for dangle designs (my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start drawing dangle designs).
What I do know, is that I find drawing soothing and relaxing. So, I’m going to be spending the rest of my Sunday drawing more borders.