Exploring Mark Making and Pattern #DrawWithMe

Click on this link to view today’s video on YouTube.

I had a lot of fun with this sketchbook page. It’s well out of my ‘comfort-zone’ as there are absolutely no black lines, not even the lines that define the basic shapes.

This is inspired by illustrator Kate Sutton, whose Domestika course I started watching yesterday. And there’s another project I have on the go that is inspiring me to explore this kind of drawing.

I’ve tried this before, but felt so uncomfortable with it that I gave up very quickly. Today, I was determined not to use any black lines at all. Instead, I picked a colour palette of just four colours of Arteza EverBlend markers. For each colour, I chose a similar one from my set of Zig Writer pens.

I started by creating the collage of simple shapes using the markers, overlapping them so that the colours mixed. I was careful not to mix the pink and green; I didn’t want to make mud!

Once I was happy with the basic design, I used the Zig writers to add patterns made from simple marks. To begin with, this felt really awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain wrong. However, the more I did, the easier it became, and the more I liked what was happening. I’m so glad that I persevered!

I dug out a white gel pen to add some brighter, lighter marks and to play with the ‘stitching’ to the top right. The idea that I was using pen ‘stitching’ to connect shapes and patterns amused me.

Using the white gel pen reminded me I had other gel pens to use, and use them I did.

I love the translucency of the marker pens and the way that the patterned shapes seem to float. The use of monochrome colours in these shapes, along with white, just gives an airy, delicate feel to them. I can now see the value of this way of using no black line. I have a lot more exploring and experimenting to do. My mind is ticking over how I can make use of this in a project I’m developing at the moment.

As eager as I am to continue my explorations, I have an errand to do first. But when I return home, well, I’m going to try out some of my ideas both on paper and digitally and see where this takes me.

Draw with me – Tangle Patterns. A Sketchbook Page

Please click on the ‘Watch on YouTube’ button – cheers!

I’m fine, but feeling a tad out of sorts today. So, I needed some art that would be self-soothing for a bit of selfcare. Nothing is better than starting to fill a page with tangle patterns, and all of these are new to me!

From top to bottom, the zentangle patterns I used are:
Wigwag – Jody Genovese CZT
Moonrice – Ilonka Weerts
QuaSahnt – Heidi Kay

I coloured the page with Distress Inks (Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade) then added some Ripe Persimmon through a stencil.

Draw With Me … A texture and filler pattern reference page.

This morning, I woke thinking that I really do need to pop all my favourite texture and filler patterns somewhere so I can refer to them easily. So, a sampler page it is! And yes, I videoed it and you can see the video on YouTube by clicking on this link!

I’m actually looking at the artwork I’ve done in the past few days or so that has been inspired by the work of Rebecca Blair. I’m really enjoying these kinds of simple, straightforward and rather graphic patterns. As they’re new to me and I keep coming up with my own variations, my fear of forgetting things kicks in.

Athazagoraphobia is the psychological term for the irrational fear of being forgotten or ignored, or just of forgetting things. Forgetting things like patterns or textures I like. That’s why I have a number of A5 journals with collections of drawings and patterns and so on in them – my visual references. This partly comes from a desire to collect such things and have a reference at hand to get inspiration from. But it also comes as I do worry about forgetting things as well, especially when I’m exploring or learning something new.

And it’s a totally irrational fear! My memory is usually really good, but I worry about forgetting things as well. Maybe it’s a result of seeing the devastating effect of Alzheimer’s on my father. I can’t remember if I was this way before that. Actually, I was. For a long period of time I kept a journal to keep my thoughts and memories in. Oddly, I don’t really do that now. I have a large collection of journals here and my only desire is to destroy them as I don’t look through them and I really don’t want anyone else to be able to look through them either. They are way too personal for that!

Anyways, I’m making a page full of my favourite patterns from my recent artistic endeavours, just in case! If nothing else, it will be something to spark creativity at a time when I’m a tad stumped for it. It’s also a fun thing to do and a lovely way to review my recent drawings.

Draw With Me – Alcohol markers and gesso – an experiment.

Click on this link to watch my YouTube video that accompanies this post.

I’m most probably not the first to discover this, but it is entirely new to me!

Early this morning, I added some alcohol markers to a pen drawing I’d finished. I’d drawn over a Distress Ink background with some old book pages collaged and gessoed onto it.

I know gesso coats a surface with a waterproof and slightly textured finish. I do know this. But that didn’t occur to me as I added alcohol markers to the drawing.

I was absolutely delighted with the interesting variations in the intensity of colour that resulted. Also, the application of alcohol marker also brought out the texture where the gesso was patchy, even a little bit. The paper soaked up so much more colour than the gesso – duh go me for not realising that first, but that’s not the important thing – it’s the effects that result!

It’s not all that easy to see on the image to the left. But, behind the triangular pattern, I used just one soft blue marker, but you can see the variation in intensity! Usually, it would be a very flat kind of colour. The darker areas are where there is no gesso.

This is something I really want to use as I go forward. I love the crazy, random variations in colour and texture that happen. It seems to me a way to bring a little unpredictability to the rather predictable results you get with marker pens.

Draw With Me … A pattern and motif sampler sketchbook page – Part 2

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.

As well as filming adding the pattern and motif to this sampler page, I also show my slow stitched panels at the end of the video. You can view the video on YouTube by clicking on this link.

#DrawWithMe – A pattern and motif sampler #sketchbook page – Part 1

I’m really not feeling too grand again today. Tummy cramps kept waking me up through the night. I know what the cause of them is – hormones is all I’ll say. But I am so tired today, but I don’t want to sleep as that will impact on my sleep tonight. So, quiet art time it is!

I like the idea of pattern and motif sampler pages in my sketchbook. However, I like to work on paper on the worksurface rather than in a book. So, I dug out one of my Distress Ink coloured papers to work on.

I used a selection of Zentangle tangle patterns for the first row. They are, from left to right
Savana by Yvette Cambell CZT
Holly by Linda Farmer CZT
‘Nzepple by Zentangle Inc
Dorsal by Anita Aspfors Westin
Crazy ‘Nzeppl by Zentangle Inc
Pufanflower by YuRu Chen

I used alcohol markers to add shadow to the patterns and a white Gelly roll for the highlights.

This will be a series of posts with accompanying videos until the page is done.

Here’s the link to the video for Part 1 in the series.

Draw With Me – A pattern and motif sampler.

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

This seems to be the natural progression of my work earlier this week where I put motifs in boxes and added background colour only.

When looking at Rebecca Blair’s artwork, which I absolutely love, I got inspired to create the first ‘sampler’ on the left. I say sampler because splitting space up in this way reminds me of needlework samplers created to practice different stitches.

This is a lovely way for me to indulge my love of hand-lettering, patterns, stylised motifs, colour, shadow, texture and boxes split into boxes!

Colour continues to vex me. I think my favourite is the centre example in a monochrome colour scheme. No chance of any weird colour combinations with that one!

I keep saying this about me and colour, don’t I? But I really need a huge sign that lights up and flashes to remind me to stick to monochrome colours, possibly analogous, and with tiny flashes of a complementary colour. Actually, I need the sign to detect when I reach for colour and shout this advice at me!

Of course, I wanted to share my experiments with the world; well, a few hundred people may be, who may find this an interesting idea to try. If you’d like to see the video then click on this link!

It’s been a quiet day for me. My digestive system is playing up, and self-care is the order of the day. That means not doing anything that has to be the best I can do. I know today that it’ll be harder for me to get things done because I’m under the weather. Fingers crossed, I’ll be fine and dandy again tomorrow.

Draw With Me… Hand-lettering and Zentangle Inspired Patterns

I had a request from one of my subscribers on YouTube asking how I create this kind of art. Well, a nice request has to be met with a response, in this case, a YouTube video.

I’d tried out this way of working a week or so ago. I’m trying out different ways of combining hand-lettering with my kind of entangled kind of abstract art. In fact, I’m trying to work out my hand-lettering artistic voice. It’s very much a work in progress.

I’m really rather pleasantly surprised with this page. It’s not finished but is a melange of different ideas and pen types. There are a lot of ideas to take away from this and a lot to think upon.

I particularly like how I eventually worked out I could have patterns weaving in and out of the letters, again messing around with volume/dimension/space. I’ve yet to work out how this could work, but I’ve made a start.

My fingers are itching to get to work on something similar to this. I am, however, feeling totally exhausted. I didn’t sleep well last night, and my eyes are constantly on the point of closing as I fall I asleep where I sit.

I have a delivery due soon, I hope. And after that, I’m going to crash and have a nap. Then, I’ll see what happens this evening, as far as art goes!

Looks like yesterday and today are my ‘weekend’ this week. I do know, from past experience, that if I try to do some serious work while falling asleep, I’ll just mess up and have to repeat it again. So, time for self-care for sure.

Draw With Me – Whimsical Houses #4

Please click on the “Watch on YouTube” button – Cheers!

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.

Slow stitching, mixed media, hand-lettering and a Tangle Pattern!

Link to today’s video that accompanies this blog.

I’ve seen a bit about slow stitching recently. It kept on catching my attention, so time to take a look at it a bit more.

Permission is given!

I lost my way with textile art many years ago – my attention went to other things. I still have a sizeable stash of threads and beads and sequins and so on. I got a couple of Slow Stitching books on my Kindle, had a quick read/flick through and had a realisation. Slow stitching gives me permission to create with stitches with a similar mindset to my more abstract art – to lose myself in the flow of creating, of just letting things happen and going with it and enjoying the process!

Being given permission – that is such a powerful thing! So often many ‘rules’ seem to be set about how you ‘should’ use a particular medium, or how you ‘should’ draw or create. It’s so refreshing when someone gives you permission to just do want you want, whatever brings you relaxation and pleasure (talking about stitching here!).

The stitching doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to look like anything. It’s just creating pattern and texture with colour and so on in a way that is pleasurable to you, to me.

It’s taken me a long time to give myself permission to draw the whimsical art I draw, or the more abstract stuff I do. But sometimes it really does take someone else to give that permission, either overtly or tacitly.

So, last night I dug out some felt and embroidery threads and needles and just started to stitch – cross stitch, seed stitch, running stitch and French knots. I’ve never been able to do French knots before!

Fond stitchy memories

As I stitched I had fond memories of Friday afternoons in primary school, I must’ve been 9 or 10, and being able to take out a sturdy cardboard box that stored my sewing project. Everyone in the class had one of these – boys and girls. A rectangle of navy blue Aida fabric, with the holes forming fairly large grids. A blunt needle was carefully stored in the fabric, and there was a selection of embroidery silks on the teacher’s desk to choose from.

Each week, we added another border or row to this fabric, learning different kinds of decorative stitches as we went. The Aida fabric made it easy to do, the only tricky things were not pulling the thread too tight and getting twisted, tangled and knotted thread!

Eventually, a panel was completed and the entire project was turned into a kind of pouch for pens and pencils. I had to add a linking – bright red – and stitch everything together by hand.

I remember being really proud of what I’d made and I treasured that pouch for years, even when black ink stained it, in one corner. I don’t know what happened to it. It just seemed to disappear at some point never to be found again by me. I remember being a bit upset at it going missing.

When I was in University, studying Chemistry and Environmental Pollution Science, I often used to get acid splashes on my jeans. So, rather than throwing them out, it seemed sensible that I use simple stitches to turn the holes into flowers and extend that pattern beyond the holes.

Over the years I’ve dabbled with cross-stitch and stitched tapestry and patchwork, but nothing really grabbed my attention until I did a lot of textile work during my A-Level art in my early 40s. Yet, that went by the by as other art took over, particularly when I started to work for publishers. I even won an art competition with one textile piece.

Slow Stitching

Returning from a little trip down memory lane, I wanted to take a look at this slow stitching. It feels right that I revisit stitching with the aim of incorporating it into my drawing and hand-lettering work. It may take me a while to work out how I’m going to do that, but unless I make a start it may never happen.

Felt is OK to work on, and I may return to needle-felting beautiful fibres onto black felt and then using slow stitching and beads to embellish the work. First, I have to get some black felt! I have loads of the rest of the stuff in my stash!

I also want to explore stitching on paper, using the stitches as a way to collage papers and so on. Like in the photo above.

Working on paper also gives me the opportunity to draw and/or paint patterns or textures alongside the stitches; giving me the opportunity to find different ways to combine my favourite things!

It may not be everyone’s cuppa, but my first attempt is making me smile and there’s a small sense of achievement.

I have no idea where this will take me, nor how persistent I’ll be with the stitching thing. It is, however, one more technique to add to my toolbox of arty techniques to choose from. And another one that is both relaxing and pleasurable, especially now it’s ok for me to do what I want when it comes to stitching!