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, tangle pattern and motif sampler sketchbook page – part 3

Another couple of panels were completed on this sampler this morning. I like something like this to gently start the day and a bit of a drawing warm-up. If you’d like to draw with me, then click on this link to see today’s video on YouTube.

Today I’ve added the tangle pattern Kos, deconstructed by Anica Gabrovec CZT, known as Zen Linea. This panel is to the top and centre-right. The other panel is towards the bottom left and is one inspired by Rebecca Blair.

It’s funny how the internet seems to conspire to remind me of my early artwork nearly 20 years ago. One of my drawings turned up on Pinterest today. And it was this kind of sampler, but with patterns from Romanesque architecture, nature and textures drawn in pen and white ink on a kraft paper background. Seems I was doing this kind of thing before I’d heard of Zentangle or Rebecca Blair or many other artists and CZTs!

I keep trying to settle on a clear artistic voice, if not chorus, and it may always have been there, but I just don’t seem to accept it for some reason.

Perhaps these kinds of synchronicities are nudging me to accept this is something that I like to do and need to work more with. Time will tell, that’s for sure.

I think I’ve accepted, mostly, that I need to put watercolours and similar media to one side and focus on alcohol markers. I like the control I have over them. And using digital art to add colour, shadow and highlight too.

As much as I like the fluid, random effects you can get with water-soluble media, my ability to work with these media seems to be limited. Still, no doubt I’ll keep returning to them in the hope I’ll have a different outcome at some point in time. I’m not going to hold my breath on that, though!

I also think that I’m zeroing in on the best way for me to work with colour – monochrome or analogous colour schemes, maybe with a pop of complementary colour here and there.

Draw With Me | A sketchbook page full of oyster shells, part 2

Click on this link to watch the step by step drawing video for the second and third oyster shells.

Two more oyster shells have been drawn and added to this sketchbook page. I used two different methods of adding shadow.

For the middle drawing, I used a 6B graphite pencil along with a paper stump or tortillon. Then I added some soft, peachy alcohol markers.

In the right-hand drawing, I added a base layer of a pale peachy alcohol marker. Then, I used red, orange and pink Colorsoft pencils to add shadow and variation in colour.

Then, it was time to add pattern /texture! To do this, I used an 01 Sakura Micron pen. Also, I alternated how intense the patterns were in the layers.

Finally, I added some white highlights with an 08 Sakura Gelly Roll pen. And a bit more graphite here and there to bring out the layers.

Which is your favourite so far?

This sketchbook page isn’t finished. I want to fill it with variations of oyster shells. I do intend to keep to the same kind of colours for the drawings.

Draw With Me – Part 2 – Adding texture, pattern and colour to circle motifs

Click on this link to view the video that accompanies this image on YouTube.

I felt the need to spend some time adding more pattern and texture to some of these abstract, stylised circular (ish) motifs. First, however, I added some colour to most of them. I used Ecoline Brush Pens which contain Ecoline watercolour ink. The colours are very intense and vibrant and so I use a water brush to add them to my drawings. I listened to Andy Serkis’ reading of Lord of the Rings while colouring before starting to video.

Water-based media do vex me somewhat. However, I’m beginning to see how the textures that can be achieved with them make interesting backgrounds behind the patterns/textures drawn in pen.

It was fun to experiment with dropping colours and/or water into the first layer of watercolour ink and watch them spread and mix. It’s a kind of magic and is totally mesmerising. The paper I’m using, Canson Imagine mixed media paper, isn’t the best for this, but it’s adequate. Time to dig out the watercolour paper again for sketchbook exercises like this I think.

It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours this Saturday morning. I don’t know when I’ll add more pattern/texture with pens, or possibly metallic inks or paints with fine brushes, to the remaining motifs. What I do know is it will be both explorative and intriguing and mesmerising and magical, and I’ll work out my relationship with all these mediums a little bit more.

And, perhaps, have a better relationship with colour!

This is one of the important functions of sketchbooks. Yes, I often do complete, polished, finished drawings in them. But finally working out that I can also practice, experiment and ‘art’ just for enjoyment in them is a bit of a revelation. One that I’m enthusiastic to share!

It’s also lovely that, through the medium of YouTube, I can ‘teach’ and encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, I make things clear and simple. And increasing someone’s confidence, the willingness to give it a go and see what happens without judgement, just learning from the experience. Sometimes the lesson to be learned is that it’s a relaxing process, a break from the outer world that can bear down on us. Other times it is trying out media or colour schemes or just practising.

I’m sure I’ve not given a comprehensive list! One of the most important things is that, just like a diary, no one ever has to look inside your sketchbook, unless you choose to share.

Creativity is part of being human. Working out the ways to express that creativity, what expresses a part of the inner self, is part of who we are. Art is one way to do that, and the only person we need to compare ourselves to is ourselves! As we journey and try things out we find out who we are by discovering who we are not. And it’s a journey that never ceases!

Draw With Me … Adding texture, pattern and colour to circle motifs

Today felt like the right day to start jazzing up these simple circle motifs with some texture and pattern before adding colour.

I kept the methods of adding pattern/texture really simple – just lines and circles combined in different ways. It’s amazing how just small, simple patterns can make a difference to the motifs, making them look a lot more intricate than they are.

It’s sketchbook work, so this is a pretty messy page, but that’s fine. I’m learning that getting ideas down quickly as a reference/resource for future work is a good thing. And if they’re messy, then that’s fine! Even with the messy bits, the ideas are clearly seen.

Colour is still the thing that vexes me, and the sketchbook is where I can explore colours and, perhaps, find my confidence in them.

Of course, there’s a video tutorial to go with this sketchbook page, which is only partly done. You can view the tutorial by clicking on this link.

Friday entanglement – WIP

I always relax, feel my whole body let out a sigh of relief as I work on drawings like this one. Purely abstract, line and pattern being the focus, with healthy doses of black giving a very graphic feel to the design.

Playing with line width and pattern to bring layers and depth to the design is always something I’ve enjoyed.

I start with one single line, shape or motif and go from there instead of having an overall plan for the design all sketched out and ready to go. I like this organic, intuitive way of letting the design grow, developing it one pen stroke at a time.

I’m learning, slowly but surely, that areas of white space can be a powerful part of the overall design. It’s been a long journey to realise I don’t have to fill the whole sheet of paper with line and pattern.

I need to have a lot of trust in the whole of this process; that something pleasing will be created after hours of work with very fine nibbed pens.

What next when I’ve finished the pen-work? Do I add shadows, colour, highlights with traditional media or digitally? Do I just add a background coloured/textured paper? Do I leave it in it’s very graphic black and white?

Working digitally with a scan of the finished drawing allows me to experiment, though I’ve yet to work out how to add shadows in the way a blended graphite or pastel pencil would do. And I do have a tendency to use much brighter, saturated colours than I would with traditional media.

Perhaps it’s time I sorted out my own digital colour palettes from my traditional media. That is something for another day, however. For the rest of the day, I’m going to lose myself in completing this drawing.

Entanglement – 19 Feb ’21

Yesterday’s coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group all coloured and shaded. I used Chameleon alcohol markers to add the colour and some shading. I also used a graphite pencil and a tortillon to darken the shading and add shadow to the lighter areas. It’s turned out OK.

Monday Mandala 30 Nov 2020

A mandala in my entangled assemblage style. I really enjoyed drawing this, not least because I proved to myself I can transfer this way of drawing to digital art.

Unusually, there’s not a single botanical element in this artwork. Not one leaf, not one flower, nor any seed pods. It’s purely abstract.

I think I may have used up too much of my time this morning (a deadline is about to go whoosh past me), but it has given me ideas for some of the remaining templates I need to complete.

Sunday Morning Art

This was a lovely way to spend the first three hours or so of Sunday morning. Abstract digital painting. Chilled out music playing on Spotify. A slow sunrise behind the grey, rain-dropping clouds.

Again, the pattern was inspired by rocks and geology. Some of the patterns I’ve added remind me of rocks and shells, others are a bit too geometric.

It’s always nice to play around with pattern, texture and colour. And when I limit my palette to just a couple of colour families I get much better results. Today, I used the B and YR Copic colour families from the Copic palette included with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

While not reminiscent of rocks, the colours remind me of sea and sand. This year, I’ve not been able to get to the coast, other than once way back in February. The colour choice is a subconscious desire for the sea and shore, a liminal place, a boundary between one element and another.

The coast is a place where I feel my whole body exhale and relax. Sadly, it’s not possible to visit at this time, maybe not for a long while. However, the pandemic won’t last forever and the coastline will still be there.

Anyways, creating this artwork was a lovely way of spending some time on a Sunday morning. I can see where I’ve been clumsy with the patterns, making the layers look flatter than I wanted them to.

Entangled Art

I finally have this particular drawing finished.

It was drawn on marker paper using Unipin pens. Shadows were added using cool grey Copic markers. Next, it was scanned in and a kraft paper background added. Finally, highlights were added digitally to help bring out some sense of dimensionality.

I like the way the highlights and shadows work. However, in future I need to add the shadows digitally along with the highlights.

It’s a very typically “Angela” style of art – intricate, detailed, and full of botanical motifs, arches and geometric patterns that I enjoy using so much. I even managed to leave some areas that are not so busy with line and pattern!

So, it’s on to the next one, once I’ve designed the coloring template for Template Thursday!