Over the past week or so I’ve been gradually adding to this sketchbook page. It is entirely what a sketchbook should be, in my opinion. Pages full of ideas, sketches, unfinished drawings, practice of techniques, written notes… a visual zibladone for the creative soul!
It is a reflection of what is catching my attention in my world. That world encompasses the inner worlds of imagination and emotion, as well as the outer world of books, nature, architecture, photographs, and so on.
This page includes inspiration from Mayan glyphs/sculpture, rocks, nature, mushrooms, magic wands/staves/sceptres, pen textures and some inspiration from Hundertwasser.
Everything on the page is a bit wonky (not perpendicular), and I’m OK about that – it’s a sketchbook! But then wonky art, particularly colouring pages, seems to be part of my signature style. Perfectly straight lines just don’t look right to me, nor do sharp corners. Perhaps that’s why I like Hundertwasser so much.
The English gardener William Kent said, “Nature abhors a straight line”. Hundertwasser said, ” The straight line is godless and immoral.”
A sketchbook is always a work in progress (WIP), even when every page is full, it’s full of incomplete drawings and ideas, sketches and notes, jottings and doodlings. Nothing has to be perfect. Not a single thing.
A sketchbook is a place to try things out, experiment, just see what happens. With that comes an acceptance that not everything will work out, and where surprising things happen and discoveries are made that may otherwise never happen.
Sometimes the gems of ideas and colour combinations and ways of using media remain hidden until much later. A sketchbook is a place to practice and learn, to note down what is of interest at this time, what needs to be expressed, without any pressure to produce a finished, polished artwork.
That doesn’t mean, however, that a sketchbook can’t be something interesting to look at, even with it’s own kind of beauty. They are a reflection of the artist that creates them and so is a window into their arty heart and feelings. They are very personal things.
A sketchbook encourages me to use media that are gathering dust because I do so much art digitally. In a physical sketchbook, if I want any colour, then I have to use some of these media.
On this one page I’ve used Pilot Hi-Tec C4, Pilot Maica, Rotring Rapidograph and Uniball Unipin pens. To add colour, watercolours, Tombow Dual Brush pens, Derwent ColorSoft pencils, Derwent Procolour pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils have been used.
What else could I do for dinner other than have the etymology of the word along with a collage of just a few of my favourite foods! And I do mean only some.
I looked up the etymology of ‘dinner’ on Etymology Online, did a little bit of typography using Affinity Publisher.
I then drew the foods on Claire Fontaine dot grid paper using an 0.8 Uniball Unipin pen.
I scanned the drawing in and removed the dot grid and removed smudges and so on in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
My next step was to add a coloured background and some colour to some of the drawings. Only to some, as this was a ‘for fun’ project as part of the #Inktober52 challenge organised by Jake Parker, the founder of Inktober.
Missing in action…
It’s been a couple of days since my last blog. It seems that life and demands on me have taken over arty pursuits. And when I wasn’t seeing to the life demands, I was taking some time out by needlefelting.
I managed to needlefelt a cute rabbit and owl over the last two or three days. I’ll post pictures of them in another post.
Today I have two card designs for you, both featuring dangle designs, but in different ways.
If you like dangle designs and you’d like to give drawing them yourself but need a little help or inspiration, then you may find my book “A Dangle A Day”of interest. In the book, I take you, step by step, through how to draw over 100 dangle designs, along with some ideas of how you could use them.
Love Ya and With Love Card.
I started by using the Foursquare Backdrop: Portrait die from lawn fawn to cut the frames and panels from a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I purchased this die, and the one in the second card, from Seven Hills Crafts here in the UK.
Next, I used Stormy Skies and Broken China Distress Inks to add a subtle colour gradient to the panels.
My idea was to draw four different dangle designs for each small square panel. I also wanted to include some hand-lettering, which I did.
So, I used Unipin pens from Uniball to do the drawings and lettering. I did use pencil outlines for the ribbon banners and lettering to make sure their placement was just right.
I coloured the design elements and charms using Copic markers. As the individual design elements were so small, I just used two colours to achieve shading in the bigger ones.
I also added a drop shadow around the designs using a BV marker that is a greyish-violet. It’s a very subtle drop shadow.
I had to add some sparkle and shine to the card, so I used a clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle brush pen along with a gold glitter Signo gel pen to do this.
To assemble the card, I glued the frame to the card base using Tombow Mono adhesive. Then, I glued the square panels into place.
I managed to get glue onto the front of the card and trying to rub it off while wet just left a dark, dirty smear. I’ve ordered some Tombow Sand erasers to see if they’ll remove the mark. If not, I’ll have to either work out another way to cover it up or just consign the card to the pile of things not to do again!
Black and white floral card.
Again, my first job was to cut out the frame and panels using a die. For this card, I used the Foursquare Backdrop: Landscape die from lawn fawn along with Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I also decided to use this die in portrait mode.
To draw the design elements, I used Unipin pens from Uniball. I hung dangle designs from the top of each card to fill in some of the space that was there. I wish I’d used a slightly thicker pen than the 01 though. They look almost like an afterthought.
Anyway, once I finished the drawings, I wasn’t sure whether to add colour or not. So, I’ve left the pictures as black and white line art for now.
I used Tombow Mono glue to attach the frame and panels to a 5″x7″ piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board. I did this as I realised that the dies are made to fit card blanks made from half a sheet of US letter-sized paper folded in half. In the UK, we use A4 sized paper, which is different enough in size to make it awkward to cut the paper to fit the card. I have ordered some 5″ x 7″ card blanks with envelopes, and then I can finish assembling this card. I’m likely to trim the foundation panel down a little and maybe try to carefully add some colour around the edge. Maybe.
It’s at this point I’ll decide whether or not to add colour and to see if I can thicken the lines around the dangles without messing it up. Mind you, if I do mess it up, it’s another experiment I can learn from, hopefully remembering not to do this again.
Things I’ve learned and techniques I want to try.
The lawn fawn dies work great! They come with smaller dies – heart, cloud, small star, large star, sun, small sun and speech bubble – which may be useful in the future. I had made my mind up that I’d limit myself to die sets that are simple in shape to for cutting out panels to draw on and maybe for layering.
I rolled my eyes at myself when I worked out that dies from an American company would work best with American sized paper for card bases. However, I can work around that now I’ve realised that. I’m comfortable working with inches; most of my craft tools have both inches and centimetres on them. However, the inches are visibly the most dominant measurement system.
Glue. Me and glue. Not sure how I can avoid smearing in the future. Hopefully, the sand eraser will help to remove my gluey, sticky, dirty-looking mistakes.
I like using Distress Inks for backgrounds. However, the pale colours of markers that I prefer to use are translucent and so combine with the background. I could use other media such as coloured pencils for colouring. Or I could use distress inks or water-based marker pens with a damp brush to add colour. I could also use a damp brush to remove some of the distress inks. In that case, I may have to use watercolour paper instead of Bristol Board.
I could also use a Versamark pen – which contains transparent, sticky ink – to colour over my design elements once coloured and then use clear embossing powder and a heat gun to protect the colours. I could then add the distress inks after heat-setting the embossing powder. The embossing powder would add some dimension and shine to the cards. If I used a sparkle pen or gold gel pen, for example, the embossing would encase it and highlight these embellishments Ieven more, I think. I need to try this idea out!
So, there are lots of possibilities for going forward with this.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m feeling the more content and optimistic than I have for the past two or three weeks.
I’m still feeling out of kilter; changes are happening in my perceptions around my emotional/mental wellbeing. I’m also aware of shifts that are happening in other parts of me.
I’m still poop-scared about what is going on in the world. I can’t see that ending anytime soon, however. This, and the rest of the emotional rollercoaster I seem to be on, are still upsetting my digestive system, so I’m not feeling too well much of the time.
Yesterday, I was so unsettled and scared that I couldn’t settle to do much art, and I became so dissatisfied and frustrated with whatever I did. I couldn’t settle to anything else either – not crochet, reading, nothing.
As I’ve said, today I do feel better, so I need to turn my attention to trying out Affinity Publisher to create some materials I’ve been commissioned to do (the artwork and inserts for a CD by a band!). I’ll see about setting the templates up first and go from there. I’ve not tried to do this the past couple of days as I know my head and my emotions weren’t in the right place. I’m not sure that they are today; it’s only by doing that I will find out whether they are or not.
This little card and envelope took me around 3 hours to make. I had to remember how to do various things and find my supplies to do them with!
My first task was to make the sentiment banner. I had the idea for this one after someone asked me for recommendations of good books for learning hand lettering as they’re not at all happy with their handwriting.
Hand lettering and handwriting are not the same thing. Hand lettering is something you unconsciously do. Hand lettering is the conscious and deliberate drawing of letters, one by one. Practice, like everything else you want to learn and become good enough at, is important. I suggested that they try printing the sentiments out on their computer or using words cut out of books or magazines or stickers or stamps and ink pads used by card makers until they’re comfortable with their own lettering style.
That led me to thinking that rather than writing the sentiment directly onto the paper that I’m going to draw the dangle design on, what about if I hand lettered it on paper again and again until I’m happy with it and then cut that version out. I could then layer it onto coloured card to make a border, or onto the paper or or or…
So, that’s what I wanted to use here. A variation on what I’ve done in previous cards. I cut two trips of mixed media paper, one around 1cm wide, the other around 0.7cm wide.
On the narrow strip I wrote my sentiment. I did this confidently as I knew if I got it wrong I could always write it again – I’d not ruin my dangle design in any way. I then trimmed the strip close to the start and end of the sentiment.
Next, I coloured the wider strip of paper with victorian velvet Distress Ink. I trimmed one piece so it was just a little longer than the sentiment. Then, I cut two rectangles from the coloured strip. I cut triangular notches into one end of each of the rectangles. I used the sponge applicator to make sure the edges of the coloured pieces, including inside the notches, and the sentiment strip coloured. By doing this, there’s a darker edge to the pieces and this defines them against the background. The final step in making the banner was to glue the pieces together as shown in the photo.
I cut two pieces of mixed media paper for the front of the card. The smaller one I made a little narrower than the sentiment banner; I wanted the ribbon to hang over the edge a little. I used a pencil to mark where I wanted the banner to sit on the card. I then used a pencil to mark out the centre of the card so I could position my dangle centrally.
Above where the ribbon would sit I wanted to place an arrangement of pot plants – succulents and a cacti. Below I wanted a fairly simple dangle, but one that had elements that appeared in the arrangement of pot plants. I drew these with a 05 Uniball Unipin Pen.
I then wanted to colour the two pieces of mixed media paper before I coloured the designs in.
For the larger one I used Peacock Feathers, Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks to colour the whole of the paper panel. I edged this panel with Faded Denim Distress Ink. Then, I lightly sprayed the panel with water so that I’d get some faded watermarks as a texture in the colour.
For the upper panel, I used a very light hand to add the same Distress Inks to the paper, but in a much paler shade. I also edged this panel with the Faded Denim Distress Ink. I realised it hadn’t erased the pencil guidelines before I added the Distress Ink so when I went to erase them they wouldn’t fully erase. I’d forgotten that I had to do that! Still, it adds a bit to the distressed feel of the cards, that and the damage marks that were on the larger panel too.
To colour the dangle design I used Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. I used a fairly limited palette across the design.
The last two steps before assembling the card were add dots of gold ink and some shiny adhesive crystal gems.
To assemble the card I used glue to adhere the lower panel directly to the card. I then used foam squares to adhere the dangle design panel to the lower panel and the sentiment ribbon to the dangle design panel. This card has quite a bit of dimension to it.
My final job was to decorate the envelope. I decided to draw some pot plants and some of the daisies along the bottom. I added some butterflies to the left as the area above the pot plant seemed empty, unbalance. I haven’t coloured the envelope in as I’m in two minds whether to or not. Also, it would be nice to edge the envelope with the Faded Jeans Distress ink too, maybe even colouring the envelope with the same Distress Inks as the card. There’s also the back flap of the envelope that would benefit from a little potted succulent drawing I think.
Distress Inks are water-reactive, so if I do this, once the envelope is addressed a light application of Micro Glaze would seal the colour in so it wouldn’t be damaged in the mail.
I’m actually quite pleased with this card. It’s got me thinking about how to do more of this kind of stuff – card making the ‘Angela’ way!
If you give making cards like this a go, I’d love to see what you create! Happy art-ing, lettering and crafting!
Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).
By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!
For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.
I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.
Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.
Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.
I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!
It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.
Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.
An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.
I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.
It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.
I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.
I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.
Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.
When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design
Yesterday, I just felt the need to do a bit of an entangled drawing. So, I started with the lower case b and added designs around it.
Not at all sure this works. The letter just looks ‘plonked’ on top of the design rather than part of it.
I do like the entangled stuff though.
Always something to learn – that’s my piece of Wednesday Wisdom. If you don’t try something, you never know if you can either do it or if it’ll work out. This one isn’t one of my better lettering adventures, but, I can reflect on what I like and what I don’t like and then try again another time.
I’m not at all sure I can ‘fix’ this one, but I can try again.
For this one I used Daler Rowney Bristol Board along with 08 Unipin Uniball and 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens.
I did use some circle, oval and hexagon templates to help me design the wreaths and snowflakes. The dot grid paper helped me draw mostly straight lines for the dangles.
I did sketch them in pencil first before inking them in with a Uniball Unipin pen. Colouring was done with various Tombow dual brush pen markers and some sparkly elements added with Uniball signo sparkle gel pens.
These would look lovely as greetings cards. In fact, I’m thinking of redrawing them digitally and using them to make my own christmas cards this year. Printing out the black line work and then colouring them with traditional media. In the past couple of years I’ve designed my christmas/winter/yule cards digitally and had them printed professionally. This year, I think I’ll do it the way I suggest in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.
They’d also look great as note cards or as pages in a BuJo, planner, scrapboook or journal. They’d lend themselves to cute bookmarks too.
These relatively simple and small dangle designs are perfect for practicing hand lettering too. And in these four dangles I’ve used four different lettering styles.
I’ve also kept the finished designs simple by not adding any drop shadows, except around the ‘HO! HO! HO!’. Not only that, a lot of the colouring is very simple too.
I do hope you’ll have a go at designing your own, maybe using these as a bit of a guide. If you do, I’d love to see what you’ve created.
I used Sakura Pigma Micron and Uniball Unipin pens to draw the design. I drew everything directly in ink, though I did add some pencil guidelines to make sure the letters were on the level and roughly the same height.
To add colour I used Copic markers. I added some highlights of gold using a Sakura Metallic Gelly Roll. Oh, and I added some white highlights using a Sakura Souffle pen.
It’s worked out ok…
Day 6 – Drooling
Drooling, dribbling just said ‘monsters’ to me, and as the only monsters I draw are cutesy ones this is what I came up with. Some of the monsters are dribbling/drooling, but the page most definitely is drooling from the top.
I started by colouring the paper with Distress Inks and an ink blending tool. I wanted it to look grungy and old.
Next, I started by drawing the border, then the drooling pattern at the top of the page, and added stippling for shadow.
After that, I started drawing from the bottom up, starting with some weird alien plants.
Sakura Pigma Micron and Uniball Unipin pens were used for the drawing.
After the outlines were drawn, I used the same pens to add shadows and patterns to the design. I followed this up with a white Uniball Signo pen to add the white highlights.
All caught up
These two mean I’ve caught up with the Inktober 2018 challenge! They have taken me a few hours of my Saturday morning to do, but it’s been a pleasurable time for sure.
Yesterday, I had an enjoyable couple of hours drawing fairly cute designs that are 6cm x 6cm (approx. 2½” x 2½”).
I drew my little designs (twelve of them in total, and not all of them I’m all that fussed on at the moment) on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Uniball Unipin 05 pen. Then, I scanned them into the computer and did my usual magic to remove the dot grid and create a transparent background.
Finally, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pen, along with my Microsoft Surface Studio to colour the image.
I used various brushes and brush textures to achieve the colouring.
It’s really small, for me. A 6cm x 6cm size would look darling on a small greetings card or note card. I also think they’d make a lovely addition to a BuJo, Planner or Scrapbook page.