A simple, monochrome mandala today, using some of my favourite patterns (plus a couple that are entirely mine).
Drawing mandalas is so soothing, mindful, meditative. The repetitive nature of drawing patterns is part of that relaxing experience.
It was also nice to use some of the patterns from my ‘visual dictionary‘ or ‘visual zibladone’ in some art.
I have some new patterns and motifs to add to my visual dictionary; they spontaneously appeared as I was drawing. I like when this happens, when I don’t over-think things and just go with my instincts.
I wanted to add a colour gradient to the mandala. However, when I tried to do so, it just didn’t feel right. So monochrome it is.
Drawn digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I’ve often mentioned my ‘visual dictionary’, so today I thought I’d show you a two-page spread from it.
I’ve kept a visual dictionary for a few years now. It’s where I keep a record of my favourite patterns, motifs, lettering styles and anything else of use to me when I need a little inspiration or to add something a little different to my art.
My original one is now just about full, and I thought it was time for a bit of a cull of patterns and motifs I wouldn’t use as I start a new dictionary. At the moment I’m working my way through zentangle patterns before I add my patterns and motifs. TanglePatterns.com is a fantastic online resource for zentangle patterns.
I’m using an A5 notebook with 5mm squared paper from WHSmith. It has quite a lot more pages in it than a Leuchtturm, Midori, or other A5 dot grid or squared notebooks, which is why I went with it. The paper seems to be pretty bleed-proof, and any ghosting is relatively minimal.
The past few days have had me needing some quiet time doing comforting, soothing art. I’ve had a very ‘people-y’ time of late, and it has left me quite drained. So, sifting through and drawing patterns and motifs and adding them to my new visual dictionary was just what my arty soul and overwrought emotions needed.
Doing this has the bonus of refreshing my creativity. Not only am I being reminded of patterns I like that I’ve not used for a very long time, but I’m also creating my own variations, either deliberately or as the result of some ‘happy accidents’.
Even though I’m trying to keep the pages neat and ordered and the patterns mistake-free, I find I’m not stressing if I make any mistakes. I find a way to either create a new pattern or to incorporate it into the design in some way. This is good for me as I tend to be hyper-perfectionistic if I’m not too careful.
This morning I started my day with some warm-up drawing. I drew this one with Sakura Pigma Micron pens on Daler-Rowney Bristol Board that measures approx. 7cm x 30cm. I added the coloured background digitally, along with the watermarks.
You may be curious why I use a square of coloured and textured paper behind my art work. Well, for Instagram, a square image fits perfectly without being cropped weirdly, and as many of my pieces of art are not square…well, you get the idea! So, for consistency across my social media, I use the same image.
I enjoyed drawing ths one. There’s some new patterns and motifs in it. I spent yesterday looking at ‘Art Forms in Nature’ by Ernst Haeckel for inspiration to add new patterns and motifs to my visual reference book. This little A5 dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine is becoming rather useful. I add my favourite patterns, new patterns, motifs, doodles to it as I need to. I make use of the idea of ‘threading’ used in Bullet Journals to help link sections together.
What a brilliant idea ‘threading’ is. I used to get so frustrated with either folders with drawings in or having sections scattered in a book with a clumsy index to help find them. Now, I just follow the page numbers to direct me to where the particular collection continues. The index then lists just the first occurrence of that particular collection. My collections include abstract botanicals, foliage, floral, fungi, trees, feathers, crystals, Christmas, favourite patterns, dangles and charms.
I’m sure that when I start a new book, there’ll be a way to thread to the new book!
Why am I doing this? Well, as well as keeping track of patterns and motifs I like and organising them roughly into collections it’s also a source book of inspiration for art when I feel I’m lacking in inspiration or I feel my work is getting more than a bit samey.
It’s also something that is part of my self-care on days where it’s too much of a challenge to do something completely new and different. Sometimes this means adding familiar patterns and motifs. At other times it means researching new ones.
Yesterday I was really tired and feeling quite low after a very tiring day on Saturday followed by a poor nights sleep. Last night my sleep was even worse. I woke from disturbing dreams with my mind busy, busy, busy. Not sure why this is, or why I just feel more anxious than usual. There’s no reason at all for me to feel this way. Just some stormy emotional weather in advance of EMDR today and starting to process something new to EMDR but old to me. The CPTSD recovery journey continues…