Today was a day to draw some mushrooms! I do love them, especially the quirky, whimsical and cute ones. These fit the bill, I think, a little resplendent in their autumnal tones.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think there is such a thing as too much whimsy or cuteness. Ever. Though I may seemingly stray away from things cute and kawaii from time to time, it’s not long before I feel the pull to add some more whimsy to this worrisome world.
There’s such a huge variety of fungi on the Earth, so much inspiration to draw from. But today, I kept it fairly simple.
To add colour, I used Inktense pencils with a Kuretake Zig water-brush. Oh, and the ‘frame’ was coloured with iridescent gold watercolour paint. And that gave me the perfect excuse, not that I needed one, to scatter some gold dots around the background. Oh, the white dots on the ‘shrooms and foliage were applied with a Sakura white Soufflé pen. Its opaque white ink is perfect for this job, especially as it doesn’t seem to pick up any underlying colours. Must remember to get some more of them.
I’ve had a lovely tangle-y, arty, creative morning. Some good stuff. Some experiments that worked, some that didn’t quite. Either way, I have two more pages in my sketchbook filled with explorations of Zentangle patterns.
On the left is the page of explorations of Morrisseau by Cheryl Moote CZT. The white lines in the wavy border are just … too stark and a clear line/edge that I don’t like much, at the moment. I much prefer the dotty embellishments! Having said that, the white lines that turn areas of the design into shell-like fragments work rather nicely. The more I play around with Morrisseau, the more it’s becoming one of my favourite tangle patterns. I have a lot more exploring to do with it, no doubt too.
On the right is a page of explorations of today’s tangle, Zenith, by Zentangle Inc. This was kind of fun to play around with, some ideas more successful than others. less colour on this page, but plenty of dots and white highlights!
As these are pages in my sketchbook, I feel no need to finish them completely. They’re there as a reference for ideas growing forward. Also, they’re a record showing how I’m working at developing both patterns and addition of colour, shadow and highlight.
For colour, I’ve used Graphitint pencils with a damp brush to activate the colour and gently spread it out. I like the earthier tones much more than the bright and intense colours of the Ecoline pens at the moment.
For shadow and highlight on the Zenith page, I used charcoal pencils. Now, these I like far more than graphite pencils. They don’t add any shine at all. Hurrah!
For white highlights, a white Sakura Soufflé pen was used, both before and after adding colour/shadow/highlight. With the charcoal pencils it really needs to be added afterwards as the charcoal is abrasive enough to stick to the dry pen. With graphitint it doesn’t matter. Indeed, the way colour pools around the white dots/lines adds depth and interest to the colour.
I’ve also used some metallic paints that are fairly opaque in some of the drawings. I enjoyed doing this, especially as I could add different shades of gold to add a highlight. I think I’ll be using these more going forward; they give a much smoother finish in large-ish areas than a metallic gel pen would. I like smooth finishes with metallics. The uneven colour that results from spreading the graphitint pencils pleases me too.
This morning, I needed to create something that wasn’t too taxing, that was meditative, that could be completed relatively quickly in a process that was familiar to me. So, I chose to create a Zentangle tile. Perfect for when I’ve woken with a stinking headache.
I cut a 4″ x 4″ square of Fabriano Sand Toned Paper and added a few pencil lines to act as the ‘string’ for the design. Next, I had a look on TanglePatterns.com for a pattern to place in the diagonal area. The latest one posted is called TIWA, designed by Ria Mattheussen, one I’ve not drawn before. So, I used that, and let the design grow from there.
To create the tile I used the following: 0.3 Unipin pen, various Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils and a paper stump, a white Sakura Soufflé pen, and a BR3 Chameleon fineliner for the spiral pattern (Printemps in Zentangle-speak!).
I need a quiet, restful, and possibly nap-filled rest of the day. As the headache is beginning to fade, it’s leaving me feeling exhausted in it’s turbulent wake. I do think I may do a little more drawing first.
I woke with a stinking headache this morning. So, spending some time adding colour to an entangled drawing, along with a couple of headache pills, was just what was needed. And listening to a podcast or three.
I decided to use Distress Inks as paints, along with a Caran d’Ache waterbrush. Here’s a list of the colours I used: Forest Moss, Fossilised Amber, Weathered Wood, Broken China, Dusty Concord and Seedless Preserves.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I think I really should’ve stayed away from Dusty Concord and Seedless Preserves – the purple and pink colours. Either other analogous colours and/or browns/greys would’ve worked so much better.
I keep doing this with colour. I’m so used to choosing complementary colours that I still reach for them. In this case it’s understandable as I chose some of the colours that were in the background.
Note to self – monochrome-ish or analogous colours!
To help tone these brighter pink and purple colours down, a liberal use of dot highlights from a white Sakura Soufflé pen was needed! I’ve not finished adding embellishments yet.
Nor have I started intensifying shadows. I’m not sure whether to use biro or either a graphite pencil or a chalk pastel and a paper tortillon. My head isn’t clear enough to decide about that! As the headache is wearing off, my need to sleep the last of it off is increasing.
It certainly was a task and I needed to persevere at the beginning. I was really hesitant about adding colour and seriously disliking the colour as I started to add it. The more I did, the more comfortable I became with adding colour.
I think what helped with the colours was the use of a limited colour palette. Indigo, prussian blue, gold ochre, burnt sienna and bronze green made the basic palette up. Mixing the colours gave me plenty of variation in colours and tones while at the same time keeping a coherence.
I started adding shading with a biro. As this drawing was a testing ground for various ideas, I used a cool grey Pitt Artist pen to add the rest of the shadows. I found the result pleasing, particularly after adding colour. A darker grey may have worked more to my tastes of high contrast, but this is a starting point.
Indeed, I rather like the combination of biro and pitt pens. I did end up adding some cross hatching to some areas to intensify the dark areas betwixt the elements of the design. That darkness helped to lift the colours somewhat.
To add highlights, a white Sakura Soufflé pen was used. I also had a hankering to add some metallic highlights too, so a gold metallic Gelly Roll came in useful.
Using flat colour washes and letting the grey shadows add volume seems to have worked well enough. I may, later, try out some coloured pencils to add more shadowing. But not until after breakfast!
I’ve been awake since stupid o’clock, which roughly translates to 3:30am BST. While I was trying to get back to sleep I watched a youtube video about making pockets and tuck-ins for an altered book journal.
I thought that could be something good for my sketchbook-journal. I have worried a little about gluing my little artworks into it, but pockets, tuck-ins, see-through envelopes could be a good way to both show the work and store it in a non-permanent way.
So, with my mind now working and sleep eluding me, I decided to have a go at making my own pockets. You can see the result at the top right, with a journalling card popped in one of them for now.
How I made the pockets
I used some ordinary white card, cut it into what I thought would be good sizes to make a set of stacked pockets for the ATC sized cards I’ve been working on.
I then coloured the cards with Distress Oxide Inks. For one of them, I used a brayer to add ink to a gelli plate. Before pulling a print, I spritzed the gelli plate with water that had some white perfect pearls added to it.
For another panel, I used the brayer to add ink directly to the paper. It did that unevenly. So, I used a ball-tool to carve some texture into the black side of a piece of cut and try foam and used that to add colour. That worked really well! Dabbing the foam added a lovely textured layer of colour. A spritz of water activated the dusty, chalky, soft nature of the Distress Oxides.
I enjoyed the look I achieved with the distressed foam that I coloured the remaining pair of paper panels in the same way.
I then tore the top edge of each panel, for added interest, then used a piece of foam and Rich Mahogany Distress Ink to add grunginess to the edges of each panel.
I wanted to add some embellishments to each panel, so I used a copper sparkle Gelli pen to draw patterns on them.
Finally, I used Tombow Mono adhesive to stick the panels together.
When I put the panels on the page in my sketchbook-journal, I thought a panel behind them. So, I coloured a panel of the same card with Distress Oxide inks and the distressed piece of foam and used the same gelly roll pen to add some sparkly patterns. Then, I adhered the back panel and pockets to my sketchbook.
When I tested some ATC cards in the pockets, I realised I need to work out a way for some more ‘give’ in the pockets as they’re too tightly put together to slip more than one ATC card in them. Also, I placed them just low enough down the page so the ATC card doesn’t stick out of the sides of my sketchbook.
I’m not well known for my fore-planning projects like this, though I do try to learn as I go along.
Inchies and Twinchies
My mind was working in weird ways this morning. As I was making the pockets, my mind strayed to inchies and twinchies. I’ve not made any of these for a long, long time. I thought it could be fun to do so and add them to my sketchbook-journal.
I cut two 1″ wide, and one 2″ wide strips of card. I used the distressed foam to apply Distress Oxide inks to them, spritzing with water to add to the distressed look. Then, after drying with a heat tool, I cut them into squares – 1″ x 1″ inches and 2″ x 2″ twinchies.
I decided to use metallic watercolours from Cosmic Shimmer to add a sparkly, shimmery border to each tile. I used rich gold, pale gold or copper on each tile.
Then, I got to draw on the tiles. Teeny, tiny zentangle-style drawings. That was fun to do!
After adding some dots using a white Sakura Soufflé pen, I adhered the inchies into my sketchbook-journal. I’ve left the twinchies for decoration later.
I realised that I could stored journalling cards in the pockets. All I needed to do was to colour the back of one of the ATC cards I coloured a few days ago. I also just realised that I could have added a layer of squared, dot grid or lined paper to write on too. That’s an idea for another time, maybe.
After drying the ink, I used a rollerball pen to add what notes I wanted to about this mornings creative sessions.
In fact, I’ve just created another journaling card to jot down ideas and notes to self as a result of reflecting on my pre-dawn arty activities!