Work in progress Wednesday

Yet another work in progress! Also, another gel pen drawing, this time with Zebra Sarasa 0.5 pens in vintage tones. For this drawing I used smooth, heavy-weight cartridge paper. This paper has more texture than the bristol board and the pens didn’t work as well on this.

The colours are rich and intense, and the palette will work well with the Arteza Vintage gel pens. I like the finer line of these pens. I do like these pens, which I bought the same time as the Arteza ones. None of my posts are sponsored by any company, nor do I receive any products for free to review. I mention brands and names in case you’re interested in what I’m using to create art with.

I’ve had a poor night’s sleep. I don’t really know why. So, I was working on this during the insomnia hours. It kind of reminds me of layers or rock beneath the layers we walk and live on. I think the geology lectures I’ve been listening to have had an unconscious influence! The lower layers definitely have an intensely metamorphic feel to them.

Working with colour to draw is something new for me. I’ve dabbled in the past but always reverted to black quickly. I know understand that the colours were just too bright, or perhaps my taste in colours was for the bright tones. I still love those kinds of intense colours, but there’s something alluring about these vintage tones that I seem to need to use and express.

Always growing, developing, experimenting, learning and changing. Sometimes these changes are subtle with the art looking the same but somehow different. At other times they are sizeable changes. Sometimes these changes are a temporary diversion to explore the new. Even these temporary changes have an influence on my artistic voice.

Monday Mandala – WIP

Monday dawns and along with it is the desire to create a mandala.

This one is a work in progress for sure. I’m still playing around with various brush settings to get the depth of contrast I desire. It’s working out fairly well so far, especially as I’ve chosen a limited palette of blue, teal and green. Also, my favourite seedpod, leaf and arch shapes are very much in evidence here. There’s also lots of little orbs. It never ceases to amaze me how such a simple collection of shapes can result in a fairly complex design.

What is unusual for me, like last week’s mandala, is the lack of black lines in the design. I think that’s a bit of a rebellion by me to all the pen drawing I’ve been doing of late. Also, I love colour, but find it so frustrating to add to my pen drawings.

When I work digitally, colour seems to work differently for me. I think it may be the ability to work and rework the colour endlessly until I get something that suits me. Maybe it’s the ability to get the depth of contrast I like. Or maybe it’s something else entirely, I really don’t know.

This part of the mandala, about a quarter to a third, has taken me around three hours to do so far, thanks to the symmetry tools available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Friday work in progress

The artwork

Started yesterday evening, worked on during my hours of mid-night waking, and on waking this morning, this measures 21 cm x 21 cm (approx 8.25″ x 8.25″) The paper is natural coloured Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper coloured with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink. The design is being drawn with a mix of 03 Unipin and 01 Sakura Micron pens.

I’m using a mixture of Stadedtler Triplus and Chameleon Fineliner pens to add colour to the design, along with a barely damp waterbrush to spread the colour out. Interestingly, some of the colour lines added remain visible, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how much I work the colour with the waterbrush. Also, I’m finding that I really enjoy adding colour and texture like this.

The finishing bright white highlights are added using a Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I find the fineliners used in this way give me much greater control over how much the colour spreads in the small areas in my drawing. They also don’t spread as much as, say, Tombow Dual Brush pens or Inktense pencils. That helps to control the spread of colour too.

I rather like the vintage-y look that the palette of browns and olive greens confers on the design, helped along by the background colour and texture of the paper.

Oh, I do intend to leave a ‘hole’ in this first layer of designs. I’m not sure I’ll do inside the space; a quote, more layers of design. For now I’m not sure. But once this first layer is done, I can scan it in and use it in different ways digitally.

There are lots of my favourite motifs appearing in this one, rather organic ones for the most part. What will appear from the tip of my pen in the rest of the design? I don’t know yet! It could be more of the same, or not. All I know is that the intricacy, detail and revisiting old favourite motifs is making my arty crafty heart smile.

Cognitive dissonance

“The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.”

Finally, the penny dropped as to why I’m feeling so out of sorts. Oddly, it was while I was listening to a documentary about the cult NXIVM as I was drawing during the stupid o’clock hours of drawing. Don’t worry, I’m not a member of a cult! However cognitive dissonance was mentioned and that was the ‘ta-da!’ moment for me.

Cognitive dissonance causes emotional distress related to holding contradictory beliefs or values. I’ve experienced this before during breakthrough moments in therapy where I’ve had to accept that I was a victim of trauma, that I really do have CPTSD and I’m not (as my mother would tell me) making it up, for example.

I’m poised on a knife edge, wanting to make a decision to leave something, but feeling guilty about thinking that way. I need to find a way to find some clarity to help me make that decision, and it has to do with my core values and beliefs.

Recognising this doesn’t make me feel any better, but it helps me understand what is going on, and that understanding will help me work my way through it! Making a decision won’t make it any easier for me to act upon it as there’ll be a lot of guilt and the old reactive feeling of believing I’m letting other people down.

However, I can’t put other people ahead of my own mental and emotional well-being. It’s never been easy for me to say ‘no’ to people, to leave organisations or people who are contributing to emotional and mental distress in myself. But I have done so occasionally, more so in the last year or two. And I will do so this time if it’s what I need to do to find that sense of balance, harmony, peace in myself once again.

Abstract – WIP

This is the result of last night’s attack of the insomnias as well as this morning.

I’ve been drawing with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on A4 natural coloured Claire Fontained mixed media paper.

I like both the Pigma Sensei and Micron PN pens for their much more durable plastic nibs. The texture of this paper makes quick work of the the fibre tips of Unipin or Pigma Micron pens.

I’ve started added some colour, shadow and highlights using a mixture of graphite and coloured drawing pencils, as well as a white Gelly Roll pen. Just the grey and sepia toned pencils start to add depth, dimension and life to the drawing. Oh, and a Tombow Mono micro eraser to remove the pencil from where it may have strayed.

I could’ve done this digitally, but at the moment digital coloring is just irritating me. I have no idea why; it just is. I go through phases like this. It’s the ups and downs, twists and turns of both my emotional health and my creative instincts and needs. At the moment, it also means I’m really limiting myself to the colours I can use, something I do tend to struggle with when I have the infinite digital colour palette available to me.

Adding colour as I work lets me bring out particular areas of the design, as well as finding ways to make areas I’m not happy with either work or fade towards the background.

There’s plenty more work to do with this drawing, mostly in the bottom right area. I like the light and airy features towards the top and want to keep them that way.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Today’s image is a drawing I started this morning. I’m using a .35 Rotring Rapdiograph pen on Claire Fontaine PaintON paper. After scanning the drawing in, I’ve added colour and backgrounds digitally, just for fun.

After several days where the focus has been on digital art and editing, it’s a pleasure to use pen and paper, just as a change. I’ve said it before – I do love working digitally, but drawing on paper is something I also very much love. Combining the two is my ideal way of working, mostly. Mandalas are most probably the exception – I do like the way digital tools speed up the drawing process.

I have, two final edits being approved, completed all the templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I did them while I was awake in the wee small hours of the morning and stayed up until my Abel & Cole delivery had been made. Then, I was ready to return to bed, after breakfast!

Since I woke, I immersed myself in drawing, and I’ll be returning to it in a while as tomorrow is Template Thursday and I have a template to create!

Entangled WIP

I’ve completed more of this WIP this morning. It’s coming along, but it’s at that point where I’m starting to think, “What the heck was I thinking?” about various sections.

I know from lots of past experience that I often get this feeling as I work on some art, and all I need to do is to trust my instincts and intuition and to carry on working on it. And so I shall. This is the way.

Moth WIP

This morning, I wanted to start a new entangled drawing. But what to draw? I wasn’t in the mood to do another monogram, especially as there are some ideas on the periphery of my conscious mind about monograms. I thought about drawing a skull, something I find interesting, but that didn’t feel right either. But the idea of a moth flittered into my mind, so that’s what I went with.

I drew the moth digitally, in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how my pen work would work on a moth, and I also like to use the symmetry tool. I’m fairly happy with the results. I started to add my entangled style motifs around the moth, and came up against two issues.

The first issue was that I would lose the detail around the head and antennae and I needed to come up with a way to preserve that. I came up with the idea of a simple circular border below the moth. This will also give me the option of adding colour to the central circle when I’ve finished the artwork.

The second was more of a problem – the sense of proportion. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to work digitally on entangled drawings like this with a proper sense of proportion compared to the main motif or the printed size.

It has to do, I think, with the ability to zoom in to draw small details, which results in me adding too much detail. The only solution was for me to print the moth and circular border out and then for me to draw on that.

The only thing I wasn’t happy about in doing this is that I have a laser printer. That affects the surface of the paper in a way that my Unipin pens don’t like it. Also, I can’t print on marker paper.

So, I’ve started to add entangled artwork to the design. I can now see that leaving edges of the upper wings white would help them to stand out. That is something I can adjust digitally when the design is finished.

I feel so much happier working on the printed image. I do need to consider changing my printer, however. Though the laser printer is quick and economical, the print quality of line art isn’t the best. There’s also the issue of the way the surface of the paper is changed once it’s been printed on. I shall think on this in the coming weeks and before the toner needs replacing.

Monogram “a” WIP

Over the past couple of days I’ve started work on the next monogram. I took a fancy to a lower case ‘a’, so that’s what I’ve gone with!

Instead of working on the Claire-Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper, which wrecks the nibs of my UniPin pens, I’m using some Daler-Rowney Marker paper. It has a smooth, soft texture and the pens glide over it and it’s a joy to use. The ink seems a lot darker on this paper, probably because of the way it’s treated to work well with marker pens and stop them bleeding. The paper is also quite thin and this makes it translucent enough that I can easily see the letter template below.

I’m trying to use some different motifs in this template instead of my go-to ones. Of course I’m still going to use some of my favourites, but it’s nice to branch out too.

It’s going to take me a while to get this one done in between contract work. But I will get it done.

Wednesday WIP

Wednesday is WIP day! WIP is work in progress, and this is one of my current one.

I’m working on A4 (29.7 cm x 21 cm) Claire Fontaine Paint-On mixed media paper with 05 and 01 Uniball Unipin pens.

It’s taken several hours so far, and there’s several yet to go! I’m enjoying creating such detailed drawing in just black and white. Lots of botanical elements, but there’s also arches and spirals and geometric patterns in there too.

I never have much of a plan in mind when I tackle a drawing like this. I know what patterns I like, and if I lack inspiration I can always refer to my visual dictionary or design motifs and patterns. It’s all about intuition. It’s not entirely mindless. I do make conscious decisions about what design element to use, how to use line and pattern to add volume and contrast.

I sometimes wonder, when I see my work like this, why I try to work with colour. I always feel I struggle with colour, but black and white, with or without grey, always seems to work so well for me.

I love to play with the illusion of volume in a drawing, and whether that is done with density and shape of line/pattern, or with colour (even though I really do feel I struggle with colour).

I will persevere with this illustration, drawing, artwork over the coming days. In fact, I may spend time on it today. I’ve completed my morning errands, so I can remain at home, which is where I need to be. I’m tired today; I didn’t sleep at all well last night, or for the past few nights and my mood and ability to concentrate is suffering as a result.

Sunday WIP

Today, I thought I’d digitally colour one of my recent drawings. I thought it would be nice to compare and contrast digital colouring with traditional colouring.

It’s been a while since I did much art digitally, I’ve been lost in traditional media this week as I slowly heal from some emotional wounds. Art helps with healing. Meditation helps too. But time is still needed for the healing to take place, and for rest to relieve the exhaustion that lingers still.

Any kind of art, digital or traditional, soothes my mind, emotions and body.

What I like about digital art is the way I can get such high contrast in colours to enhance the sense of volume the design elements have. I also like the vibrancy of colours. I also like the ability to add texture to the colour in so many different ways.

Of course, I like the ability to alter colours when they don’t work, without having to start over. I’m not sure if those leaves are going to stay that particular green-ish colour. Nor am I sure about the background colour.

As is my wont, I’ve used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add the colour and textures. My hardware is a Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.