Oh, the things I do when I wake up in the middle of the night. Fully alert and unable to get back to sleep for a couple of hours.
I just drew a pattern of curves and arches on the page of grey-ish pastel paper and started to fill the sections in with various patterns, zentangle and otherwise. I’ve used chalk pastel pencils to add colour and shading to some areas.
A total work in progress, for no other reason than because I couldn’t sleep.
I was potching around last night with how to add colour to a drawing with traditional media. You’d think I’d’ve learned not to do this by now, wouldn’t you? I was getting nowhere except to the land of frustration and feeling useless.
This morning, as I tried wrangling still further, I thought to myself, “let’s break out the Chameleon markers”. I did, and I also dug out some marker paper and started to draw. And I was happy with the design.
And then I started to add colour … and that’s where it all went to pot.
Oh the colours are lovely, individually. Just not when put together.
I’d also forgotten how much I like to use Chameleon markers. However, I really need to stick to monochrome! And, I think the Chameleons will work well in a monochrome manner. But not just yet. First I need a nap.
Lack of sleep was the usual overly hot at night stuff and also the early morning Wednesday wake-up for my Abel & Cole groceries delivery. What energy I had has now gone. I’m starting to go cross-eyed with tiredness, so I think I’ll need to nap very, very soon.
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.
I have to say I am really, really pleased with how this mandala is working out. It’s not at all what I expected in the first instance, but I am so chuffed with myself.
I also think I am really getting the hang of this digital art malarkey too. I can also say that there is no way I would have been able to create this using traditional media – I’ve tried similar things in the past and it all ends up such a mess with me.
Digital art is the media I think I may have been waiting for. It’s taken me three years to get to this artistic level with digital art. Even in this mandala you can see how I have learned and developed ideas as I’ve worked from the centre out.
I absolutely love my Microsoft products – Surface Pen, Surface Book and Surface Studio. I cut my digital art teeth on the Surface Book (not literally!) and found I enjoyed digital art and when I felt I could I got a Surface Studio as the smaller size of the Surface Book screen was frustrating me a little.
The change to the Surface Studio is what has enabled me to really take to digital art. The size of the screen, the ease at which I can change the angles at which I work with the Surface Studio, the speed of the processors, the sensitivity of the pen on the screen…
I just love it! So much so I’m on the point of destashing nearly all my traditional art media and gifting them to a worthy cause.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to draw with pen on paper, that won’t ever change so my pen collection won’t be going anywhere. But the way I can use colour and texture digitally is an absolute dream. It’s also mess-free!
I hope you noticed that I said I’m really pleased with this mandala. It’s not often I’m able to say that about my art. But today I can and I am. I am actually smiling when I look at this mandala.
My only problem now is that I’ve changed the design of the mandala in the latest ‘ring’. Oh well, I can adjust accordingly or just create a new design around this one. I’ll see how I go with that.
I also quite like the ‘ghostly’ outline mandala design as a background, though silly me managed to leave the outline above the coloured design. One of the wonderful things about working in layers is that things like this aren’t a problem!
I think I may celebrate my progress with this mandala and also my digital art skills with a nice mug of tea!
My current work in progress is a mandala. Also, I’m using my line art as a guide for the coloured areas which is quite different for me to do. No black lines in the finished design. Not a one will there be.
I’m working digitally using my trusty trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I have also chosen a coloured, texture background for the design to sit/float upon.
Just as a guide, it took me an hour or so to draw out the mandala design. So far I’ve spent around 6 hours on adding the colour and so on – and that’s with the help of the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. If I’d had to do each section individually it would’ve taken me eight times as long!
You can see I still have a lot to do, so it’s going to be a long term project for sure.
I’m actually enjoying this one. It’s been rather soothing to do given that I’ve not been feeling too well with some kind of upset tummy. I’m still not fully well today but I am feeling a fair bit better than I did yesterday, thank goodness.
So, how are you feeling today Angela?
Other than still feeling not too well physically with some kind of dodgy tummy, I’m quite contented.
Contented is good enough I think. I’m being creative, quietly so. I’m enjoying listening to Audible (currently it’s “Fatal Alliance” the first in the Star Wars Old Republic series of books. This one is authored by Sean Williams) as I’m being artsy. However, as I type I’m listening to the Maroon 5 station on Amazon Music. I can’t write and listen to a book!
To go back to my mental and emotional health, I feel quite content and my anxiety levels are at the manageable background levels, which is barely noticeable unless I focus on them. That is good enough for me, though I do know that it doesn’t take much for them to be triggered.
The CPTSD hair triggers that lead to emotional flashbacks. Not clear memories of a traumatic event, the emotional memories of a series of similar events that tapped into the stored trauma of the first traumatic event, reinforcing the trauma again and again and again.
That’s one way in which CPTSD is different to PTSD.
As I become more aware of my emotions and what can trigger an emotional response I’m more able to manage how I interact (or not) with the world until that trigger no longer affects me.
All part of self care which is so important.
My recovery from CPTSD is a work in progress, something I won’t stop until I’m good enough in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing as well as my relationship with myself.
First work in progress (WIP) for this Wednesday is the Doodleworlds colouring book. It is currently in the last phases of approval and proofing at CreateSpace.com, so it should be ready to purchase soon! There will be a pdf version available on Etsy at the same time.