Entangled WIP

I finally finished this drawing, and now it’s time for me to add shadow and highlight to it to bring it to life.

This is very much a work in progress. It will take me some time to achieve the look and feel I’d like.

Drawn with fineliner pens on marker paper. Background, highlights and shadows added digitally.

Sunday Art

Today, I continued with the entangled art I started yesterday. The drawing is still not complete, but I wanted to add a background colour/texture and add some shadow and light to see how it’s working out.

The shadow and light bring the drawing to life. I’m not entirely sure about the colour I’ve chosen for the background – maybe a bit to saturated and dark. I can always alter that though. I also think there’s not enough contrast betwixt shadow and light. Again, that’s something I can work on.

I’ve drawn inspiration from various things – fossils, seed pods, botanicals, crochet-covered pebbles, architecture, nature, shells, Mayan glyphs to name a few.

Leaving some more open spaces is proving difficult for me once again. It’s something I need to consider as I continue to work on this drawing.

The design is being drawn with Unipin and Sakura Micron pens on marker paper. Background texture/colour, light and shadow are added digitally.

Weekend WIP

This drawing is very much a work in progress. It’s being worked with black Unipin and Sakura Micron pens. When it’s complete, I will scan it in again, add a background, along with shading and highlights.

There’s some motifs in here inspired by fossils, others by flora and nature, and others that are purely abstract in nature.

Art is one of my self-care activities that help me manage my mental and emotional wellbeing. I mention this as it is World Mental Health Day #WMHD #WMHD2020 and, ironically, I need to do a fair amount of self-care today.

There’s plenty of information and advice out there on the internet. If you are struggling with your mental or emotional wellbeing, or if you just want to learn more about good mental and emotional health, ideas for how to look after it, then I’d encourage you to do a google and/or seek professional help.

We all have physical health and if something goes wrong with us physically, we don’t think twice about seeking out medical help and advice.

We all have mental and emotional health too. Yet too few of us will seek out help and advice when we need it due to the stigma and/or discrimination that cloud mental and emotional health.

It is high time that seeking help and advice for mental and emotional ill health was as natural and normal as seeking help for physical ill-health.

WIP Wednesday

I spent the morning, before running some errands, drawing tomorrows colouring template for the members of Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. On my return, I scanned it in, cleaned it up and started adding some colour to it.

So, today, I thought I’d share a sneak peek of part of the template. Tomorrow, it’ll be revealed in all it’s, ermm, entangledness, and will be available for members of the facebook group to print and colour.

Drawn with Unipin pens on Canson marker paper. Colour added digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

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.

Sketchbook Saturday

Very much a work in progress

I’ve been working in my Arteza watercolour sketchbook (A4 in size). I’ve continued to add some colour to the larger design. As this is a sketchbook and nothing has to be perfect or finished and is a place to experiment, I decided to try adding black lines to the bigger design as well as to draw a smaller design in black pen first.

I’m still not all that comfortable with my entangled kind of designs without black lines it seems. Or maybe this is just a function of me being totally out of sorts over the past few days if not weeks, possibly months.

The black lines add structure and form to the design, but there’s also a colouring book feel to it too.

I am thinking I’ve not yet worked out how to get enough contrast in the watercolours to bring out the volume of the various design elements and to separate them one from another clearly enough.

I also tried adding white lines using a Signo gel pen. That worked out nicely in terms of adding highlights. The shapes of the lines also helped to add the illusion of dimension.

Finally, I tried adding some metallic watercolour in a pale gold. I tried adding dots as highlights,but I also tried a very dilute glaze of the watercolour over the paint. Now I liked that very much, but it has to be dilute and blended out quickly. Sadly, the photo doesn’t show this well on the purple weird mushroomy thingy on the top of the big design.

I’m telling myself it’s all learning, experimenting, finding my way. I just don’t know what my way is at this moment.

Art and my emotional and mental wellbeing

I am tired today. Emotionally drained. and I’m finding it difficult to be satisfied with anything I’m currently doing, even artistically.

This is definitely affecting my ability to ‘art’ at the moment. I lack focus, energy, inspiration even. I am getting frustrated with myself all too quickly, and fed up of what I’m working on too easily.

These are sure signs that I’m out of balance, emotionally more than mentally. However, my emotional health does have an effect on my mental health if I’m not careful.

It feels like some self-care time is needed, with activities that won’t overwhelm me but will help to soothe me and give me the time and space to find that inner balance and contentment once again.

The touchstone of contentment is there, in my heart, but it’s hidden by the shadows the clouds of emotional disturbance are casting within me.

Like all weather, the current unsettled emotional weather will pass. It has lessons to teach me and adjustments to be made. I am resilient enough to do this, to work through this mood and exhaustion, as well as to know how to take care of myself in times like this.

As I reflect backwards, it wasn’t all that long ago, just over a year, that I discovered the touchstone of contentment within me and found that it was OK to look after myself, take time out for myself, to have quiet, non-busy days to myself.

I never feel guilty about doing this any more.

I know if I try to do things that need to be finished, done well, then days like these are not the days to attempt them. The frustration kicks in and just unsettles me more.

I’m not sure if it will be Ben and Jerry’s and Star Wars that will help me, or something else. But I will find my way back to my usual, default, contented state of being.

Productive? Busy?

Everyone could do with learning that we need time to relax, to give ourselves permission to do nothing other than just be.

Society expects us to be constantly busy, productive, on the go, making the use of every single minute of waking.

But all that does is to drain energy, pile on the guilt if we’ve not completed every task in our planners, journals, diaries, and so on.

Social media is full of videos and memes and blog posts about how to be more productive, successful, famous, noteworthy. All of which can make a person feel guilty, useless, underachieving, unworthy.

There seem to be relatively few saying how important it is to look after your mental and emotional health as much as your physical health. So few messages about how important it is to take time out to recharge your energy, to stop and just be rather than forcing yourself to get something done, even if the frustration with the task means it’s taking longer and longer to do.

It’s not easy to give yourself permission to take time out, to relax, recharge just be, watch the world go by, read, listen to music, create, day dream, just for the joy and peace they bring. No, it’s not easy at all, given all the pressures that come at us from every direction.

These kinds of activities are just as important as the ones that are ‘productive’. They are activities that are productive in a different way – you are productively taking care of your energy levels, your mental and emotional well being, feeding your heart and soul with the tasks that soothe and heal.

It’s all part of self-care, making sure your needs are catered for. It’s not being selfish; it’s recognising that you need to take care of yourself as much as you take care of others. It’s about balance in life.

I am hoping that through the pandemic more and more people realise how important it is to slow down the pace of life, to take time to do things that feed heart and soul.

Today, my heart and soul need soothing and caring for. Everything else can be put on hold until I’m able to face them without frustration and rapidly getting fed up of them.