I really enjoyed drawing this tiny tile this morning. I love the soft, muted green tones of the paper and the the way the Inktense pencils I used to add colour, shade and light work so well with it. The bright white touches of a Sakura Soufflé pen shine so bright against everything else.
The paper is a 6cm x 6cm (approx. 2.4″ x 2.4″) piece of grey-green ClaireFontaine PaintON mixed media paper.
My first step was to draw a single cell, or fragment, of the Zentangle pattern Well. and I added a variation to that pattern. To fill in the sections created, I used the tangle patterns Purk and B’tweed.
This will eventually be one of my little Random Acts of Kindness cards, once I work out what message to put on the back and whether I’m going to hand letter it or print it out. I have not practiced my hand lettering much lately, and I think it shows. But maybe I’m just being overly harsh on myself, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I love creating these tiny drawings as much as I do my larger ones. I love the cuteness of the size very much.
I had an idea. It may not be a great idea. It may not be executed in the best way today. But it’s a start, but first, some background as to how this idea came about before I explain myself.
Last week, I went to a local café for a late lunch. So late that it was almost tea time! The first time I’ve been out for lunch by myself since the start of the Covid pandemic. I’ve had lunch out three times with a friend in this time, but I still rarely leave my home for such things.
It was a lovely lunch, broccoli and stilton soup with a large pot of tea. The people working in the cafe were lovely and helpful. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. I was made to feel very welcome there.
So, it took a few days, but yesterday I woke with an idea. Why don’t I do some tiny artworks to leave for people to discover. Little notes to thank those who run a café or restaurant. Little notes of kindness, inspiration, or compassion are on the back for strangers who may need to read them. Little notes to brighten up someone’s day. And maybe put my email address/blog address on there. Maybe. I’ve not decided if that will be a thing, yet.
So, the first step was to see what sizes of little envelopes I could buy. I really wanted glassine ones, so the tile is protected but visible. But the only tiny ones I could find were 6.5cm square (that’s 2.5″). So some have been ordered, and some watercolour card has been cut into pieces 6cm square, ready to use! The tiles in the image are 6cm square in size. So quite tiny!
The others I found are so sweet. They have a heart fastening on the rear flap and are made of kraft paper. Perfect! That way, what’s inside will be a surprise and, hopefully, a pleasant one for those who find it. These are a bit bigger at 10.5cm x 7 cm (approx 4.13″ x 2.75″), which is about the size of a gift card, business card or credit card. So, I cut paper to 10cm x 6.5 cm to fit these envelopes.
For this morning’s video, I decided to use two of the small squares. I started by colouring one side with Distress Inks. Then I drew the designs with various black fineliner pens. Next, I added more colour with Inktense pencils and a water-brush. Finally, highlights were added with white gel pens and a gold gel pen on the Aquafleur design. Not sure the gold pen was a good idea; I might have been better off using a dip pen and gold ink. It’s all a learning process!
Then, it was time to hand-letter a message on the back and decorate. This is where I think things went a tad to pot. In hindsight, I wish I’d coloured the reverse of the tile too, as, the white looks so stark. But they’ll do. My hand-lettering isn’t the best, but again it will do. My biggest problem is not letting the ink dry fully before erasing pencil lines and/or adding Inktense pencils. But they’re not too shabby…possibly.
What I may try doing, as these are test pieces, is using some Microglaze to seal them. Not only will it seal the Distress Ink, but will give a glossy finish that will bring out the colours more. The problem with Micro glaze is that it smears the black pen lines. But as these are test pieces, if that happens, I’ll learn not to do it again in the future, or use different kinds of pens. I wonder how the Dokumentas in the Twisbi’s will react to Micro glaze? That is an experiment I need to try out!
My only problem once I’m happy with this, apart from learning how to take better photographs of my work, is finding the courage to leave these things. The intense embarrassment and shame I know I’ll feel will be great. That will come out of the old fear that no one will like what I do or appreciate it or understand that it comes from a place of unconditional love and gratitude for our connections. And this is the reason why I’m dithering about whether or not to include my email.
I’ll work it out. I usually do, eventually! Until then, I have a small pile of tiles to decorate, Micro glaze and different pens to experiment with, and how to put messages on the back… part of me thinks printing them out and glueing them on could be a way to go. I have actually turned one of my hand-lettering styles into a font! Something else for me to think about.
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.
Bucky is an official Zentangle pattern that I’ve never drawn before. I had to look up the deconstruction, which you can find on Zentangle.com. So, in typical Angela style, I threw myself in at the deep end by using a ‘crazy’ asymmetric grid (the middle section in the artwork). It worked out fine in the end, but not with a few mis-strokes!
I thought I’d add some organic patterns/motifs to balance out the rather geometric Bucky pattern.
To add shade, I used an Iron Green Inktense pencil with a water brush to produce some colour gradients. I really wasn’t at all tidy and controlled about this. And you’d never really have known that if I’d not said it! I tried embracing the fluidity and random nature of a watery medium and it worked out just fine.
I used a white charcoal pencil and a paper stump/tortillon for the highlights. That meant I had to re-ink the black hexagons, but that was fine.
Finally, I drew Bucky in a more regular grid at the bottom. I didn’t film this part, but it worked out just fine, I think.
Indeed, I’m fairly happy with the overall result. I like the monochrome colour scheme; it gives coherence. The one thing I haven’t done is add shadow and highlight to the narrow bands between the sections.
Like many of you, I have been watching Zentangle’s Project Pack 18 videos. For this project pack, they’ve included vellum tiles, which they’ve called Translu-zen-cy. It took me a while to remember that I had some things in my stash – vellum, ball styluses for working on vellum, and past experiences drawing on vellum in the Pergamano style!
So, I had a bit of a faff around with vellum on Saturday and Sunday. This morning, I decided to share this with a YouTube video.
Drawing on vellum is fairly easy, but it’s not without its tricksy elements. First, you need a surface to work on with a little bit of ‘give’ so that the ball tool, a ballpoint pen that has run out, a fine-pointed knitting needle, or similar can emboss the vellum. This embossing is done on what will be the reverse of the artwork; the marks appear much more opaque white on the front. The darker the surface, the better, as it’s easier to see the marks you’re making on the reverse side.
You don’t need to use a lot of pressure to emboss the vellum. In fact, a series of lighter strokes, giving the vellum a chance to rest and relax back to being flat, is better than using heavy strokes. This will minimise the curling of the vellum, but it will still need to be put under a heavy book for a couple of hours, or days, to flatten it out. So it’s not something that can be completed in one go.
You can always tell which is the front; the lines feel raised because they are! Also, they are a more opaque white. I always check that I’m embossing on the reverse side before wielding the ball stylus with any kind of intent.
To make the ball stylus run smoothly across the vellum, making it easier to have a light hand, you can rub the vellum with a tumble drier sheet and the ends of the ball tools. It also makes your vellum smell nice for a while. Not that the vellum has a smell anyway.
Once the drawing is finished, it can be coloured, again on the reverse, mounted on coloured paper or card, or a combination of these. Metallic highlights can be added to the front if desired.
It has been a nice exploration of this technique and the Zentangle tangle pattern ‘Scena’. I’ve not finished drawing the design; the vellum is currently resting under my cutting mat so it can flatten out. But I’m going to film the process. Then, I’ll look at ways of adding colour to vellum in a third video in the series. That’s if I share the process of drawing the rest of the design.
I’m no expert on Pergamano, but drawing with other tools and surfaces is fun.
This morning, I finished all the pen drawing for this design. And filmed it for YouTube!
I’m fairly happy with this design because I felt myself breathing out and relaxing into it. I found myself smiling as I drew. And I felt creatively comforted as I returned to something that is so part of my arty heart – entangled, intricate, abstract, stylised botanical drawings.
Next step? Colour, shadow and/or highlight. But I’m not sure what media to use, or colours! So, I’ll need a bit of time away from this particular drawing to figure that one out!
Drawing Zentangle Tangle Patterns Spoolies and Swerve and adding contrast/colour.
What to do on a Sunday morning? Arty things of course!
So, yesterday I drew the design to the right and added some colour to it. But it was lacking something. I eventually worked out, at around the same time someone made a suggestion on my YouTube video, that it needed more contrast.
So, I set about doing just that, as well as showing/explaining how I add weight to lines to help increase the contrast and sense of volume. That’s what the greyscale drawing is all about.
For the other one, I used sepia and red oxide Inktense pencils and a damp brush to add more colour and increase contrast. I made some bad decisions in adding cross-hatching to some of the elements of that design. But that meant it was a great piece to work on improving my skills.
I’m often way too timid with contrast, at the start. But as long as I use a medium that allows me to gradually build up layers, I eventually get there.
Last night when I arrived home after an absolutely visit with a dear friend, I found the postman had delivered a set of mini Distress Ink pads in the new colours released last year! It was way too late to do anything with the inks, so I decided I’d have a look at them in today’s video for YouTube.
I started by trying blends of the colours. My instincts were not to mix the salmony pink Saltwater Taffy with the other colours – Villanous Violet, Blue Ribbon and Salvaged Patina. Orangey tones with purple, blue and/or pale green-turquoise colour, would make mud, my instincts told me.
However, when I used them all for one background, I was really surprised by the colours that resulted. They were lovely! No mud! Just lovely, aged, vintage-ish colours. What a wonderful surprise!
After spraying water to create water stains, stencilling and another spray of water drops (drying in between each procedure), I edged each paper with Hickory Smoke. Then, it was time to draw!
I used an 0.1 and 0.3 Molotow fineliner pens for drawing. They’re new to me and so was keen to try them out. The ink is lovely! But, I found the pens rather light and awkward to hold. The natural place to rest my fingers was way too high up the pen to be comfortable.
I’ll use the pens until the nibs are wrecked or they run out of ink, whichever comes first. The ink is very black and very opaque. The nibs do write really smoothly on the paper I used. But, they’re just not comfortable for me to hold, and that comes down to personal preference! Otherwise, they really do seem to be great pens!
I started drawing with the tangle pattern ‘spoolies’ to the left. This is where I noticed how the grip I had on the pen was uncomfortable and making it really difficult for me to draw smooth, precise lines. I ended up doing a mash-up of spoolies and diva dance!
The pointy leaves (or shark fins or points of crescent moons, depending on how you want to see them) actually echo the pointed part of spoolies. These then were replaced by the tangle pattern swirl, which is very similar to spoolies. Finally, the pointy leaves/fins/horns of the moon returned.
As I wanted to lift these off the background, I used a crosshatch pattern to darken the spaces between them.
Then, in my not-so-clever wisdom, I decided to help the illusion of volume and layers along by adding colour using Distress Inks as watercolour inks or paints.
I’m not at all sure about the end result, which wasn’t helped as I decided to splatter gold paint over it.
I often ask myself what on earth was I thinking and will I ever learn. This is another of those occasions. I kept compounding the problem as I tried seemingly good ideas.
As I said, I wonder if I’ll ever learn …
No matter what, it was lovely to be sat drawing just for enjoyment. Even though I’m not happy with the end result, I learned a lot about these new-to-me Distress Ink colours. Also, I’ve learned that a spray of water really can make the background lovely. And it’s OK to repeat sprays as more colour or stencilling or edging colours are added.
But perhaps the most important thing is that sometimes the process, the enjoyment of creating and learning is more important than an end piece that I’m happy with. Perhaps, in the coming hours, days, weeks or months, I’ll be able to look at this with fresh eyes and see it as not as bad as I know think it is!