It was one of those nights. I woke way too early feeling way too hot, even though the windows were open in the Welsh Winter. Hot flashes, again. So, the only thing to do was to draw until I was cool enough to get back to sleep. That took until nearly 8 am, GMT.
These are the little drawings I completed during my insomniac hours. My Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen is nearly done – either the nib is too worn to work properly or the ink is mostly gone, I’m not entirely sure which. I know I have a heavy hand with pens and tend to wreck them before all the ink has gone.
Anyway, I witter. I’m still trying to figure out how to add words into my drawings. I’m not entirely sure I’m being successful in this. No doubt I’ll keep on trying though!
These were drawn on A4 acid-free cartridge paper in one of my current sketchbooks. I added the background colour digitally.
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.
This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.
I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.
Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.
Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.
My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.
On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.
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.
I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.
I’m no photographer, just saying!
I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings -pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke -a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up – tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips! – Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns
Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.
The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.
My sketchbooks have been the focus of my attention during the waning days of 2020 and the start of 2021. I’ve done pages of zentangle-type patterns, borders and ‘fragments. I’ve been trying out monograms, and I’ve been drawing in more of my signature style, as above.
This page shows some experiment with colour and texture in the sketchbook. I used fineliner pens for the textures and Pitt Artist Brush Pens, both ‘neat’ and with a waterbrush.
I had to work hard with myself to do this. I didn’t want to mess up the drawing, which I quite like, with colour and so on. But then I told myself I can always re-draw it, along with losing the elements I’m not keen on. I really like the bird-like design at the top of this coloured image.
The others were drawings done for the sheer joy and comfort of drawing. All intuitive, though I did pay attention to a reference photo of a meso-American pot for the face in the right-hand drawing.
All drawings were done with an 05 Unipin pen in my A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook. The 05 pen nib has become worn, and usually I’d bin it, but I’m working with it and seeing how I can vary the width and intensity of line. I’m trying to allow myself to embrace the perfectly imperfect quality of the line and the character it brings to my drawings. I find that I like it, which surprises me. Now, all I need to do is to work to replicate this digitally; maybe not a perfect replication but something that is similar enough.
I have three sketchbooks on the go at the moment.
The A4 and A5 Enviros are for drawings and designs, as above. Fairly polished and starting points for further work. I can try different things out – such as colour and texture – knowing that I can either scan the drawings in before I try these experiments out, or I can always re-draw the design, altering the parts I’m not happy with.
The third is an A4 SeaWhite all-media sketchbook. Although I have done some drawings in there, it’s been repurposed into a zentangle/pattern experimentation and record book. I use colour and shading with the drawings as they are purely for reference and the pleasure of drawing them. Not surprisingly, many of the pages are aesthetically pleasing in the way that needlework or cross-stitch samplers are. You can look at the page again and again and still find designs or sections of designs that surprise you.
The past few days I’ve needed to find an activity that comforts me. I find this time of year emotionally difficult as I’m triggered by Christmas and New Year and all the hoo-haa around it. The short days and lack of sunshine doesn’t help much. My daylight therapy lamp helps somewhat, but it isn’t as good as working at my desk or taking a walk bathed in winter sunlight. I also find myself bone-weary a lot. Mind you, not sleeping properly at night isn’t helping me either.
As an introvert, I tend to retreat into a world of my own at these times, or to immerse myself in other worlds through films and books. And of course art. I limit my social media activity to the absolute necessary. This way, the societal pressures I feel fade away, and before long the world is back to the way it is for the vast majority of the year.
This year, my main haven of peace and contentment has been in my sketchbooks. I’ve found particular comfort and delight indulging myself in zentangle patterns. The patterns are familiar, but working on them to create unique variations that are my own has been something new and different for me. As has allowing myself to draw them in my own way.
As well as comforting me, I’ve discovered that I find it hard to be uniquely me in my artistic expression. Accepting that the way I draw something is just fine as long as I’m happy with it. The videos from the Zentangle family have been incredibly useful in helping me see this, as well as making me determined to change it too. Not just with zentangle type stuff, but with my art in general. Also, I realised that I do this for other people, but never for myself. Time to change that, methinks!
I’m still in ‘comfort art’ mode for the next couple of days. I’m still not ‘right’ emotionally, and I’d like to be before I turn my attention to the example coloured templates for Entangled Starry Skies and sketches for the cover of the next colouring book.
In the past few years, there’s been a flurry of coloured templates appearing on the page throughout New Year’s Day, always something beautiful and wonderful to behold. Many members post their templates close to midnight when the year changes.
I’ve not coloured the template yet. I hope my focus continues over the next couple of days so I can get it done to join in.
I had a right ‘mare of a time getting the image above done. I think I tried four times in total, with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro crashing before I could save it. Sketchbook pro has always been very, very stable, so I guess the gremlins of 2020 got to it today. But I finally got it done. That could be a very perfect metaphor for 2020, perhaps.
Drawn with a fine Uniball Eye pen on acid-free cartdridge paper. Backgrounds added digitally.
Drawn with 01 and 03 Uniball Unipin pens on acid-free cartridge paper. Approx. 16cm x 17cm in size.
Just something I drew last night whilst watching/listening to stuff on the TV. I digitally added colour quickly as I want to return to drawing and so on.
I wanted to play around with hand-drawn borders, letting my mind tick over possibilities as I do so. I’d spent much of the day doing ‘comfort art’, which meant exploring Zentangle patterns, shading and monochrome colour. I find the repetitive action of such pattern drawing meditative, relaxing and soothing.
Of course, once I was happy with the borders, I had to add something in the middle! As I have scanned the image in, if I ever wish to use the border for something else, it’ll be easy enough for me to remove the inner drawing.
I suspect much of my day will be spent in comfort art. I didn’t sleep well last night (hot flashes again) and I’m tired. I was practically falling asleep as I was adding colour to this artwork – which is why it’s simple flood-fills of colour.
The colors I’ve chosen are rather soft and muted, which is pretty uncharacteristic for me. That, too, is probably a reflection of how I’m feeling at the moment.
I can also say I’m really grateful for the spell-checking thingy too. It seems the tireder I am, the more I lose my ability to spell! I typed spell-chicken above, which is fairly humourous, but seriously wrong! The second time I tried to type spell-checking, it came out as sleep-chickpen. I think it’s time I went back to sleep!