Mandala in Ink

This week’s drawing is a “Healing Mandala” design. I drew it during a difficult couple of weeks in November when my mental health was very poor and my pain was very bad. I was in bed for half of the first week and all of the second week so that’s where I drew most of it. It really did help me through.

Healing mandalas usually have a focus to help the individual looking at them to reduce their stress, heal emotionally and reflect deeply. I focused my mandala on nature. Traditionally mandalas are geometric designs. I found putting together strong geometric shapes and patterns with natural elements like leaves, flowers and pollen was a very calming combination. It also helped me to draw out the wholeness I feel when I am within a very natural environment.

Oddly I began this whole healing journey with trigonometry! I used my trig and a pair of compasses to draw out a six-sided plan for the mandala…

It began looking like a range of overlapping circles. Circles are important in mandalas since they represent wholeness, unity, harmony, kinship and health. Then I adjusted the circles into large roundish leaf shapes. I worked on the centre first and then from the outside in gradually building up my nature motifs. The idea was to make a large lotus flower shape and then to have natural designs on each petal.

Here is the final design…

What kinds of things would you put into your picture if you drew your own healing mandala?

Brahmin Moth Caterpillar – line and wash

I discovered some amazing creatures on one of Reddit’s biological forums the other day. They were the weirdest caterpillars I’ve ever seen. I decided to draw one in ink and then paint it with watercolour. It proved to be a really wonderful subject. I was thoroughly immersed in the drawing. Here is the first photo I remembered to take. I had completed the Caterpillar in pencils and inked quite a lot of it…

I wasn’t really sure how I intended to ink the leaves on my picture so I tried a few methods out on some scrap paper…

I chose one and then continued working my way through the rest of the drawing with my pen. Here’s the completed ink drawing…

Next I painted a big colourwash over the whole picture and, once that was dry, I added small colour washes for the details. Here’s the final picture…

Ink Adventure 3 – a Crow and some trees

In my final week of experimentation with ink I played around with splattering ink and dropping ink to paint some trees and a crow.

For the trees I painted a big wet blob on the paper with clean water. I let it sink in and then I painted it again to make sure it was really wet. Then I dropped quite a few drops of ink into the little pool that I had made. I then did the same thing again for each additional tree. I tried really hard not to disturb the ink/water mixture. Eventually I put the painting high up on top of my printer where Leia (my cat) couldn’t get to it and left it to dry naturally. This took all day! I did get some excellent patterns in the ink.

Once it was dry I painted on the tree trunks and the ground. Here’s the final picture…

The last painting I did was of a crow. I drew all of the crow except his wings in ink pen (Pigma microns and a thin, flexible tipped cartridge pen). Then I dropped a big pool of ink and blew it across the page. It really took some courage to do that since in one breath I might have ruined the whole painting! Then, when the first wing was dry I put another smaller blob of ink on the paper and blew it again for the second wing. Finally I went back into the drawing and tried to join up the wings and body more smoothly. Here’s the last picture…

I quite like this one. I do love crows generally and the ink splatter makes this crow look particularly scruffy! It reminds me of a one legged crow I met many years ago in a municipal garden next to a shopping centre. I was eating bread pudding and this intensely scruffy one legged crow hopped next to me for 200 yards. He was quite clearly begging for some bread pudding. I gave in and shared my food with him. He was extra friendly.

Ink Adventure 2 – Dropping the ink

Continuing with my series of ink paintings, this week I have a painting of a wave and a painting of a snail for you. For both of these pictures I used the technique of dropping permanent ink onto very wet paper. When I did this the ink spread out across the watery surface and after a few seconds partially dried. Then the dried sections floated around like an ice-flow in Antarctica with bits breaking off and other bits holding together. It was fascinating. I tried to think of ways to use the texture which this technique lent to the ink.

First I thought about using it to represent turbulent water under a wave. I painted it in and then added some smoother water on top.

It kind of worked but I didn’t think the technique came through strongly enough to really show what it can do. So I had another go. This time I used it to paint a cobbled pathway which my snail was slithering along. This was much more effective. You can really see the sections of ink. Here’s the second painting…

Happy Christmas!

This week’s art is all about Christmas cards. I wanted to wish you all a Happy Christmas (or Happy Holidays if that’s more appropriate for you)! So I made two ink drawings; one of a Christmas star and one of a Swedish Christmas gnome.

Here are the ink drawings…

I then scanned these drawings into my computer and coloured them digitally – one with a focus on Red and the other with a focus on green.

Here are the finished cards…

I wish you all health and happiness this Yuletide season.

For my friends whom I know in person I have also ordered some Christmas card envelopes. I plan to print out these cards and seal them in envelopes of the same colour. As I write this (mid to late November) the envelopes haven’t yet been delivered but if I remember I will put a photo of the finished cards in here once they arrive.

Hope you all have a great holiday!

PS: Here are the final cards. I didn’t manage to get the green ones and had to settle for white ones instead. I’m going to put a small Christmas Cracker figurine in with each card…

Water Bottle – Realism Challenge

This week’s art is a drawing I made following Mark Crilley’s Realism Challenge

I have really enjoyed Mark’s work since I read his graphic Novel “Brody’s Ghost”…

He draws beautifully in his books. Here’s a panel from this book…

Brody’s Ghost Panel by Mark Crilley

I just love it!

In Mark’s Realism Challenge book, he takes the reader through the process of drawing one hyper-realistic picture in each chapter. I needed something to draw when attending the art club I go to so I thought I might have a go at another of his challenges. This was to make a drawing of a water bottle. I decided to do it in ink.

Here’s Mark’s final picture next to his reference…

I drew using his reference. I began laying out the basic structure of the drawing as accurately as I could…

Then I developed this into a more detailed pencil sketch…

Finally I inked the drawing. Here’s the finished study…

I really enjoyed this exercise. I love realism and I love Mark’s drawing books. So it was the perfect combination!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Mark’s work here are some links…

Mark’s Deviant Art Page

His Gallery on his own Website

Mark’s YouTube Page

Turtle Time!

This was an ink drawing I made at a Mind Art Group I attend during the week. I began with some basic shapes…

…Then added some more details to my sketch…

Then I inked my drawing. Here is the final artwork in my sketchbook…

However I wanted to see if I could take the image further digitally. Here is how that turned out…

For once I actually prefer the digitally adjusted drawing rather than the original. What do you think?

The millennium Falcon

This is the longest project I have ever done, not because it was particularly difficult, but because my physical illness has wrecked my ability to sit for any period of time and my mental health issues have eaten my concentration for breakfast. When I was well I would finish a detailed A3 drawing like this in 2 weeks as well as working part time in school and looking after myself and my son. Things are so different now. I have carers to help me do basic things, my son is living in his own home and my mind feels like a bomb has gone off. 2 weeks turned into 6 months.

I made this drawing for my living room. I have some beautiful bright green patterned curtains in this room and wanted some Star Wars art to match. So I decided to draw a Millennium Falcon and then paint it green using watercolours.

I began by working out the scale I was going to expand my reference to. I drew some basic structural lines across my reference and then calculated how big those lines would be scaled up to A3…

Then I drew the basic reference structure out at the correct size on my A3 paper. Once I had the basic structure down I took it section by section, drawing in the details in pencil and then inking them when I was happy with them. Here you can see some of the basic reference structure and the first section of the inks…

Here’s my process in more detail, drawing the structures in pencil…

…and then inking that section…

For most of time I wasn’t able to do any of it. This got worse as the project neared completion because I was conscious that I wasn’t able to function so well and I really didn’t want to make some horrible mistake and ruin the whole thing.

I toned the image with pencils. Looking back I think black watercolour would have been much better but when I was working on this bit I didn’t trust myself with a medium which couldn’t be erased.

Here’s the finished drawing…

Then when I was next able to give it a go I painted a wash using greens yellows and blues over the whole thing and added a few details once the wash was completely dry.

Here’s the final picture…

May the Force be with you.

Schnauzer – Ink and Pencil

This week’s drawing is of a little miniature schnauzer. My Bonnie was one of these happy little dogs. I still can’t see a schnauzer anywhere without feeling a pang of sadness from losing her. She was the best little dog in the world.

I began with some very basic shapes just outlining the main dimensions and general fluffiness(!)…

Next I filled out the pencils and made some more definite marks outlining and defining my little dog…

Once the pencils were done I moved onto the inks. Trying to capture the softness of the pencils with a medium as hard and fast as ink was difficult. Looking back now, I wonder if using water soluble ink and deliberately smudging the ink would help. I think I might give this a go another time. It’s certainly something I’d like to play with.

Once my inks were complete I added pencil as a half tone to round out the image and to provide a soft shadow. Here’s the finished drawing…