The next page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal was an almost blank slate. Apart from some small scrapings of leftover blue paint, all it contained was a wine label containing the word “Wonderful”. That label became my starting point for constructing a column comprising odds and ends of washi tape. The column then became the herma-esque body form for a female figure. Having painted the background a solid blue, I decided her hairstyle should take the shape of a simplified cloud. I think she has emerged with a bit of a silent screen actress look.
This is a quick illustration I created with the contents of this month’s Art Snacks box. I received a very chunky black alcohol marker which presented me with quite the challenge. I am definitely a fan of fine line pens and have accumulated quite a collection of them. I am not very adept at using anything with a broad tip – nor am I very capable with alcohol markers for that matter. My solution was to draw a chubby little character with the marker. I don’t know why I thought to give him branches or antlers sprouting from his head but that choice led me to leave negative forms on his belly in the shape of leaves. Now white gel pens are something I love. Every single one of my pencil cases contains at least one Uni-ball white gel pen. I perhaps went a little over the top with the white pen details but I do like the effect on the antlers in particular.
This next page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal was actually created back in February. It was made with the contents of that month’s Art Snacks box. I received blue and green products so I decided to produce an illustration of an Air Sprite. The blue of her clothing is an acrylic ink and the colour of her hair was actually produced by diluting the pigment from a metallic green marker. That same marker has a nib that produces dots of varying sizes depending on the pressure placed on it. As you can see, I had a lot of fun creating those dots.
This small illustration was created using the contents of my April Art Snacks box. There was a mechanical pencil, a black pen with a very fine point, a green alcohol marker, and a brown brush pen. I did not get along well with the brush pen at all – possibly user error – until I decided to use it as watercolour by squeezing some pigment out onto a palette and then picking it up with a wet brush. Once I did that, I really liked the way I could layer warm brown tones.
My Inner Critic is loud and brutal so I often only see the flaws in my art work. However, I actually really like this illustration and I am very happy with it.
This was what I created with the contents of my March Art Snacks box. I am not a fan of coloured pencils. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation as I don’t know whether I am bad at using them because I don’t like them or whether my ineptitude with them has led me to dislike them. Despite the fact the pencil leads were buttery smooth, I still could not achieve a neat finish. I am as scribbly with the pencils now as I was when I was a wee girl. Still, sometimes it is as useful to be reminded of what media you don’t enjoy as which you do like to use. The squiggles in the background did not start out as purposeful mark making. The nib of the black marker was very flexible – the type that would lend itself to calligraphy – and I let it slip when I was attempting a straight line. I just had to lean into it and channel my inner Bob Ross and allow squiggles to be a feature in the background. Once I had added background squiggles, it seemed necessary to balance those out with blobs made with the paint pen.
In addition to my Post-It note drawings, the other art I have been trying to keep up with is the monthly challenge of creating an illustration using only the contents of that month’s Art Snacks box. Each box arriving in my mailbox was a useful prod to get me to set aside some time for art. It helped that most of the products in recent boxes have been portable so I have been able to create art on the go.
This was what I created with the contents of my January box. I really liked the grey fine liners. As you know, I use black ink pens a lot but I was glad to have grey pens to add to my case of drawing pens. The green has not photographed well but it is actually metallic with a pleasing shimmer. I didn’t find that ochre colour appealing at first glance and never would have chosen that colour in a store but, once I used it, I actually found I really quite liked it. Green and orange are both colours I overlook when I am drawing so it is sometimes useful to have a nudge to create with those neglected colours.
I have accidentally established a tradition in my Rainbow Art Journal whereby each colour section contains an illustration of some kind of sprite-like creature. For the blue section, I was thinking of water. I drew a figure who is drenched in water (or, as I would say in Scots, “drookit”), her body morphing into a puddle on the floor, her hair dripping across her face.
Another completed page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal. This one was easy to finish up because I actually drew the original in March of 2020 – which feels like years ago now – in response to an Art Snacks challenge. I had drawn it in the blue section of the art journal thinking the media I had received were, well, much more blue than they turned out to be. They were far too green and it was annoying me that I had misjudged the colours and stuffed up the colour theme in the sketchbook. I had, therefore, walked away from it for a while – which turned out to be a long while – to come up with a solution. I was so annoyed with myself initially that I considered covering up the whole thing and starting over with essentially a new substrate but I loved that graphite watercolour and the way it had dried in puddles far too much to cover that up. My solution in the end was a quick and easy one so I could call this page “done” and move on: I simply layered some blue ink washes over some of the most green areas of the illustration to knock them back. It is definitely a blue-green piece but that’s acceptable to me.
Over Winter break, I have picked up my Rainbow Art Journal again. I am determined to get it finished this year. It has been one of those projects I have dipped in and out of for far too long. It’s time to wrap it up.
This page is my first attempt at properly using gouache. I was gifted a set of gouache paints for my birthday in November and I finally found time to start experimenting with them. I am a natural born pessimist and not given to self-confidence but I daftly thought I would take to gouache. I assumed it would be close enough to watercolour that I would have a sense for how to work it and apply it. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. The gouache does not react to water in the same way that watercolour paint does. Being thicker, it was harder for me to dilute it in a way that was pleasing. I got lots of ugly streaks. It was also harder for me to work with the brush. I am used to being able to gently encourage watercolour and ink into edges and shapes but I had to be more forceful with the gouache.
I kept my first experiment simple, a silly little doodle of a selfie, because my focus was on the application of the paint rather than the outcome of a finished illustration. As first experiments go, it is not a disaster but nor is it as proficient as I hoped it would be. That’s OK though. That’s what my art journals are for.
I have not been creating any art for a month now which, for me, is quite a long time. Partly this was a consequence of needing a break after several months of near daily drawing and partly it was a symptom of just being burned out from everyday life in 2020. My creative mojo had temporarily departed. Not wanting rust to settle into my artistic joints, I decided to try the December Art Snacks challenge as a way to grease the machine.
In order to avoid overwhelm, I opted to work on one of those small, narrow samples of paper I have that I have been turning into bookmarks. When I looked through the media contained in my Art Snacks box and thought about the colours, I immediately thought of summer flowers. Summer flowers made me think of the May Queen from the horror movie ‘Midsommar’ and so that became the basis for my illustration. I did cheat a wee bit in that I used a micron pen for the outlines of the face and the very loose flower shapes.
Now that I have broken my creative drought with this small illustration, I hope to get back to at least pootling around in my art journals over winter break.