Symmetry Tools

When I do my digital art I do it on a program called Ibis Paint X. It has about as many functions and tools and things as Photoshop, but it’s free, and available on my tablet. There is a manual/tutorial thing, which I fully intend to work through one day. But I’m mostly discovering new things gradually as I play around with the app.

One of the things I discovered recently was the Symmetry Rulers. So much potential for fun!

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With the Rotation Ruler you can set the number of divisions, and where they start on the sheet. So you can do one doodle and it recreates the same doodle in increments for you.

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There’s also a Kaleidoscope Ruler, which does a reflection for you.

I could do this all day long. It’s so addictive.

I coloured in one as a pastel rainbow, because I love rainbows and I’m really into pastel at the moment.

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I coloured one in my boyfriend’s favourite colours.

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I coloured one in a palette I had saved on the app.

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And then I coloured in the fourth one in a “funky” colour palette for a Saturday Scribbles.

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I need to avoid doing this too much. It’s very very addictive. Although maybe I could make a series to release as a colouring book? What do you think?

Endless Card

I got inspired again by one of my favourite sources of ideas. Megan Weller on YouTube.

In one of her Creative Things To Do When You’re Bored videos, she cut and glued a sheet of paper in the right places to make an endless card. You can fold it open, fold it open, fold it open, fold it open, fold it open, etc etc.

The video below should start at the right place.  If I messed it up somehow, the Endless Card begins at about 5:00.

She covered hers with animal prints, but naturally I decided it would be a good idea to do monsters. Because I was going to use my alcohol markers I took a piece of card stock, cut it to size with my trimmer, and got folding and cutting.

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I used a tape roller to glue the appropriate squares and ended up with this.

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It doesn’t lie completely flat because it’s really thick. But I sketched out some monsters anyway.

Maybe it was my folding – we all know I’m not very precise – or maybe it was the card stock. But there were lots of bits where it overlapped and lots of little gaps. But I carried on regardless.

 I started colouring the first one…

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…And hit the problem I’d forgotten about. Alcohol markers bleed.

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So I carefully pried apart the glued sections and unfolded the card.

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I used the position of the monster halves as a template on two square sheets of normal printer paper.

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I coloured these in separately.

Then I used the tape roller to glue the two sheets together, and did the folding and cutting.

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It’s not perfect. It’s still thick because it’s two sheets glued together. But it’s cute and clever nonetheless.

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It is hard to demonstrate the endless unfolding in photos though, so I took a little video to show you.

 

June Scrawlr Box

The June Scrawlr Box (I haven’t forgotten May, it’s still sat on my desk waiting for me to muster courage), was one that had me swatching and arting within minutes of opening it.

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Inside were some Derwent Inktense blocks, a Caran D’Ache Prismalo pencil, a Seawhite synthetic round brush, a white Gelly Roll, and some 350gsm Seawhite watercolour paper.

 

There was the fabulous art print from Hullo Alice…

 

…And of course the zine and the sticker – I love the colours on this one.

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First up, swatching.  And testing the Inktense blocks in all the ways the zine described.

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I did my usual little monster.  Except this time I did four, testing different techniques.

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I didn’t really have a main project in mind.  I just started playing with the colours.

 

It ended up very soggy and very messy, so I took another sheet of the paper and pressed them together to absorb the excess

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The imprint looked really good.  I could do something with that.  I’d have two pieces!

Except… well, I made a total disaster of the original piece.  I’m not even going to show you the mess.  I really should have had some idea of an idea.

For the imprint, when I looked at it, I kinda saw a skirt floating away.  So I decided I’d draw a torso, arms and head.  I made a fatal error though and didn’t use a reference.

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So I decided I’d take a photo of the imprint and try something digitally.  More on that later.

In the meantime, I still needed a piece.  I really liked the effect of the green monster in my testing, so I decided to make a rainbow of those.  As I worked on the first few though I smudged the outlines for the others, so I ended up on separate sheets and cheating by using the green testing monster.

 

They came out ridiculously cute though.  And although I hadn’t even noticed the Scrawlr Challenge, I think messy, colourful, rainbow monsters are pretty perfect for my spirit animals.

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As for the digital one, I collected a few silohuettes from Pinterest…

 

…and tested them against a cleaned up version of the “skirt”.

I liked the first one best, so I traced that out.  Yes, I traced it.  I don’t care.

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Also, when I was cleaning it up I accidentally made a pretty abstract piece.  Bonus.

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April Scrawlr Box

The April Scrawlr Box was one of those that I didn’t get started with right away. Mostly because I was bedridden with a sprained ankle at the time, and the supplies would have involved water and needed desk space. But it was definitely a box that intrigued me.

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Inside were some Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour Markers, some watercolour pencils from the same range, a Pro Arte Polar Series 31 paint brush, a Derwent Sketching Pencil, and a thin pad of watercolour paper.

 

And of course the Scrawlr Box sticker and the new zine.

With a very striking art print by featured artist Angelika Schulte.

 

After I’d swatched everything and tried using the watercolour implements in different ways…

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…I tried mixing to see if I could get a rainbow, which I could. I tried a few more ways of using the watercolours, tested the pencil for smearage, and moved on to a monster.

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For the monster I put some of the blue marker at the bottom and some of the yellow at the top and tried blending them. Although the blend isn’t too bad, the blue totally dominated and there isn’t much yellow left.

In terms of an art piece, I started off wanting to mimic a new artist I’ve found – full blog post about her coming soon – but I basically made a mess. I don’t know if it was the supplies, or just me, or maybe a combination. But it was really untidy. And whilst the muted coloured created a pretty effect, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

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So I moved on to what I was comfortable with. A monster.

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The colours really are very pretty. But I struggled with layering and getting things looking smooth. Again, it was probably just me.

 

I outlined in the brown watercolour pencil, and attempted to blend that out a little bit.

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It’s cute, but I wasn’t entirely happy with it.  To test whether it was the supplies, I tried recreating the piece with my normal watercolours. The mistake I made here was attempting to do the outlines with paint and the brush – my brush control is not that good.

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I also took the muted watercolour circle and added another layer of colour, before doodling over the top of it.

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I’d made an attempt to dab the markers onto a wet circle to create a tie dye effect like the zine mentioned, but that failed as well. So I doodled on that one too.

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It was a fun box, but I don’t think I’ve been persuaded to move away from my palette paints.

More Saturday Scribbles

Since discovering Saturday Scribbles I’ve continued following their Twitter account.  Not every theme has appealed to me.  Like “lighthouses”.  Sometimes I plan to do a piece, but just run out of time, like “hearts”.  But I’ve done a whole bunch of them.

When all this lockdown palaver started they did a “thank you” theme, and I did a watercolour monster.

I was especially proud of my “numbers” piece – I overlaid all the numbers and created a monster from the shape.

Jasper helped me colour that one.

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For the “fruit” theme I hid some tiny monsters in a fruit bowl.

For “funky” I got my mandala on.

“Space” had to be a little green man.

One week the theme was “unicorn”, so I obviously did that one.


And for “1980s” I did this 80s girl complete with scrunchie, super high ponytail, and a shell suit.

If you don’t already follow Saturday Scribbles on Twitter I highly recommend it.  Every week they run a poll so you can help pick the theme.  It’s lots of fun 🙂

 

 

 

My Custom Watercolour Palette

In February I showed you the progress I was making with my watercolour painting, and the beautiful new paints I got for Christmas.  At the end of that blog post I mentioned loving tube paints but not liking the inconvenience of them.  I told you that I’d bought an empty palette and had plans to combine my Sakura Koi paints with my Arteza tubes to create a custom palette.  I promised a whole other blog post about it.

I actually created that palette shortly afterwards, but I’m only getting around to blogging about it now.  We all know what I’m like with letting projects sit in folders on my computer.

I got myself an empty tin palette.

 

And a bag of half pans that clip nicely into the palette.

 

Once I’d selected what paints I wanted to use, I labelled the bottoms of the pans.  I didn’t use all the pans, or all the spaces in the palette, so I left myself with some room to change later if I want.

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I cut myself a piece of watercolour paper the right size to fit in the lid, and divided it into sections for swatches.

 

Then I started transferring paints.  Beginning with my Sakura Koi.  They didn’t pop out easily.  The palette was a plastic sheet glued into the main case.

 

The paints weren’t in individual pans, just in the plastic sheet.  Peeling them out was a little messy.  Because I hadn’t left them weeks and weeks to fully dry out they were a little gummy.  But I found that I could push from the bottom like a pill packet.

 

I got all the Koi colours I wanted in my new palette, and placed the plastic sheet back in the Koi case.

 

Now it was time for the tube paints.  These were fun.  Watching the little pans fill up, and seeing the little tiny peaks was very satisfying.

 

Eventually I had my new palette complete.

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Sort of.  I didn’t have a turquoise/teal shade I liked.  And yes, with paint you can mix any colour you like.  But I use that turquoise/teal shade a lot, so I just mixed two of the tube paints and made my own.

 

I left it open for a few days to dry out a little, and voila!

Perfect!  I’ve used it a lot since.

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It definitely looks used.  Very messy.  And also covered in stickers.  But I kinda like that.

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If only I could use a waterbrush, then I’d be really mobile.  I could go outside and paint.  Apart from disliking the outside.  Oh well.

 

An Old Scrawlr Box

I love getting my monthly Scrawlr Box, but also on their website they sell past boxes that they still have in stock.  I went through the list and picked out the ones that I wanted.  Originally there were about four, but by the time I had the money to buy them, there was only one left in stock.  The August box from 2017 – the little gadget intrigued me.

Inside there is a very clever piece from the featured artist.

There was an IsoSketch, a Derwent precision mechanical pencil, two Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers, a Stabilo .88 fineliner and a Derwent shaped eraser.

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There was also a couple of sheets of card, but they weren’t listed on the menu.

The IsoSketch tool appeared to be very interesting.

It was flipping impossible to get into though.

The first step is always swatching.

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Normally my second step is to draw a monster, but that doesn’t really work with isometric drawing.  So I did a little thing instead.

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Next came several days of trial and error.  As cool as the little gadget is, it’s not so good for drawing a big piece with multiple shapes.  At least not for me anyway.  I printed off a grid to use as a template on my lightbox.

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And I created a semi decent sketch.

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I made a few mistakes though, and it got very confusing.  So I added some doodles to differentiate the sides, before lightboxing over it using the IsoSketch to make something semi-neat.

This resulted in a bit of a mess.

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So I tried tracing over it again, using a long ruler to do each angle at a time.  This also did not work.

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So I gave up the pretence of knowing what I was doing altogether, and sketched out the isometric grid lines in pencil.

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I tried to transfer over my design directly, but made a few errors so it didn’t translate exactly.  And I ended up needing to differentiate the sides again.

Once I’d finished I set to erasing the pencil marks.  I didn’t bother erasing the very edges of the page, because I had initially planned to cut the piece out and place it on black card.

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I used the Spectrum markers to colour two of the sides.

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I was going to cut out all the space (hence the sticking it on black card), but I decided that was gonna be too flipping fiddly.  So I picked out another marker – Ohuhu 37 – and coloured the final side.

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Once it was finished I decided that I quite liked the look of the guide lines round the edges.  And I think the patchy colouring gives it a nice texture.

Isometric art is intriguing though.  I might do some more of it.

 

 

Yarn Haul

I haven’t bought any new yarn in ages.  I’ve been working through my stash to use up all the little bits.  But this means that when I want to do something rainbow, I don’t have all the colours.  So last month I gave in and got some new yarn.

I don’t tend to go for expensive stuff.  I like good old acrylic.  It’s suitable for nearly everything I make, it’s cheap, and it comes in a million different shades.  Which is why it took me about three hours on the Deramores website to narrow down the shades I wanted.

I settled on two rainbows in the end.  A bright one, and a pastel one.  And I got all these balls of yarn for £33, including free postage.  Can’t complain at that.

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Once I opened the bag I wished I’d made a screenshot or a list of my shopping cart.  I couldn’t remember what yarns were meant to be with what rainbow.  Some of the colours didn’t look quite the same as they did on the computer.

But with a bit of sorting and playing I worked it out.  Here’s my bright rainbow:

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Here’s my pastel rainbow:

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And here’s the set of neutrals I got to complement them.

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Except there were a few issues.

The orange in the bright rainbow is BRIGHT!  Like neon.  Which isn’t bad, and it doesn’t look too bad in the picture, but I’m not overly happy with it for my bright rainbow.  And the pink and orange in the pastel rainbow are too similar.  There’s not enough of a distinction.

Also, there were two balls of yarn that I couldn’t fit in either rainbow.  First this pink – too bright for the pastel rainbow and too pastel for the bright rainbow.

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And this blue, which is a completely different fabric type, because I’m an idiot and didn’t read the descriptions properly.

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I popped on to eBay to find some alternatives – paying a wee bit more per ball, but not being enticed into ordering another £30 of yarn.

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Two of them arrived in the most genius packaging ever!

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The pink and very pale orange fixed my pastel rainbow perfectly.

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Of the two other oranges, the lighter one was a little too close to the yellow in my bright rainbow, but the other fitted in just right.

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Stay tuned to see what I make with them.


For the curious, here are the yarns:

Pastel Rainbow:

pink – Stylecraft Special DK in Clematis
orange – Stylecraft Special DK in Apricot
yellow – Hayfield Bonus DK Extra Value in 0993
green – Hayfield Bonus DK Extra Value in 0956
blue – Cygnet DK in Cloud
purple – Stylecraft Special DK in Wisteria

Bright Rainbow:

red – Deramore Studio Anti-Pill DK in Ruby
orange – Stylecraft Special DK in Spice
yellow – Cygnet DK in Sunshine
green – Stylecraft Special DK in Kelly Green
teal – Cygnet DK in Aqua
light blue – Stylecraft Special DK in Turquoise
blue – Deramore Studio Anti-Pill DK in Lapis
purple – Cygnet DK in Mauve
violet* – King Cole Pricewise in Cerise
fuchsia* – Cygnet DK in Cerise

* I know these names are wrong, it’s just how I differentiate them in my head.

Sailor Moon Redraw

Recently one of my friends alerted me to an art challenge on Twitter.

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So I drew a picture of Sailor Moon.  I did it digitally, and accidentally created this monstrosity at one point.

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Jasper helped.

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And I produced a piece that I was really happy with.  Super happy.

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I shared it on Twitter using the hash tag.

And then I browsed through the hashtag, which is when I discovered that I was supposed to redraw a specific image of her.

Oh well.  I’m still happy with what I did.

Trying Different Line Art

Even though I’ve been doing more digital art recently, I still love my traditional work.  The problem I have most with traditional though is the line work.  I’m not very neat, or precise.  So I have a tendency to make a bit of a mess.

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I like to ink, then colour, then ink again.  On the second inking I can vary the line width to cover mistakes, but I usually make more mistakes whilst doing it.

So I’ve been doing some experiments.  First up:  what about only inking once, after I’ve coloured?

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I sketched out my piece – a monster, obviously.  Then coloured it.  At this stage it looked a little weird.

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And inked it.

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Like my notes say, it kinda worked.  But I still made a little mess.  Time for experiment two – doing a really thin line for the first inking.

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It looks kinda nice with just the thin outline once coloured.

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But my colouring is a little messy.  So I went ahead and re-inked.

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The problem is that to cover my messy colouring, the line becomes thicker, and looks messier.

Conclusion: I need to work on being neater with my colouring.