Pattern Play

Art Journal Page-11/29/2013

My Art journal is about experimenting, practicing, improving and diversifying my skills as an artist; but mostly it is the place I play. Some days I want to collage, some days I want to paint and other days I just want to draw patterns. The day I was working on this spread I wanted to create, but dragging out all my art mess out seemed like too much work. So I just grabbed my jar of pens and started drawing repeating patters inspired by the knitting I was doing at the time. Here is the result:

Detail L page

Detail L page

Detail Left page

Detail Left page

Detail Left page

Detail Left page

I find doing this kind of scale/half circle pattern very relaxing. I just love the way it grows across the page.

Looking across the pages

Looking across the pages

 

Finished L page

Finished Left page

Details of the Right hand page: Detail R page

Detail R page Detail R page

 

Detail Right page

 

 

Full finished Right page:Full right page, Brush pens over text

Full finished spread

Full finished spread

I did not take process photos for this spread like I normally do as it just me doodling across both pages. It was just simple and easy, but sometimes that is what we need. Play (even artistic play) does not always have to be highly imaginative and elaborate. Sometimes it can be simple, repetitive, and even formulaic. Like playing solitaire or duck, duck, goose, we love the simple order of the process. After all what makes something play is the attitude not the action. In this art journal spread what I needed was mental rest and rejuvenation of simple pattern play.

 

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Swatches Art journal page-10/31/2013

I have done a little of everything in my art journal now. I was getting to know what would and media and materials would and would not work successfully with the paper in my encyclopedia. It has become clear from my experimenting so far that, acrylic paint, pens and markers. Work the best and would be my primary artistic tools from here on. Which is exciting for me because until now I have used a lot of acrylic and watercolor paint, and water color pencils. I am very comfortable using them, I know what I can achieve with them. But pens, brush pens and markers are not something I have very much experience with.

As I embarked on my art journaling adventure to try new media and new techniques. Having to use a new medium as my primary one fits in perfectly with that. I have now amassed a nice collection of pens, markers etc. and thought it would be nice to do a page of “swatches” that I can refer to that shows exactly what all my drawing materials look like on the paper in my art journal. So I left the top half of the page raw and painted the lower half with gesso (I have 3 colors white, gray and cream.) Just because it is practical does not mean it can’t also be pretty. With my basic shape stencil I used the different shapes to differentiate what kind of pen or marker each one is as well as to look pretty. Swatches Page process  1Swatches Page process  2 I used hexagons for the brush pens:Swatches Page process  4

Squares for the Itoya calligraphy markers. Triangles for the double tipped calligraphy markers. Swatches Page process  5I just used diagonal lines for the normal pens so it would easily show the width of the pen nib.Swatches Page process  6For the sake of space I just did a grid over the gessoed part of the page and used 1 box per color. With labeling between the different kinds of pen/markers:Swatches Page process  8 Swatches Page process  10 Swatches Page process  13

I bought some more brush pens later on so I just added more hexagons:Swatches Page process  14

and some more triangles:Swatches Page process  15 Swatches Page process  16Above each pen line I added the name and nib size:Swatches Page process  17Over the white gesso:Swatches Page process  18 The finished swatches spread:The finished swatches spreadThis was a fun and helpful spread to do, it appealed to my german love of order and method.

 

Art is the Filter

Art journal page from October 28-30th 2013
One of the objectives that I have set for myself doing this altered book art journal. Is to use what is existing on the original encyclopedia page to my advantage. To take what is there and amplify it, or use it as a jumping off point for my art work. I don’t want to just cover up what is there, I want to use it as a vital,component of my final work of art work. This page in particular really exemplifies successfully meeting that objective.

As soon as I saw this page I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I wanted to take the existing shapes on the page and continue them out across the page turning them into a larger pattern. When I first saw this page I was immediately drawn to the simple geometric shapes around the fluid flowing blue. The original page was a diagram of different kinds of filters they use to reduce air pollution, with two columns  of text underneath:creating the pattern(I of course forgot to take a pic until I had drawn my lines over the text, silly me.) As you can see in the pic above, first I took my black ITOYA Doubleheader Calligraphy marker and  drew my geometric framework from the existing uiilstration down to the bottom page.art it the filterThen I used my dark blue Stained by Sharpie, brush pen to draw in the blue fluid swirly-ness. The Stained brush pens are intended for fabric but I have found that they work great on the paper in my encyclopedia. The blue was a great match for the darker blue color that was in the original illustration. I also added the yellow accents, with my ITOYA Doubleheader Calligraphy marker, color Dijon. Which was an almost perfect match for the yellow in the illustration.

Duplicating the existing illustration to create the pattern up to the top of the page:Duplicating the existing illustration to create the pattern.

Continuing the patter up to the top of the page.

Continuing the pattern up to the top of the page.

art it the filterAfter I put in all the blue on the bottom of the page I felt that is needed some more yellow to balance it out. So I added the yellow radiating curves around the far right column.Art is the filter page  9Art is the filter page  4The Bottom section. After all my pattern was drawn I also decided to cover the surrounding text on the bottom of the page with gray to help visually “knock it back”.

Details of the finished page:art is the filter art is the filter Mechanical Collector

the top section

Finished top section

the original illustration with embellishments. I added the dark blue over parts of the existing illustration. as well as made some of the black lines thicker to match the parts I drew:

Art is the filter page  3

Art is the filter page  4

Finished bottom section of the page.

and of course I like to sign and date each page when I finish it.I like to sign and date each page when I finish it I started the page on October 28th and finished it on the October the 30th.

The full finished page:the finished Art is the Filter page

This is one of my favorite pages because when I set out to make this encyclopedia in to an altered book art journal this is what I wanted it to be. taking the already great illustrations that it contained expand and enhance them. Taking what was an outdated and cast aside relic of the pre-digital age and reincarnating it into a fascinating, enduring and beautiful work of art that will withstand the test of time. So this page is one of my favorites because with this page at least I feel I have successfully met those goals.

Enter the Dark Forest

Where do I start my pages? Sometimes I start with a color, or an Idea of what I want to draw. or I start with a collage image, or a page in my encyclopedia that inspires me. For this page I started with a collage image:

20140416-182818.jpg
Which measures about 4″ square, as soon as I saw it I could see in my minds eye the black and white forest growing up, moody and mysterious, around it on the page. Starting from that inspiration I went flipping through my encyclopedia to find the page it should go on.

20140416-183305.jpg
This is the page I chose for my, enter the dark forest spread. I chose it for 2 reasons:
1. On the left hand page I thought the many small columns already were creating the blocked out forms of trees for my forest.

2. The picture of the shoreline on the right hand page already created a natural horizon line for my spread.

Here is how I used the shape of the columns to create my trees around:20140416-184810.jpgAfter I drew in my major tree shapes I went to collage on my inspiration image, but could not help myself and copied it on to tracing paper first:

inspiration photo copied on to tracing paper

Then added it to my page:

Enter the Dark forest art journal spread

 

To match the black and white image for my page I decided to use only gray and black so I used three of my Faber-Castell brush pens and a black and grey ZIG clean color real brush pens:

20140416-185806.jpg

For the large tree that was going to attach to the branch that the girl in my inspiration pic was walking on. first I drew the outline for the tree then wet the page inside the tree before adding in my “bark” lines for a softer watercolor look:

wet the page then used my Zig real color brush pen

 

This is the first time I have used this black Zig brush pen and it looked more purple than I expected when watered down but I am still happy with it.

girl out on a limb.jpgI love how the text underneath shows through the tracing paper.

 

After I was finished with all the trees on the Left hand page. I finished out the right hand page, as I try to use what is existing on the page, I made england and the coast of europe in the map into trees.  I also made the water in the picture into a pond in my forest.

Turned the places on the map into trees

I like the balance of the collage image with the image that was printed on the opposite page. Here is the finished spread:

finished enter the dark forest spread

 

I enjoyed the simplicity of using only the blacks and grays in this spread.

 

 

Vintage Camera Pages

For my next page I was looking through the encyclopedia for an inspiring page and saw this:

IMG_9241 IMG_9242 - Version 2

 Which just looked like it needed to be turned into a strip of film:

pictures made in to film strip

 pictures made in to film strip

Now I obviously have a film camera themed Spread. So I dug into my collection of old National Geographic Magazines (from the 50’s and 60’s) and  collected vintage camera adds. I combined these with some pics from the manuals from my camera collection and filled up the rest of the pages, I may have gotten a bit carried away with my image collecting:

My bed covered with vintage camera imagesMy bed covered with vintage camera images

vintage camera 3

Here is my original test layout. I chose one large image to anchor each page and then used  smaller images around them.

When I took a break from working and came back I found Toast had decided this was the most comfortable place to curl up:

Toast was very cozySilly Art dog.

After I initially glued down my major pieces I decided that It needed something more so I actually peeled up one of my pieces to put something under:

right hand page

After I finished glueing down all my pieces I also drew a film strip on the left hand page. Here is how my finished spread looked like:

vintage camera 4

 

 

Art Can be a Winding Road

One of the things I particularly like about doing this art journal is that I get to try a lot of new different techniques; and since it has the built in size constraint you can finish a page or 2 page spread quite quickly. Because of my art classes I am used to working 9×12 or larger so the size (the encyclopedia’s page is 10″ tall by 7″ wide. ) is a challenge. Also working with what is already on the page is a great creative challenge, I make it my goal to try and use the existing text and illustrations to my advantage not just to slap something over them. It is fun because you know from the start that no matter what you do it is going to have at least 2 layers of depth. It really is kind of a weird analogy of what life in my brain is like all kinds of knowledge, that may be useful or not, always there in the background and then there is all this creative problem solving going on on top. Anyway I digress…

The other interesting challenges of my chosen medium is: It is a bound book, I have always worked in a spiral bound sketch book or on independent media. But having that other page can be quite janky to get to where you want to work, not to mention that either 1 page or the other is permanently curved. Which can make doing collage test layouts on the curved page very interesting.

To return to my pages after I had played paper dolls for 5 consecutive pages I was ready to try something else, and by that time my stupid headache was finally gone so I could do something more elaborate and detailed with all the lights on. So I decided to do a preliminary sketch for a painting I have been wanting to do for years. Because sometimes I take a photo because I know that needs to be a painting like this one:

Image

Which I took at a park in council Bluffs in 2010. It has 4 of my favorite things in an image. 1. Awesome light, 2. Dramatic shadows, 3. Trees, 4. Interesting pathway.

Now because of the texture of the paper in this encyclopedia it works amazingly with wet media, pens, markers, paint. But it just does not have the right kind of texture for dry media like pencils or conte. Up till now in my art 90% of the time I use either pencils or conte for all the drawing and sketching I do. But in this art journal I have been using these great Faber-Castell PITT artist brush pens:

ImageImage

I decided to use them to do my sketch. I chose 2 text only pages (except for a small black and white map on the left page) to do my sketch on I love the depth and texture that drawing over the text gives to the image:

Image

I am really happy with how it turned out:ImageImageImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was quite tricky to get the perspective right, and decide where to have the break in the center of the image. This is the first time that I used my bull clamps and clamped the pages to the cover to flatten the page I was working on.

One of the things I particularly like about doing this art journal is that I get to try a lot of new different techniques; and since it has the built in size constraint you can finish a page or 2 page spread quite quickly. Because of my art classes I am used to working 9×12 or larger so the size (the encyclopedia’s page is 10″ tall by 7″ wide. ) is a challenge. Also working with what is already on the page is a great creative challenge, I make it my goal to try and use the existing text and illustrations to my advantage not just to slap something over them. It is fun because you know from the start that no matter what you do it is going to have at least 2 layers of depth. It really is kind of a weird analogy of what life in my brain is like all kinds of knowledge, that may be useful or not, always there in the background and then there is all this creative problem solving going on on top. Anyway I digress…

The other interesting challenges of my chosen medium is:

a. It is a bound book, I have always worked in a spiral bound sketch book or on independent media. But having that other page can be quite janky to get to where you want to work, not to mention that either 1 page or the other is permanently curved. Which can make doing collage test layouts on the curved page very interesting.

To return to my pages after I had played paper dolls for 5 consecutive pages I was ready to try something else, and by that time my stupid headache was finally gone so I could do something more elaborate and detailed with all the lights on. So I decided to do a preliminary sketch for a painting I have been wanting to do for years. Because sometimes I take a photo because I know that needs to be a painting like this one:

 

 

 

 

Which I took at a park in council Bluffs in 2010. It has 4 of my favorite things in an image. 1. Awesome light, 2. Dramatic shadows, 3. Trees, 4. Interesting pathway.

Now because of the texture of the paper in this encyclopedia it works amazingly with wet media, pens, markers, paint. But it just does not have the right kind of texture for dry media like pencils or conte. Up till now in my art 90% of the time I use either pencils or conte for all the drawing and sketching I do. But in this art journal I have been using these great Faber-Castell PITT artist brush pens:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lot so I decided to use them to do my sketch. I chose 2 text only pages (except for a small black and white map on the left page) to do my sketch on I love the depth and texture that drawing over the text gives to the drawing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was quite tricky to get the perspective right, and decide where to have the break in the center of the image. This is the first time that I used my bull clamps and clamped the pages to the cover to flatten the page I was working on. The drawing as a whole is far more impressionistic and “scribbly” than my normal style but I am really happy with how it turned out:

Image

Half my sketch over laid on the original photo:

20140418-212429.jpg

Playing Paper Dolls…More Fashion Illustrations

After having so much fun with my first fashion illustration page, I was totally hooked on “making  Paper Dolls”. So I went looking for an interesting geometric chart to serve as the background for my next “paper doll”, and I found this great chart:

image

I loved the colors and the “pixel-y” feel of it, and I thought it would be so cool if the colors showed through the girls dress, etc! So I found a fashion illustration the right shape and size. Another one of the vintage fashion illustrations from: Practical Fashion Sketches By, Charlotte H. Young. I knew with just a normal printed image I was not going to get the translucence I wanted, so I took it downstairs to our copier/printer and copied it onto a piece of tracing paper, which worked much better than I thought it would. This is the first time I used this techniques of copying onto tracing paper, and I instantly fell in love with it. It is now one of my favorite techniques which I use every other page in my art journal. I love the depth and texture that it instantly creates! Here is what it looked like printed on the tracing paper:

image

Here is the raw printed image, while I was checking placement. The way the color shows through is just what I wanted:image

Here is how it looked after I glued it down:

image

After I glued her down I went over all of the lines with my black brush pen and added the red “kick pleats” on her skirt. I also added the red to her flower as well as modified her hair slightly. In the original illustration she was wearing a hat which I eliminated.

image

I am really happy with how the color blocking from the chart comes through the fashion illustration. Detail of her face:

image

I was working on this on page on one of the days this winter I was stuck in my room in the semidarkness with a stupid light sensitive headache. So as art therapy I decided to do another page alone the same lines, tracing paper on interesting color chart background. Sadly I forgot to take a photo of what the page looked like before I started. 😦 For the left hand page I chose an illustration from: Drawing Smart Fashions By Charlotte H. Young (1948):

image

I actually chose the same image that was used on the cover:

image

I positioned her on the page so it looked like she was sitting on the blue bar of the chart. I also used my trusty brush pen and bolded out all the lines, as well as drew in the purple and green details on her dress. I drew in her features with a grey brush pen instead of using the black so it would have a softer look.

Since the left page was more detailed and on the frilly side, for the opposing page I wanted to use a fashion illustration that was larger scale, but also simpler and more graphic. I really did not find what I was looking for in my vintage fashion illustration books, so I started looking through my collection of Vogue Magazines, where I found this ad:

image

The simple graphic nature of the silhouette definitely had the drama I was looking for, and the scale of the figure on the right fit my page. I put a piece of tracing paper over the page and traced the outline of the figure. I knew I wanted her to be placed farther in on my page than she is in this ad, so she would need her other arm. Once I had my figure traced I just flipped the tracing paper over, lined up her (now backwards) left traced shoulder with her right shoulder in the image and traced her arm again. And voila, she has both arms! Here is the finished girl on the page with the original source image:

image

When I put just the outline on the page I felt it was a bit to simple, so I gave her a simple face and some hair, along with the black color blocking on the right side of her dress.

Here is the full finished spread:

image

I like the flow that the different scale of the two figures creates. Because the larger scale figure is simpler but the other has more detail, I think it helps to give them equal “visual weight”. I decided not to put anything else on the page, except for the swirly line down the side of the left page. I felt with the three colors and text in the chart it was already a lot going on and I did not want to make it too busy. I wanted the focus to be on the ladies on the pages and anything more would just fight for attention. Sometimes the key to a successful piece is knowing when to stop. 😉