New Pocket Journals And Mandala Progress

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My little pocket journal line is gradually growing. Over the past week I made my second set of the three journal items I’ve made so far which I started back in January. This latest one is called the “Maybe Unfold” blank pocket journal set. It’s a two journal set with illustrated cover art reproduced from two drawings I did back in 2018 titled “Maybe” and “Unfold”, hence the title “Maybe Unfold”. I really couldn’t come up with a more snazzy name than that and truthfully, I just like to stick to the titles that I used for the original works. My other journals are the “Buddha Tao” blank pocket journal set and the “Koi” blank pocket journal. I’m striving to see if I can get a line of 10 before the end of the year. If you got any wonderful suggests for cover art ideas feel free to share them in the comments.

On another note, I’m still inking away on my “Moon and Stars” mandala. Actually I’m getting close to finishing. Once I’m finished I plan on making prints and possibly some journals, but that’s if the test runs turn out good. I’ve been a little slow on getting this done partly because it’s really been my stress reliever through these past two months so I haven’t been in much of a hurry to complete it too soon. But I have another mandala to get started on, so I need to go ahead and finish this one up. I don’t like to linger on one piece for too long other wise it just gets harder for me to finish and I don’t like leaving things unfinished.

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A Giddy Respite

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“Moon and Stars” (wip)

It’s a good sign when you enjoy a drawing the moment you start laying down the first bits of ink. I’ve barely gotten started on this and I’m all giddy. I have to admit that some of that giddiness comes from this drawing being a break from doing realistic drawings. One of the underlining stressors of trying to create realistic art is making sure it actually looks realistic and that can take a lot of time and focus. A horror of mine is churning out something that looks more cartoonish when that isn’t the style I’m striving for. With this drawing the focus is more on design which is more flat and straight forward rather than realism which requires making objects look three dimensional. In other words, my brain gets to relax and not think so much. And honestly I could use the respite of something simple and relaxing. The hardest part to this was doing the line drawing which required some deal of measuring and a compass. Mandalas are beautiful but you really have to take the time to get the measurements right or you might end up with a lopsided mess.

I’m using two different nibs on this drawing, a 0.15mm nib for mid-tones and a 0.20mm nib for dark tones, the slightly larger nib allows me to achieve a darker quality since it puts out a little more ink while the smaller is better a mid-tones. The one thing I’ve learned and always keep in mine when it comes to creating a good pen and ink drawing is that there must be some contrast between light and dark. There should be some elements that are dark and some parts that are white or highlights with some mid-tones or grays in between, otherwise the drawing will look muted and lifeless. It’s an unfortunate yet common mistake that’s made when getting started with pen and ink drawing. So keep that in mind if you try your hand at pen and ink drawing. 🙂

A Art Card Diptych Drawing

In response to feeling a bit stir crazy from all the red ink I’ve been stippling on my Scarlet Macaw, I decided to take a brief break to work on a smaller project. I’m calling this piece “Butterfly Flowers”. It’s a drawing that’s actually drawn across two art cards. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of using two cards before but I find it to be a neat little idea to create a diptych piece on art cards. I may even try doing triptych in the future.

Anyhoo, I was in the mood for something that involved butterflies and flowers. This was inspired by a few tattoo designs and has a more design feel to it. I’ll get back to the Macaw when I finish this one but I have to admit, this was a much needed break, I was starting to resent that red parrot for how much work it required. Ever get angry at your own artwork?

Diving Into Hand Lettering

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It’s never too late to learn something new, especially when it comes to the creative arts. So over the weekend I got around to diving into something I’ve been wanting to learn more about for a while now; hand lettering. I can’t say that it’s something that’s completely new to me. When I started making my own greeting cards I touched on it a bit when it came to creating texts for my cards. This sparked an interest in learning more about lettering that I kept filed away in the back of my mind for two years now. So this past Friday I headed to my local library to look for a couple of books to help me learn about the basics. Unfortunately they really didn’t have much to work with. Most of the books that were suppose to be on the shelf ended up either missing or misfiled. In the end I only walked out with two books, one on The Illuminated Alphabet, the other on Hand and Chalk Lettering. Two books is better than no books.

One of the things that has always puzzled me about hand lettering is what’s the difference between hand lettering, calligraphy and typography? For the most part, I’ve always thought of them as being one in the same with the only difference being whether you did it by hand or on a computer. But actually there are some major differences.
In brief, lettering is the art of drawing letters that is much like an illustration just done with letters where hand lettering is a subset of lettering done specifically by hand.
Calligraphy is the art of writing letters and focuses on penmanship through the use of specific writing tools. Calligraphy is used for much longer written pieces of text. Lastly,
typography focuses on the style, appearance and artistic arrangement of type for printed material.

So in a nutshell, the way I keep all of this straight in my head is lettering is drawing letters, calligraphy is writing letters and typography is arranging letters. It’s simplistic and others may beg to differ, it’s just my own way of keeping it straight in my head.

Anyhoo, I’m working to expand my drawing skills to hand lettering because I’m often inspired by inspirational quotes, song lyrics or spiritual verses that conjure up visual images in my mind that I would like to create yet I want to add some source text to give the drawing context. Also hand lettering can be really cool when coupled with some imagination. Below are some wonderful examples of illustrative hand lettering.

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Some of my stippling and lettering practice.

Lettering By Kim Panella
Kim Panella

Lettering by Meni Chatzipanagiotou
Meni Chatzipanagiotou

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Bee Stanton