Taking Time for Some Surface Design – Mandalas

Do you doodle? When you doodle what do you mostly do? Have you ever tried mandalas? I found myself doodling some mandalas last weekend. Settled in for a bit of Middle-earth adventuring with the Hobbit Trilogy, pen and paper in hand I started to draw mandalas.

My first design got us most of the way to our first peek at Smaug. Ok, disclaimer now, if you haven’t seen the Hobbit films then that is so not going to make any senses to you, my apologies for that. Just take it as read that it took me about the length of the first film to draw and colour my first mandala.

Working away in my new 5.5 x 8 inch Strathmore visual journal. I found the whole process somewhat hypnotic, it could have been the epic journey I was watching but I think it was the mandala.

[Some of the links in this blog posts are Affiliate links.]

I enjoyed the first mandala so much that I decided to cover a whole page with them. I picked up a Sakura Gelly Roll Opaque pen, and it happened to be one in my favourite colours at the moment, It’s an orange-red, think of the Morocco Tsunkineko Memento ink or the Abandoned Coral from the Tim Holtz Distress ink range.

This kind of large style mandala is new to me and I’m pretty sure it was inspired by the work of Alisa Burke. Alisa uses mandalas a lot in her work and she even has an online class focusing on them if you are interested.

The faint patches in the design are where my pen started to run out, the ink doesn’t go very far in Sakura gelly pens does it? I love the glossy finish on them though.

My mandalas were all done freehand, I didn’t draw around any circles or use any tools to make them I just started in the middle and worked outwards with doodles. I’m not even sure I can call them mandalas seeing as I have not used any symbolism or stuck to any mandala-creating rules. But as an exercise in surface design and a relaxing way to watch a film I would totally recommend having a go at making them.

The page took me through the battle with Smaug and out to the big battle with the five armies (there she goes again, talking Hobbit gibberish to those of you that haven’t seen the movies!) and even through some Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (ya what now? It’s another film, go look it up if you don’t know it).

I’m wondering now how well these would work up into stamps, I might transfer my favourites to some Speedball Speedy-Carve and try curving them into stamps. Might be fun. Oh and I started another one last night, this one in blue whilst investigating an alien disturbance in the Quatermass Experiment, just be aware of any part man, part cactus creatures in your vicinity (don’t worry, it is another film!).

Are you a Mandala fan? If you have been blogging about Mandalas or have pictures in your gallery please do leave a link in the comments, I would love to come and have a look.


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Art It Friday – Show Your Face With A Surprise From Craftsy

Hey Gorgeous Facers – before you go rushing off to link your face at the bottom of this post, I have a little surprise for you! So read on.

First, let’s get the reason why we are here sorted:

For anyone new here this is a regular place to come and inspire, be inspired, but above all to share our portrait progress week by week. Every Friday at 10 am (BST) a new Show Your Face blog post goes live with the linky to add your blog post or online gallery picture to with any portrait work you have been doing.    

Your face can be drawn, doodled, painted, stitched, be made using any materials and can be any style, all I ask is that it is your artwork. If you use templates, stencils or stamps to build the face anatomy, then they should be ones you have made yourself and not someone else’s.    

Finished pieces, works in progress or retro posts (i.e. older works, not from this week) are all welcome, so come join in and spread the word on your blog/social media outlets. Use hashtag #ShowYourFace if you like!  

OK, that’s done, now for the surprise: I’m an affiliate with Craftsy (and yes, I have some affiliate links in this post but I think you are going to like it!). If you don’t know Craftsy, it is an online learning resource and they are offering you, my facers:

50% off the Simple Techniques for Better Portraits taught by Alisha Dall’Osto.

No code needed just click through using this link or the one above to get this class for £9.50 ($14.99) instead of £19.00 ($29.99). The discount is valid until 6.59 am BST (11.59 pm MT) Friday 26th June 2015.

Cool, right?

If you haven’t got a Craftsy account, it is free to join and there are even some free classes you can try out too.

I’m in the middle of this class myself, which is why I thought you guys might appreciate it. I’ve been really enjoying it, so I hope you do too and find it useful.

A study of facial features in my art journal

That brings me neatly to my Show Your Face share for this week. I’m watching the chapter on Mass, Proportion and Features, which is lesson 2 in the course, and it breaks down the facial features into easy shapes, so that is what I’ve been practising this week.

I think I’m finding the nose the hardest to do, but eyes are fun to do aren’t they? Practise, Practise, Practise!

Which reminds me, did you have fun with my little warm-up exercise from last week? How did you get on with it?

Over To You… Link your faces artwork and spread the word on your blog and/or social media, hashtag #ShowYourFace for those of you that use them.

Catch you later Face-Artinators and hope you enjoy the 50% off the Simple Techniques for Better Portraits. Massive thanks to Craftsy for this fab offer!


PS. Some other places you might want to link your work to: Art journal pages link up with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Everyday post. I do use affiliate links to help me run this blog but only for things I use or think you will love. If you want to know more, please do check my Disclaimer and Disclosure page

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Travel Sketching Saturday

What? No La-La Land Crafts Monday Inspiration post today? No, but if you drop by tomorrow I’m sure you will see some La-La Land Crafts! Well actually I know you will! The CHA in the USA starts tomorrow and I’ve been busy making samples.  So my samples are there even if I’m not!

But you haven’t dropped by my blog for nothing, I have a personal project to share with you today some more of my sketching. I shared one of my little sketches that I had made into a card not so long ago. So here is another, this time a travel sketch from my smash / notebook.

We went up to visit my parents this weekend and the train trip meant I had some time to do some sketching practice. I always try to travel with something to sketch with, so me and my ZIG Memory System Writer pen are inseparable and for colour I took along some Derwent Graphitint pencils and my ZIG Water BrusH2O – another must have in my pencil case. 

We had a lovely trip and it was great to spend some time with my parents. Hope you had a lovely weekend and got some artiness fitted in too!

So now you are refreshed after the weekend and ready for a creative week?

Catch you later.



All In The Illustration

I love experimenting as you know and I love trying my hand to different things, again this won’t be too much of a shock to those of you who regularly pop by my blog. 

Well today I have one of my own illustrations to show. I’ve been doing a lot of work with watercolours and I just love how watercolour effects look with a clean black line so I thought I would try making a little birthday card using this look.

The watercolours I’ve used are the ZIG Art and Graphic twin Pens and the illustration and sentiment were drawn with the ZIG Writer pen.

I applied the colour with the ZIG Water Colour system WaterbrusH20 which is a valved waterbrush and I would not be without them!

Hope you like the look.

Catch you later chicks!