Style has always eluded me, no matter the category. Whether it is clothing, hair, makeup, or even art. I can look at someone or their art, and if someone has a rather unique style I can usually see it right away. I often wonder why it is I can’t seem to find my own style.
I can choose clothing that looks good on me, but style always eluded me. I had nothing cohesive. My wardrobe was all over the place. Makeup was similar except I preferred a look that was natural and not bold or brazen.
My art is a different story. I have been all over the board in regards to learning different techniques, emulating other artists styles, and not landing solidly upon any particular medium of choice, which is probably why mixed media appeals to me. And yet style continued to elude me.
The other day, I had an idea that maybe style is just about doing what I love most from all the techniques and mediums I’ve been learning. Could it be as simple as applying those things which I go back to time and time again? While at the same time, incorporating new things to see how they mesh?
I decided to give this a try.
I’ve been doing a challenge called Daily Minimoley. It is simply working in a small journal to create small pieces of art. This enabled me to do a small piece of art each day and be able to experiment with different techniques and mediums. Doing this helps me to discover what I like most. Like bright colors for one, and flowers for another. I’m learning more and more every day.
Time and again I return to mandalas though I never did any in my minimoley practice. My mandalas usually are just ink drawings and no color. I want to add color, but how to do a mandala on an art journal page and add color is a challenge because I like to use precision when I’m doing my mandalas. I start with pencil to draw in the grid and some of the design before I move to ink.
Pencil doesn’t always work well over paint, depending on the paint or mediums used. Erasing pencil can be even more problematic. I wasn’t sure if I could draw it in ink before laying down the color. Depending on the medium for the color it could completely obliterate my ink or pencil lines.
I am determined to find a way to do this and decided my minimoley would be a good place to start even though it is a journal meant for writing with pencil or ink and not art mediums.
My first go at it came out much better than I expected.
I started like I normally do, using pencil on the untreated paper to draw out my grid for the mandala. Then I used Sakura Pigma Micron to draw over the basic shape of the mandala, then erase the pencil lines. I continued with the micron to draw in more details until I was completely satisfied with the whole page. I had added some doodles and tangles for embellishing the open areas of the page. Even though the lines from the lined paper showed through the design they were light enough to not be distracting from the overall design. This is where I stopped on the first day. I had at least done a mandala in my minimoley using the method I normally use.
The next day, I created my second page. These pages are facing one another so I used the same process as before, then added some of the same embellishments as on the other page so it became a 2 page spread instead of 2 separate disjointed pages. Now was the time for color.
When I first started out drawing the mandalas, my idea was to try and use watercolor. However, I was concerned the amount of water required for watercolors would cause my pages to breakdown, so I opted for trying Inktense pencils. I have about 8 of them in various colors, including blue, red and yellow. Using a minimum range was going to be challenging but also encourage me to try blending to produce other colors. Here is the result:
I did use light blue craft acrylic paint for the background, but otherwise, I only used the Inktense pencils, Sakura Pigma Micron, and White Uniball Signo pen. I went over the black lines after adding the color to make them bolder again since the color dulled them a bit. I used the White Uniball Signo pen to add highlights. I like the result, even with the craft acrylic wash for the back ground. Mandalas will start showing up more in my work. I have no doubt about that now. I have some ideas brewing which I hope to work on soon.
The next experiment will be to put down color, either watercolor or acrylic wash for the background before drawing the mandala.
Here are the flowers I did a while ago with colored pencils over watercolor I think or it was an acrylic wash. These are easy to do over either because I’m not trying for precision like I am with the mandala. So, I just draw using a micron pen or permanent ink and accept any “mistakes” that happen and work them into the piece.
This is probably my favorite page so far in my minimoley. I think I need to create an index of my flowers so I can flip through it for inspiration when I’m not sure what to add and know I want a flower.
Both flowers and mandalas can also be used for wonderful collage items. There are no shortage of ideas brewing.