#AutismAcceptance/#AutismAppreciation doodles ‘n’ scribbles, no. 25: Weird Sisters

A full-colour fineliner pen drawing of three green-skinned witches, around a large, ornate and rustic cauldron placed on a bonfire. One witch stirs a potion in the cauldron; another holds a spell book and is about to drop a frog into the mixture. The witch in the middle holds her hands up as if casting a spell. Numerous creatures are running away from the scene, and a cat hides behind the spell-book witch. A broomstick is just in view to the left of the image, and in the background are hills, woodland, bats and a full moon.

A full-colour fineliner pen drawing of three green-skinned witches, around a large, ornate and rustic cauldron placed on a bonfire. One witch stirs a potion in the cauldron; another holds a spell book and is about to drop a frog into the mixture. The witch in the middle holds her hands up as if casting a spell. Numerous creatures are running away from the scene, and a cat hides behind the spell-book witch. A broomstick is just in view to the left of the image, and in the background are hills, woodland, bats and a full moon.

Another one from my little Moleskine book. Yet more horror/spooky connections, plus a nod to the literary.

Fineliner drawing of an ornate, rather rustic cauldron, placed on a bonfire. This is part of the witches drawing. It’s drawn on the page of a small plain-paged Moleskine journal.I refer to a lot of these fineliner pen drawings as “doodles” because other than having a vague idea on my head about what I’m going to draw, I don’t really plan them, or sketch anything out beforehand. And I usually begin by drawing one area of the picture in detail, and “completing” this, before I move to the next. This started with a cauldron, and progressed from there.

I much prefer working in detail over a period of time to dashing things off quickly, but as per a couple of recent digital paintings and some of the more cartoon-based work, I’m having a go at doing things quickly as a way of honing certain skills. Painting and drawing quickly is still somewhat outside of my comfort zone.

Early stages of a full-colour fineliner drawing of witches around a cauldron. The cauldron on the bonfire is complete, and there are two partially-completed witches either side of the picture. The faulty foreshortenening/positioning of left arm of the witch holding the frog annoys me intensely. But never mind.

[Main image description: A full-colour fineliner pen drawing of three green-skinned witches, around a large, ornate and rustic cauldron placed on a bonfire. One witch stirs a potion in the cauldron; another holds a spell book and is about to drop a frog into the mixture. The witch in the middle holds her hands up as if casting a spell. Numerous creatures are running away from the scene, and a cat hides behind the spell-book witch. A broomstick is just in view to the left of the image, and in the background are hills, woodland, bats and a full moon.

Second and third images depict the same picture in earlier stages of development – firstly the cauldron, then with the addition of two of the witches.]

Advertisements

#AutismAcceptance/#AutismAppreciation doodles ‘n’ scribbles, no 24: another 20-minute mindful paint in the park

A full colour, landscape orientation digital painting of a wooded area of an urban park in springtime. The sky is blue, and there is a red-brick building in the background, and a path to the right of the picture. The painting style is rudimentary and impressionistic. The composition is not ideal, with rather too much grass in the foreground.

I stopped for 20 minutes painted this on the iPad on the way home from work last Thursday. It’s a good exercise in discipline to try and do art work within a tight timeframe — I prefer obsessing over detail, but I think it’s helpful to hone my skills of observation and composition, in particular, by dashing some stuff off very quickly. I also feel somewhat as if I’m laying myself bare by posting something so “imperfect”, but that doing so helps me agonise less over others’ perceptions of me.

Detail is beautiful, but for my own self-care I’m occasionally trying to let it go, as a way of addressing some aspects of my anxiety.

I still have so much to learn.


[Image description: A full colour, landscape orientation digital painting of a wooded area of an urban park in springtime. The sky is blue, and there is a red-brick building in the background, and a path to the right of the picture. The painting style is rudimentary and impressionistic. The composition is not ideal, with rather too much grass in the foreground.]

#AutismAcceptance/#AutismAppreciation doodles ‘n’ scribbles, no. 21: I stopped for 20 minutes on the way to work and painted a cherry tree.

A digital painting of an ornamental cherry tree in full blossom

I deliberately lengthen my walk to work these days so I can take myself through a couple of parks and get a little bit of nature before I set foot in the office. And I’ve resolved to use painting and drawing as a method for mindfulness, given that I’m the kind of person who struggles to keep still long enough to do a seated meditation – to stop off and try and capture something in the moment, as well as giving me a good way of practising both technique and skills of observation.

I’m still messing about, really, when it comes to digital painting. I have a lot to learn!

At the moment I’m aware I use too many different media/brush styles in one picture. But it’s fun to play around with the tools.


[Image description: a digital painting of an ornamental cherry tree in full blossom.]

#AutismAcceptance/#AutismAppreciation doodles ‘n’ scribbles, no. 12: Edge of the Woods

Silhouette close-up of a deciduous tree at night, inhabited by an owl, fox, two rabbits, and mice. A bat flies close by. In the distance are hills and moorland. The sky is a night sky, but made of multicoloured swirls.

I’m really frustrated by this image. I drew out all the silhouettes first, and had a lovely monochrome image of the tree and its inhabitants. Some people who saw it, as well as this version, prefer the one without all the colours. But I forgot to scan in a decent copy of it before I added all the other elements.

Nature is a huge part of how I look after myself. I love to be outdoors. The exertion of walking or running, the fascination of exploring, and the comfort of natural stimuli less jarring on my senses than those of home, work, and the city streets I move through every day, soothe and restore.

But I see certain colours more vividly than some people, as well as having a hugely detailed, high-definition visual imagination. I create other worlds in my head. And even when I draw scenes that in some way represent something real, from life, I’m always tempted to incorporate some otherworldliness – often through colour.


[Image description: Silhouette close-up of a deciduous tree at night, inhabited by an owl, fox, two rabbits, and mice. A bat flies close by. In the distance are hills and moorland. The sky is a night sky, but made of multicoloured swirls.]

And now I draw in colour.

I’m a little sporadic with my blog posts at the moment. Things have been busy.

We’re approaching Christmas, it’s the end of a long and very difficult term at work, the kids are full-on, I’m tired, and whatnot. And the truth is, the past few months have been somewhat dark. That happens sometimes.

But something else has happened.

I’ve been drawing. More, and more, and more.

I love to write. But my occasional brain-body disconnect means that no matter how adept I am with words, I can’t always summon them to the fore. Images flow from my mind to my hand to the paper far more readily.

Since I wrote my lament at the loss of my one true passion, I’ve been reclaiming it. And the funny thing is, even as my days have sometimes been very dark so far this autumn and winter, my drawings have been vividly bright.

Why now? I’m not quite sure. But where once I drew in nothing by greyscale, I’m rejoicing and revelling in colour as I did when I was a small child. And where once I drew nothing but people, I’m now drawing landscapes, fantasy scenes, monsters, repeating shapes…and people. A stylised landscape: the foreground, trees, rocks and a crow in silhouette; behind, also silhouetted, a river and a town with smoking chimneys; behind, hills in reds, pinks, purples, and browns, and a cloudy sky

Perhaps it’s because, after so many years of confusion, self-scrutiny, and self-doubt, I finally understand something of who I am. I’m more comfortable with who I am. I like who I am. And even as I struggle with overwhelm, the weight of uncertainty, of change, and of responsibility, and with negotiating even some of the basics of adulting, I encounter the awe-inspired, imaginative child inside me somewhat more these days. I welcome that child.

Why do I choose the colours I use?

My favourite colour is green. I love the natural world.

And yet I’m hardly ever inclined to use it in my drawings. I’m drawn towards warm, fiery tones, or otherworldly palettes of turquoise, pink, and purple. I feel compulsively drawn to these hues. Perhaps it’s because they reflect something of how I see the world – the way so many colours other than green seem to shimmer and glow like fairy lights against the green background of nature.

Perhaps I’m simply drawn towards the fantastical. So often, I’m overwhelmed by too much of the mundane.

Whatever it is, it flows. Alien city scape, with orange sky, binary sun system, and tall skyscrapers in a range of colours. An elevated railway runs across the centre of the image, and spacecraft of varying sizes fly across the background.

The perfectionist in me often curses my still-developing, still-emerging technique. I have a way to go. And at the moment, my scale is small. An A5(ish) plain-paged Moleskine journal that fits in my bag; a collection of Stabilo fine liner pens.

I have a sense that I’m probably going to want to go bigger at some point.

But for now, I’m just enjoying it. I’m taking joy from it.

And when my days and nights are dark, that’s what matters.


[Featured image description: alien desert landscape in oranges and reds. A rough, stony, curving road runs through the middle of the image, along which three distant silhouetted figures (resembling an adult and two children) walk. In the background are cliffs, hills and volcanoes in purples, blues and browns. A binary sun system shines in a darkening sky. Strangely coloured desert plants dot the scene.]

All images ©️ A.R. Nibbs 2017.