30 Day Doodle Challenge – 29 Eraser Drawing

Today’s doodle challenge was to use a soft leaded pencil to shade areas of the page, to use an eraser to draw into the page, and finally, to add more pencil.  This could be used to create layers of tree branches, hair or sticks, leaves on the ground, and just see where it goes.  This is the doodle for today:


As you can see its very odd.  I started out by rubbing the pencil over the page.  I used the eraser to make the tree shape.  It reminded me of twisted olive trees.  I found myself using a pencil to follow the twists and turns, especially at the bottom of the tree.  It started to look really weird when I drew circles at the end of the curled branches.  Adding patterns inside them made some of them look like eyeballs, so I followed up with a large spider and a strange bug.  When I started having thoughts of inventing strange long legged creatures I decided it was time to move on to other things – I’m not sure that I’m ready to move over to the dark side just yet!

This afternoonI completed the postcard for the Be Creative group swap.  This was the postcardcard as I left it yesterday:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I stated yesterday that I was thinking about adding some gold thread to brighten it up, and that I needed to attach it to the postcard.  This is the finished postcard:


The photograph of this one was taken under daylight conditions. The symbols associated with friendship, from top left to bottom right are:

  • Hand shake symbol
  • Turtle Dove – symbol of friendship and love
  • Infinity – everlasting friendship and love
  • Peace symbol
  • Native American symbol of friendship
  • Yin Yang symbol representing perfect balance.

As the postcard is going to someone I’ve never met I thought it would be good to send messages relating to a new friendship.

It’s almost the last day of the 30 day doodle challenge, so tomorrow I’ll give a quick overview of the positive and negative aspects of taking such a challenge.

30 Day Doodle Challenge 27 Gate and Fence

The doodle challenge for today and tomorrow are linked.  For the first part, today’s challenge, I had to draw a gate and a fence or a wall with a door.  I decided to go with the fence and the gate:


The area in front of the gate and fence is deliberately left blank for tomorrow’s challenge.

I’ve also spent some time today on on the first two March prompts on the Creating Something Every Day Website.  Prompt 1 gave instructions to collect together materials required for a small hand embroidery project based on the mark making exercises set in the February Prompts.  Prompt 2 gave instructions to mark out 6 squares on fabric, to take a section from one of the mark making exercises and repeat it in each square, but to sew the outlines in each square with a different embroidery stitch:


The colour scheme came from March Colour Prompt 20 – I chose threads from those I had which were as near as possible to those shown in the prompt.

As I haven’t hand embroidered anything for ages it was quite an enjoyable experience.  I like the effect of repeating part of a pattern, it looks like symbols.  I have a postcard to make based loosely on the prompts, so I’m thinking about following up with the idea of small symbols in six squares.

There are only 3 days of the doodle prompts left.  I’ve had more time today planning what I want to do in the two weeks following the challenge.  I’ve been making notes of ideas, taking photographs and reading.  More information about this tomorrow.

30 Day Challenge 26 – Room

I’m nearing the end of the 30 Day Doodle Challenge.  Today’s challenge was to draw a room and to flatten the perspective:


This was another difficult one for me.  I can see that it’s a little distorted, but I’m pleased that I took the challenge and achieved what I did.

This morning I spent some time on the Creating Something Every Day Prompts.  I’m way behind with the prompts, and the prompts for March are based on the work from February, so I decided to go back to the February prompts to do some more background work.

I’d previously covered the first seven prompts for February, so I started with Prompt 8.  This involved finding an object (in this case I used a glass with a circles pattern on it) and spending 15 minutes drawing it repeatedly (with the dominant hand) without looking at the paper.  Prompt 9 was similar, but using the non-dominant hand instead of the dominant hand.  Unfortunatley I think I overdid it with both.  I ended up with pages full of scribble:


For Prompt 10 I had to draw the glass with the non-dominant hand, then the dominant hand, both without looking at the paper.  I could then choose which hand to use to make a final drawing whilst looking at the paper.  Prompt 11 was similar, but instead of using the pencil I had to use a blue ballpoint pen:


Again they are both very similar, though I do like the blue ballpoint pen picture more than the pencil drawing.  It’s one of the things that I’ve noticed during the 30 day doodle challenge – I really enjoy the ballpoint pen sketching.  I’d never have believed that before the challenges.

I missed out prompt 12 as it involved scanning the drawing from prompt 8, then drawing parallel lines all over it.  Because there was so much scribble on the paper I didn’t think this was an option.

Prompt 13 was to write a haiku (5 – 7 – 5 syllables on the three lines) about the mark making:

Scribble on the page

Inspiring the beautiful

Colour and pattern

The fourteenth prompt was a colour prompt, but I wanted to concentrate on the drawing prompts today.

Prompt 15 was different in that it involved drawing a pattern on a textile.  I chose a brightly coloured silk scarf as the subject:


I bought the silk scarf from a charity shop ages ago.  I’ve never worn it, I just loved the colours, the shapes, the feel of the silk, and the way it moves.  For prompt 15 I had to divide my page into four (a line across the middle and down the middle) and draw a section of the pattern in each space:


For prompt 16 I divided the page into 4 long sections and again repeated parts of the pattern in each:


For prompt 17 I covered a full page from edge to edge, and corner to corner with the pattern.  I realised afterwards that I should have used a black pen or marker for this, but I was so wrapped up in the sketching that I forgot that part:


I really enjoyed working with the textile patterns.  It made me realise how easy it is to take an idea and change it so easily.

I had another reason for spending so much time today on the drawings.  I needed some thinking time.  I mentioned yesterday that I’m thinking about continuing with the drawing challenge in the future, but spending two weeks working on a theme.  I’m still trying to develop this idea.   I’d like to include ideas relating to finding out more about the subject, and using different techniques to portray the subject.   I was talking to someone last week about the fact that some people seem to be able to find their passion, the area of work where they want to focus and where they produce their best work.  I said that I feel as though I am searching forsomething that is impossible to find.  I seem to spend time moving from one thing to another.  I love to learn, to develop new skills, but I’ve never found anything I felt I could spend years of my life working on.  The person I was speaking to pointed out that it’s who I am, and I shouldn’t try to be someone different.  Learning, changing, evolving is good.  I realised they are right and I think that the two week projects will give me time to focus and develop my own ideas.  I also realised that I’m very disorganised.  I need to have a plan for the two weeks, so that’s what I’m working on.  I have four more days of this doodle challenge, then I can start working on my own challenge.  I’m really looking forward to it.















Daffodil Postcard

This afternoon I spent some time making a postcard for Myfanwy Hart, author of the wonderful Creating Something Every Day blog.  Myfanwy had made a request for postcards in the Be Creative group on facebook, and I promised to send one.  I had a few ideas about the subject matter, the first though being ‘Spring is in the air.’  After 20 minutes of drawing daffodils and another 20 minutes searching through dyed papers (and throwing the rejected ones all around the room) I finally sat at the sewing machine.  This is the postcard I made today:


As you can see the shapes are quite simple, but the stitching was time consuming.  I really liked the background on this one.  I was tempted to add the words ‘Spring is in the air’ but I chickened out.  Stitching on paper is very effective, but one little mistake and you have a major problem.  I think poppies would look great on this background too.  Now there’s an idea…..

The postcard is on it’s way Myfanwy.

Be creative Prompt for February 3 – Excel Art

Today I worked on the February Colour Prompt 15, which was the 7th February prompt on the Create Something Every Day Website.  The prompt involved being creative with the following colour scheme:

Colour prompt 15

I know there are some brilliant apps available for creating art, altering photographs etc., but I think that some of the basic applications that many of us have can be useful for the design process.  For some time I’ve been intrigued by a post I read about Excel Art. The artist Tatsuo Horiuchicreates art in Excel Spreadsheets.  Click here to see a post about the artist and the technique written in English.  You can actually download one of the files and deconstruct it.  I recommend that you give it a try, it’s very interesting.

I’ve previously made a few attempts to use excel to create art, but found it very difficult.  Today I decided to try again, and to keep it simple.  This is what I created using the above colour scheme:

excel picture

I’ve previously struggled with trying to create images in excel, but today I think I may have cracked the code.

The image was created mainly using the curve shape tool.  If you want to try the technique, here are some simple instructions.

  1. Open a new excel workbook and save it (I tend to do this first so that I can save regularly – give it an appropriate name e.g. Excel Art Test).
  2. Find ‘Insert Shapes’ – this may be on the Drawing Toolbar or on the Insert tab of the ribbon at the top, depending on which version you have.Insert shapes toolbar
  3. Insert a rectangle by clicking on the rectangular shape, then clicking on the spreadsheet and dragging out a rectangle.  Make it large enough to be able to use as a background for other shapes.  You can change the size of the shape by clicking on the shape, placing the cursor over the square on the border (the cursor will change to look like arrows), and dragging the small squares.Excel rectangle
  4. To create a shape, select the curve shape  (I’ve found that if you use some of the uneven basic shapes, grouping them together to form more complex shapes, there is a major issue when trying to change the orientation – avoid doing this).Excel curve
  5. Click at the point where you want to start to draw (I’ve found it’s easier to do this away from the background, and then to move it where you want it afterwards).  Move your cursor and click again a little further away.  Continue to do this to outline your shape or line.  When you get to the end of it double click.  This will end the line or join the shape.  If you join up a shape a border will appear showing the squares so that you can alter the size of the shape.  If you hover over the green circle instead you can alter the orientation of the shape.  Once I’ve double clicked to end the line or shape I find I have to click once back to step four and click once to select the curve shape before I can start another shape.   This part takes a bit of practice.Excel drawing shapes
  6. You may have a Quick Access Toolbar showing on the Excel screen.  This is really useful and saves time.  If you right click on it you can customise it.  Click ‘Customise Quick Access Toolbar.    In the box labelled ‘Choose Commands From’ select ‘Insert Tab’ and you should then be able to scroll down inthe box below to select ‘Shapes’  Click the ‘Add’ button and it will appear in the box on the right hand side.  Click ‘OK’ and the shapes menu will now be available on the Quick Access Toolbar.  This will save time selecting the curve tool.Quick Access ToolbarAdd shapes to quick access toolbar
  7. If you right click over a shape you should see the option to format a shape (try right clicking on the small squares at the edge if the menu does not appear). When you click on ‘Format Shapes’ you will find options to change colours of lines and shapes, add shadows, rotate objects, add colour gradients or patterns.  This is where you need to play with the options to find out what they will do.  You can always use the undo button to remove any unwanted effects.Format shapesFormat shapes options
  8. You can place objects so that they overlap, and then move objects forwards and backwards.  The options are available on the menu when you right click over the object.Front or back
  9. You can group shapes together to form a more comples shape e.g. join petals to form a flower, by selecting the shapes (go to select objects and then drag a rectangle around the edge of the objects you want to group) then right click and you will see the option to group them. Select objects
  10. For some reason I found it impossible to save the picture only from the Excel spreadsheet.  To save the picture I converted all objects to a picture by selecting all and using Paste Special, which then gives the option of pasting as a JPEG (which is a picture file) onto the same sheet.  I then selected the pasted picture, copied it, and pasted it into the Paint program so that I could save it as a picture file.

The best way to learn how to use Excel as a drawing or design tool seems to be to master the basic tools and play with them.  Spreadsheets are massive.  You can move objects around, copy them and move them to one side.  Copy a shape and alter the size and orientation to make it look different to the original.  You can trace objects by inserting an image, draw lines and objects (which you can make transparent) from the image over the top of it, then remove the original image.  Try it, you might be surprised by what you can do with Excel!

Be Creative Prompts for February – 2

Yesterday I posted photos of collages I’d created in response to the first four Be Creative Prompts for February 2015, posted by Myfanwy Hart, on the Creating Something Every Day Website.  Today I was determined to cover prompts 5 and 6.

Be Creative February Prompt 5:

Yesterday I read prompts 5 and 6.  I knew that my first job this morning was to copy and print the collages I created yesterday.  To cut a long story short I spent an hour dealing with printer failure and computer meltdown.  I had a meltdown too and managed to win the battle.  All I managed this morning was to print two copies of each collage and the woven papers.

This afternoon I returned to the prints.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with them.  Though the original collages were OK, I didn’t think they were stunning.  I wasn’t sure how any new collages made from the older ones would be any different.  Despite my reservations I was going to have a go.

One of the major issues I’ve faced in the past is that I tend to overthink things.  Quite often before starting a project I will plan and spend ages thinking about decisions.  It turns into a nightmare.  I make a decision, worry about it, change my mind, waste time, get nowhere, do nothing.  Though I knew I wanted to make collages today I’d not really thought about what I was going to do or how.  Today I managed to ‘go with the flow’.  When an idea came into my head I went along with it without questioning what the outcome would be.  This is what happened:

For the first collage I cut two of the original collages into strips, mixed them up, staggered them, and produced this collage:


My reaction to this was a little odd.  I felt stunned by a few things.  Firstly, I really did like this much more than the original collages.  Secondly, I couldn’t figure out why.  Was it the colours?  Nothing outstanding.  Was it the pattern?  No repeat pattern I could understand.  Was it the complexity?  Maybe.  Was it the overall balance?  Maybe.  Finally, could I allow myself to just ‘go with the flow’ more often?  I’m certainly hoping so.  It’s much more satisfying than trying to plan to perfection and then being disappointed with the results.

OK, so now I felt I was ‘on a roll’.  I’d already beaten the computer and improved on what I started with, even if I didnt know how.  I suddenly remembered I’d bought a few circle cutters, so I searched them out and cut circles from one copy of the woven papers and pasted them onto another:


Though I didn’t like this as much as the first one I did feel that it was an improvement on the originals.  Maybe its the increased complexity?

Finally, for the third collage I took 3 originals of the same size, placed them on top of each other, cut each into 8 rectangles, then quickly reassembled them (some rectangles side by side, some on top of each other) into four small collages:


Again I felt pleased with the results.  They reminded me of the subtle coloured photo frames, where you can’t make out any objects, just shapes, lines etc.

So, at the end of this prompt I’m left feeling a little stunned and very happy.  I never thought that cutting up the original collages would produce such pleasing effects.  My tiny brain is still working overtime on this, it’s very exciting.

Be Creative February Prompt 6

The above work takes me nicely into prompt 6.  Something unexpected happened.  I’m wondering why.  Prompt 6 involves brainstorming ways in which I could use them in my chosen discipline (which in my case changes as often as the wind).  Here’s my list:

  1. The process of selecting colours from a photograph, painting papers, adding marks, cutting and rearranging into collages seems to be an excellent way of learning about which colour combinations work well together, and how changes in the proportions of each colour affect the outcome.
  2. The same process can be used to take original papers, fabrics etc from being a little boring to being something much more exciting and pleasing to the eye.
  3. It’s a good way to produce a series of similar but different pieces of artwork.
  4. It’s possible to produce a series moving from simple to increasingly comples.
  5. The collages, or prints of collages, can be used as a background for further work e.g. addition of ink lines, patterns, stitching etc.
  6. The collages can be altered using photoshop to create further artwork, backgrounds etc.

Being honest, I’m still thinking about the potential.  If you would like to add to my list by commenting I would be very grateful.

Be Creative Prompts for February

I woke up this morning feeling much more positive about my attempts to be creative yesterday.  After spending quite a bit of time unpicking stitching and crochet I sat working on the crochet squares until about 4 in the morning.  It was one of those nights when sleep would not come, so if you’re not tired why not do something productive.  I now have a small box of squares building up:


There is a half price sale of yarn at a local garden centre, so this afternoon I went to buy more colours.  Though I’m yawning I think I still have an hour or so left for crochet tonight.

Yesterday I realised that I haven’t followed any of the prompts Myfanwy Hart posted on the Creating Something Every Day website during February.  I’ve previously found the prompts very inspirational, so I decided that I would start working my way through the prompts posted since the beginning of February.  I had a spare sketchbook available and decided it would be good to dedicate the sketchbook to the prompts on the website.  This is the progress I’ve made today:

Be Creative February Prompt 1 involved selecting a photo prompt from January (click her to see the photo prompt selected) and then using a pencil to make some of the marks visible in the photo.  The paper was divided into 4 sections with a different set of marks in each section:


Be Creative February Prompt 2 was to select colours from the same photograph to paint some papers.  I had some scrap pieces of lining paper left over from the weekend so they were painted:


When the papers were dry marks were made on the papers.  I used similar marks to those in the sketchbook, and made them with colours used on the papers:


For Be Creative February Prompt 3 half of the papers were torn into strips.  The strips were then woven together:


For the Be Creative February Prompt 4 the remaining papers were torn and glued to create collages:


At the end of the session I felt quite relaxed.  Just going through a process like this without having to worry about where you’re going, or whether something is ‘right’or ‘wrong’ is very threrapeutic.  I like the effect of the woven papers, and the middle collage.  I’ll be continuing with the prompts tomorrow.

Thank you Myfanwy for taking the time to write the prompts, and for the inspiration they provide.

Be Creative Group

Last week Irene Donovan (of Sew Stitch Knit) emailed me of the Be Creative Group on facebook.  I was lucky enough to be invited to join, and some of my weekend was taken up with creative activities within the group.

Myfanwy Hart kept us entertained using a series of prompts.  I’m sure Myfanwy must have spent hours preparing for the event. We were all given the opportunity to follow prompts that involved making postcards, using a colour scheme. making mini zigzag books, writing poems and altering photographs.  It was so interesting to see how individuals interpreted the task and the outstanding results (which were posted in the facebook group).

Prompt 1 involved grabbing a coffee and settling down with a notepad to look all around for for circles.  This was later followed by a walk and more searching for Prompt 8.  Before I knew it I was noticing circles everywhere.  When I checked the facebook group everyone was posting pictures of their findings.  It was like invasion of circles in the UK!

Prompt 2 took me to instructions for making a simple postcard.  Prompt 6a provided the colour scheme.  Prompt 7 specified that the postcard must include 3 triangles (and the first postcard produced did just that).

Here are my two postcard creations from the weekend prompts:



Prompt 4 was a photograph challenge.  I took the image, opened photoshop and made some changes (solarised, stained glass filter, craquelure and altered colours) and this is the result:

Colour Prompt 4It reminds me of balls of yarn on a shelf, just waiting to be chosen for a colourful project.  I think this may be a colour scheme for future use.

For the second photo prompt, Prompt 10 , I simply used the shape tool on photoshop and filled the shapes with colours selected from the original.  It’s very ‘Flower Power 1960s’.  Again I think the key point is that this could be a way of producing a colour scheme for future projects.

Prompt 10

There were many other prompts, I didn’t manage to complete all of them) which involved small tasks such as making small zigzag books, writing poems, remembering meals from childhood. These can be seen on the Create Something Every Day blog.

The best part of the weekend was making new friends with other members of the Be Creative Group on facebook.  There are some very talented people in the group and everyone was welcoming and very supportive.  It’s so interesting to see the variety of beautiful creations which developed from a single prompt.  I have a feeling that I’m going to be spending more time on facebook in future.

I’d like to finish by thanking Myfanwy Hart for all her hard work, and for the enjoyable time we all had this weekend.