Pavneet Sembhi

In a world of lines and squiggles

Colouring Tips

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So I thought I would do a more in depth blog post about colouring with photos and videos included to help you try it yourself - I already wrote about my first colouring experience with Prismacolour pencils here, you can read this too if you want. The most important thing about colouring is that you ENJOY the process so you don't HAVE to do any of this really, these are just some helpful tips for anyone who wants to improve their skills or perhaps has been wondering how to achieve this sort of shading. This post is probably best read on a desktop.

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You want to first select your colours and tones - this comes down to personal preference but I prefer to select just a few tones. If you want to go crazy and include lots of different colours then definitely go for it! I would advise trying some combinations on some scrap paper as you go along just to test out ideas. I find it easier to choose my colours before I start a drawing e.g. blue and green, then I take out all the colouring pencils in those tones. Where possible I create a colour palette that includes a minimum of one light, medium and dark shade of each colour - this is only if I intend on shading, you might not want to do this. You also might not have a large selection of colours so I have included below a method using just one colour and a method using two colours - all you really need is a white pencil to blend and you can create some lovely effects. 

The key thing to remember with colouring is blending and this can be best achieved by using circular motions and varying the pressure you apply.  I have only included a few different ways to shade and blend but there are endless combinations and methods - these will give you a good place to start and then as you go along you will find techniques that work for you. I have included videos because I find it so hard to use words to explain how to do some of this!

One Colour Shading

You can use just one colour to create shading by just varying the pressure you apply to the pencil - below is a video I have created that shows you how to do this. If you are working from one edge to another, whichever direction you go in you just need to start by applying a lot of pressure and slowly reduce it as you work your way to the other edge. Then simply build it up working in circular motions until you have created a nice gradient. 

You can leave it there or you can blend it all in by using a white pencil - this is also demonstrated in the video below. The white pencil does slightly lighten the shade of the colour so if you want you can always go back in and add more colour to get it back to the original tone (see an example of this further down in the "Shading - Two Colours (Blue)" video). 

Two Colour Shading 

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Again I will do my best to explain how to do this but it really is a lot easier to watch the videos I have created - they show the steps as you go along. For the first example I have done a light green (True Green PC 910) to dark green (Parrot Green PC1006) ombre effect, I have created one video that just shows the 5 steps and one below that shows the whole effect created in real time. You can then try this same technique out on any colours you want - I recommend going for colours in the same tones but feel free to experiment and see what happens.

So here are the 5 steps to create this look:

  1. Apply lighter shade as base layer - don't press too hard at this stage
  2. Re-apply same shade to inner edge - add more colour and blend out into the centre with circular motions, applying less pressure as you work your way in
  3. Apply darker shade to outer edge - Press down hardest along the edge to get the full depth of this colour 
  4. Blend darker shade into lighter shade - Apply less pressure as you work your way towards the middle using circular motions to blend 
  5. Use lighter shade over the whole section to blend - Use the first lighter shade over the whole section to fully blend both colours

Now watch this real time video to see how it comes together, once you get the hang of it the steps will merge together and you will find your own way of doing things.

This is another example of how you can use two colours to add more depth. In this example I also used white to blend the first layer - most of the time I use white on nearly every section because I feel like it gives a really well blended base to work with. The steps for this are pretty similar:

  1. Apply base layer - can be any colour, here I have used the darker shade
  2. Use white to blend - you can also use a colurless blender 
  3. Re-apply base layer colour to the outer edges - the colour lightens when you apply white so this brings back some of the vibrancy of the colour
  4. Apply lighter shade to inner edge and blend with outer edge - this will give you a light to dark ombre and blend the colours perfectly

I could probably include countless videos of different combinations, shading with three, four and more colours but I think this is a good start. With these basic techniques you can apply the same concept in lots of ways - so have fun experimenting! And remember if you find this all too complicated or stressful then don't worry about it, just apply the colours in a way that feels natural to you, the end goal is not to create a perfect piece but to enjoy the process :) 

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My Mindful Mandalas Colouring Book!

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So excited to announce I have created my very own colouring book full of mandalas and lots more! It has been a roller coaster of a journey but I really hope you guys love it as much I enjoyed creating it. Mandalas have been used by many cultures as a way of meditating, originally created from sand and destroyed immediately after, it was actually the process itself that was considered a form of meditation. This book is full of symmetrical illustrations that focus on balance and harmony, inviting you into a tranquil world of lines to make your own. 

You can buy it anywhere in the world on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527216233 - and if you do grab yourself one then I would appreciate it soooo much if you wrote a review :) you can also find it on Amazon by searching "Mindful Mandalas: A Colouring Book of Mandalas and More". 

FREE COLOURING DOWNLOAD - You can get started on your colouring journey by clicking here to download a free illustration from the book - make sure you are on a desktop or connected to a printer, all you need to do is right click and select "Save Image As", save the file to your computer and then print this image to start colouring straight away!

As you will know I love to share the behind the scenes process so you can get to know the story a little better. I first came across adult colouring back in 2014 when I was given Johanna Basford's Secret Garden by my dad for Christmas - at the time I thought this was a wonderful concept and I loved the illustrations but I never really considered creating a book myself. Fast forward a few years and people started asking me to create one, at first I dismissed the idea because colouring book illustrations were so different from the ones I do myself but eventually I decided to just try one illustration.

The key issue was perfecting my linework when my usual illustrations allowed me to draw wobbly lines that could easily be covered up! I was adamant that the whole illustration would be drawn by hand - it is possible to draw one segment and then digitally repeat it to create a full illustration but that just loses some of the wonder for me. And so began the journey of figuring out how to create lines that were sharp, clean and precise....

My usual method for achieving perfect symmetry has been to draw light pencil gridlines across the page so that the key points in the illustration are in the same place on both sides. Most pencil lines get draw over but any remaining ones are rubbed out and cleaned up digitally. Now when I tried the same method for these colouring book illustrations I found that the linework with the pens I usually use - Pigma Microns - was fading as I rubbed out the pencil lines, you could see more of the pencil lines because less of the illustration was filled in. Big sigh. So then I tried a few different types of pens and was having no luck.  So I went looking for some advice.

If I am ever stuck there are two options: Google the question or go looking for answers from someone who has already done it. I went onto Johanna Basford's website (illustrator of the best selling adult colouring books) in search of some possible answers and there I found a blog post all about how she draws the illustrations for her colouring books (annoyingly I can't find the post I originally read!).

Firstly she was using Staedtler Fineliners to illustrate her colouring book images and so I gave these a try - they are the perfect pens for this sort of thing, the lines are so clean and there is hardly any smudging. I have included the link to the pens so you can give them a try yourself - they aren't great for shading or getting really intricate details but they are perfect for when you want smooth sharp lines. I used mainly the 005 and 01 size.

Anyway she would draw out the whole illustration in pencil and then place this on a lightbox/tracebox (basically a flat box emitting a bright white light that you can attach your paper to) with a fresh piece of paper on top so she could see the pencil lines perfectly without having them on the actual paper - genius! Did you ever trace something against a window? Same sort of concept. 

I first looked into a lightbox/tracebox but then I had an idea - I could use layout paper which is essentially tracing paper. So I bought a pad of layout paper and rather than taking the paper out of the pad, I would lift the top page and draw the pencil version on the second page, then I would put the first page back down and use masking tape to hold the two together, this way I could see the gridlines but I didn't have to rub anything out. This gave me perfectly crisp lines that could be easily scanned and given a little digital clean up. In all these images you can see the layout pencil version and the ink drawing. For some designs almost all of the design was drawn out first in pencil and for others it was more of a basic outline. See above how I illustrated lots of little mandalas - I drew mini circular grids and then filled in all the details in ink. 

The other thing was to master linework only illustrations - my normal style involves filling the spaces with pattern work so there are very few gaps on the page. To do a completely new style of illustration actually requires you to get into a whole different headspace and this took some time. I had to think about it from the perspective of the user whilst still maintaining my own style of work, I wanted there to be lots of intricate details without overwhelming the person colouring. I settled on ranging the level of detail, some illustrations are super intricate whilst other ones are very simple, and instead encouraging those who feel brave to add their own details as well as reminding colourers they don't have to stay in the lines if the details are too small. I would love it if people were inspired to draw as well as colour! Below you can see a few of the final illustrations from the colouring book: 

As is always the case I realised that this was another example of how you can create anything you put your mind to. It was a good opportunity for me to challenge myself on new methods and a new style of illustrating. I feel grateful to be part of a generation where we can find information at the click of a button, order products and get them the next day, use self-publishing tools (I used CreateSpace by Amazon) and create our own audience through social media, there are endless opportunities out there and there are endless ways of making it happen. It's been a long journey to get to the final product, a lot of self-doubt and a whole lot of versions, but I am so pleased I have created a BOOK! I think little Pav with all her self-confidence and big dreams always knew this day would come and I am glad as an adult I realised that dream... even if it did take me a while to get there! 

I think sometimes my blog probably ends up sounding like I am preaching or being overly emotional but I guess this is just a way for me to document how I am feeling at the time, and I hope you learn something along the way or at least enjoy the read. Thank you a million times if you read this blog entry, read my posts, read anything I write really, look at my work, leave me a comment, write me an email, anything and everything is appreciated. And if you do buy the book and colour in the illustrations THANK YOU more than ever for supporting my work, please send me your finished images I would love to see what you create. It's a wonderful thought that collaborations could be happening all over the world!

And here is one final shot, I just loved the way the sun was shining as I was colouring in, this photo makes me smile every time. I hope whether it's you snuggled inside by the fire with a cup of tea or sitting in your conservatory with the sun's rays on your face, that if you one day own this book it puts a smile on your face in some way :) 

The Wall

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This blog post is a little delayed but I wanted to share with you the story of how The Wall was created. You may already know the story of how I stumbled across my full pagers accidentally - I wrote a blog post about it here - they have now become an important part of my artistic journey.  The Wall is ultimately  just one of my full pagers on steroids! 

So first to how the idea came about. Having just finished a new full pager I was thinking to myself how can I create something that really challenges me and I had been inspired by one of my favourite artists Tarajosu who creates these incredible wall murals all over the world. We both have similar styles of artwork so I could visualise how it might turn out and it gave me the confidence to actually go for it. 

My initial plan was to create a piece of art in the centre of the wall rather than a full pager and in fact I didn't intend on it being symmetrical either. But on the 2 hour drive up to my house in the midlands I somehow convinced myself the only option was to go BIG or go home - I love symmetry and I love my full pagers so it was a no brainer really. And so I embarked on this crazy journey....

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The first big hurdle was to figure out how to create symmetry on such a large scale. Usually I draw pencil gridlines on the page, I use a protractor to draw straight lines spanning out from the centre of the page to the edges and then a compass to draw circular concentric lines. So I needed to find a way to do this on a larger scale - first I cut out a large 40cm cardboard circle and made my own large protractor, then I made 20 centremetre pencil marks along all sides of the wall and found the centre of the wall. I placed my homemade protractor in the centre of the wall, from here I marked out every 5 degrees and then drew a line from the centre through this mark. 

Then came the real creativity, I tied a piece of string to a pencil and made a loop on the other side to create my own large compass! I placed my finger in the loop in the centre of the wall (and used my husband when it got to the largest circles) kept the string taut and then draw the circle - I am pretty sure that explanation made no sense so you can read this article which includes photos. I just needed to adjust the length of the string to get varying concentric circles. To finish I made straight line grids by joining the 20cm marks along the edges with the corresponding 20cm mark on the parallel wall. These lines were FAR from perfect and there were massive differences between the two sides but it gave me a guide to work with so I could keep it as symmetrical as possible. 

I didn't plan the concept or shapes out before I started, above you can see how the drawing started out, pretty much the way all my full pagers usually start. I used the Pentel permenant marker N850 for the lines and a Sharpie Magnum for filling any large black areas. As I was going along I started to get a feel for where the drawing was going and where I wanted to take it. I sort of had this idea of something that was growing and coming out of the wall with weird winding tentacle like shapes and little portals into another world. 

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After building up the centre and deciding on the sort of pattern work I wanted to use my task was to lay down the main bulk of linework. By planning out the linework first and adding bits to the edges I could create depth and layers - a full pager doesn't have the same effect if you work the whole way from the centre to the outer edges. I had anticipated that the struggle would be filling a whole wall with patterns but actually the tricky part was practically working on such a large piece and keeping it symmetrical. To maintain the symmetry in any drawing I work on it bit by bit on both sides so on such a large scale it involved going up and down the step ladder a LOT of times.

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The detailing and shading is where the real hard work began, if you think shading on paper is hard then try it on a wall. Admittedly at points when my arm was hurting and it was 2am I did feel like skipping the shading part just so I could speed the process up but I knew it just wouldn't be the same without it - and I'm glad I persevered because it's the shading that really brings this drawing to life. I used normal black sharpies for the shading - they were best when they were a little worn down. Thank god for my trusty podcasts who kept me company during those late nights when my arm was about to fall off! In the photo above when I had filled in the whole of the bottom half of the wall I finally felt that my vision was being realised. 

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As is always the case its the final push that is the hardest part, I always seem to get this massive resistance near the end but it's the most satisfying hurdle to overcome. By this point I had accepted it simply would not be perfectly symmetrical, I had 'messed' up so many times but I guess the beauty with this sort of thing is that seeing it as a whole you don't really notice those imperfections (note to self: must not be such a perfectionist!). Being only 5 ft 2 meant that even on the step ladder I had to stretch up to reach the upper corners and top edge, making the whole process generally tougher - I had to do less thinking and more drawing! 

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And here it is, the final drawing! Reflecting on it now I feel very proud of myself for finishing such a huge piece, I learnt it's a good idea to just say yes and then think later about the how bit. Don't overthink whether you can achieve something, just decide you are going to do it and then figure out the rest, I pormise it will be amazing. It may sound obvious but the best part of illustrating is that you are in complete control of what you create, in this drawing alone I sneaked in lots of little playful bits and I even let my nephews add to it! I mean it's my wall so why not right?! 

And now I get to have this crazy wall as the backdrop to my study as a reminder of what I can achieve. 

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I created these videos so you can see the details up close and get a better idea of the process involved. I personally love to see behind the scenes and how something comes together so hopefully you will enjoy it too. 

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year my friends! After eating mountains of food and binge watching way too much TV its time to get back into the swing of things. I hope you enjoyed the last year of desktop wallpapers - it was my way of giving you a little something back. 

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This year I thought I would change things up so I would love to hear from YOU about what you want to see more of - just leave a comment below or email me back. Perhaps you would like more blog posts about behind the scenes or tutorials on how to draw? Maybe more of the one hour doodle videos? Or something entirely new? 

With regards to New Years resolutions, well quite frankly I either don't set them at all or I 'fail' miserably at achieving them, is that just me?! This year my cousin mentioned that she does actually meet many of her resolutions by making them SMART. That means making them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So here are my resolutions:

  1. To be more mindful of my time by using my new Trigg Life Mapper diary on a daily basis
  2. To work on at least one piece of artwork that takes me abroad so I can bring together my love of drawing and travelling
  3. To be more spontaneous in life - I have made a jar full of activities and I will pick one at random to do each week 
  4. To be less spontaneous in work - I sometimes get WAY too excited about a new idea without properly planning for it so I will allow at least two weeks to plan new ideas no matter how wonderful I think they are (using my new diary)
  5. To paint more often - My first love was painting and somehow with the busyness of life it got sidelined so I will make sure I find time to do a little painting once a week even if it's just for an hour 

Those are my specific five but just generally I would like to be kinder to myself and those around me, go on more adventures and leave behind the negative energy. I always try to be creative where possible but it's always so nice to share that with others - last year I volunteered at my local Day Centre to assist with art sessions and this year I will do something similar. 

I hope one of your resolutions includes something creative because I am positive it will make a big impact on your life in ways you didn't expect. Maybe you could make your own birthday cards this year? Honestly it is so easy, it can be just words or maybe a little drawing, many of mine are just stick man illustrations but it's personal and makes people laugh :) Whatever you do remember to make your resolutions SMART. Here is to a happy and healthy 2018!

Desktop Wallpaper Download - December 2017

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Ahhhhh it's December!! No doubt the best month of the whole year, even though it suddenly gets VERY cold here in the UK everyone perks up, gets into the festive spirit (minus my husband who is very bah humbug) and enjoys a few too many drinks. Andddd apparently we had our first drop of snow yesterday WOOO! As you know, I love patterns and mandalas so I decided to create my very own abstract snowflake for this month's desktop download.

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It was great fun looking through actual snowflake formations and another reminder of how symmetry is so often found in nature - they are literally natural mandalas! I let the snowflake organically form as I went along to see what interesting formation would evolve and it reminded me of that snowflake making activity you would do as a child. Definitely have to make some of those to hang from the ceiling on Christmas day! 

So get into the festive spirit with this snowflake desktop wallpaper - it's not overly Christmassy just in case you aren't a Christmas-head! All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you get to have the most WONDERFUL December whether you celebrate Christmas or not!

Desktop Wallpaper Download - November 2017

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We are slowly descending into the Winter months and with that I wanted to celebrate the colours of Autumn before they have all gone. You may have seen my last inktober series where I created illustrations with a combination of colouring pencils and pens; this process seemed like the only way to truly represent the oranges and reds of Autumn. 

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It has been a while since I last used colouring pencils and I forgot just how much I LOVE using them. The shading takes time, gently applying layer after layer to build up the gradation of colour, but eventually you get a beautiful transition from dark to light. The warming colours of Autumn always make me want to light up some candles and sit in front of a fire, is that just me? 

Enjoy the last moments of Autumn with this glowing desktop background and grab some apple cinnamon candles in preparation for the winter months! All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you get to have a few candle-lit nights by the fire with a good old book. If that's your sort of thing of course! 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - October 2017

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Happy First of October! I can't quite believe we are here, the year has gone so so fast. In the last few months I have been working on some sketches for colouring in and so I thought I would create a desktop download that you can print off and colour in if you choose.

My usual style of illustration is very detailed and full so it was a real challenge to adapt my work to allow spaces for colouring. Just like any new challenge I really struggled at the beginning to get my head around the concept and I wasn't enjoying it at all, but with some time I soon got the hang of it - hurray! It was important to me that I still kept the design fresh and interesting, that's what usually motivates me in my normal illustrations.

In the end I was so pleased I did try this new style of illustration, it has actually pushed me to think more about spaces and lines in another way. I still love it when the page is just FULL of details but now I can appreciate the difficulty and patience required in other styles of illustration. 

So jump on the colouring train, print and download this desktop to complete the journey, I would love to see your creations so please email them into me. All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen or print out whichever your choose: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy completing this illustration in your own weird and wonderful way! 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - September 2017

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As many of you may know, I just got married! It has been an absolutely crazy month full of ups and downs so to help me stay sane throughout all the madness (Indians weddings are non-stop celebrations!) I created a mandala for this month's desktop download. 

For those of you who already create mandalas you will know there is a great sense of calm and peace you will find in the process. I used this as an opportunity for me to focus on new lines and new details whenever I could get a little break from all the wedding planning and preparation. 

There is something about September that feels like a new beginning, maybe it's just programmed in us from our days at school or maybe that's just me?! I always see a mandala as exactly that, as a new beginning, an opportunity to create something new and wonderful - because however you create a mandala I find it always ends up looking beautiful. 

You can have your own little slice of beauty on your desktop for the whole of this month, all you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for being here, I hope you enjoy your meditative mandala and perhaps it will remind you to find some peace and focus in your days. 

 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - August 2017

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Happy first day of August! This month's download is inspired by sacred geometry, a concept where sacred meaning is placed upon geometric shapes and formations. It can be found all over the world, often in religious places of worship where the design and even the structure are often based on sacred geometry. 

This type of geometry involves a variety of shapes drawn in a very specific order to create intricate patterns. Interestingly you find these geometric patterns in nature all the time, some examples include our own DNA, pine cones, snowflakes, flower petals and the centre of a sunflower. 

The key to sacred geometry is the intersection of lines and so I took this idea and created this illustration. Hopefully this month's desktop download will make you appreciate the miracle of nature AND maths! Start your sacred maths adventure right here...

All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for reading and I hope this reminds you to take a moment to realise how many tiny mathematical miracles happened just to create YOU and those flowers in your garden! 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - July 2017

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Happy July! Wow where is the time going, we are officially into the second half of the year. Is it just me or does the second half of the year just fly by and before you know it it's Christmas... maybe that's just me. Anyway this month we have something a little different in terms of the layout, let me know what you think of it. 

This one is a take on my "mother-boarding" technique and is sort of like the inner workings of a computer/brain/time machine. So that you guys can see how these desktops take shape I took some progress photos of this one and will do a little blog post to show you how to recreate this yourself. 

I am hoping just like all my other desktop downloads this one will play around in your imagination. And I also hope it will be a happy reminder that you can change/break the rules any time you so please! 

 All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you for reading and try to break the rules a bit this month or break out of your usual routine... and if you can't think of anything try having breakfast for dinner :)

Desktop Wallpaper Download - June 2017

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Yay June is here! I have spent the last few weeks absolutely loving the beautiful sunsets in London and it has inspired me to create this sunrise-y illustration. There is something about watching the sun set where everything feels quiet and still, like you are watching a little mini miracle, even though it happens each and every day. 

Now I don't know about you but when the sky looks like its on fire and you can see every shade of orange, red, pink and yellow, I have the uncontrollable urge to snap a photo of it. And yet the photo never ever does it any justice! I guess it is one of those moments you just want to share with people but it's only ever truly experienced in person. 

Maybe where you are in the world you don't get to see many beautiful sunsets or perhaps you see ones on a daily basis, either way I hope this sunset illustration shines some colourful rays of happiness into your month :)

 All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thank you as always for reading and being a part of my doodling journey and I hope your days are as colourful as this illustration! Have a great month everyone :) 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - May 2017

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Happy May Day! Hope those of you in the UK enjoyed your bank holiday and those of you everywhere else enjoyed your first Monday of the month. Many of you will know I love working on weird and wonderful designs filled with shapes, patterns, shading, dots, lines and everything else I can conjure up in my imagination. And soooo I thought it was about time to create a desktop that was completely abstract. 

I just love these abstract drawings because every person interprets them differently. For some reason to me it feels like the logo for a villain from a superhero movie! Or the emblem of some sort of secret underground society formed on the Dark Net. What does it make you think of? 

Hopefully with this wallpaper you can explore your imagination and see what your mind conjures up. And each time you see it, look a little longer to absorb the details. Perhaps even print it off and extend it. All you need to do is click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thanks for reading and I hope this wallpaper brings you some weird and wonderful doodle vibes! Maybe it will even inspire you to pick up a pen and draw something fantastical :)

Desktop Wallpaper Download - April 2017

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It's that time again, it comes around so fast! So it seems like literally everyone around me is either on holiday or is about to go and I would LOVE to be in some little European city right now. So instead I channeled my love of travelling into this China-blue Mediterranean tiles inspired desktop wallpaper. 

Maybe you are also dreaming of white villas, blue seas and tropical trees so now you can feel a slice of holiday everyday of April. I have always had a fascination with those beautiful Mediterranean tiles that have such intricate patterns in blue and orangey tones, is it just me who loves them? 

So let yourself be transported to an exotic far away land where the sun is shining, you have a cool drink in your hand and all your worries just float away. Just click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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So that you don't miss out on the next month's wallpaper, make sure you subscribe to the mailing list. 

Thanks for reading and I hope this wallpaper brings some warm holiday vibes your way! 

The Story behind my Full Pagers

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Hello there friends, I would like to share with you the story of how my Full Pagers started out. You may have already heard this but I wanted to share it with you in depth because I learnt a few lessons that I believe can be applied to pretty much everything in life. 

Below are the four Full Pagers I have drawn so far, each is 210x130mm (the size of a Moleskine Journal notebook) and created entirely using Pigma Micron  pens. Usually each collection of work I produce is planned and carefully collated but the secret with this collection is that I had no intention whatsoever of creating it!

Altar of the Empire; Illusions; Tangled; Inner Workings.

Altar of the Empire; Illusions; Tangled; Inner Workings.

If you look at Altar of the Empire (the first Full Pager), the middle section up to where all the long shapes start protruding out was originally a one off abstract piece I started. Even if I'm unhappy about how a piece is turning out I will always complete it. This one however was just NOT working and quite frankly I hated it - it was the first time I left a piece in my journal unfinished. 

And so this piece sat in my journal incomplete and abandoned. I felt like I had been defeated. There have been other times I have struggled with a piece but there was something about this one where I felt lost, I didn't know which direction to take it in to save it.

As it sat there in my notebook it niggled at me. Taunting me. A little mini failure. And it is okay to fail sometimes but I just didn't like the feeling. After a while I came back to it and the idea popped into my mind to just fill the whole page, I told myself it doesn't matter what it looks like or how it feels or if you like it just DO IT.

I looked back at some old holiday photos and found one of the altar in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. If you observe the top you can see those long golden rays coming out of the circle - now take a look at Altar of the Empire and see if you can notice how it influenced my illustration. With some fresh inspiration and a clear mindset I was able to dive back into it.  Having never done a full page illustration like this before it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to use the edges of the paper as part of the drawing. In the end it seemed best to let the lines run off the page as though it continued endlessly. Much of the time spent on this was staring at the page wondering where to place the next line! But I am so SO happy I went back to it, otherwise I would never have discovered the world of Full Pagers. 

Now every few months I work on a new one as a little challenge to see what I can create. As each of them start out in the centre and then work their way out they are structurally and conceptually similar, however the detailing, linework and patterns of each one are actually quite different so it creates a whole different feeling. I wonder when you look at all four do they look similar to you or very different? 

So here is a little list of lessons I learnt from this experience that can also be applied any time you are met with resistance:

  1. Persevere - Don't worry about how long it takes, just don't give up. Keep going back to it and day by day it will turn into a masterpiece. 
  2. Take a step back - Sometimes you need a break so you can look at a problem with fresh eyes. It might be a short break like a little walk or perhaps a bit longer, either way step back and refresh. 
  3. Trust your ability - This is the hardest one, just say yes even if it scares you and believe that you will figure out a way to do it once you have committed yourself. 
  4. Magic is in the unknown - You will discover more of yourself and others when you explore the untraveled path, maybe you will have a good experience or maybe not, but you will grow and learn.
  5. You have nothing to lose - Worst case scenario you fail and then what? Nothing. Life carries on and so do you. 
  6. Always challenge yourself - It is when you push yourself to be better that you discover what you are really capable of. Write a list of things you have never done before and work through it, it can be as optimistic and adventurous as you like. 
  7. Attack fear - Where there is fear there is possibility and opportunity. Overcoming that fear will take you and your skills to the next level. If you are scared of it then it's time to attack it head on! 
  8. Change your mindset - If you aren't enjoying whatever you are doing then it's not the task itself but the way you are doing it. Change the way you are viewing your actions, rather than you "have" to finish something, think of it as you "get" to finish it. Enjoy the ride. 

I hope by telling this story it inspires you or helps you during your own struggles whether it be in your career, hobby, personal life, relationships etc. Hope you have a great day and thanks so much for reading :)

Desktop Wallpaper Download - March 2017

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Well I don't know how it is where you are but over here in London its been rainy, we even had a storm called Doris wreak havoc! So I decided to turn the cloudy rainy weather into something more positive and give you a cloud like you have probably never seen before. Just imagine if all the clouds looked like this! 

As it is officially the first day of Spring I am hoping we see a bit of sunshine and a few flowers pop up, what is the weather like where you are? Us Brits seem to be completely and utterly obsessed by weather, maybe because you never quite know what you will get over here! 

I hope this strange looking cloud will show you that even the things that bring rain can also be a source of inspiration. This month try and turn a bad situation into something more positive, send me a message if you want to share your story with me. 

Subscribe to the newsletter so you don't miss out on each month's download. Just click on the link and save the wallpaper that fits your screen: 

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Hope you like this month's wallpaper and please let me know if you have any feedback! If you are finding the wallpapers don't fit your screen or anything like that let me know. 

Thanks as always for your support and hope you enjoy your funky cloud wallpaper :0 

 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - February 2017

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February is here and it's time for another desktop download! So this month's theme is COSMIC - thought I would ease you in with the January mandalas but now it is time to get quirky. Let your imagination wonder, your curiosity creep out and your creativity flow. 

Try something I heard of recently called "Star Therapy" (maybe it was sky but I prefer star) Look up at at starry nights sky and just let all your worries float away. This illustration will be a reminder to you to take a moment and pause, reflect and realise it's all going to be okay. 

Or if you prefer it's just a strange looking cosmic spaceship that might spark a little creativity when you see it. Whatever it is you see I hope it will brighten your day and make you feel that there are infinite possibilities out there. 

Subscribe to the newsletter so you don't miss out on each month's download. Let your cosmic adventure through time and space and parallel universes begin here: 

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Hope you like this month's wallpaper and please let me know if you have any feedback! If you are finding the wallpapers don't fit your screen or anything like that write a comment or email and I will see what I can do!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful mystic cosmic February :) 

Desktop Wallpaper Download - January 2017

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Happy New Year to you all! I hope your year is full of exciting opportunities and if you find yourself daydreaming a lot, maybe try and make those daydreams a reality. I know many of you have all sorts of passions and dreams but these come with fear and self doubt so if you find yourself making decisions based on the latter take a moment to reflect and make a change this year. 

As a massive thank you for your continued support I have decided each month I will upload a desktop wallpaper for you to download and use. Remember to subscribe to my newsletter if you don't already so you get an email at the start of every month with your next calendar.

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Mandalas often represent life and the universe so I felt it would be a great theme to start the year with. Feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions for other ideas. Get your very own desktop wallpaper here and join in the adventure:

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Thanks again as always for all the support, comments, shares and purchases, if it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't be where I am. I hope the calendars will share a little bit of joy and happiness :)

Using Prismacolour Pencils

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After Inktober I always go a little bit quiet because projects, commissions and basically my whole life gets put on hold for a month. So November is usually spent catching up and getting back into the swing of things. Now I have finally got a chance to tell you guys about how I found it and what I did differently this year. 

For those of you who have been following my work for a while you will know my pieces tend to be black and white but this year I decided to switch things up. It is SO SO SO important to keep learning and experimenting, you never really know what you are capable of until you try.

Over the years illustrators I have worked with or know of have raved about Prismacolor's pencils and so when it came to deciding which brand to use it was a bit of a no-brainer.

Having never used colouring pencils in my illustrations before I ambitiously decided half my inktober drawings would be created with a combination of my usual Pigma Microns and Prismacolor pencils. So yes this could have been a complete disaster!

I chose the basic 24 pencil set to start with just in case I discovered colouring pencils were not the right tool for me, although there are sets that include 72 and even 150 different shades! You can also get a blender which on reflection I probably should have purchased but hey you live and you learn.

The first thing I want to share with you guys is how rewarding it was to learn a whole new skill. Once you have done something for so long it becomes second nature and you just don't need to engage your brain as much. Learning how to use the pencils made the whole month more fun, exciting and challenging. In a whole month of illustrations I now know I won't be happy with every single one but the beauty of this kind of challenge is you end up surprising yourself.

I have included my two favourite pieces above - the Chameleon and the Peacock. Honestly I could never have imagined being able to bring these two creatures to life in this way, it was thoroughly enjoyable to observe their natural form and then find a way to recreate this using the colouring pencils. Now I am on a mission to keep finding new materials to bring into my illustrations, some may work and some may not but it is worth finding out.

The hardest thing to figure out was which colours to use and how to blend them. For each drawing I always used a reference photo so generally the colours derived from there - you can see my set up in the photo, this is while I was drawing the Cairns Butterfly. On little scraps of paper or in my notebook I would practice combinations that I thought could work well. You can see the scribbles for both the dragonflies, the chameleon and the peacock in the photo, it took quite a few attempts to get it right! 

I discovered a few blending techniques that really made the drawing flow better. I put down lighter layers as a base first and then brought in darker shades. To blend colours I used the white pencil to get rid of that pencil texture you usually get with colouring pencils - this can probably be achieved best with the colourless blender I mentioned earlier. I also made sure for each illustration I pre-selected the pencils to use (so I wasn't aimlessly using a million different colours) and where possible I chose a colour palette that usually included at least one light, medium and dark shade even though I was quite limited in colours e.g. it could be black, dark brown, light brown or pale pink, pale lilac and dark purple. In all honesty I was making this all up as I went along but that is the only way to learn really! There were plenty of mistakes I made along the way but it is through those mistakes that you master a skill and perfect a technique. 

Now the butterflies (and one moth) were just so fun to work on because there are ENDLESS species each with their very own pattern and form. I went with ones that had a distinctive pattern so they could easily be identified. It is always important to me to stay true to form and colour (where possible with the limited palette) so that the natural beauty is only enhanced rather than lost. The focus of the Moth was just the colours rather than the detail making this a real challenge, but I persevered and discovered that actually with some patience I can master the colouring pencils alone - my Jellyfish below was slightly less successful but I was still getting the hang of using them at this stage. 

All the comments and feedback for the colour illustrations have been amazing this year and I really really really appreciate it, thank you to you and your eyes for taking the time to look at my work, I hope it brought you some joy! You can buy some of the Inktober prints in my Shop in case you are interested.

If you are thinking of trying something new my advice would be GO FOT IT! What have you got to lose right? 

I'm a Fraud!

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Me taking over the world

As well as share my artwork and projects, occasionally I would like to share with you any thoughts that relate to being a creative person/human being in the hope that it will resonate with some of you, maybe even reassure or help you.  This might be a bit of a rambling one! 

Yesterday I went to a stationary shop to find some plain paged notebooks for jotting down ideas and plans. As I was paying for the notebooks the lovely guy at the till said "Are you planning to take over the world?", I laughed and said "Isn't that what we are all trying to do?". So this left me thinking 2 things:

  1. He probably has no idea how much of an impact that made on me, or maybe he does and he is one of the few who uses his superpowers in the way we all should. Spread a bit of joy wherever you can, with the people you know but even more so with the people you don't. Everyone has their own inner battles and you might just make their day. Also this is customer service at its best.
  2. Yes I do want to take over the world but I am always doubting myself too much to do that!

In recent conversations the same thing seems to be coming up among the creatives I speak to (although it could be everyone else too). You know when someone says something and suddenly you just think "Thank god it's not just me", well that is what happens every time this topic comes up: Self Doubt. Do you experience a constant struggle between feeling like you can take over the world and then completely talking yourself out of it? And yet you keep going and eventually (hopefully) you do get there.

Wrdsmth

Wrdsmth

I'll be honest, a lot of the time I feel like I have no idea if I am doing the right thing or doing things the right way. I know that there is no right way and yet I still think about this all the time. As someone who did not study anything remotely creative (I studied Law) I have this constant feeling of not deserving success, like there are people who went through years of education who deserve it more. I also feel like I don't have the authority to give advice or be considered an illustrator for the same reason. 

Of course objectively I know this is a load of rubbish, plenty of people change direction, work hard and become established in a new industry. And so that brings me to a nice little thing I learnt recently about what to do when this happens. Just think to yourself "what would I say to my best friend?" - we can effortlessly give good advice to our friends but we hold ourselves to ridiculous standards. 

Okay and then there is this concept that I have no doubt many of you will recognise. One of my friends recently brought up the "Impostor Syndrome" to which we universally laughed and shouted "THAT'S ME!". So what is Impostor Syndrome you ask? Well it is basically when you constantly fear being exposed as a fraud and no matter what you achieve you still think you aren't actually good at anything. Please put your hand up if this is you. Both my hands are up because this is me every. single. day. 

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

 

I did a little research into this syndrome and discovered that although it tends to be women affected by this, there are also men who suffer from the same problem. There is a dread of being discovered as a phony, a sham, a fake, a fraud, like you simply do not deserve to have the authority or to be called an expert in the field. If you recognise these symptoms you can start working on reducing that voice in your head and acknowledging that your successes, whilst partly due to luck, are also down to you. 

There are people like Tina Fey and Maya Angelou and Tom Hanks (see below the article by Kyle Eschenroeder), the kind of people that are factually NOT frauds, who have confessed to having Impostor Syndrome. And from that comes the solution - be honest and open about how you feel. Often the feeling of inadequacy comes from thinking everyone else has their life together all the time, that we are the only ones feeling this way. 

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

I won't go into too much detail about what you can do about it because quite frankly other people have covered it much better than I ever will (is this my Imposer Syndrome talking!?) but if this seems familiar to you then you absolutely MUST read these articles: 

http://startupbros.com/21-ways-overcome-impostor-syndrome/ 

http://blog.folksy.com/2016/06/08/how-to-find-your-confidence-as-an-artist

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/nov/09/impostor-syndrome-oliver-burkeman

Good luck on your plan to take over the world and be happy!