January 18, 2019
When I first started drawing, I didn't really have an idea where I was going with it or what I wanted to do. I just sketched and doodled anything and everything that I saw. I distinctly remember going on Pinterest to find things to draw because I literally had no clue what I wanted to do, all I knew was that I wanted to draw. I would look at pictures of animals, flowers, henna patterns, and designs that I found on the internet and try to copy them into my skinny, college-ruled notebook. I remember using a black ink pen that habitually bled through the pages, and the joy that I felt from being able to sit down at that dining table in my college apartment, drawing during the afternoon after my classes.
The beauty in not knowing what you're doing means that you have no limitations, you are not bound by a process or a step-by-step regimen that you've convinced yourself that you have to follow. Granted, you should strive for organization, especially if you plan on expanding, but when you're first starting out and figuring things out, giving yourself some freedom is a great first step.
When I got the foundation for my style down (what my style was, how I planned to go about it, what first step was the most comfortable for me), that was when I decided to put together a step-by-step process. I know of several talented artists who work with the same craft that I do (traditional Indian, Middle Eastern, East Asian, etc. style), that have different starting points but end with the exact outcome they wanted to. That is the beauty of knowing what that perfect first step is for you. I am quite generic, I always start with pencil. I feel as though I could do this for the next fifty years of my life and I will always pencil it down before I start. Nowadays, that is more because I do sometimes change my mind about what design I've penciled down and it's easier to change your mind when you can literally erase it away and draw over it.
Let's be real here, my first instinct is not always my best. I don't "feel the style wafting through my fingers" and I certainly don't let "the artistic muse inside of me take control". I cannot speak for everyone (and I won't), but I always have second thoughts, even after I've finished a piece. Without getting too much into the weirdness that's my brain, let's just say that "you are your own worst critic" just happens to be the working title for the memoir that I'm probably never going to write.
Now, I don't get a lot of questions in general, but the one I tend to get the most from the ones I do manage the circles for my mandalas. Easy answer: protractors. And not a fancy one either, the one that I use is a metal protractor I bought from Michael's for $2. Whatever is in your budget and whatever works for you! Also it's worth remembering that one should have a steady hand when working a protractor, so all those times you scoffed at your teacher for making you use them in school (like I did...) let's all collectively write them apology notes.
Maybe a fruit basket? ;P
In terms of coloring, when I first go things going I used ink pens and markers. I even dabbled in colored pencils for a softer look for my mandalas, and metallic ink pens were a very popular choice for me too. Nowadays, however, I've started dabbling in acrylic paints as well, but I still stick with metallic and ink pens from time to time. If you're working with black paper, make sure you check out the right kind of milk and metallic pens so the colors can stand out as you want them too. When looking up colors and brands, you can get advice from artists everywhere about which one is the best, but something that I've discovered is that Faber-Castell is king, and everyone has their own preference when it comes to the kinds of paints and pens they use. In next week's blog post, I will list out the brands that I use or have used and post reviews so you guys can have a sense of what to look for or have an idea going into it but, like the process itself, have an open mind!
And, of course, if you have any questions, feel free to send me a message! There will be a part 2 to this post, so if I missed anything that you wanted to discuss about this particular topic, let me know and I will address it when we come back to this topic!
Thanks for stopping by!
xo - MP