Crystal Ink Swatches

Crystal Ink Swatches

Ink Swatches

This time I’m creating color ink swatches for the seven colours of the rainbow.

I’ve always felt that paint, ink or colored pencil swatching could be created in a way to make an art piece.

I like working with color and art but dislike not having anything to show for it at the end.

I believe that all my art practice should be beautiful and so I decided to take my swatching up a notch.

Instead of just doing the swatch on a square grid, I’m going to create some artworks as I do this swatch.

These will be in the shape of crystals.

I’ll be using my new favorite Windsor and Newton drawing inks.

 

 

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Seven

Seven is a popular number found in everyday life. There are seven days of the week and seven colors of the rainbow, seven chakras and now seven crystal forms.

I’ll be using the seven colors of the rainbow for my ink swatches.

I selected one of the seven forms with a crystal in that form which matches the colour. I will be using artistic license for these images.

Clearly, I’m not using all the colors available in the Windsor and Newton drawing inks range.

Rainbow

It’s always handy to work in groups of seven as there are seven colours in the rainbow. These colours are broken out from white light which is the true energy.

The seven colours of the rainbow in order are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

In a rainbow usually the red is always on the outer circle and violet is always on the inner cycle.

Beyond both ends of the rainbow is where we find infrared, before the red, and ultraviolet, after the violet.

We cannot see these color with our eyes, although scientists can measure them.

Art Supplies

For swatches or ink swatches you can use what you have.

There really is no need to get the exact supplies that I’m using. I believe as an artist you probably have what you need right in your own home.

The specific art supplies which I used are listed here:

Art supplies

Crystal Forms

In nature, a crystal habit is how it forms.

A crystal’s form is determined by the number of axes and faces on the crystal.

The seven crystal forms are:

  • Isometric
  • Tetragonal
  • Triclinic
  • Hexagonal
  • Monoclinic
  • Orthorhombic
  • Trigonal

Each of the crystal forms has many crystals associated within that form.

I have selected one colour from each group that matches one of the seven colours of the rainbow for my drawing ink swatches.

Isometric Crystal

Definition

Isometric crystals have all three axes the same and are at right angles to each other.

Isometric Crystal Examples

Examples of isometric crystals are the garnet an icositetrahedron and the spinel an octahedron.

An example of a red crystal in the isometric crystal form is the garnet.

Isometric Crystal Examples

Examples of isometric crystals are the garnet an icositetrahedron and the spinel an octahedron.

An example of a red crystal in the isometric crystal form is the garnet.

Orthorhombic Crystal

Definition

Orthorhombic crystals have three axes of unequal length. Two are at right angles to one another and the third is perpendicular.

Orthorhombic Crystal Examples

Examples of the orthorhombic crystal structure are the peridot and topaz.

I chose to draw an orange crystal from the orthombic form and this one is a topaz.

Tetragonal Crystal

Definition

Tetragonal crystals have three axes which are at right angles to each other. The two on the same plane are equal in length while the third is perpendicular to this plane and of different length.

Tetragonal Crystal Examples

Examples of tetragonal crystals are the zircon and the scapolite.

An a yellow crystal in the tetragonal form is scheelite.

Hexagonal Crystal

Definition

The hexagonal crystal has three of the four axes all in one plane and intersect at 60°. The 4th axis is perpendicular and unequal in length to the other. There are six planes of symmetry.

Hexagonal Crystal Examples

Examples of hexagonal crystal are the apatite and the beryl.

A much-loved hexagonal form crystal is the emerald which are green.

Triclinic Crystal

Definition

The triclinic crystal has three axes of unequal length all inclined to one another at different angles.

Triclinic Crystal Examples

Amazonite (alkali feldspar) and rhodonite are examples of the triclinic crystal form.

The example I’ve chosen for a blue crystal in the triclinic form is the turquoise blue.

Monoclinic Crystal

Definition

The monoclinic crystal has three axes of unequal length. Two intersect at an oblique angle in one plane and the third is perpendicular.

Monoclinic Crystal Examples

Examples of monoclinic crystals are the epidote and orthoclase feldspar.

In the monoclinic crystal form I have selected the crystal chrysocolla which is often an indigo color.

Trigonal Crystal

Definition

The trigonal crystal is similar to the hexagonal system. There are three axes at 60° to each other in the same plane. The fourth axis is perpendicular. There are three planes of symmetry.

Trigonal Crystal Examples

Quartz and sapphire are examples of the trigonal crystal form.

There are many crystals in the trigonal form and the one I have chosen is amethyst which is violet.

Amethyst Cluster

A popular way to draw an amethyst is in cluster form.

These are highly popular crystals because they form points and sometimes points for both ends.

They are often used in new age practices and crystal healing.

An amethyst cluster will emanate good energy into a room.

Crystal clusters are highly popular as gorgeous décor items which you can place on a coffee table.

Amethyst Cathedrals

The way amethyst crystals grow are sometimes as original bubbles trapped within an ancient lava flow.

The minerals get trapped within the bubble and overtime crystallize.

These bubbles can either be small as geodes, but when they became very big, they are known as cathedrals.

An amethyst cathedral can be spectacular and a great addition to your home or office style.

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Process

Many of you ask about my process and how I created this artwork.

Research for Ink Swatches

I did some research to start with as I needed seven crystals in particular colors.

I wanted the color sequence to go as on the rainbow which is from red to violet.

I had to explore the crystal forms and find out which crystals were the correct color that I required to use for my rainbow.

Crystal Forms

I investigated each crystal form to find for instance a red crystal for the isometric and a green crystal for the hexagonal.

Even though there are many different crystals within the same form they’re not all the same colors.

I also spent quite a bit of time studying the crystal axes and faces and what that really meant.

To be honest I still don’t fully understand this part, but I do have a couple of sketches to help determine which crystal is which.

Pencil Sketch

Seven Crystals

Once I had decided which color crystal I was going to use for each form, I laid the crystal shapes out in the order of the colors that I had chosen because I wanted it to go from red to violet.

Now technically this may not be the natural way that you would list crystals because I understand there is a particular pattern, but I moved it around because I wanted to use the different colors crystals.

What the forms were didn’t really matter to me because I was going to be using my inks.

With a 2H pencil I started with to lightly sketch out these crystals.

Although technically when a crystal grows it can be perfect, very often in nature they are not.

Crystals frequently contain flaws, imperfections, cracks and cloudiness within them.

It all depends on which other minerals were around at the time it grew.

When you draw your crystals, they don’t have to be exact and mine certainly are not.

Black Pen

With a 0.5mm black pen and I went over the main outlines of the shapes.

I used a light touch because these lines are a guide on where to place the ink.

crystal image

Colored Ink

Now comes the fun part where we start to use the colored drawing inks.

Red Ink

I started with the red end, so the ink color is called deep red.

I took a clean paint brush and put some of the red ink into the well on my palette so I can see what I’m doing.

With a clean paintbrush which had water on it, I gently laid some water over the shape of the crystal.

Next, I picked up my red ink on my paintbrush, not diluted, and I started dabbing it into the water of the shape of the crystal on the page, so it will naturally disperse and move.

In a way ink is very much like watercolor but it is lighter, and I do enjoy using it.

Orange Ink

For the second crystal, which is orange, I used the ink called orange which is great.

With a clean paint brush, I picked up some orange ink straight out of the ink pot and put it into my palette well.

Then I wet the shape of the crystal with some plain water and dabbed some orange straight onto the crystal.

The idea that I was going for is that it would create a mottled effect, but we can still see the color of the ink.

I’m making ink swatches is so even though there will be some dark areas of ink there will be a lot of light parts as well.

Yellow Ink

There are a couple of yellow inks in the Winsor and Newton drawing in collection.

I chose the Canary yellow for this project.

With a clean paintbrush, I picked up some yellow and put it in the well on my palette.

I wet the crystal with plain water and added some dabs of yellow ink.

Green Ink

For the middle hexagonal crystal, which is going to be green, I chose the ink color called Apple green.

Funnily enough there is an ink called Emerald green in this suite of inks, but I didn’t like the way it was. It was a little too blue for my liking, so that is why I went with the Apple green color.

I wet the crystal and dabbed in some Apple green ink to the crystal.

Blue Ink

The next color in the rainbow is blue. In my stash I have two blue inks namely Cobalt blue and Blue.

For this project I chose the cobalt blue for the blue crystal because I was going to use the other regular blue for the indigo.

With the clean paintbrush I picked up some cobalt ink straight from the pot and put it into the well in my palette.

Next, I wet the image of the crystal and added some cobalt ink into the shape.

Indigo Ink

For my indigo crystal I chose the ink that’s called Blue from the Windsor and Newton inks.

I believe they may have a darker blue as well or a more indigo blue, but I don’t own it, so that’s why I chose the Blue.

It also occurred to me that I could have gone in and used my regular fountain pen dark blue for this project, but that really wasn’t what I was going for.

The idea is that I’m swatching out my Windsor and Newton drawing inks.

Next I wet the crystal and then added some dabs of blue ink for the indigo crystal.

Violet Ink

For the seventh and final crystal which is going to be Violet, I chose the ink which is called Violet which is great.

In my general ink collection, I do have a purple as well which is far darker, so this Violet was a great choice for the Violet crystal.

This will be the amethyst crystal which I must say is one of my absolute favorite crystals.

For this final crystal I wet the paper and with a clean paintbrush I picked up some of the amethyst ink out of the ink pot and I dropped it into the well in my palette.

In this way I could see what I was doing I wet the image and then I gently dabbed some Violet ink into the final crystal.

Gold ink

Titles

Below each crystal I wrote the shape name, the crystal form and the name of the ink color which I used for that crystal.

Gold Ink

Because I always seem to add some gold to all the images I do, I decided I would as well this time.

After all, why not?

I got out my gold ink and with a clean paint brush and straight form the ink pot I put some glimmer and shimmer onto each of the crystals.

Conclusion

I’m very happy with the final artwork.

I truly believe that doing a color swatch doesn’t have to be boring.

To add some more interest to a swatch makes sense to me.

There are other ways to do this without even doing crystals.

Perhaps you could do fruit where you would have a red fruit and an orange fruit and a yellow fruit and, in the end, you have created a delightful little artwork as well.

I know that making swatches is a valuable part of an artist’s practice, but swatches don’t have to be humdrum.

Thank you for sharing your day with me.

Alison

Aspiring Artist Activity

For this activity (which you can do with your kids) get your art supplies to hand and your sketchbook and please do the following:

  • Choose your art medium. It could be pencil crayons watercolors or inks it’s up to you.
  • Select the seven colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  • Using our images as a guide, draw out seven crystal forms. If you find these drawings a bit tricky just work with the small cube first, alternatively you could do fruit.
  • Color in the crystals making sure to have some dark full color at the bottom that fades lighter towards the top.
  • Label each color with the correct color name from your art medium for example cadmium yellow so you know exactly which color you used.
  • Write a title on your swatch so you will know exactly which medium you used whether it was your Faber Castell polychromos crayons, your watercolor paints, or your Winsor and Newton drawing inks.

Share Your Artwork

You can share your artwork on social so everyone can see what you created.

If you add the hashtag #AHAactivity I can find your work as well.

 

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Alison Hazel

Author Bio

Alison Hazel is a mature woman who shares her ongoing journey about becoming an artist later in life. She creates simple art that anyone can make. She hopes to inspire you to reach your creative potential in the area that suits you.

Go here to read more about Alison's story.

If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

More Articles

Here are some more articles for you to have a look at about the different types of art and other cool stuff we do on this blog.

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How To Make 12 Artist Trading Cards with Neurographic Art

How To Make 12 Artist Trading Cards with Neurographic Art

Inventor

Read more about the Neurographic Art inventor Psychologist Pavel Piskarev https://www.neurographica.us/author.

 

Introduction

In this post, I’m going to share with you how I made these neurographic art Artist Trading Cards (ATC’s) which are super fun and quick to do.

I like working with artworks that are as small as Artist Trading Cards because the whole project is not as daunting as sitting down with a massive blank page in front of you.

When you are learning a new technique it’s sometimes easier to just do micro versions of what your big picture will be one day.

In this way you can hone your skills on small artworks to start with and build up from there.

 

Artist Trading Cards

Artist trading cards are small artworks which are 2 ½” x 3 ½” or around 62 mm x 90 mm.

They are basically the same size as a regular playing card.

I have more information on artist trading cards on this link as well.

Briefly, artist trading cards is a technique for every artist, such as you or me, to create the type of artwork that we do on very small cards.

When complete, these ATC’s can then be traded, swapped or given away, never sold, to other people.

Artist Business Cards

The idea is that one day when I’m a super duper artist and attempting to get my artwork in galleries or something like that,

I will design some Artist Trading Cards which show the type of work that I’m offering.

Artist Trading Cars showcase your art style in a micro way.

They are like business cards or old fashioned calling cards for artists.

I don’t want to talk too much about developing your art style here.

As you may know, I really am a fledgeling artist.

I do art because I like it.

It makes me feel good, but I am exploring many different ways of expressing my art on this creative journey.

Neurographic Art

Neurographic art is it is an art technique that helps you clear your mind.

It can be meditative and it can bring focus to situations.

You could pay attention to one particular question such as, “should I leave my job or should I move country” all of the big decisions you have to make and things that are worrying you.

The idea is that as you are working through these art pieces, you are thinking about the actual issue which then goes into the art.

The idea being that at the end, you find some peace, if not a solution, to the question that you posed.

There is more information about basic neurographic art techniques on this link.

Supplies

The main supplies I used for this artwork are:

  • Watercolour paper.
  • Sharpie pen and I have one of these retractable ones plus one of my daughters used to work at Starbucks and they introduced us to the Sharpie that a retractable with your super for artists because you don’t have to keep https://amzn.to/3wjtqiIputting the lid back on and off it’s much quicker to work with.
  • I’m also using a 2H pencil just to throw the outlines of some circles
  • A circle template which I’m use to draw the circles on the cards
  • I also have an ellipse template that I’m using to draw the ellipse cards as well which will save it later on so
  • I’m use the Sakura Koi watercolor paints which are pretty straightforward.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter.
  • Black marker pen.
  • Gold gel pen.
  • I have two round paintbrushes. One is just for the plain water so I’m keeping that clear because I’m going to be doing wet on wet. I use the second paintbrush for the individual paint colors.

You Have What You Need

Don’t feel that you have to have all of this equipment and if you don’t you can’t do it.

Use the supplies that you have to hand.

You are an artist that’s why you are here.

Get your stuff out and let’s get started.

Step 1: Paper

So the first step is to cut your paper to the right size.

Because I’m using watercolour paints I’m actually using watercolour paper here and I’m using a paper cutter, but you can use scissors.

You want to cut your papers to be 2 ½” x 3 ½” or 62 mm x 90.

Example

For this example, we’re going to be doing three artist trading cards so you need to cut at least three papers.

They have to be the right size although very often artist trading cards are made in series of 12 and because you’re really going to be signing them on the back later on as we will see.

Step 2: Design

Circles

For this design I’ll be using my circle template and my 2H pencil to lightly draw different size circles onto each of the three papers.

On the first paper I will draw one circle, on the second paper I will draw two circles of different sizes and on the third paper I will draw three circles each with a different size and two circles overlap for interest.

I take my black sharpie pen and go over the circles.

It doesn’t have to be exact near enough really is good enough for this art.

Complete the whole dozen with four with one circle, four with two circles and the final four with three circles.

Neurographic lines

Now we’re going to be drawing some Neurographic lines onto these pages.

Put the pen in your non-dominant hand and by that I mean if you’re right handed use your left hand and if you’re left-handed use your right hand.

Hold the pen lightly and draw a line from one side to the other trying to make it wiggle, although you could do curves if you wish.

It is important that you go from one edge of the page to the other and ideally you’re going to try and touch one of the circles as you go through an end on another edge.

That’s your first line.

Now we’re going to draw the second line. Choose another side of the page that you have not drawn from and draw another neurographic line across the page and exit on a different side.

At this point you’re going to draw your third neurographic line and again you want to come from a side that you may not have used, so you were going out from one side maybe connecting.

Choose to pass through one or two of your circles and then and at the other side.

What you have now is a circle with one, two or three circles on your page and three neorugraphic lines.

Smooth Connections

The next step is to curve out every intersection or connection on the page.

Take your pen and gently describe curves at all the harsh intersection so there are no hard intersections.

Soften each of the curves this tends to create blob shapes on the page.

Take your time.

This is the meditative part of it as well.

Continue slowly and smooth out all your connections.

At this point you can make some of your lines a little thicker if you want to as you join them in from the connections.

You may find that because there are multiple connections which converge at one point that you have quite a big blob of black which creates these large connections as well which is great.

Composition

Take a look at your three artwork so far and see if you’re happy with the composition.

Do any tweaking if you feel you need to.

Let your instincts be your guide.

Paint

For these artworks I’m using tones in the cooler colour blues, greens and teals I will be mixing up three different colors.

I will paint the colors one by one.

The first color mix is with olive green and a dash of permanent green deep.

You never want to use your color straight out the pan as you always want to mix them up a bit first.

I add a drop of water to the pan and let the paint work itself through the water and then I will put it onto my palette.

First Color – Green

I have a the light green mixed.

Using my water only paintbrush I’m going to lay some water into one of the shapes on the artwork because we are working on one of the blobs at a time.

I put a little bit of water into that one block, but not too much water, because I haven’t actually stretch the paper because it is such a small artwork.

Using my color brush, I dab in some of the paint.

Take your time.

Then choose a second space to add more water and paint with the same green.

Next I will choose a third blob space on the artwork, add water add add color.

Space it out

It is important to note that I’m not working on two blocks which are adjacent.

I am specifically placing each color in three different areas on this artwork.

I’ll put that aside now to let the first card dry thoroughly and move onto my second artist trading card.

Again using the same green I’m going to come in and colour in three of the blobs.

Continue onto all your cards painting in three areas of green.

Second color – Blue/Grey

For my second color I’ve mixed up some Prussian blue with a dab of Payne’s grey.

I mix these two colors on my palette and I’m ready to go again.

With the art completely dry, or moving to an area that is not adjacent to a wet one, I lay water down into one of the spaces and add my blue grey paint.

I will do a second section of blue paint using another area within the drawing.

Finally, I will move onto a third area with the blue grey.

Continue on all of the artworks so they’ve all got the blue in three areas on them.

Third colour – Olive

For the third color I take olive green and I mix it in with a little permanent yellow deep which I mix on my third palette.

Once again, I come in with my water brush and then add color to three sections on each of my three artist trading cards.

By now you’ve got a lot of the artwork colored in. 

At this point I like to step back a little bit and see how much of the white paper is left.

Gold

I decided to add some gold at this point as I only had a few empty spaces left.

This is a gold water color paint I’m using the van Gogh ancient gold and I do want to mix the paint thoroughly with water before I use it.

I dabbed some of the gold directly onto the paper, without adding water to the page first, just to add some shimmer into some of the areas.

Embellishments

I allowed all the artworks to dry thoroughly.

Now it is time to consider putting on some embellishments.

Embellishments are often used in your neurographic art such as flowers, words or lines to add a bit of interest to the artwork.

I choose to add some gold dots into the areas where my black connectors were quite large particularily where I had many intersections coming together at a hub.

Gold Dots

I put three gold dots.

You could at this point add some gold if you wanted or some extra blue if you desired to make some other embellishments on your artworks in the same colours that you used.

The trick is to use a little bit of restraint because it can get overwhelming if you don’t know when to stop.

Flatten the Paper

Because I didn’t stretch the paper beforehand, and as I’m using watercolor paint, the paper has buckled and crinkled.

One way to make a paper lie flat again is to place it, when dry, under some heavy books overnight.

The pages will come out flat-ish which is good enough for me.

Artist Treading Cards – Add the Info on the Back

As these are Artist Trading Cards, and you are probably going to be handing them out to people, there is specific information to add onto the back.

Using a black fineliner write the following information:

  • Series name
  • Series number
  • Your name
  • Date
  • Email or website

I used a 0.3 mm Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pen to write my information as follows:

 

Series: Winter Circles

Number: 1 of 12

Alison Hazel Art

January 2022

AlisonHazelArt.com

 

I also drew a thin line border around the cards.

Series Name

I’m calling this series Winter Circles mainly because I did it in the winter and it’s got circles however you may call your art series anything you like.

You could have called it Happiness Meditation or Friendship Cards or something like that.

Your choice of series name goes back to the intention which you may have stated at the very beginning.

Numbering the Series

Typically, a series of Artist Trading Cards has twelve cards within a series and they are all similar and often made on the same day.

Each one of the 12 cards in a series will have a unique number.

The first card will be number 1 of 12, 2 of 12, 3 of 12 and so on until 12 of 12.

When you trade these cards with other people and give them number seven of 12 or number nine of 12, the recipient will know from your numbering system that it is from a limited edition Artist Trading Card series.

Date

I date the cards with the month and year in which they were created.

Contact Info

I always put my website URL on the cards, so in the future anyone can look at other artwork that I do and get to know me as an artist from there.

I believe that you never know what your art hobby will blossom into.

It is prudent to provide all your information on every artwork that you create, trade, distribute or sell.

Give Away – Family First

I will be keeping one Artist Trading Card for myself.

I will send one of my Winter Circles Artist Trading Cards to each of my three daughters in the mail in the next letter which I write to them.

List Giveaway

I will send one of the remaining eight cards to the first eight people on my mailing list who respond to my email with the words, “Winter Circles Giveaway”.

This is a first come first served basis.

You do need to be on my mailing list to receive it.

You will have to provide your postal address as well.

Good Luck.

If you are reading this way after the event then I’m sorry you were too late.

To make sure not to miss out on art giveaways again, join my maillist here.

Aspiring Artist Activity

If you are an aspiring artist, please do the following:

  • Design 12 cards.
  • With a black pen draw some circles and a few neurographic lines.
  • Paint or crayon the cards in a color palette of your choice.
  • Add embellishments as you like.
  • Choose a suitable series name and add the series and contact info on the back.
  • Post images.

Share

Share your artworks on social with the hashtag #AHAactivity

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Pencil Crayon – Weekly Sketchbook Art “Nasturtium”

Pencil Crayon – Weekly Sketchbook Art “Nasturtium”

“Nasturtium, Love Conquers All” – Pencil Crayon – Weekly Sketchbook Art

Nasturtium

This week I’ve drawn a bright orange nasturtium flower in pencil crayon in my sketchbook.

 

 

For flower reference pictures, I reached for my go to handy dandy book, “The Secret Language of Flowers” by Samantha Gray.

The Secret Language of Flowers by Samantha Gray

Back in the day the Victorians would give a posy of flowers that held a secret message through the meaning of each flower within the bunch.

Nasturtium means, “Love conquers all.”

So, I expect that nasturtiums would feature in a bouquet given when a couple was having a difficult period and perhaps, they had to overcome some minor differences that crop up all the time, and the pair went back to basics with the secret bloom that said, “Love conquers all.”

So romantic.





My Process

First, I drew a border of 10mm around the page to help frame the finished artwork.

I drew my composition with a 2H pencil the flower and one leaf as I decided not to draw two flowers.

1cm border and pencil sketch

 

Then I added light shade with warm grey II under the petals and in the center of the leaf.

Shadows

 

I lightly added some cream on the leaf veins and the lower edges of the petals.

 

Next, I used cadmium yellow and started to build up some color on the outer petals.

 

I continued to develop the petals with chrome yellow and orange glaze over more of the petals.

I tried to keep the strokes in the nature of the petals vertically from the center of the flower.

 

I began fleshing out the leaf with earth green yellowish and olive green more in the middle.

 

Back to the petals with heavy scarlet red and a light polish of deep red.

 

Finally, I went in again with orange glaze all over the petals to provide more coverage and I added the wiggle on the leaf with a very sharp chromium green colored pencil to provide the texture of the crumpled look of the leaf.

 

The background is a very light diagonal flow of warm grey II.

Label

Because I only ever draw on the right-hand page in my sketchbook, so each drawing has no bleed from behind, I added the main title on the left-hand page.

 

In the title block I wrote the words, “Nasturtium, Love conquers all.”

Finishing off by signing my name and the date.

 

The completed artwork.

Question

Do you draw weekly sketchbook art?