Discover more from It's Good to Be Here
Art Lesson #7: Autumn Leaves & Colored Ink
Plus: a subscriber-only monthly art gallery
Wrapping up Inktober with autumn leaves
I made today’s lesson in response to a few different special requests: one of you said you wanted more TREES, one of you said you wanted more COLORED INK, and someone else asked for anything that would be an easy way into drawing, or back into drawing after a long absence.
These leaves are all of that…and more. There’s a cool message about mindfulness, and about making your life better, that I’m going to share with you as we go through this.
Supply list below, as always, but please use whatever you have!
And keep scrolling, because I started a new monthly art gallery chat just for paid subscribers. Link and more info below.
Plus, I’m giving away the art I made for this lesson. Post a comment of any kind and I’ll pick a winner.
First, gather some leaves
Believe it or not, when you’re gathering leaves, you are making art! Why? Because the act of selection—the experience of choosing—is EVERYTHING in art.
The painter and teacher Nicholas Wilton talks about this a lot. Here’s a great video where he explains his idea. He says that artists should not worry about style, but should instead focus on their preferences. We all have preferences, and we know exactly what they are. When you go and gather leaves, you’re seeing this in action. You like this one more than that one. You pick one up, you put another one down.
He suggests that when we get good at listening to our own preferences, our art gets better. And when our art gets better, our life gets better. And when we get better at listening to our own preferences in our life, our life gets better and that makes our art better.
It’s a feedback loop—and it starts here! With leaves!
When you’re out walking around and you see a leaf that you especially love, PICK IT UP! Don’t ignore your innate preferences and keep walking. Instead, reward those preferences! Teach your brain to keep talking to you about the things it loves!
Pick up the leaves that speak to you!
Do a blind contour drawing
When you’re drawing leaves indoors, it helps to keep them wet so the colors stay vibrant and they don’t curl.
For this exercise, you can use any kind of paper and any kind of pen or pencil. It’s not about the result—it’s about how you feel when you let your hand follow a line.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ART
Now try a contour drawing
Same thing, but with a twist.
Pencil & ink drawing
Now it’s time to get out some watercolor paper. We’re going to be putting a lot of water on this paper, so you’ll want something made for watercolor.
Adding color with ink—or watercolor! Or whatever you have.
Now for the really trippy, hypnotic part. See supply list below for ink, watercolor, and other options for color.
How’d you do?
I’d love to know how this went for you! Please post a comment and tell me about your leaf-painting journey—and I’ll pick a winner and random and mail them the leaf I painted in this lesson.
For paid subscribers: a monthly art show of YOUR ART!
I really want to see what you’re making, but there’s no way to post pictures in the comments (yet! maybe someday!)—so for now, I’ve started a subscriber-only chat where we can upload and share our art and cheer each other on.
This is very much an experiment! Let me know what you think, and if you’d like to keep doing this. I was thinking I’d open a new chat once a month for a round of sharing and cheering on. You can access this chat through the Substack app or website.
You asked—here it is!
A few of you asked me about the samples of DeAtramentis colored ink I bought from Goulet Pens. I lucked into a sale one time, when they were offering a random grab-bag of colors, and I got this entire set. They don’t always have these exact colors in stock as samples, but whether you’re looking to spend a couple bucks on a sample or buy at entire bottle—here are some color swatches for your consideration. These are all waterproof—the Document inks are especially waterproof—and suitable for fountain pens or dip pens. Also, you can mix these colors to create your own combinations!
Here’s a rundown of today’s supplies:
Dip pen: This Speedball No 5 Artist set is a great place to start.
DeAtramentis Dark Red Document Ink & Sepia Brown Document Ink
Watercolor paper—these Canson sketchbooks are great for practicing & classes
Other inks I used: Diamine Honeyburst, Higgins brown, Kakimori ink in gold (Torori)
You can also try this with: Acrylic ink, watercolor, water-soluble pencils or markers. Your results may vary! Play around and have fun.
Would you like to do this every week?
These art lessons normally go out to paid subscribers. Here’s a link to the growing archive of lessons that subscribers have access to anytime. I made this one free so you could all see what we’re up to in here. For about the price of a couple of pencils, you can join us! Or give a gift subscription to an artist friend. Here’s how: