Friday, March 2, 2012

Ribbons and circles - from the Studio Book

You've seen them often appearing in my Wednesday posts, but I figured it was time to do a specific post on my ribbons and circles. After all I'm doing them a lot lately and this blog should really reflect all my artsy stuff.

The idea for these drawings was inspired by Quinn MacDonald who does a very different type of ribbon drawings in her book Raw Art Journaling. I mostly do them in my Studio Book, a sketchbook that lives in my studio and that holds my try outs of material, my ideas and drawings and stuff that I do to pass the time or unwind from things.

Circles and ribbons are perfectly fitted to unwind from things. They are easy to do, colorful and relaxing. What more does an artsy girl want? I've said it before, but it really is like doing your own coloring book. It requires very little planning and only a few materials and somehow it's a very satisfying exercise. I'm not even sure why.

The way I do them is usually by starting out with drawing the ribbons in pencil. I will then draw them over with a drawing pen, usually a brush pen. The trick is to decide which ribbons overlap the others so the picture makes sense, well, as much as images like these can make sense in the first place.

After that I take a cirlce template and draw in the circles. The circles can go on top of the ribbons or underneath them. You have to be careful not to cross lines that shouldn't be crossed. It's a tricky business and I have made mistakes at times.What I do when I make a mistake with the black lines is that I go over them with a white paintmarker. I have to do that a couple of times otherwise the line will still show through the marker.

The best part is the coloring in of the drawings. I use my gouache paint box for that. The colors come straight out of the box and I limit myself to the bright colors mostly. I try to use all the bright colors at least once. There's no plan as to how I fill in the colors. The ribbons usually consist of two colors to show off how they twist and turn a little more.

It's nice to experiment with this concept. How many different drawings can you make with such a simple idea? Change the size of the circles, put them together or apart, how many ribbons, do I color in the background or not (I do like it better in white)? Do I use just one page or cover an entire spread with the drawing?  It's amazing how much can still be done with such a basic concept.

I think I will be doing many more still. I'm nowehere near finished with this. I have no idea what they are supposed to mean or lead to except bringing me some colorful joy, but that's about the best purpose there is right? I hope I've inspired you to go with a simple idea and see how you can vary on the same theme just by playing with shapes and colors.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!


  1. This reminds me of a Maypole, with all the colorful silk ribbons streaming down from the top and then winding in and out like a joyful conversation.

  2. I think they are beautiful. Since I tend toward textiles, I picture these as a quilt.

  3. Ccatje, these are beautiful pages. Love the ribbons and circles! xoxo

  4. Sorry, my fingers are numb today -- CAATJE. xoxo

  5. I really like these...doing them over and over again reminds me of doing Zentangles over and over again...but these look so much more free and flowing. I love the look of the circles when they appear behind the ribbons. Thanks for explaining how you do it...I want to give it a try, too!


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