I'm Tammy


COPYRIGHT INFO:  All content [words, photos, images, artwork, descriptions, designs] is copyright Daisy Yellow. Please use the contact form if you'd like to use content. Copying art + ideas is not cool. If you pin my stuff, please kindly attribute. Thanks!

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    Get Issue TWELVE #12 [new!] of the Daisy Yellow Zine
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    Tangent № 10: Icon Grids

    “The most significant gifts are the ones most easily overlooked. Small, everyday blessings: woods, health, music, laughter, memories, books, family, friends, second chances, warm fireplaces, and all the footprints scattered throughout our days.”
    Sue Monk Kidd

    This episode of the Art Journal Tangents & Tactics Series combines a mental & creative challenge. We will be working with simple materials. Learn how the series works in the introduction

    This idea was originally shared in my very first workshop at Daisy Yellow, a workshop about sparking creativity called El Parquesito Creativo... The Little Creative Park. There's no video for this Tangent.

    It is my hope that you will find this drawing exercise engaging. It forces an intentional constraint on your work in that the grids are tiny! That is by design. The idea is not to create intricate patterns but DIFFERENT patterns. OK? You might need a magnifying glass. You might need to work slowly. You might get frustrated. You’ll likely need to do this exercise over a few days. I draw grids like these at least every few weeks! They really loosen up my drawing and allow me to brainstorm. When you get really into these, you may dream about patterns, figure out patterns while folding laundry, chopping veggies or at carpool. You might be in a hotel lobby and see the COOLEST pattern in the floor tiles. I kid you not. Get into it! This is a self-directed challenge. 

    I will be curious to hear how this exercise impacts your creative ideas in the two weeks ahead. The goal for this Tangent is the WORK of generating ideas to fill in those spaces. The SEARCH for ideas. The way that ideas will start coming into your mind when you take a break from the grid. Each time you return to the grid, you will bring something different, a new perspective or frame of reference. For example, each morning I pass a Halloween pumpkin patch and so the curves of the pumpkins {in a stack or individually} might lead me to a new icon or two for my grid. Just keep building until you are finished. Sometimes I leave white spaces and sometimes not. Sometimes I work in order, sometimes not.

    3x5" gridded index card, red Sakura micron

    3x5" gridded index card, black gellyroll, ultra-fine Sharpie markers. My older daughter drew this full color example for the workshop when she was 11. 


    3x5" index card divider, Golden fluid acrylic paint, white gellyroll

    Supplies: Marker + Paper + Ruler 

    Draw tiny designs with a gel pen, fine nibbed pen or marker. For example, Sharpie ultra-fine markers, Pitt artist pens, Sakura gellyrolls, Sakura microns, UniBall. Work directly in your journal, on artist trading cards or on index cards. 

    This Tangent is a Creative Challenge.

    Just remember that the pattern in each box must be different. Zero repeats within the same index card or page. The good news is that "repeat" is a pretty flexible term here at Daisy Yellow. An arrow facing right and an arrow facing left are two different patterns! Yippee! You can repeat a pattern on two different cards, but not on the same card.

    Let your mind wander... letters, numbers, symbols, geometric patterns, lines, angles, chinese characters, little icons, tiny figures, shapes, anything that will fit in the squares. And while you could theoretically just copy the examples, you will miss the entire point... the idea of digging into the recesses of your mind, searching your surroundings, for ideas.

    How to do an Icon Grid:

    Using a pencil or pen, draw horizontal and vertical lines every 1/4". So that means that if you are using a 3x5” index card {or paper cut to this size} you'll wind up with a grid 20 squares wide by 10 squares tall. Each square will be about 1/4” x 1/4”.  That's 200 blocks on one index card. If this is too small for your beautiful eyes, try squares measuring 1/3". From my own experience, each card will take 1-3 hours of work. As an alternative, you could also draw a grid of icons on a page in your art journal. 

    This detail-intense work might cause hand fatigue. Plan accordingly. I usually space out the work over several days. Don't be surprised if a 200 square index card takes 3-4 hours of work. There is no medal for speed.

    I believe that the more focus you give this work, the more benefit you will gain. 

    Resources for Sparking Ideas:

    Design Work Life + Contour + Dingbat Fonts + The Noun Project



    Inktober #04: Rock Edition

    "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."
    Marcus Aurelius

    Using a dip pen to write quasi-stream-of-consciousness-lyrics including Hotel California. I do not get bogged down with "what to write" on my journal pages. The important stuff is in my mind, what I think, not necessarily what spills out onto the page. I think what you see on most people's public journal pages is by necessity or unconsciously filtered and edited before it gets to the pen. Rarely the real, deep stuff. J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ink. This ink is dreamy; a rich, deep magenta. 

    Thoughts about Led Zeppelin and "Stairway to Heaven" "mandala in J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink. This ink is a cheerful deep red that brightens considerably when worked with water.  

    "Planet Claire" mandala in J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ink. 

    "Zombie" mandalas in J. Herbin Café des Iles ink, a warm chocolate brown that transforms to milk chocolate when worked with water. When I do large pages with small mandalas, I challenge myself to design new mandalas and play with the components and the lines.

    We're almost up-to-date with my Inktober Challenge ink work. This has been a surprisingly fun companion to Zine-writing and chocolate birthday cake baking {two family birthdays this month}. Zine #12 is a-l-m-o-s-t finished. 


    Inktober #03

    "Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"
    Wassily Kandinsky

    Continuing to play with inks this month for the Inktober challenge.

    This is the front with regard to the stitching. I used two colors of thread because I wanted to add to the feelign of confusion. I also did the lettering with different inks and in different directions. 

    This is the bobbin side of the stitching and in some spaces the ink bled through from the front to the back via the actual thread, which is neat-o.

    This is what the page looked like {this is the back} before adding the inked text.

    Super-wide mixed media page cut from a large sheet of Strathmore watercolor paper. Stitching, ink, gouache with a variety of dip pen nibs. Inks: J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir, Lie de Thé, Bleu Pervenche

    A variety of ideas came together all at once. This page really and truly was visualized at the sewing machine where I wanted to SHOUT via stitching, words and paint. So I "drew" the lines for journaling with thread in two colors in uneven fashion. I wanted it to be unclear where to write, where to end each letter, for the paint to add to the confusion and the stitched lines to interact with the ink.


    Inktober Numero Two

    More ink-work for the Inktober Challenge. 

    J. Herbin Perle Noire ink, gouache.

    J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir ink, gouache.

    Gouache, PITT pen.

    J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir ink.

    J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir ink, gouache.

    J. Herbin Perle Noire ink, gouache, all but the 2nd image are in a square Clairefontaine watercolor journal that I forgot I had in my stash! The first and the last are of the same mandala.

    Currently quite absorbed with ink. Pun intended. Playing with the blurs, the bleeds. There are actually more inky pages to share, so stay tuned. You can find a little video of me drawing and painting one of these soft, dreamy mandalas in Tangent #09: Mandala Love.

    Some days I literally want to use every single art material at the exact same time. There's an adrenalin rush as I flitter through a box of maps and hand-painted papers or playfully arrange shapes and colors on a journal page. I thrive on jumping from thing to thing, making incremental progress on all of the things. And sometimes I just want to draw.


    Inktober Numero Uno

    Without realizing it, I'm doing the Inktober Challenge! 

    5x8" writing journal, gelly rolls

    Drawing is so very relaxing.


    Tangent № 09: Mandala Love

    The Art Journal Tangents & Tactics Series continues! The series includes videos and blog posts that are like sessions of an art journaling workshop, with the goal of prompting you to get out your art materials and play. You can join in at any time. Here's the introduction and links to Tangents #01 through #08.

    This week, a short video prompt to "nudge" you to draw a mandala in pencil, pen, ink, crayon, watercolor, colored pencil... anything! Any mandala. I usually draw in pen or ink, rarely in pencil, but here I used a pencil to first create a "secondary" mandala that was almost the same as the ink version. My plan was for both the pencil and the ink to bleed but it turns out the was not water-soluble! The mandala is painted with a dip pen with J Herbin Perle Noire Ink, embellished with water and a tiny bit of gouache. The surface is an 8x8" Clairefontaine watercolor journal.

    To draw this sort of playful mandala, draw a circle on your page. Keep going around and around until it looks fairly round. Then draw some sort of petals around the circle. Between those petals draw shapes or another petal of a different type. You can add patterns and details inside the petals and in between any of the shapes of your mandala. Add the same thing in symmetrical fashion, all the way around. Keep adding something around the circle until you don't wish to add anything else! If your circle is off-center, part of your mandala will be imaginary and be invisible {off the page} and that is completely fine. 

    To accompany this post, I created a video of drawing this mandala.

    You can watch it here or at Vimeo. {2 minutes, music but no words}

    Have a lovely week ahead, full of vermillion and indigo and lots of time for art. And even if you have just a little time for art, it's always a good choice!

    If you are finding value and enjoying the Art Journaling Tangents & Tactics Series, please consider adding a tip via the button below. I appreciate your contribution and your positive feedback for this project!

    Link-Love for Tangent № 09: Mandala Love.

    Create your own hand-drawn or hand-created mandala {it doesn't need to be in dip pen or ink!} in pencil, pen, ink, crayon, watercolor, water-soluble colored pencil, Neocolor, stitched, or by arranging acorns & shells & petals in the garden... Pop back to this post and share your work in the link-love below! You can link to a specific blog post {please, not your home page} or a specific photograph at flickr. You can also share your work on instagram or twitter with hashtag #dyajt.


    Spotted Photo Theme: Nature

    This month, the theme for Hanna's monthly Spotted Photo Theme Challenge is nature. So that was my "focus" when I searched through gazillions of digital photos looking for nature, hidden or on display.

    Florence, Italy.

    One of the larger trees I've seen in Texas.

    These beauties now reside on the back porch.

    Knock-Out roses in the morning light.

    Flowermarket, Ghent, Belgium.

    Sunflower, Texas.

    Loropetalum, one of my favorite plants in Texas.

    More Knock-Out roses in our side garden.

    Faerie house in one of our japanese maple trees, morning sun streaming in through the fence.

    After a long day with the kids planting a container garden.

    Bruges, Belgium.


    I'm playing along with Hanna's monthly Spotted Photo Theme Challenge and each month the topic will change... check Hanna's blog to learn the themes for the next several months.

    The idea is to search through your gazillion photographs to "spot" photos that fit into a particular category. I love the treasure hunt for photographs.


    Spotted Photo Theme: Floors
    Spotted Photo Theme: Kimba
    Spotted Photo Theme: Animals
    Spotted Photo Theme: Color


    The Daily Paper Prompt Update

    Do you know that there are now 67 Daily Paper Prompts? For those keeping stats, that's a whoppping 10% increase in prompt-value. The DPPs are a series of a gazillion prompts to work through, prompts that focus on techniques and ideas that you can add to your creative repetoire. Open-ended ideas to explore in any way you wish. I've decided to add fresh prompts to the DPPs gradually over the month of October. They can be found in the Creative Prompts section of the blog. You can use any type of paper to do the DPPs - loose paper, a bound journal, index cards, etc.

    But. Actually. You can do them in whatever way you wish. What works in your life?

    One of the contributors to the Daisy Yellow Group at Facebook is Tasha Freeman. I love the whimsical & witty way that Tasha interpreted each of the DPPs on her August & September calendars! How fun is that? So DPP #1 is rainbow, see? DPP #2 is window, how cute is that?

    I love this inside-the-calendar thinking which is quite outside the box, allowing Tasha to work on her art in small increments like inchies. So witty and fun, all of it. 

    Which leads me to this. To explain why the challenges & prompts at Daisy Yellow are open-ended and flexible. I want you to build your creaive muscles rather than follow instructions or imaginary rules. 

    Playing & ideas & juggling & possiblities.

    Constraints add a bit of spice to a prompt. They might limit the size, the surface, the colors or the topic. Thinking and strategizing are GOOD for you! They are part of the creative process, mental exercise. It's not a pre-made, one-size-fits-all kit. There's no rulebook. The pieces don't fit nicely together all of the time. There is no #winning or #failure. Art journaling is not something that someone else designs and manages for you. In my experience, actively participating in the creative design and decision process improves creative thinking skills.