Sketching Tangles of Headaches

February 28, 2011

Yet, it is strangely addicting.

I'm talking about Celtic Knotwork!

This is my latest obsession. Couldn't have picked a better time, either, right? St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner!

I first tried knotwork on the 5th of February (that's the European way of writing dates... sounds much prettier than Febuary 5th, doesn't it?).

Here is a peek into my sketchbook. All of these drawings are from the weekend of the 5th of February (so, you're looking at first attempts... some rather pitiful):

The green ones in the left corner are the very, very first.

Trying my hand at some "trinity knots." My compass got it's work cut out for it!

...and here I experimented with "walls" and coloring the background. With sharpie. Which bled through and ruined three pages of my sketchbook.

Always use a bleeding sheet (old, thick, ruin-able paper) behind the page you are Sharpie-ing. Just sayin'.

Normally, I hate grids. I. do. not. like. them. Sam-I-Am.

When it comes to art, I can't stand that grid! Every art book I have read says to "use a grid in order to make your proportions proper."

I don't know about you, but I like to eye things. Ever since I was little and first started doing artwork, I've kind of trained myself to dissect what I see into both 3D and 2D shapes. Does that sound weird?

If I'm drawing a face, I "pull apart" the the shape in my head. I see sphere of the face... the circular shape it forms... Noses are made up of three small spheres, which I can draw as circles and shade into 3D-ness. Eyes are usually an eye's distance apart, and the top of my cousin's ear is the same height as his eyebrow's arch peak...

So, I've always hated that greatly-honored grid, because I have my own way of doing things. Or maybe my little mind is jealous of the almighty grid.

But for celtic knotwork, you have to draw grids. Have to, have to, have to. You get some kind of wonky spaghetti mess if you don't. It will look like your baby brother dropped his lunch all over your sketchbook. You don't want that. Seriously. Draw grids. Use them.

Each knot took me a good 15+ minutes to make. 

I drew the grids, using big and small dots and a ruler for guidelines... Then I drew a criss-cross pattern... sketched in the walls... traced everything with a darker pencil (over, under, over, under, over, under, get really dizzy)... trace that in pen... erase the pencil lines... color it in...

It sounds long and boring, and it might be, but it's strangely calm and soothing. :)

I turned on a "Celtic Thunder" station on Pandora while drawing these knots. Cuddled up in a blanket, drawing in pen on a warmly lit desk while my mind wandered, I couldn't have been happier. This is why I love art...

I haven't done much more knotwork since the fifth of Febuary, but this week I am going to give myself a challenge-- in the (very little) freetime I have, I will try to do some more knotwork. I'll share links to helpful tutorials and show some blow-by-blow pictures. Sound good?

So... the next week or two is now officially dubbed NO-SPAGHETTI TANGLES a.k.a. CELTIC KNOTWORK CHALLENGE.

I'll do a bit of knotwork to share...

And... I would like YOU to share any knotwork you have done! 

Leave a comment with a link to your own blog, flickr, etc. You can also share inspirational knotwork pictures other artists have done, tutorials.... etc.  Be sure to say where the link is to. We don't want any trolls around my fairy combox!

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  1. I just found this post as well. You know, I may just have to sketch some knots now as part of my St. Patricks Day celebration! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  2. Stopping by from Aquariann's blog hop...your celtic knots make it look both frustrating and relaxing at the same time! Celtic knotwork is beautiful to look at and yours are pretty, too.


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