Lotti Brown Designs

-- Artist & Designer - Author & Teacher of Drawing Your Way --

personal musings

Play at Art with a Fun No-Drawing Drawing Exercise

drawings, experiments, inspiration, tutorials, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

Make better art by making it ‘wrong’, feeling playful, and having fun…

Today I’m looking at using creativity and play to get better at drawing - and share with you my no-drawing drawing exercise… click here to see what it’s all about…

Sometimes we improve our drawing skills just by being willing to make mistakes, be curious and have fun…

Sometimes we improve our drawing skills just by being willing to make mistakes, be curious and have fun…

This is part of my free ‘Start Drawing’ resource to help you make skillful, personal, and meaningful drawings… you can catch up on all the lessons so far, here…

Stay updated with new drawing resources plus news about my own art - sign up to my free email newsletter below… usually comes out around once a month…

Joyful Blooming - New Art Collection

artworks, behind the scenes, inspiration, joyful blooming, nature, new collections, personal musings, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

I love looking at and drawing flowers - the delicacy, the colours, their beauty and their energy to bloom and shine.

Drawing flowers

Drawing flowers

But, for me, my Joyful Blooming collection also has a much more personal resonance...

Joyful Blooming art collection - floral art

Joyful Blooming art collection - floral art

It's about when we come into our own, having the confidence to bloom in our own true colours and with all our energy - for ourselves and for others - being the best we can be, even if we're perhaps not as tall as some others, as bright, as strong, or as beautiful...

And trusting that we can share something of what makes us uniquely beautiful in our own way, so that this might inspire joy to others and even to ourselves.

Hollyhocks art print by Lotti Brown

Hollyhocks art print by Lotti Brown

It's taken me so long to feel able to start to grow as myself and to bloom.

I've also had to learn to prioritise my own self care so that I can use my precious energies for my blooming…

Making self care important isn't about standing alone but in finding those places where you can flourish and bloom together, like a beautiful garden.

Beautiful flowers, all different, enrich our lives

Beautiful flowers, all different, enrich our lives

It's a personal journey for us all, but everyone benefits when we each bloom in our own special way. 

Creating this collection has actually required far more deep soul searching than I would ever have imagined)... and I thought it was just going to be all about pretty flowers!!

Flower art 'Joyful Blooming' collection by Lotti Brown

Flower art 'Joyful Blooming' collection by Lotti Brown

Ultimately, I've learned that the blooming requires a quiet time, a fallow time, a growing, a nurturing, maturing, recovery and recuperation, and an acceptance of the quiet of not-blooming, just as much as the confidence to 'just bloom'.

Wisterian art by Lotti Brown

Wisterian art by Lotti Brown

Flowers seem all the more precious to me now, and I see in them a reflection of our human nature and our potential to shine, bloom, and share love and joy...

You can see more of my Joyful Blooming collection in my store here...

Let Me Take You By the Hand

behind the scenes, personal musings, artworks, natureCharlotte Brown

When I create my art, I want to take you by the hand and show you all the little awesome things that I see in nature.

Sometimes we get too busy to see them, or too distracted by other things going on. One of the jobs of an artist is to see the little things that other people sometimes miss - and to share them with the world...

Detail from my Wren and Physalis artwork

Detail from my Wren and Physalis artwork

The act of creating art, for me, is just me saying:

"I saw this. It made me feel happy (or serene, or joyful, or intrigued).

I want to share it with you."

I anchor this emotion inside myself by re-creating it in art - the thing that inspired it, and the emotion itself, are both what I try to put into the artwork...

Now that that special feeling, that emotion, are in a tangible form, I can share this emotion with you - I can properly tell you about what I saw and how I felt - and share it all with you.

"I want to show you the awesomeness of nature - how I see it, how I feel it - I want you to see it too, share it with me, experience it right alongside me..."

I hope that you enjoy experiencing nature along with me and that it makes you as happy as it makes me... :)

Is Digital Art Real Art..?

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, inspiration, nature, new collections, personal musings, sneak peekCharlotte BrownComment

I often get asked about digital art… how it’s created? …what part does the computer play? …and even if it should be considered ‘real’ art at all!?

Even though art technologies have been around for decades now, they’re still not widely understood, and most people, including many artists, have never had the opportunity to use them.

Of course, there are very many ways of using technology to create art – and I only know a tiny bit really – enough to create the work I want to create…. So we can’t cover absolutely all digital techniques here!

But I do want to share with you how I use digital art technologies to create art – and why I’m certain that this art form should definitely be considered ‘real art’.

My own artworks all actually start well away from the computer, which isn't always the case for digital art, but is still quite common these days as artists look to take the best of traditional and digital techniques.

I sit down with pen and paper – I draw and add colour. I use a black fine-liner pen, and promarker inks. I find drawing in this traditional way allows me to draw naturally and in my own particular drawing style.

I love to draw so I make it the basis of my digital art style

I think using these ‘traditional’ drawing methods to create the artwork gets the hand-drawn feel into the final artwork, and creates a unique textural quality that can be hard to create in pieces created solely on the computer.

Drawing some forsythia flowers to put with my iris drawings

I draw each flower or bird separately, as this makes them much easier to work with once they are in the computer.

Sometimes more than 20 individual drawings are put together to create a single artwork

I scan each drawing into the computer, and import them into Adobe Illustrator using the ‘Image Trace’ command, which vectorises the scanned image. 

Importing the scanned drawings into the computer programme

This means that it translates the marks into a format that can be understood by the programme software. This means I can use the software to manipulate it, change scale, and even colours.

The settings I choose when vectorising control how the drawing will appear, so I usually play around with these a bit, to make sure it looks how I want.

The background white page needs removing once the drawings have been vectorised.

Once it’s scanned and vectorised, each drawing needs the white paper behind it separating from the artwork and deleting (see images above and below), so that we can use each drawing free of the background.

Luckily as it's on the computer screen we can zoom in to check for stray bits of white from the paper background that was scanned in along with the drawing.

I've put a coloured background in, so that I can see the motifs (drawings) clearly. Then I can start moving them around, and resizing them to create the layout. It’s easy to duplicate the motif, and it can be flipped or rotated to give variety, too.

My iris drawings are now ready to be moved about on the screen to create the layout

I usually work on the layout first, before turning my attention to the colours...

Motifs/drawings all cleaned up and ready to start the design

Creating an initial framework for the layout/composition

Although the drawings are scanned in ready coloured from my drawings on paper, the colours can seem washed-out from the scanning and vectorisation process

I usually start by making them more saturated, and most often I work to adjust each colour individually, selecting it and using the colour sliders to select a colour I like, to see the effect.

Changing the colours, making them stronger, and more textural

Sometimes I work with colour palettes I created at an earlier date, and change all or some of the colours I drew originally to colours from this palette. I like the colours in my artworks to have a bit of a ‘shimmer’ to them, so it can take many experiments to get the right effect.

Experimenting with colours - work in progress

I usually create the background towards the end, using my drawings as the basis to create coloured shapes that give a textural effect. I love to try out the opacities feature to make these shapes semi-transparent, and a bit more interesting.

Trying out a darker version - not sure!!

I also often make the coloured background semi-transparent, too, and put a scan of a piece of fabric I’ve hand-painted in inks, behind the background. This creates depth and texture in the background.

This calls for lots of color tweaks for the background layers as I work hard to get an overall effect that gives the feeling I’m aiming to create.

If I’m creating a repeating pattern I will need to make sure that each edge of my rectangular swatch matches exactly to the opposite edge, so that everything matches up when it’s repeated out.  I also need to try out the repeat, and tweak many times, to make sure there are no unattractive ‘lines’ or ‘holes’ appearing in the patterns. This stage can sometimes take very many hours.

Once I’m happy with the design, or art piece, it’s saved as a low-resolution, web-friendly image, and also exported as a high quality PNG or TIFF, suitable for print.

Saving a version of the file - this isn't the final version - still more tweaking!

Although the artwork is created digitally, it only exists to eventually be printed out in physical format – whether this is a high quality giclee print for framing, a greetings card, or even put onto wallpaper or fabric.

In this way, the digital component is just another tool that the human artist uses – the mouse is the equivalent of the paintbrush or palette knife, and the screen the canvas. The computer doesn’t create the artwork, it’s simply a medium that the artist can manipulate, to make the vision in his or her head into a physical reality that others can see too.

Digital art still uses the artist’s skill at composition, draughtsmanship and colour. The machine can’t create an artwork from nothing. The human artist makes decisions, and creates the piece from their personal vision.

You will be able to see the final version coming soon to my online store

I must admit, it is nice, though, to be able to tweak layouts until they look right – and to change colours easily. This is vital, too, for creating patterns and designs from my artwork – moving motifs precisely to create repeating patterns, and developing alternative colourways quickly and easily.

I think this is one of the main advantages of creating art digitally (at least in part) – it gives the utmost flexibility to the artist, which is a wonderful gift.

I love the hands-on, ‘traditional’ drawing I do with pens and paper most of all – it’s an intense experience, and I feel really involved, and very connected to my subject.

I really do love the digital bit that comes afterwards, too – with so much scope for experimental play, trial and error, to see just where I can push my art.

Take a look at the final print in my nature and birds collection also available in my print store or on printed products, home wares and accessories here…

Let me know how you like to create your art? Do you like using computers in your art? What part do they play in your art?

Do you think that digitally created art is ‘real art’? Let me know in the comments right below the post… 

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Is it important to make time and space for art & beautiful things?

nature, personal musings, patterns, behind the scenes, well beingCharlotte BrownComment

I’ve been feeling quite contemplative this week… 

With all the horror that’s happening in so many parts of the world at the moment, and becoming increasingly closer to home for so many of us in Europe, I’ve been distracted. I’m finding it quite difficult to concentrate on artwork, designing and creating beautiful things… 

I worry it can seem a little irrelevant, not to mention irreverent, to appreciate what’s beautiful in the world. Finding beauty in anything - whether it’s a flower or a fallen leaf, a painting or a beautiful building - while people are in fear for their lives, or undertaking such long, terrifying journeys towards potential safety, with only an uncertain welcome waiting at the end… well, it can seem inappropriate.

Of course, people in trouble need to be helped. There’s no question of looking the other way, but that doesn’t mean we should stop appreciating our world and our culture…

Our art and culture is part of our humanity

I actually think in times like these it’s more important than ever to take care of, nourish and nurture our humanity… because art is humanity!

Humans create art. It’s one of the things we do that distinguishes us from animals.

Cave paintings and carvings on stones, bones and more show us that art is important to humans.

It’s a huge part of what makes us who we are.

In fact, archaeologists look for evidence of art as one of the signals to identify humankind from the great apes...

Art is part of what makes us human


I think creating (or appreciating) art demonstrates a special sensitivity to the world around us - whether admiring the beautiful world of nature, or commenting on the society of today – it’s a vital part of our culture.

To me, art is more than just a pictorial or physical representation – art is created with thought, and emotion. Art creates thought and emotion in those who encounter it. It stimulates our minds and makes us feel a connection to our world and to each other.

Art promotes creativity, open minds and free and creative thought.

Art can connect us to other people and helps us to express ideas

Art gives us pleasure – it can make us feel happy, give us comfort, nourish our souls in trying times – for this it is so very precious to humanity. Art gives us our humanity – something that we must all try to hold onto.

I think artist Pablo Picasso says it best of all when he said:

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Art shines the light of humanity into our lives – I feel we need art so much more when it’s not just the dust of daily life we need to clean from our souls…

What does art mean to you? Do you take time to appreciate beauty in the world around you? Does it make a difference to how you feel?

Art helps you to connect with and value nature and the world around you...

Please let me know your thoughts and feelings… I’d love to know what you think about the topic… 
Just share your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page, below…