A bit more done on this work today and yesterday evening. As usual my tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
So, how are you today Angela?
I’m tired. EMDR yesterday was very, very emotional and draining. The negative thought I started with was that I’m a failure. That went to I’m never good enough for anyone.
I was getting so emotionally upset (distressed) that my therapist voiced quite a bit of concern about me throughout the process and kind of called it to a halt to do something different, but still working with it all.
At the start of the session it was noted how well I was looking, and my therapist has a feeling she’ll be losing me soon … which is signs I really am making good progress. I also know that’s part of the therapy process, preparing the client for therapy coming to an end…
So, all’s good. I’m emotional today, but there’s that contentedness there, and not a lot of anxiety either.
I’ve had weird dreams overnight, and memories cropping up I thought I’d firmly locked away. They’re all connected to the negative belief, however. So, I suspect processing is still going on.
So onwards I go towards healing and being good enough. More importantly believing I am good enough.
Three years ago I spent time with friends from a school I’d taught at for 27 years. As I look back on my time there it mostly seems a distant memory.
My life has changed in so many ways.
Being self-employed as an artist, illustrator and author is a wonderful thing, it barely feels like work as it is something I love to do for pleasure as well as to contracts. I choose my own workload and what I wish to do for the day.
There’s no appalling attitudes or behaviour to deal with (well rarely).
Healing from CPTSD is continuing, and perhaps the source of so many, many positive changes for me.
Three years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would ever feel content with a really low level of anxiety. I rarely ever go to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up. That was a nearly daily occurrence in the several years marking my leaving teaching for good after two huge ‘breakdowns’ where I had nearly broken my mind and my will through struggling in work and with a sharply declining mental and emotional health.
Looking back on my life, my mental and emotional health were never good; it’s always been degrees of how bad they’ve been. The mask of smiling happiness and competence was constructed at an early age. I bought into the lie of that mask and it took my mind and emotions nearly breaking to make me face up to that fact that I had some serious problems mentally and emotionally.
I lost my ability to read. Rather, I lost my ability to make sense, process, and remember what I was reading. I could hear the words in my mind but they may just as well have been in an alien tongue. It’s only in recent months that my ability to read and take in what I’m reading has been returning. It’s still hard work, but I persevere.
For over two years I couldn’t drive past the school where I talked, even in night time. I now can. A sign of healing and progress I think.
Gradually, I’m finding the strength and courage to leave my home more often by myself, not just for appointments but just because I can. It’s slow progress, but it’s happening. I get startled into hyper-vigilance still fairly easy, and panic attacks can ensue and I go into full flight mode back to the safety of my car or home. They seem to happen less often though, but they’re still there.
There are still many things that need healing or strengthening with me. Such as finding the confidence and belief in myself to sell my art and promote it.
I still carry many negative beliefs about myself; they’re like a many headed monster that when one head is slayed another becomes visible that was hidden in the crowd of faces.
However, eventually there will be no place these faces can hide, no places for the negative beliefs to hide, and the end will be in sight.
I will get there. It just takes some time.
Thanks to my fabulous EMDR therapist, I’m improving all the time. Even when what seems like a backwards step at the time seems to result in more forwards movement given enough time.
Yes, in three years my life has changed noticeably, and for the better, I think.
About the art…
The little bit of art above is my newest work in progress (WIP). I couldn’t find my ‘Be Brave’ art yesterday and thought I’d start a new one. Today, ‘Be Brave’ was very obviously in the folder for July’s artwork. I just couldn’t see it for looking!
The swirly bits will be changed on this one. They’re not working out for me the way I hoped they would. I will work it out though.
Of course, I’m using my trifecta of tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Pen.
It’s definitely a sampler of patterns, ideas, and playing around with digital techniques.
It is, however, quite an accomplishment – at more than one point along the way I just wanted to give up on it.
Looking at it now, there are parts I’d want to change, such as that ‘waterfall’ of green scales in the bottom centre of the A.
I have learned quite a few things, and put together other stuff too in a simpler way.
I’ve also learned that starting with a sketch may be a good idea in future – a sketch with at least the main beams of the supporting structure and main design elements in place, even if just in outline shape form.
At one point, I’d had an idea about continuing some of the ‘tubes’ to the edge of the canvas, maybe making them appear as if they were diving down into the paper, and popping up along their path, acting like laces holding the crazy A down.
However, I didn’t do that this time. Matching up colours, shading, patterns etc would be a tad awkward and frustrating for me, especially if I just wanted to carry the ‘tube’ on from the edge of the letter.
It is, however, something I can consider trying to do in the future.
Despite me thinking it yesterday, I haven’t left any white space in the letter itself, just leaving the white space around it. I tried, but it just didn’t feel quite right in this particular design.
I have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on this – many tens of hours I would think – with very few frustrations along the way.
I think I have some fish to finish along with the ‘Be Brave’ design I was working on before I wandered off to have a go at this idea for a crazily entangled monogram.
So, between them and work for the next colouring book I have quite a bit of stuff to keep me busy for sure.
All I need to say now is that I used my usual trio of tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Easy listening playlist on Spotify, creating art. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning!
I’ve been working at this monogram now for several days. It is coming along.
It really feels like a an embroidery sampler where the learning embroiderer would try out different patterns and shapes and still create something beautiful.
For me, the sampler is more about out different ideas as they come to me and increasing my knowledge and understanding of the digital art tools available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Of course being able to draw directly on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio with a Surface Pen makes creating digital art a dream for me; it’s like working with pens and pencils and so on on paper. However, I’m able to do things I don’t think I’d ever be able to do with traditional media.
I still love working with pen on paper; I currently have one drawing on the go and I may convert it into a digital artwork when it’s done.
Exploring the realms of digital art has opened doors to me that have expanded my creativity in ways I never could have imaged previously.
Yes, I learn by doing myself rather than following tutorials. My experience of watching tutorials is that I end up more confused than I started.
Don’t get me wrong, the ones I watched were excellent. However, they are by people who really know the software and what everything does, and they speak to people who have some idea of it all.
Besides, I want to do art my way, and these artists tend to show how they do things and that often doesn’t make any sense to me.
I’m grateful they share, and one day I may watch some more, but for now the exploration in my own realms of creativity is what is best for me.
As I look at my sampler monogram, I can see how I’m developing my own digital art voice in terms of techniques and effects that suit my style of rather intricate, abstract art based on patterns, curves, swirls and arches, along with a lot of motifs based on nature.
The plain curves in this monogram are adding some much needed scaffolding or girders to support and separate the patterns. Some of the fancily patterned curves are getting lost in the crazy intricacy of adjoining sections.
There are no individual sections that I really don’t like. However, some combinations of sections don’t seem to gel well, at least not to my eye.
What I do love is the layers of diversity of colour and pattern. Each glance reveals something new, whether it’s the way I’ve played with light and shadow, the way patterns look together, or the way colours I’d not normally put together seem to work together.
However, as this is turning out to be a sampler, then that’s fine. It’s all learning for me, and that’s good.
I’ve noticed I’ve not left any white space in this design, so far. I may do that in the area that is left to complete, just to contrast with the pattern-dense areas done so far.
It is a fascinating journey for me, and while this may not be an artwork that I’d offer for sale at redbubble.com or zippi, it’s something that is worth its weight in gold for me in terms of lessons learned and also gaining some confidence in my style of digital art.
Congratulations to you all as you’ve made it through another week and the weekend is upon us!
I made it a cute and simple design today. Easy motifs to draw. Simple hand lettering. Even the colouring is simple as I used flat colours with the only gradient being behind the sentiment.
My first step is to write the sentiment; I use this as the anchor for the rest of the design. I just used simple letters today; I made them all the same height. Actually, this is my favourite way of lettering sentiments; I think it looks quite cute and whimsical.
Also, I used squared paper as a guide for my design. It helps to keep my lettering on the level (and the letters the same height in this case). It also helps to keep the dangles vertical and the design symmetrical.
My sketch was really basic. I used concentric semi-circles for the leafy bush the flowers are growing out of. I used circles for the flower placement. I drew really sketchy butterflies. I drew lines for the dangles and placed the main motifs on them.
Once I was happy with the sketch, I inked it in using a digital brush pen in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Varying pressure on the pen varies the line width. I think it adds a bit more human character to the drawing, and a bit more interest.
During the inking phase, I refined my sketch – adding petals to the flowers, detail to the leaves and groups of beads to complete the dangle.
Once I was happy with the inked design, it was time to add colour.
I chose fairly pastel colours with a summery feel for the design. Also, I used the same colours above and below the sentiment to give a more coherent design. I did add two extra colours to the dangles to give some more variety in the beads that join the dangles.
My final task was to add a bit of colour behind the dangle design. This is a simple gradient from a pale yellow, to aqua to blue.
I didn’t add any drop shadows this week – I wanted to keep the design simple.
And it really is simple to draw, honestly! Have a go! I’d love to see what you create using this as inspiration, be it a card, BuJo page, journal page, in a scrapbook, diary or any other way you can think of to use dangles. Post on my facebook page or tag me on Instagram!
Just a little reminder that I have a book called ‘A Dangle A Day‘ if you’d like to find out a little more about drawing and using dangle designs.
I’ve managed to get a bit more of this design done today.
I’m finding I’m enjoying working ‘freeform’ i.e. without a sketch. I’m just adding shapes and patterns that I particularly like and trying out colour combinations that may work well together and alongside others.
Also, I’m finding that the more I work digitally, the more my head is getting around this digital lark.
As usual, my digital tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen along with a Surface Studio.
So Angela, how are you today?
I had a good night’s sleep, sleeping through to nearly 8 am from just before midnight. I felt really upbeat and ticketty boo, once I’d come around. It takes me ages to wake up properly these days and I have no idea when that crept up on me!
All the same, I felt up to some ‘adulting’. Today, that involved posting a couple of packages off and doing some shopping.
I also have to say that I’m quite content, and today I don’t seem to have much anxiety. I noticed yesterday that I kept trying to find it or to make myself anxious so that I could feel it.
When did this happen that the anxiety has not vanished but diminished noticeably.
And here’s me thinking that Monday’s EMDR didn’t have much of an effect …
And that is all I have to say about that today, other than I do have to go and do a bit more ‘adulting’ in the form of cooking a healthy meal. I really fancy a curry … one with lots and lots of veggies!
I’ve got a bit more work done on this entangled monogram. It’s coming along fairly well, though I’m still not at all sure about the colour choices. Mind you, that often happens with me and I persevere and it works out fine at the end.
As usual my trio of digital tools are : Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
So Angela, how are you today?
I’m still really, really tired. I got to bed early-ish (for me). I had weird dreams again. That’s the third night in a row.
I could just go back to bed, but I can’t. I’m taking my sister out for lunch and she’ll be arriving soon.
I’m still content, but there’s a shadow there too. It may be tiredness. It may be the inner critic taking advantage of my tiredness. It may be that sense of deflation after EMDR. Or it could be any combination of these or something else entirely!
What I do know is that I’ll focus on that contented feeling that is there, if a little in the background today.
It’s not that long ago that this kind of tiredness would have me really down in the dumps, sad, miserable, fed up. I’m tired, but my lack of energy is due to tiredness, some of which is emotional tiredness after EMDR. It is taking a while for me to recover this week.
That’s OK though, for recover I will. I’ll soon be full of energy (relatively speaking) once again.