I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘If only’, not ‘as long as’. I matter. Full Stop.” – Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer.
A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. www.internationalwomensday.com
Today is International Women’s Day, Furbaby Friday and Dangle Day so what else could I do but combine them all into one design?
I started by sketching them out on dot grid paper. My favourite sketching tool at the moment is any one of the darker tones in the Koh-I-Noor Magic multicoloured pencils range. The thickness of the lead encourages me to be bold in my hand lettering and drawing. It also encourages me to draw on a larger scale than I usually do.
Something else I’ve noticed is that drawing with such a thick (but fun and coloured) pencil,I can’t put all the small details in that appear in the final image in the sketch. It really is a sketch which I can then use as the skeleton, the framework, the architecture for the final design.
The thickness of the pencil also means that my hand lettering is bigger than usual. I can also deliberately wear the lead down into more of a chisel shape which helps with the thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes.
It’s also a pleasure to write with pencil and my writing always feels neater when I do write with a pencil. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.
Anyways, once the design was sketched out, I scanned the design into the Microsoft Surface Studio and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface pen to first ink in the outlines and then add colour, details and texture.
For the colours I kept to a fairly simple colour scheme with pink and purple for the flowers and hearts and the Women’s Day symbol. I just had to use a rainbow to fill the hand lettering (apart from the word ‘women’s’). And the pusscat just had to be mainly white, but I thought peachy-pink stripes would be quite nice.
It’s another beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm late winter day. Daffodils are out, February is almost over and it’s time for me to turn my attention to a design for a BuJo monthly cover.
This is what I came up with today. A simple mandala of sunny yellow daffodils, bright fresh-green leaves and the lovely clear blue skies we’ve had here in the Welsh Valleys over the past few days.
Of course, 1st March is St David’s Day. St David is the patron saint of Wales, and daffodils are the flowers associated with this day.
As a child we used to have a half-day at school for St David’s Day. In the morning there was an Eisteddfod – a kind of concert and competition involving singing and poetry and music and clog dancing and all kinds of creative things. Much of this was done in the Welsh language. And of course My Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau would be the final song that all joined in with – the Welsh National Anthem that is still proudly sung at international rugby matches and other such occasions.
On this day, children went to school dressed in traditional Welsh costume, wearing either a daffodil or leek pinned to their clothing. The boys would try to show how big and tough they were by eating the whole leek raw.
I could’ve tried to draw a red Welsh Dragon for the mandala, but the daffodils are so pretty…maybe I’ll do another with a dragon in, or maybe a dangle design with a dragon as part of it.
This design would make a lovely monthly cover page for a BuJo, or in a planner, diary, journal or on a greeting card or note card.
A jolly day out
Yesterday I had a lovely jolly day out with my friend Liz.
We visited the stone circle at Stanton Drew. I’ve been there before, but Liz hadn’t. It’s bigger in diameter than Stonehenge but smaller than Avebury. It did have several concentric rings of timber posts inside the stones when it was in use, but they have long rotted away.
After that we headed to Wells. Again, I’ve been there but Liz never had. We had a walk through the town and spent some time buying lovely shoes from Moshulu, mine being rather sparkly and lovely!
Cake in the Cathedral cafe, with plenty of tea in my case, coffee in Liz’s, and then it was off to visit the Cathedral. Always nice to see the scissors arch there and the wobbly wonky steps going up to the chapter house.
It was sunny and warm and I managed to get sunburn! Mind you, that happens easily as I’m quite fair-skinned. In the past I’ve even managed to burn and blister through sunblock. I seem to be a bit more resilient. But who would’ve thought I’d’ve got sun burned in February in the UK!
The sunny, mild weather is helping my mood an awful lot. Leaving EMDR on monday having completed processing a trauma that was really painful to me has also helped. I’m still feeling a bit light headed from it today, but that’s a good thing – a change from the low moods, emotional distress and upset I have felt.
Being out and about and spending time with a friend was also a good thing for me. Lots of laughter and silly conversation along side more serious topics too. That’s what happens when you get two quirky, retired science teachers together.
Over the last couple of days we’ve had some glorious late winter, sunny, mild weather. The kind of weather that can uplift my spirits.
It’s also lovely to see the late winter flowers bursting into bloom – snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils – and even celandines and daisies showing the heads in the sunshine. I also spotted the first signs of pussy willow about to burst into its furry delightfulness. The cascading catkins always lift my spirits. They’re all signs that winter is coming to an end and spring is waiting ready to burst forth.
I woke this morning with the idea of a simple monogram dangle design in my head. I knew it had to have a pusscat in it along with a snowdrops. It’s been a while since I included a cat in a dangle design, but today is the perfect day for that. Actually, every day is a perfect day to draw a cute, cuddly cat. A white cat to match the white snowdrops. I also included a paw print charm; my beautiful white cat, Cuffs, certainly left very deep paw prints on my heart and though I said goodbye to him last year after over 16 years with him as my companion he lives on in those paw prints and my memories of him.
The monogram had to be an S for snowdrops and spring. The monogram also had to have a spring flower as part of it’s design.
I’ve chosen quite a pastel and simple colour scheme for this dangle design to reflect the more pastel colours of spring. I also included a black and white chequerboard frame for the monogram, to add some contrast and some ‘weight’ to the design, grounding it onto the paper.
A sunny blue background with the cooler sky colours of winter but with the warmth of the sun seemed appropriate. It reminds me of these glorious days we’ve had that are presaging the coming spring.
I started by sketching my design out with pencil on paper. I scanned this sketch in and then re-drew the design with a technical pen ‘brush’ in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio. Then it was time to colour, again working digitally in this instance.
My final job was to choose a square background and I wanted one that spoke of sunshine and the threshold of spring, so I went for a soft yellow watercolour wash.
The whole task has taken me around 2 hours to do. It’s a simple design, with simple colouring.
If you like this dangle design and would like to learn how to draw your own then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ takes you through the steps and has lots of dangles you can use to create your own designs as well as suggestions for where you could use them.
designed a template for Time To Talk day which is 7th Feb 2019 – a day where people are asked to start a conversation about mental health
designed and coloured a dangle design for the lunar new year
got my emotions, feelings, thoughts somewhat back into near balance after a brutal EMDR session yesterday for my cPTSD; as is often the case the session appears gentle, but it’s not till afterwards I feel the exhaustion, upset, and so on of the traumas being processed
get my Instagram account disabled for a breach of their rules, guidelines or something.
I’m not sure which is the most noteworthy or the biggest success!
I have no idea why Instagram have disabled my account. I’ve tried to contact them but the email address just bounces back, though the Messenger message has gone through. I suspect it may be to do with my rant about copyright infringement, but it was never directed at Instagram or anyone on instagram that I know … sheesh.
So, I guess if Instagram no longer want me there, then so be it. I shan’t be setting up another account with them that’s for sure if I don’t get some idea about what it is I’m supposed to have done!
Anyways, it’s Lunar New Year and the lucky colours for the year are red, green and purple, so that’s why that’s the colour scheme for the dangle. I thought a gold background would go with the opulence of the colours; I’m not so sure about that now!
It was a very quick drawing and colouring session for the dangle design.
Talking of dangle designs, my book A Dangle A Day is now published. In the book I show how to create dangle designs, one step at a time and there’s a whole host of different dangle designs you can use for various celebrations and events throughout the year.
The world is still in the grip of winter; I woke up this morning to a coverlet of snow covering everything. Yet again, I’m am so grateful that I work at home and don’t have to go out until it clears, even if that takes a day or so.
I wanted the colours in the dangle to reflect winter, but I also made Valentine’s Day a focus for the design, and I used that as an opportunity to include some more bits of hand lettering.
I did sketch the design out on Rhodia dot grid paper then scanned it in. I then re-drew the design digitally using my usual trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Book.
Today, I have a template or two to create for a colouring day at the Welsh Office in Cardiff on Time to Talk Day next Thursday. Time to Talk Day is the day where we’re encouraged to talk to people about mental health and well being. I don’t have anything to do on this day for Time to Change Wales, yet, or at any point in the week. I do have other projects to work on as well.
My own anxiety seems to have slid back to it’s usual constant background level after a stressful time earlier this week. It takes time. Mindfulness meditation helps somewhat, but it does take time for those stress response chemicals/hormones to leach out from my body even when I calm myself down.
Friday is dangle day! Well, it is for me. I like to finish the working week off with a cute dangle design, and today I chose to do a greetings card or note card with a decorated envelope.
The media I used were :
pencil and ruler
05 Uniball Unipin pen
Kuretake Zig Wink of Stella brush pen
Claire Fontaine mixed media paper
Distress ink and sponge applicator
Kraft card and envelope
Sticky foam squares
Two self-adhesive gems
White Uniball Signo gel pen
As it’s still winter I thought some snowdrops would be appropriate, along with some crocus buds along with an evergreen wreath. Stars and hearts are always favourites of mine to include, as well as some swirls and spirals.
I chose quite cool and pastel colours for the design, along with very simple shading. The Wink of Stella added a little sparkle to the hearts, stars, beads and snowdrops in the design. A couple of self-adhesive gems added a touch of interest to the ribbon banner.
I used faded jeans Distress Ink to edge the paper panel, which I adhered to another slightly larger panel which I found in my stash of Distress Ink coloured papers ready to use. This one was also edged with faded jeans Distress Ink.
I then used Tombow Mono glue to stick the panel to the card blank.
I drew a simple arrangement of snowdrops and buds on the envelope in white ink and added some spirals and swirls to ‘ground’ the pot. I’m not happy with the spirals/swirls though, but it’s only an envelope so if I send this card to someone I can always decorate another envelope!
Replace the wreath with a photo of the recipient and you’d have a lovely, personalised keepsake of a card.
This design would also make a lovely page in a bujo (bullet journal), planner, scrapbook, or journal too.
My hand lettering is a little rusty; I’ve not done much in the past week or so as my focus has been on mandalas and work for my next book.
This little card and envelope took me around 3 hours to make. I had to remember how to do various things and find my supplies to do them with!
My first task was to make the sentiment banner. I had the idea for this one after someone asked me for recommendations of good books for learning hand lettering as they’re not at all happy with their handwriting.
Hand lettering and handwriting are not the same thing. Hand lettering is something you unconsciously do. Hand lettering is the conscious and deliberate drawing of letters, one by one. Practice, like everything else you want to learn and become good enough at, is important. I suggested that they try printing the sentiments out on their computer or using words cut out of books or magazines or stickers or stamps and ink pads used by card makers until they’re comfortable with their own lettering style.
That led me to thinking that rather than writing the sentiment directly onto the paper that I’m going to draw the dangle design on, what about if I hand lettered it on paper again and again until I’m happy with it and then cut that version out. I could then layer it onto coloured card to make a border, or onto the paper or or or…
So, that’s what I wanted to use here. A variation on what I’ve done in previous cards. I cut two trips of mixed media paper, one around 1cm wide, the other around 0.7cm wide.
On the narrow strip I wrote my sentiment. I did this confidently as I knew if I got it wrong I could always write it again – I’d not ruin my dangle design in any way. I then trimmed the strip close to the start and end of the sentiment.
Next, I coloured the wider strip of paper with victorian velvet Distress Ink. I trimmed one piece so it was just a little longer than the sentiment. Then, I cut two rectangles from the coloured strip. I cut triangular notches into one end of each of the rectangles. I used the sponge applicator to make sure the edges of the coloured pieces, including inside the notches, and the sentiment strip coloured. By doing this, there’s a darker edge to the pieces and this defines them against the background. The final step in making the banner was to glue the pieces together as shown in the photo.
I cut two pieces of mixed media paper for the front of the card. The smaller one I made a little narrower than the sentiment banner; I wanted the ribbon to hang over the edge a little. I used a pencil to mark where I wanted the banner to sit on the card. I then used a pencil to mark out the centre of the card so I could position my dangle centrally.
Above where the ribbon would sit I wanted to place an arrangement of pot plants – succulents and a cacti. Below I wanted a fairly simple dangle, but one that had elements that appeared in the arrangement of pot plants. I drew these with a 05 Uniball Unipin Pen.
I then wanted to colour the two pieces of mixed media paper before I coloured the designs in.
For the larger one I used Peacock Feathers, Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks to colour the whole of the paper panel. I edged this panel with Faded Denim Distress Ink. Then, I lightly sprayed the panel with water so that I’d get some faded watermarks as a texture in the colour.
For the upper panel, I used a very light hand to add the same Distress Inks to the paper, but in a much paler shade. I also edged this panel with the Faded Denim Distress Ink. I realised it hadn’t erased the pencil guidelines before I added the Distress Ink so when I went to erase them they wouldn’t fully erase. I’d forgotten that I had to do that! Still, it adds a bit to the distressed feel of the cards, that and the damage marks that were on the larger panel too.
To colour the dangle design I used Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. I used a fairly limited palette across the design.
The last two steps before assembling the card were add dots of gold ink and some shiny adhesive crystal gems.
To assemble the card I used glue to adhere the lower panel directly to the card. I then used foam squares to adhere the dangle design panel to the lower panel and the sentiment ribbon to the dangle design panel. This card has quite a bit of dimension to it.
My final job was to decorate the envelope. I decided to draw some pot plants and some of the daisies along the bottom. I added some butterflies to the left as the area above the pot plant seemed empty, unbalance. I haven’t coloured the envelope in as I’m in two minds whether to or not. Also, it would be nice to edge the envelope with the Faded Jeans Distress ink too, maybe even colouring the envelope with the same Distress Inks as the card. There’s also the back flap of the envelope that would benefit from a little potted succulent drawing I think.
Distress Inks are water-reactive, so if I do this, once the envelope is addressed a light application of Micro Glaze would seal the colour in so it wouldn’t be damaged in the mail.
I’m actually quite pleased with this card. It’s got me thinking about how to do more of this kind of stuff – card making the ‘Angela’ way!
If you give making cards like this a go, I’d love to see what you create! Happy art-ing, lettering and crafting!