A cute, whimsical dangle design today to say hello Friday, the gateway to the weekend.
Sunshine and grey clouds fill the skies today in the Valleys of South Wales, so if it rains there’s a good chance of rainbows. That’s why I chose a rainbow and sun design to hang the dangles from today. I love rainbows!
A bit of hand lettering in the ribbon banner to proclaim Friday is welcomed. Hearts feature simply because I like hearts and i used little gold beads as spacers.
I also included a bluebell. The hedgerows, shady spaces and woodlands are coloured blue at the moment with all the bluebells that are still flowering. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and every year I’m always wowed by their appearance.
Behind I’ve put pale blue and a little drop shadow so the dangle designs appears to float a little.
A lovely little design that would look rather pretty in a BuJo, planner, journal, diary, scrapbook, greeting card, notecard…the list is as endless as your imagination or needs!
I did draw and hand letter this one using digital media – Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. However, it’s a cute and simple design that would be easy to draw on dot grid paper for sure.
Just a little reminder that my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available from various outlets. It’s my tutorial book that takes you step by step through creating your own dangle designs.
A year has passed me by …
A year ago today I picked up Binky, my then brand new Smartfortwo SmartCar. Just five days before that I said goodbye to my furbaby companion of just over sixteen years – Cuffs the whoosh kittencat.
A year. One whole year. We have so many days in our lives that mark the end of one cycle of time and the start of another.
I still have and greatly enjoy driving Binky.
I still miss Cuffs. I’m still not ready to have another cat yet, for lots of complex reasons, a lot to do with me becoming so attached to my furbaby companion that I’d not do the exploring and travelling that I want to be able to do as I progress in my CPTSD healing journey.
I spent some time drawing this design yesterday (around 4 hours) and didn’t finish it. This morning I woke up wondering if I could tuck a letter away in the design, making it part of the design rather than putting the design around the letter, kind of.
So, I looked at the small-ish space I had left to the right of the design and managed to, rather clumsily, tuck a capital A in amongst the design.
The A is a bit more obvious than I’d wanted, but I worked with what I’d already done to see how it could work, or how I’d mess it up and learn from it.
Yes, I know, another A. There are letters of the alphabet I’ve never either done as a monogram or used in a design of some kind.
I quite like the idea of adding letters as part of the design, either as one occurrence of the letter or by creating a motif of some kind that contains the letter which can then be repeated as part of the overall design.
My mind is ticking over on this one…I definitely need at least one more, if not several more, cuppas before I get my head around my own idea!
I’m positive that this idea is not likely to be unique in the realms of creativity, but it is a new idea for me. Now all I have to do is to follow through with it and see where it leads.
The original drawing is approx 6″ x 6″ (15.5cm x 15.5cm) in size. I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei 04, Unball Unipin 0.1 and Pentel Sign pens to draw the design on Daler Rowney Simply… Sketch extra white paper. The paper isn’t as smooth as I usually like and it tends to ‘grab’ pencil lines, even in soft 2B, but it did the job.
Digitally all I did was to clean up the image and create a transparent background and then add a coloured, textured watercolour paper as a background to the drawing before adding my watermarks.
I do want to do some shading on this drawing, but I also have hankering to draw a mandala. Which will win out with me?
It’s Friday so it’s dangle day! Today I’ve chosen to share with you my May dangle design from my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘
I’ve used the line-art design and just recoloured it. Different colours give a different ‘feel’ to the dangle design!
The design itself is made up of simple, repeating motifs added in chains of charms. Simple, cute, charming, whimsical and pretty too, even if I say so myself.
This would be lovely as the monthly cover page in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, journal, diary.
A different sentiment could be used in the banner to make it a perfect greeting card or note card.
One of the dangles would look rather cute as a bookmark; it’s easy to lengthen the designs.
I took a little trip out on my own yesterday. It’s one of my goals as I progress along my healing journey from CPTSD to get out and about more. I chose to go somewhere familiar to me, the little town of Glastonbury in Somerset.
I was able to wander around shops, but when it came for lunch I totally balked at going into any cafe at all. Issues surrounding my body size rose up and I just couldn’t go into them.
So I went home.
The whole trip exhausted me. More of an emotional exhaustion though from being brave and keeping it together and interacting with people in shops.
When I got home I had something to eat, which then resulted in an upset stomach/digestive system.
I then went to bed and slept.
I’m still exhausted today.
But I did it. I went somewhere a bit further afield (a round trip of nearly 180 miles is a little further afield to me!) by myself.
I’m surprised at how much the trip has exhausted me given I went somewhere I know, that is familiar, and I used to feel quite comfortable there.
All the same, it’s highlighted some issues I have with how I view myself.
Don’t get my wrong, I am overweight, but my mind seems to think I’m the size of a small elephant and I won’t fit anywhere. I have no idea of my body size other than the size of clothes I wear, which tend to be larger than I need as I think I’m larger than I am.
Is this body dysmorphia? I don’t know.
So, when a cafe or shop is busy I tend to walk away fearing there’ll be nowhere I can fit into, as well as me being overwhelmed in crowds and crowded places.
The complex layers of how CPTSD affects my daily life and activities a lot of people take for granted. It also shows some more of the barriers I need to overcome in order to finally live the kind of life I’d like to, one that isn’t quite as limited by CPTSD as it has been through most of my life.
This morning, I’ve spent a pleasant four hours or so drawing this A5 design for the month of May.
It combines some hand lettering along with my signature style of entangled art. I’ve included plenty of floral motifs as here in the Northern Hemisphere the world is filled with flowers, especially on the trees.
Of course I’ve included more abstract motifs that are inspired by seedpods and patterns found in nature and architecture and so on.
I drew the design on white Bristol Board by Winsor and Newton. My pens of choice today were Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and 0.1 Unball Unipin. Also, I’ve used some digital wizardry to add coloured paper as the background, along with my watermarks.
This would be lovely in a BuJo I think. I think it would be lovely in a planner, a journal or diary.
It’s perfect for colouring, as long as you’d be happy to colour across sections that have fine lines in them.
I think if I was more confident with metallic inks and either dip nib pens or fine brushes I’d’ve liked to do the lettering in metallic gold or copper. Of course, I could’ve done the lettering, scanned, laser printed it and then added the patterns around the lettering. I didn’t think of that until now though! Duh!
I’m fairly happy with adding ‘auras’ around the lettering to separate it from the entangled design around/below it.
I’m not sure I’m happy with the design spilling out over the edge as it has done; it doesn’t feel balanced to me, but other than that I’m quite happy with the design. Of course I could edit the image to even up the edges, but it is what it is for now.
EMDR was quite gentle yesterday but lots of body work occurring. During EMDR stored trauma is released through pains and other sensations in the body. Yesterday I had eyes that hurt, part of my head, my throat, my thumbs and wrists. I had a lot of pain where I broke my leg when I was six. Lots of prickling as well as electric shocks in various parts of my body.
I actually felt quite upbeat, if a little tired, when I left the session. But by late evening I was really tired and feeling a bit teary and lonely.
I’m tired today. I didn’t sleep too well last night. I had hoped to go out for the day today, but I really wanted to stay home and draw and I think I’ll be back in bed before too much longer. I really am tired.
One thing that I was asked about, without me mentioning it first, was what I was going to do about getting out and about a bit more! I’m sure my therapist must read my blog. Just joking, I know she doesn’t!
I need to make a list of places I’d like to visit. Familiar places to revisit to ease me back into getting out and about by myself. Then ones not so familiar that could involve some time away from home too.
I will be going out later this week. I have something to do this evening and tomorrow, however. Another reason I am having a quiet day today. I’m not just tired; I know that I’m also emotionally fragile still.
I am determined to heal as much as I can from the CPTSD and to do the things I’d like to do that the inner critic sabotages way too often.
Another lovely day or so spent hand lettering and drawing the etntangled designs around the monograms.
I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on 15cm x 15cm pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.
The Tombow Fudenosuke pens are giving me a much thicker line than I’d usually use, along with variable line width too. I must admit I rather like the bolder lines as they really define the designs. What do you think about my use of bolder line?
I have scanned these, and yesterday’s A and B monograms, so I can add colour digitally, should I choose to do so. At the moment I’m really just enjoying the graphic quality of the black and white line art.
Today is EMDR therapy day for me. My appointment is mid-afternoon and it’s been almost a fortnight since my last one as there’s been a Bank Holiday in between.
I must say that I’ve had quite a contented fortnight. The last session was rather disturbing and distressing and though I was absolutely exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically after it for the rest of the day and part of the next, I think I found my balance much quicker than I expected.
I’ve had my moments, hours, mind you. Often when I’m tired and need a nap. So, I take a nap if I can. That’s one of the fab things about being a self-employed/freelancing artist/illustrator/author. It’s a lot easier to do self-care things when self-care is needed. If I need a nap, I can often take a nap. If I need a day or three to recover from EMDR I can take that time, or at least break the time up so I have chunks of self-care in amongst the work I need to do to fulfil contracts.
I really am grateful for this flexibility, a flexibility that is in sharp contrast with the very structured, timetabled, hamster-wheel existence of my life as a teacher.
Flexibility and freedom – a double edged sword
It’s really difficult for me to make full use of the flexibility and freedom I have. I often have an urge to go out somewhere, but I can never decide on where to go, or when to go, or whether I should even bother going as really, what do I want to go there for. Telling myself it’s to sketch, draw, photograph, gain inspiration, for the experience, because I like to walk when I do go and walk, because being in nature is good for my emotional and mental wellbeing, or just because I CAN just doesn’t cut it with the problems that arise from the CPTSD, especially anxiety and social anxiety that forms part of the experience of being a survivor of trauma.
Sometimes I manage to sneak up on myself and surprise myself and get out and about and visit somewhere either familiar or new to me.
More often than not the inner critic manages to talk me out of it.
I think I need to make a list of places close to me, and a bit further away, that I’d like to visit. A list that contains both familiar and unfamiliar places.
Familiar places are less stressful for me to visit on my own. Knowing my way around, knowing where I can enjoy lunch or tea, knowing where I can park my car and knowing I can find my way back to the car, and so on and so forth makes it a much easier experience for me.
Going somewhere unfamiliar increases stress for me as simple things like going into an unfamiliar cafe for some tea or lunch causes me huge anxiety when I’m by myself. The worry about not being able to find my way back to my car is another added source of anxiety too. Even going into unfamiliar shops, cathedrals, museums and so on provokes anxiety in me.
It’s that old fear from being a bullied, abused child that rises up where I worry if I’ll get hurtful comments from people, if I’ll make a fool of myself in some way and people will laugh, if they’ll pass comment about my choice of food or tea.
None of these things have happened to me as an adult, yet the anxiety that lurks within me rises up and tells me again and again that these things may happen. The voice of my anxiety, of my inner critic, can paralyse me or cause me to flee back home without even getting out of my car, that’s if I even manage to drive to where I’d like to go.
If I have company I’m really brave. I’m often the first to enter a cafe or similar and ask for a table and so on. I’m the one who will bravely explore a new cathedral or museum or place quite eagerly.
On my own though, the inner critic is way too strong as I feel vulnerable. As vulnerable as I did when I was a child and all the way through my adult life.
I can overcome this vulnerability, the anxiety, if there is a purpose to my trip, such as giving an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I do it because I don’t want to let others down (as well as because I believe in the mission of Time to Change Wales).
Part of my anxiety is that I never, or rarely, ask anyone to go out with me (not go out in a romantic sense, just go out as in a jolly day out visiting somewhere of mutual interest and enjoying pleasant company). The fear of rejection is still too huge. I’m also very much aware that people I’d call friends and family are busy with their own family and work and so on, and I never, ever, want to become a burden to anyone.
That’s something that I learned early in my life – not to bother anyone with my needs or problems or issues. It’s something as an adult I’ve not gotten over yet.
I also am aware that there are trips I need to make solo. I like to sit and draw and write in places I visit. I can lose myself in this for a long time, I can take as much time as I need to look at . If I’m with someone I don’t want to spoil their day by indulging myself in such an activity. If I’m by myself I don’t have to worry about them not enjoying themselves as much as they could, so I tend to put my needs completely to one side to make sure they’re happy.
Being a people pleaser is part of the CPTSD. It’s what I did to try to gain approval of people who would never approve of anything I did or said or how I looked. Rejection, ridicule, being put down was par for the course no matter what I did. That didn’t stop me trying to please others, to make sure they were happy as if they were happy then perhaps I’d have an easier time of it and wouldn’t be pushed away yet again.
CPTSD sure messes a person up.
I know that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety who are able to do these simple, everyday, taken for granted things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea. They’re able to overcome that anxiety and don’t buy into it’s messages.
I’ve not learned to overcome it or have disempowered the inner critic enough that I can do these simple everyday things, well not yet. I think the critic has a way to go to be disempowered first.
Still, there are days when I’ll be able to sneak up on myself and head out and actually visit places, sketchbook and visual BuJo in my bag, and take that time and will wonder at how I don’t do things like that more often as it’s really not that bad.
I hope those days will eventually outweigh the days where the inner critic wins out.
Until that days comes I just need to be kind to myself and not beat myself up about giving in to the inner critic once again and remind myself a day will soon come where through sneakery or just disempowering the inner critic enough that I can go out.