Thinking of you – a dangle design card

© Angela Porter 2019

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!

Lots of ideas for dangle designs are shown in my book
‘A Dangle A Day’.

‘Amazing’ – Hand Lettering

© Angela Porter 2019

My morning warm up art session today was this little bit of hand lettering. I had a completely different idea in mind when I started this off but, as often happens, the creative energy flowed in a different direction.

I had wanted to do a monogram, perhaps with a dangle or maybe one set into a pattern border as a drop capital to a quote.

As I worked on first the pencil outline of the A, and then inking it in using fine and extra fine fountain pens filled with black ink, the lines that flowed out dictated the form of the letter rather than me consciously trying to force it into what I thought I wanted to create.

I think I’ve over patterned the inner space of the monogram, or not used the right kind of patterns there. However, it’ll do.

I wanted to use some birdwing copper FW Pearlescent ink from Daler-Rowney to add metallic highlights with a dip pen. I soon found out that dip pens and parchment paper that has been coloured with black ink don’t work well together. So, I ended up with the copper highlights at the bottom of the letters that fade up naturally. Adding dots of metallic colour to the monogram was easier on the unworked parchment. Over the black ink dots it wasn’t so easy. I’m also not sure that the ‘string of beads’ in the monogram actually works but I know it’s missing something. I need some time to reflect on this. As I do about adding any more copper highlights to it. I may yet decide to add some dangles to the word.

On the whole, I’m quite happy with how this turned out. I could add ‘You are’ in small letters above the letters. Either way, I think this would make a lovely notecard. I also think it could be used in a bujo, planner, journal, scrapbook or as framed art. I think I need to review the card making and mixed media techniques I once knew and have sidelined to focus on other aspects of art and adapt them to my current needs/ideas.

Monogram D entangled design (with some little dangles)

I had a day or two of subconscious reflection on how to pattern around a letter after not being all that happy with the lower case b design. So, I wanted to put my vague ideas into practice.

Yes, they were vague ideas, no clear idea of how I wanted things to look, but I just wanted to try them out and see where they led.

I started with a faint pencil outline of an uncial style letter d, and then used a fine nibbed Rotring Art Pen with black ink to draw the design with.

I used the pencil line as a guide to where the entangled designs would either butt up to the edge, spill over the edge or curl over it and I just let the designs flow and grow. I also left the design in an organic shape rather than working to a square or rectangular shape.

I did work on a piece of A4 paper, but the design is a little over a quarter of the size of the paper. I can’t believe I did such teeny-tiny drawings again! I really enjoyed it!

In some places I’ve made the edge too hard, too linear. In one place I tried to correct that (lower left of the d) by adding more bits to the pattern, but that linear line is still evident. However, it’s all learning.

After scanning in, I wanted to add some texture and a bit of colour to that letter to help it stand out more. I may try doing the reverse as in colouring the design in and leaving the letter plain later. I may even try using some watercolour brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I have designated friday as #dangleday, and I did add some tiny, fine danglesto the design. Dangles don’t always have to be big and fancy or a prominent feature of designs, like in my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘.

Monogram B Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2019

Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).

By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!

For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.

I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.

Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.

Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old  Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.

I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!

It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.

Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.

An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.

I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.

It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.

I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.

I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.

Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.

When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design

Less than a week now until ‘A Dangle A Day’ is released – my book showing how you too can create dangle designs, one step at a time!

Entangled Art ‘b’

© Angela Porter 2-19

Yesterday, I just felt the need to do a bit of an entangled drawing. So, I started with the lower case b and added designs around it.

Not at all sure this works. The letter just looks ‘plonked’ on top of the design rather than part of it.

I do like the entangled stuff though.

Always something to learn – that’s my piece of Wednesday Wisdom. If you don’t try something, you never know if you can either do it or if it’ll work out. This one isn’t one of my better lettering adventures, but, I can reflect on what I like and what I don’t like and then try again another time.

I’m not at all sure I can ‘fix’ this one, but I can try again.

For this one I used Daler Rowney Bristol Board along with 08 Unipin Uniball and 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens.

Monogram J Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2018

Yesterday I said I wanted to turn one of the J monograms into a dangle design, and that’s exactly what I’ve done here!

I do seem to be favouring teals and pink as a colour combination for these letters lately. The colours were added using a combination of Copic markers and Chameleon Color Tones pencils. Again, I chose to use Copics simply because I wanted a ‘wash’ of pale colour to which I could add shading with the pencils. I also used a metallic silver pencil to add some subtle silver elements as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen to add some white dot embellishments.

For the charms in the dangle, I drew inspiration from my recent delving into things Medieval to create some that are a bit different to my usual kind. A heart seemed to be an obligatory charm for me to include.

I worked on Daler Rowney Marker paper and used Uniball Unipin pens for the black lines.

There’s quite a nice juxtaposition between the sharp, angular lines of the monogram and the rather softer, rounded shapes of the charms.

I also could’ve dug into my neglected stash of media from my days of mucking about with mixed media and card making and so on to find Stickles, NUVO drops, foil glue and foil, sequins, sparklies and so on to add more sparkle and shine to the design. Something I need to think about again in the future. I’d also have to work on sturdier paper than the Marker paper.

I feel that the dangle could be a bit longer to give a more elongated and elegant design. However, I ran out of paper! I may have been able to squeeze one more charm in at the bottom … but it would’ve been a squeeze!

Note to self – when doing monogram dangle designs on A4 paper, make the letter a little smaller so the dangle(s) can be longer!

Today, my attention must turn to colouring the 2019 templates I designed for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Fans facebook group for the New Year’s Day Color Explosion event, starting at midnight as 2018 turns into 2019. I think some may jump the gun on that though! Still, it’s a bit of colourful fun.

It’s only just over a week until ‘A Dangle A Day’ is published. In the book, I take you step by step how to create over 100 dangle designs for yourself, as well as giving some advice about hand lettering, using dangle designs, and creating your own using elements in the book, or your own too. I really do hope you will all give drawing dangle designs a go – they look complex, but, as I show in the book, they only take a few simple steps. They also suit my rather intuitive way of designing, drawing, creating. However, they also work for those who like to plan things out first.

‘J’ Monograms

©Angela Porter 2018

What a troublesome letter J is! Well, as far as creating a monogram. Early sketches showed me that if I add too much fanciness outside of the letter, the letter gets lost in the embellishments! So, here are a few that I’m vaguely pleased with.

I used Daler Rowney Marker Paper to draw these letters on, with a mixture of black pens. I used Copic Markers to colour some of the letters. Others I used to experiment with Tombow Dual brush pens and a blender pen. Chameleon Color Tones pencils were used on a couple more.

The Copics work really well on the marker paper – no surprises there!

The Tombows tend to cause the pen I use to draw the designs with – Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens – to smear. I keep forgetting the Tombows do that. So, I tried drawing a J with the Tombow Dual Brush pen and then add the lines and patterns after it had dried. That worked. But white space needs to be created outside of the letter, and again, if I got too intricate, entangled, ornate with the embellishments I would’ve lost the letter. Or perhaps not if it was only the letter that was coloured in.

I was surprised at how easily colour from the Chameleon Color Tones coloured pencils laid down on the marker paper. Surprised because I’d forgotten how nice it is to colour on the marker paper! I did need a good layer of padding paper beneath the 70g/m² or 48lb marker paper.

I foresee similar problems with the letters I, L, and S. Not sure about the other letters I’ve not tried this kind of decorating with yet. Time will show!

What I can see here is that the style of embellishment I’ve used, while not always successful, such as the heart and arrow one (where did that idea come from? Sheesh!), it is different to the previous letters I’ve played around with. That is all down to the shape of the letter and the edges I have to play around with, while keeping clarity of the letter too.

What to do today? Well, I do have the 2019 template to colour for the colour explosion over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group set to run through New Year’s Day. I’m also aware that I haven’t done a cutely whimsical cat monogram dangle design for a few weeks. I also have three templates to colour for ‘Entangled Forests’ so that book can be put to rest ready for publication, before I start on the next one.