One dangle design, four colourways

One dangle design, four colourways © Angela Porter 2019

In my book, ‘A Dangle A Day’, I mention that just by changing the colour scheme you can easily change the appearance of a dangle design for an occasion or to match someone’s favourite colours. So, I thought it would be nice to show an example of this.

I chose a simple monogram dangle design from the book; you can see it in the top left corner. This dangle design has a very spring-like feel to it with the lovely bright pinks and greens of the new, fresh flowers and leaves that blossom and bloom at this time of year.

Taking my cue from this, I coloured in three versions of this design in the seasonal colours.

At the top right is a summery version, with a lovely warm sunrise as the background to the letter, blue summer skies, warm golden sun, and the bright and warm colours of the flowers. A golden summer glow could be achieved by using a hint of gold Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake, or by adding dots of gold glittery wonderfulness.

Autumn tones were used in the bottom left version. Fiery oranges, reds and yellows and clear autumnal sky blues were used. Enamel dots, glitter pens or stickles would add sparks of autumnal glory to this design.

The final design has a definitely cool wintry colour scheme – icy blues, cool purple and the blue-green tones of evergreens, along with silver. To this I could add white snowflakes or stars with a gel pen, or dots of silver glitter with Stickles from Ranger or Nuvo Drops or a glitter gel pen. Using a Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake to colour over the design would result in a lovely, sparkly, frosty finish.

Of course, there are many, many ways that the designs could be embellished to suit your taste, supplies or the recipient. So much fun can be had adding embellishments which also personalise the design even more.

I hand drew the original design on paper and then digitally for the book. My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which I also used for the colour variations above. I set the ‘brush’ pens up for the book so they mimicked the shapes/patterns pens on paper create and left lines a little wobbly and imperfect, just as I would when drawing on paper. Indeed, I very much treat my Surface Pen and Surface Studio screen as if they’re pen and paper in the way that I draw (and colour).

I do hope you’ll give dangle designs a go, and that you’ll show me the results of your work. You can find me online here:

An ‘A’ Dangle Mandala…

©Angela Porter 2019

I’m definitely on a mandala kick at the moment! This one, though, includes some dangle designs!

A Dangle A Day’ is released on 15th January 2019, and I just wanted to get yet another dangle design out in the interwebs to inspire you.

While checking out the release date (which I’ve been getting a tad wrong, oops!) I noticed there were some reviews of the book. I’d like to say thank you to all the reviewers who wrote such lovely words about the book! It’s filled me with a bit more confidence and belief in myself as this is my very first art tutorial book.

There’s some hand lettering with the letter A. The letter A has dangles forming the inner part of the mandala. Then, the outer ring has simple and cutely whimsical doodle designs and yet another dangle forming it.

Of course, hearts and stars had to appear; they are my favourite design elements for many of my projects. I also like beads and gems too. Flowers and foliage are also favourite motifs, as are spirals.

I decided the ring of A’s need to be in a rainbow colour scheme and I chose a bright colour scheme for the design elements.

It looks complicated, but if you look at just one A and follow the dangle towards the centre and the design out to the outer rim you’ll see that it really isn’t all that complex.

Of course, drawing mandalas on paper can be time consuming. I usually draw mine digitally.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is now free and it’s my drawing software of choice. It has a symmetry tool that is really easy to use. You only draw one segment of the mandala which is then automatically repeated around the circle. I find Autodesk Sketchbook intuitive to use, and it’s easy to use almost straight away. It also has some rather sophisticated features on it and it does all that I need it to do, and more. I use a Microsoft Surface Pen along with Microsoft Surface Studio to draw and colour digitally, and they work wonderfully with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I do colour my designs digitally. However, sometimes I will print out the black line art and then use traditional media (often Chameleon markers) to bring the line art to life with colour.

I do hope you will have a go at creating your own dangle designs. They look complicated, but they really aren’t! If you do have a go, then please share your designs with me on any of my social media homes – facebook, instagram, twitter or here!

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!

Hello January! A Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2019

What a bright, sunshiny morning it is here in South Wales in the UK. The first sunshine of the new calendar!

I’ve been up for around 3 hours and have had a fairly artsy time.

My first job was to print out the lineart for this dangle design, which is one of many in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ which is due for release on 8 January 2019 – just a week away!

In the book, I take you through how to draw this design, one step at a time. Not only this design, but well over 100 more – designs for all seasons and many, many celebrations and occasions.

This design I drew in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Book. For the book, I coloured it digitally. Today, I printed out my black and white lineart and then coloured it using Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens. I also added some details to some elements of the design using a 08 Uniball Unipin pen and a white Sakura Gelly Roll Pen.

Yesterday, I said I need to to spelunking through my stash of mixed media and cardmaking supplies to find forgotten supplies I could use to embellish my designs.

This dangle design would make a lovely monthly cover page for a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, diary or journal. It would also make a pretty greetings card or notecard to drop a line to a friend wishing them a wonderful January. Change the words and colours to suit the occasion or recipient! It would also be a lovely, whimsical, cute design for a winter party invitation.

I realised then that my old watermark wouldn’t do for this year. So I hand lettered a new one. I made my symbol, the one I hide away in my artwork, part of the design, along with a little intricate but simple geometric pattern around it. A little touch of the uncials for my blog address, along with a typed copyright statement and it’s done and saved! I may end up changing it a little, or having variations on the theme, as time goes on. But I’m fairly happy with it.

So, I’ve already had a productive morning! It may be a Bank Holiday in the UK, but I really do need to focus on those templates that need colouring for Entangled Forests…and I may venture forth into the peopley world later on today, maybe.

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.

Monogram ‘C’ with a dangle

© Angela Porter 2018

I was browsing through ‘Decorated Lettering’ by Jan Pickett yesterda and came across something I thought I’d like to try. This something involved drawing a letter using coloured pencils or watercolour pencils then adding patterns and embellishments afterwards.

I usually do the patterns and embellishments first, then add the colour. But I also know that if I were to use coloured pencils, watercolour pencils or other media over my line art (traditional art time here!) then the black lines can become masked a little by the colours.

So, I had to try this out.

I grabbed a pad of Daler-Rowney Mixed Media paper along with my Inktense pencils and a fine water brush and began the process of creating the design in colour.

I did use a pencil to sketch out the shapes very lightly, even using an eraser to make them lighter still. Pencil can become trapped under colours and become difficult to erase.

As I knew I’d be posting it on Christmas Eve, I thought a monogram C along with a simple Christmas themed dangle would do the job just nicely. Red, green and gold had to be the colours used too.

For each part of the design I used two or three different colours to achieve the colour gradients. Once I’d finished this step I scanned the drawing/painting/design in and you can see it on the left. Scanning does tend to wash out the colours a little – they are a little more saturated, honest, but not much more.

Then the fun begins. I decided to use a 0.7 Copic Multiliner outline the design elements and add some of the patterns and lines. I then used a 0.25 Copic Multiliner to add some of the finer lines, particularly around the dangles.

I was toying with the idea of using a dip pen or brush and gold ink, but thought I’d play it safe this time and go with rather graphic black lines.

My final steps included using green and gold metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pens to fill in small sections and add dots. I regret the outlines around the stars.It’s made them way too heavy and cumbersome I think. However, as this was an experiment, was me trying something a bit different, it’ll do.

Although I carefully drew out the design elements and added the colour to ensure that the shape was maintained, adding water to activate the Inktense colours meant there were places where I didn’t keep to the shape exactly. I used the finest water brush that I have, but I really could’ve done with not being so lazy and grabbing a fine brush and a pot of water. However, as this was just a bit of a play the waterbrush worked.

Also, I realised that I could fix any wobbly edges with the black lines and any overspill could be incorporated into the embellishment lines/patterns quite happily.

So, I didn’t start over. I went with the imperfections in the ‘just colours’ version.

Next, it was the fun bit – adding lines and patterns. My favourite thing! This time it was adding them to the shapes formed by colour, which is backwards to how I usually work.

There were times when I was getting a little stressed about the lines not looking right or I was making a mess of it all and I’d have to start again.

However, I reminded myself it’s an experiment, it’s trying something new to me and I just need to trust myself and go with it. Which I did. After all, working directly with black pen with no pencil lines, as I mostly do when I draw, means that what you put down stays down!

Adding metallic colours to these patterns as well as the dots around the lines meant that I became happy with what I’d done.

What I could’ve kicked myself for, however, was using the mixed media paper. This has a grainy texture to it and the pens just didn’t want to leave clean lines on it. I do have smooth watercolour paper lurking in my stash, but the mixed media paper came first to hand. Also, some of the smooth watercolour papers – the hot pressed ones – aren’t as white as the mixed media paper and I didn’t want the vibrant colours of the Inktense pencils to be dulled. Mind you, a watercolour paper would’ve helped the colours to flow and not be quite so patchy I think.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with this. It is ‘perfectly imperfect’ in its own way. Learned from the process. Enjoyed challenging myself to do something a little different. It’s certainly something I’ll be doing again, perhaps with different media. Copics or Chameleon markers spring to mind, as do Tombow Dual Brush pens and the Kuretake Clean Colour Real Brush pens, though not exclusively these. I do have watercolour pencils here somewhere, and Distress Ink pads and refils so they’re a possibility too. And, of course, I have plenty of coloured pencils.

I definitely have a love affair with digital art these days, but I also love using traditional media. They’re both important to me and allow me to express my creativity in different ways, that are really the same in so many ways.

Traditional media really makes me have to accept imperfections in colouring and line work as I create. Digital art means it’s easier for me to create those perfect colour gradations and to blend colour and add texture and so on. Also, it’s so easy to have really vibrant colours with digital art, something I really struggle with when using traditional media. I do love vibrant colours, if you hadn’t noticed!

‘A Dangle A Day’ is being published 8 January 2019.

Yuletide dangle design

©Angela Porter 2018

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, or Yule. So, I wanted to create a dangle design for Yuletide, and wish you all the blessings of the season.

On the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day and from here on in the amount of daylight begins to increase once again, albeit very slowly at first.

People gather at prehistoric monuments, such as Stonehenge, Newgrange and Avebury, to watch the sunrise on this day. These monuments have Winter Solstice alignments. That’s why I’ve got a pair of big stones framing the sun.

Of course I had to include holly, mistletoe and some evergreens in the design, along with stars, hears and a couple of cute robins.

It is a digital piece of art which started life as a pencil drawing on dot grid paper. The design was scanned in and re-drawn using a Microsoft Surface pen on the screen of my Microsoft Studio in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I did make use of the mirror symmetry tool to help me with the symmetrical nature of the design. I hand lettered the sentiment in the ribbon.

I did colour this quickly using gradient fills – yesterday I really wasn’t up to doing much. I am feeling a bit better today, though drained after a quick visit to my local town to run a couple of errands. I’m really easy to startle at the moment and me being jumpy at every noise and the number of people out and about was something I kind of expected but hoped I wouldn’t experience today.

I’m safely back home now and am starting to calm down a little, though I feel exhausted. So, the rest of the day will be spent quietly for sure.

I do have a Winter Solstice mandala to share tomorrow, and I’m rather pleased with this one. So, do pop back tomorrow.

‘A Dangle A Day’ is published on 8 Jan 2019.