Today’s been a tough day emotionally for me. Monday is, usually, EMDR day, and today’s was really emotionally upsetting. The memory I’m using led to quite a few insights that caused some distress, which was at a 7 out of 10 at the start and went up to 10 at the end of the session. This happens. I have a lot to think about and process before my next session in a fortnight.
I’m absolutely exhausted. I did have a sleep when I got home, but I’m still exhausted.
I’ve tried to sit and draw and I’m not able to work in a manner that is satisfactory to me. So, I thought I’d set up a colour palette in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and colour the drawing from yesterday. Well, more like start to colour it.
Oddly, I’ve gone for rather muted, vintage colours in this one. Perhaps a reflection of how I feel. Or, maybe it goes with the lino cut ‘feel’ of this particular drawing with the strong, black lines.
Tomorrow, I hopefully start to colour in some of the templates for my next coloring book. My editor and her team at Dover Publications Inc have chosen their favourites. I do intend to give you some sneak peeks as the coloring progresses.
My tools for drawing this image were a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and a pencil. To colour it I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
I’ve had a lovely, quiet Sunday and I’m glad to say my emotional wellbeing is better than yesterday. Still a bit fragile, but there’s that hint of contentment that has been lacking over the past few days.
I’ve even had my oompf back to draw. This took the guise of adding patterns and outline drawings to my visual reference journal, and then using some of these ideas, plus some old favourites, in this drawing. I even added some dangles in places. Just little, delicate dangles, but still there’s dangles there.
For the drawing, I used a hard nib Tombow Fudenosuke pen. This has a flexible nib, not overly flexible, and so I could vary line weight while drawing.
I was inspired to try the Fudenosuke pen again after my experiments with digital brushes that vary line width with pressure and found that so much fun.
I found it much easier to use the Fudenosuke pen after my experience with digital brushes; it turns out working digitally does influence my work in traditional media and helps me gain new skills or confidence in new media.
I drew this design on an A5 piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board which is white and very smooth. Then, scanned it in and digitally added a background texture and some colour, along with my watermarks.
The drawing was mainly to try out the Fudenosuke pen, but also a bit of quiet self-care too. I’m quite happy with it, especially as it’s main purpose was to explore using the pen for drawing with.
I’ve relied on line weight to add some dimension to the drawing, though some colour and/or shading could help a lot. Maybe that’ll be my next task with this – to colour it either digitally or to use my Chameleon DuoTone and Color Tops marker pens after I print the image out.
I’ve really not been myself the past few days. With a couple of busy days this week, the emotional fallout from EMDR on Tuesday finally caught up with me as I slowed down Thursday afternoon. I’m so tired, and my mood isn’t the brightest to say the least.
It’s always a sign that even when I’m tired I can usually draw and create, but not much this week. I haven’t been able to find the inspiration to draw, nor have I found the interest or energy.
Today, around a meeting, I managed to draw this.
It’s a throwback to the more familiar art of earlier days. It has given me a chance to use some new motifs, as well as some favourite ones that crop up often.
The process of drawing was soothing, and I did my very best not to be too judgemental, though I did want to throw it out and restart several times as I wasn’t at all happy with what was coming out of the nib of my fountain pens or Uniball Unipins.
I switched to the Uniballs as the fountain pen ink was smudging lightly. I’ve fixed that, mostly, by digital wizardry. I also added the Distress Ink background digitally.
I know my inspiration and energy to draw will return, I’m just not feeling at all myself at the moment.
I do have a new self-care activity, which is sitting in/on the bed, crocheting shawls and listening to audiobooks – currently working my way through the Harry Potter series.
The rhythmic nature of crocheting is soothing. The familiarity of the Harry Potter story is also soothing. Being upstairs makes me feel safe, secure and it’s also comforting.
The memory being worked on in EMDR certainly has stirred some stuff up. I’ve had some very upsetting insights into how I’ve viewed myself. Releasing the trauma associated with this particular memory will be accompanied by a better view of myself. I may not fully believe it, but if I can believe a little of it then that is good enough for now.
I have to believe that with each memory and its associated traumatic experiences that are processed via EMDR I’ll believe the healthier, more positive statements about myself more and more.
These are some quotes I’ve found recently that are helpful to me in understanding me, helping me through this.
Trauma creates changes you don’t chose. Healing is about creating change that you do choose.
What happened to you was not your fault. The struggles you have today, like your cPTSD symptoms, are a normal response to abnormal events. So, please be kind to yourself.
The poison leaves bit by bit, not all at once. Be patient. You are healing.
This cutely whimsical dangle design is from my tutorial book ‘A Dangle A Day’, which has the step-by-step instructions for drawing this design. They really are simple to draw, and the hand lettering is based on your own writing style too.
For this design, I chose spring-time colours, more pastel than bright. Of course Easter eggs and a bunny balloon had to feature, along with all the lovely spring flowers and a sprinkling of hearts. I even snuck a star in, hearts and stars being some of my favourite motifs to include.
This design would make a really cute greetings card or notecard. The dangles can easily be drawn shorter. It would also make a lovely bookmark. As a BuJo page, planner page or an element on a scrapbook page it would be lovely.
Using Nuvo drops or Ranger’s Stickles or similar to make dots where the beads are as well as a sprinkling of them around the top of the design would add some lovely dimension and sparkle for sure.
I do hope you give drawing dangle designs a go. They are so much fun and a lot easier to do than you think they are. They can also be used in many, many ways, especially when it comes to sharing love with others at different times and events throughout the years of our lives.
About the drawing…
When it came to designing the dangle designs and monograms for A Dangle A Day, I started off by sketching the idea out on dot grid paper using either a pencil or a pen. I could then adjust the lines and draw guidelines in to help me with the design quite easily.
When I was happy with the sketch, I scanned it in and then re-drew it in a digital form. For drawing digitally I use a Microsoft surface pen directly on the screen of a Microsoft surface book or surface studio. This is like drawing with pen or pencil on paper, or even painting or colouring.
So, although my designs were created in a digital environment, they were still very much drawn by hand.
I used very little in the way of smoothing lines – only enough to remove the wobbliness that comes from the great sensitivity of the pen and screen position sensoring stuff, and never used the predictive line tools available in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I worked out how to set up pens that would leave a line texture similar to the pens I like to use to draw on paper with. I determined I wouldn’t make everything perfect, that there would be that perfectly imperfect human touch to everything that I created. I also made sure I included examples of dangles drawn and coloured on paper and turned into cards, bookmarks and BuJo pages too.
Working digitally to draw and then colour the designs allowed me to edit, erase, adjust and keep the image free of smudges and blots that would require re-drawing. It also made it a lot easier to make the edits my lovely editors suggested to improve the work.
It certainly saved a lot of time scanning image after image in – something I find extremely tedious.
Although I may have used digital tools to draw with, the techniques I used were the same as if I’d drawn on paper with pen and then coloured with various traditional media.
I also have to say that the year to year and a half ago when I was colouring these I was only just starting to explore the realms of digital colouring and I hadn’t quite worked out exactly how I’d like to do it. They worked out good enough, but now I think I’d approach it a bit differently.
I had such a lot of fun creating the dangle designs season by season, month by month, celebration by celebration and I hope you have the same amount of fun doing this too.
Creating this mandala has had me smiling. Gentle smiles on my face and in my heart. There’s something about the graphic black and white, the grey foliage in the background and the mystical, magical moonlight illuminating the design. I look at it and I feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction with this one. It’s not perfect. There’s things I want to do with it, and working digitally allows me to do that. However, for now, it’s more than good enough. I need more tea and a bit of a break from it.
I have to say that it looks really nice in just black and white. but, the simple gradient background really sets the atmosphere for the design. I did use a gradient fill tool to create the coloured background, but I do want to go back and create one that I can have a bit more control over for sure, maybe using watercolour brushes to do that, and adding spots of glow too.
I’m really pleased with the lighter foliage in the background, adding depth and dimension to the design, adding interest. It’s delicate and ephemeral, misty too.
I want to try not letting the background colour the motifs. That’ll involve me adding white to the white spaces. For some reason I created them with transparent ink.! No great problem to go back and sort that out though.
I also want to try working on a landscape that isn’t a mandala, using the same kind of style of drawing and adding magical, mystical coloured backgrounds.
But overall, I’m pleased with this and I’m pleased with the progress I seem to be making in both digital art and in developing my art ‘voice’.
There’s been quite a few pieces of art I’ve created that have made me smile recently – many of my mandalas and entangled drawings, my cute kitty ‘cartoons’ spring to mind, especially one I did of the pink anti-stigma badger as a Jedi knight!
I can honestly say that this mandala, and my previous one, have made me smile more than most.
Given my experiments with thermal foiling this week, today’s dangle had to be foiled, in gold this time.
As I enjoyed creating a dangle design inspired by Art Nouveau last week I thought I’d like to do that again this week, and this is the result.
I drew the design digitally, using my usual tools of choice viz. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I coloured the design in using Chameleon Markers. Then I added the blue background with Distress Inks, followed by a pink edge to the card. Not sure pink was the right choice, but it’s ok I suppose.
I mounted the design on an A5 card blank and drew a glittery gold line around it with a Uniball Signo gel pen. I also added some small groups of glittery gold drops to the design.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with this one. I like the combination of the more geometric designs with the more organic motifs.
I didn’t add any hand lettering or a sentiment so it makes it perfect for any occasion or as a note card. It would also make a fantastic page design for a BuJo (bullet journal) or as part of a scrapbook, journal, diary or notebook spread.
If you’d like to try your hand at creating your own dangle design but don’t think you could, well you could find my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ helpful. Not only are well over 100 different monograms and dangle designs included that you can use, but help and advice is given for creating your own, as well as plenty of words of encouragement. I’d love to see your dangle designs too.
I really needed some quiet, creative time this morning. Some time without any pressure on me in terms of requirements from publishers and others. Dangle designs are simple to draw, and there is a soothing quality in simplicity. Colouring is also a very soothing activity and the magic of hot foiling always makes me smile.
I’m feeling a bit below par in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing. I have a stinking headache, which isn’t helping, and I’m feeling exhausted again. That’s all to do with emotional exhaustion.
Fortunately, I can take time today to just do what I need to do in terms of self-care. I managed to get three and a half out of the four edits for my next coloring book done. I have until Monday to get the other half finished, so that’s definitely do-able, either later today when the headache subsides or tomorrow.
My emotional and mental sea has some smooth waves on it, not stormy, not choppy, just swells that come and go. I may be in a bit of a trough at the moment, but I’ll soon be heading back up to the crest of the gentle swells.