Autumn mandala 6 November 2018

Angela Porter Mandala 4 Nov 2018

This has taken me a couple of days to complete, mainly because of appointments but also a big need for some self-care.

Autumn Mandala

I don’t get to create many mandalas at times. So, On Sunday, after creating the cute angel kitty dangle design, I put my creative energy into drawing and starting to colour a mandala.

I worked directly on my Surface Studio screen with the Surface pen using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and it’s fab symmetry tool to outline the the design in black ink.

Next, I used a marker brush and a blender brush to colour the design.

It’s the colouring that takes a lot of time.

I wanted to keep the colour scheme fairly simple, so I chose some vibrant shades of blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

Finally, I added a beautiful blue background and texture to the finished artwork.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with it. The bright colours have been needed today as it’s a rather grey and damp day here in the Valleys of South Wales. Someone has a bonfire burning on the hillside opposite my home and the smoke is floating down the valley. There’s a temperature inversion that’s trapping the smoke quite low.

Add to that all the smoke and particulates from the plethora of fireworks that have been set off in the past few days and the air is rather fuggy, hazy.

However, the golden hues of the autumn trees glow all the more brightly against the grey skies, especially with a dusting of rain on them.

What I absolutely love to see are the dark trunks and branches becoming more visible as the leaves fall from the trees. The architectural contrast fascinates me; it’s being able to clearly see the skeleton that gives the tree form.

I didn’t have autumn in my mind when I was drawing or coloring this mandala, even though autumn is my favourite season. However, the jewel tones and the gradual predominance of the autumnal golds, oranges and reds on the outside of the mandala give it that kind of autumnal feel. The greens gradually change from blue-greens to more yellow-greens from the centre out, adding to that sense of a seasonal progression.

The coloured mandala also has a feeling of stained glass. I love stained glass windows and this one would make a very interesting ‘rose’ window! That I adhere to using black lines to delineate my design only reinforces the suggestion of stained glass.

What I haven’t done is add detailed patterns to the mandala. I don’t think this one needs it, though the leaves may need a bit of shadow and highlight to make them feel less ‘flat’.

On the whole, I’m quite pleased with this one. I think I’ve manged to get enough contrast from dark to light in each section to give that sense of dimension – something else I like to incorporate into my artwork.

The need for self-care

I’ve been rather emotional over the past few days. The post about remembrance and my Dad tapped into some grief, a door that had never opened before I had to say goodbye to my beautiful white cat Cuffs back in May.

I took time out of things to watch some Harry Potter films. I do get emotional when I watch them (or read the books) even though I know what’s going to happen. However, this weekend I was more emotional than I’ve been before.

Yesterday, was EMDR therapy day, and various memories had cropped up and one we worked with yesterday. That left me absolutely pole-axed, emotionally that is.

Part of my mental health – the CPTSD – is that I avoid emotions and when I get emotional I have shoved it aside and locked the emotions in a box, symbolically. I also shove the memories away, something referred to as dissociation.

I have very few memories of my childhood, adolescence or even adulthood. That’s because many of them are painful in some way or another and they have been locked away.

Locking them away means I have never worked through, processed, them and the trauma or emotions that go with them. The trauma is still there and is still hurting my emotional and mental health.

EMDR is helping to unlock memories, sometimes very painful memories I don’t want to believe happened or believe certain  things about people. I always want to see the best and believe the best in people, except when it comes to myself; then, it’s always the worst possible.

I’ve been experiencing some cognitive dissonance and some very uncomfortable times as I try to come to terms with various realisations.

Add into the mix a busy week or so with appointments and events and I’m emotionally tired. Oh, not to mention the constant jumpiness with all the fireworks going off.

So, self-care is important. I watch films. Knit. Drink lots of tea. Snuggle up under a cosy throw. Nap if I need to. Eat healthily, when I can. Create art that I want to create rather than any that I feel I have to to meet a contract or some deadline or other, either real or self-imposed. Have some alone time – being an introvert beneath the face I present to the world I need alone time to recharge.

I know I’m on a jolly tomorrow with my pal Liz, so it’s even more important I recharge before that day out.

So, that’s why I’ve needed some self-care time.

 

Tiny botanical tile 23 September 2018

Angela Porter 23 September 2018

Yesterday, I had an enjoyable couple of hours drawing fairly cute designs that are 6cm x 6cm (approx. 2½” x 2½”).

I drew my little designs (twelve of them in total, and not all of them I’m all that fussed on at the moment) on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Uniball Unipin 05 pen. Then, I scanned them into the computer and did my usual magic to remove the dot grid and create a transparent background.

Finally, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pen, along with my Microsoft Surface Studio to colour the image.

I used various brushes and brush textures to achieve the colouring.

It’s really small, for me. A 6cm x 6cm size would look darling on a small greetings card or note card. I also think they’d make a lovely addition to a BuJo, Planner or Scrapbook page.

Dangle Day Friday 21 September 2018

Angela Porter Dangle Day 21 September 2018

It’s Friday, so that means it’s #dangleday!

A simple, elegant design with a sweet sentiment for this week’s dangle design. I like the symmetrical nature of the dangles.

I did sketch the design out in pencil on dot grid paper which I scanned in to ink in digitally and make use of the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I also coloured and added texture with various brushes in Sketchbook. Naturally, I made use of a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to do this.

I kept to a really simple colour scheme, using just one pink, golden, blue and green colour gradient for the design, with the exception of the rainbow beads in the central dangle.

It would be really easy to put a different sentiment or greeting in the box, but I like this one.

A different colour scheme, of course, would result in a very different ‘feel’ to the card, matching all kinds of seasons and occasions.

This would make a lovely greetings card or note card. I think I’d like to use it for the beginning of each month in a BuJo, planner or diary, changing the colour scheme as appropriate for that month. I do like playing with themes for my BuJo, but there’s something in me that likes a cohesiveness in design/style.

What would you do with this design? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Of course, I could print the uncoloured version out and colour with different media. It would be no great chore to re-draw the design on paper more suitable for, say, watercolours, where my printer doesn’t cope with decent quality watercolour paper.

Just a little reminder that my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available for pre-order, just click on this linkIn the book I give help, guidance and advice on creating your own dangle designs, as well as providing many examples of monogram dangles and dangle designs that you can use for your own projects.

Abstract Botanical 19 September 2018

Angela Porter 19 September 2018

It’s a lovely, sunny late summer morning here in the UK and it’s been a perfect time to finish this design off.

Yes, it’s another abstract, zentangly, entangled botanical design, which seems to be my signature style of art, though I do dabble in other styles, as you know, particularly my kind of dangle designs.

This one, like many of my previous ones, was completed in these stages:

  1. Draw the black and white line art on Rhodia dot grid paper using a black 08 Sakura Pigma Micron pen.
  2. Scan the drawing into GiMP. Use tools to remove the dot grid and remove the noise. Save with a transparent background.
  3. Import the image into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Any edits to lines can be made here using a pen ‘brush’ that mimics the texture of the Micron pen on the dot grid paper. Then layers are used to create the background, add colour to the design before adding texture and highlights.

It takes a day or more to create a piece of art like this. The drawing of the design alone can take anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, depending on the intricacy and size. This one was A4 in size and isn’t very detailed; I let the colour and texture add details to the design in this instance. I want the colours to shine. The colouring etc. has taken a few hours to do.

It takes me at least as long to create a piece of digital mixed media art as it does to draw and colour the design using traditional methods such as Chameleon markers or Inktense pencils.

What I love about working digitally is the ability to change the colours I use for the elements, and then being able to add texture and highlights/shadows. I can see where I need to go back to the image and add or deepen shadows to increase the sense of depth in the design. A drop shadow on the background isn’t really needed as I think the background is like a sunset sky or alien sea.

The other thing about digital work, is the ability to use the black and white outline to re-work the design using a different colour palette, different textures. I also have the option to print the design out and colour using other media, such as marker pens, perhaps changing the size of the image so that I can create, say, a greetings card or note card, or even a page for my BuJo.

I spent some time on Monday playing with Repper Pro and had some fun creating repeating patterns using the last couple of abstract botanical images. Just from a couple of artworks, I have more than a hundred seamless tiles for patterns; it’s just sorting through them and working out which are the best. I may post some of the best ones later today or tomorrow, and maybe create some based on today’s art above too.

I actually think some of the tiles would, with a border, make amazing patterns for square cushions/pillows worked in tapestry, canvaswork, cross-stitch or similar. You can decide for yourselves when I post them.

Abstract Botanical 16 September 2016

Angela Porter 16 September2018

Another abstract botanical. Here are the steps I took in creating it.

  1. Draw the black and white line art design on dot-grid paper from Rhodia using Sakura Micron pens.
  2. Scanned the drawing in, removed the dot-grid, removed noise and created a transparent background in GiMP opensource photo editing software.
  3. Imported the image with a transparent image into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and added colour and texture.

It took a couple of hours to draw the design and several hours to colour and so on.

My digital tools are a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I love the way many of the elements seem to glow against the dark green-blue background.

Many of my latest works like this seem to have an ocean, watery background going on. So, in the one I have on the go at the moment I’ve done a kind of sunset background. I’ll see how that turns out. Working digitally means I can alter my backgrounds really easily for sure.

I’ve been creating backgrounds digitally, but I want to create some on paper with Distress Inks and scan them in to use instead of the digital backgrounds.

I also made use of a more limited colour palette in this work – going for a more cohesive look/feel. These aren’t colours I’d normally choose to go together, but they seem to work fine.

I now have a fair few of these images and so now really need to try to work out what to do with them. I may try to import them into Repper and create repeating patterns from parts of them; that could be an interesting exercise for sure, but a fun one!

If you have any ideas of how my artwork could be used, leave a comment – I’d love to hear!

 

Dangle Day Friday

Angela Porter Dangle Day 14 September 2018

Here’s two dangle designs for dangle day Friday. Simple designs, perfect for getting into the weekend vibe.

These are both experiments where I’ve worked on vellum/parchment, the kind that is used for Pergamano.

The one on the left – the monogram A – is nowhere near as garish in colour in real-life; I really don’t know what the scanner has done to the colours. I drew the design with a metallic gold Sakura Gellyroll pen. I then used Tombow Dual brush pens to colour the design on the reverse. I used shades of yellow, orange, red and magenta, but the scanner seems to have removed much of the red. I also managed to smudge the colours too. I don’t think I’ll be using Tombows on Vellum again.

I do like the gold linework and I think I’ll draw this design out again and colour on the reverse with coloured pencils, like in the dangle design on the right.

You may recognise the design on the right as last weeks dangle design. I traced that design onto vellum using a white Uniball Signo pen. I altered some of the details and the style of lettering.

Next, I did a little bit of ‘whitework’ on the reverse. This gave the highlights on the design that help to give the illusion of dimension as well as some texture. I let the design rest under a heavy book for an hour or so.

Finally, I used my Chameleon coloured pencils to colour the design in, again doing this on the reverse.

I like the colours on this one. The vellum mutes the colours somewhat, but it also softens any imperfections in the colouring.

I’m not sure about the white lines though. I need to try this one with some coloured paper underneath to help the lines stand out a bit more. I’ll post an image of it if it works.

I’d like to draw this design in gold and see how that looks. I may try black too. As well as using coloured pencils, I want to try using Copic  or Chameleon markers to colour the designs in, to see how they work on vellum.

These certainly were experiments, which I’ve learned from. Not only that, I’ve got some ideas to try out the next time I use vellum. I’m trusting I’ll find the combination of line colour and colouring medium that works for me and my style of working.

What would I do with these designs? Well, they would both work really well as spreads in Bujos, planners, journals and scrapbooks. I also think the monogram would make a lovely bookmark. They’d both make nice greetings cards or notecards. I’m sure there’s lots of other things they could be used for, such as framed pictures.

If you have any suggestions for how they could be used, leave a comment.

Peace

Angela Porter Peace 10 Sept 2018Drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on a Microsoft Surface Studio screen in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last hand-lettered and patterned a word, and this morning it seemed really appropriate to do so.

Yes, hand-lettered, in a digital environment. Working with the Surface Pen on the screen of a Surface Studio is just like working with pen on paper in terms of physically hand-lettering and drawing the patterns.

The ability to work in layers, add effects to layers and use gradients to colour the background is a bit different to working in traditional media.

I do like doing these words; they’re fun to do! Also, a nice way to spend a few hours of a Monday morning.