Spring themed dangle design

Angela Porter 2 May 2018 coloured Friday is #dangleday as often as I can create one.

This Fridays design features stylised hawthorn blossom and daisies, along with hearts, leaves and berries. Oh, and a pastel feather.

It would make a charming piece of framed art, or a greetings card, or a cover page for May for a BuJo, planner or journal.  I’m sure there’s many other uses that the design, or parts of it, can be put to.

If you have any ideas for how this design could be used add a comment, or visit my facebook page – Angela Porter Illustrator – and drop me a line there.  You could also try tweeting me @wyrdsmithing if you wish too.

It’s been a nice way to start the day, and to get those #weekendvibes working. I started by doing a quick sketch of the design on paper, scanned in, inked in using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book using my Microsoft Surface Pen, and then simply coloured with some texture added.

It helps me to calm down a bit; there’s still a lot of anxiety floating around my body after the saga of my car, and I’m waiting for a call back from sales about the possibility of me having a new smartcar. I find it all very stressful, even though there’s a part of me that’s very calm, the surface emotions are all over the place, sometimes overwhelming me like an emotional tsunami. Having poor sleep because of the anxiety isn’t helping too much.

I just remind myself to breathe, that ‘this too shall pass’, and find things to do that help me calm.

Talking of calming down, over on the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans it’s #furbabyfriday.  Why not pop over and join in the fun with the lovely group members there?

If you’d like to learn a bit more about creating your own dangle designs, my book A Dangle A Day is available for preorder, just click on the link!

Eerie Entangled Art is also available for pre-order from Amazon and other places.  It’s my next book in the Creative Haven series from Dover Publications.

What a heck of a time, and bujo update

Angela Porter May Bujo1

The saga of my little car continues

Roller coaster rides abound here.  I’m very anxious, fearful today, but there’s also a calmness there too, which is well weird.

Yesterday I picked up a loan smart car from the garage, and not long after I got home I had a phone call to tell me that after trying what the experts had suggested, the conclusion is that something has broken inside the automatic gearbox.  It would cost over £4000 to replace the gearbox, and the car really isn’t worth it.

So, I had the panic and fear and worry about sorting out a new car. I’m going to try buying a new Smartfortwo first through the garage. I need to trust my car; I have to travel around a fair amount with the talks that I do.  Breaking down causes me huge stress, and not being sure of a car I’m driving does so too.  Having a second-hand gearbox fitted wouldn’t fill me with that kind of trust. There are other options, including buying a cheap runaround until a few things come together for me.

I know things will work out fine.  That this too will pass.  It makes settling down to focus on anything difficult for me, and when I’m like this one of my coping strategies is to sleep, lots.  Which I can’t do at the moment, though I really want to sleep, just sleep.

I need to run errands while I have the loan car, to make the most of it. I have editing work to do for A Dangle A Day.

Other stuff has gone out of the window. I did set up my monthly spread for May in my BuJo, along with my monthly trackers this morning; I couldn’t believe how shaky my fingers were.

May Monthly BuJo Spread and a large disc-bound format

The picture shows my monthly spread for may as well as the pens I used as well some pictures of my new disc-bound journal.

My monthly spread and trackers are decorated with hawthorn blossoms and leaves.  May blossom, as we call it here in the UK, is usually out around now, but it seems to be delayed this year, but it is a flower I associate with May time.

I included a little quote about May below the header:

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.                          – Fennel Hudson-

I’ve moved to a large disc-bound planner because I like the larger format as well as the flexibility of what paper I can use and the ability to rearrange pages as I understand my needs more without having to re-draw/re-write everything I have in my collections.

As I’ve said before, my BuJo is more like a Zibladone, where I collect all kinds of ‘stuff’ that interests me that I want to reference, including collections of patterns and drawings on various themes.  With the addition of the planner elements that are useful to me, I turn it into a very basic BuJo, where I include yearly, monthly and weekly diaries/calendars and also a journaling section, which is more important to me than having a page for a day with planning and so on in.

The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I’ve used quadrille/squared paper in this spread.  The simple reason is that I can cut down on the number of lines I need to draw for the tables! I particularly like it for the tracker.

Yes the lines are more obvious than the dots on dot-grid, but I’m happy to work with this in this instance.

I haven’t done my weekly spreads yet; and I don’t think I’ll get them done today as I have so much to do in terms of errands and also a nearly 3 hour round trip to make to give a talk tonight.

I do need to find time to meditate and let some of this anxiety/fear bleed off and to let the calmness that is under it become stronger.

Pre-orders

A Dangle A Day is available for pre-order.  I will be having a give-away for those of you who do pre-order, so check back for details of this once I’ve set it up.

Eerie Entangled Art is also available to preorder from Amazon as well as anywhere that stocks the Creative Haven colouring books from Dover Publishing Inc.

 

Tuesday Tip

Angela Porter 24 April 2018 small watermarked

My #tuesdaytip is to do just this – create every day!

It doesn’t matter for how long – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, longer.  Just take time to create.

You can create something new.  You can work on practicing, say, your hand lettering. You could re-work or add to something you thought was finished.  You could try a new skill or technique or medium. You could doodle aimlessly.

There’s just so many possibilities, so many ways to be creative – art, crafts, cooking, gardening, wood-turning, sculpting, decorating, sewing, colouring, are just a few of the possibilities.

Just create.  Have fun.  Play. Relax.

Take a break from the worries, stresses and strains of everyday life by focusing on being creative.

I use art to help me find my inner calm and stay there.  My whole body exhales, calms and relaxes when I ‘art’. It’s a daily practice for me that has a similar effect as meditation and mindfulness does. Even if I don’t meditate every day, I ‘art’ every day, just for pleasure (as well as for my work).

When the days are very trying for me, as they have been lately due to a nightmare of a car breakdown and recovery that took 8 hours Saturday night into Sunday morning, I find creating collections of doodles and patterns for my BuJo or hand-writing quotes or words really soothing, especially if they are familiar to me.  That’s what I needed at that time, something I could do automatically, that didn’t cause more stress for me.  The rhythm and flow soothed. Just the process of repeating the drawings and drawing of letters involved practice and improvement of my favourite motifs, patterns, words; and when calm, I could move on to create something new.

Being creative isn’t just about making great works of art or craft, or any thing else.  It’s also about feeding your heart, your soul, your being and finding calm and joy in what you do.

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom

Angela Porter 18 April 2018

What does research mean for you?

For me, it’s trying out new materials, new methods, new styles of drawing, colouring, lettering, using my art in different ways, most recently that includes Bullet Journals (BuJo) and these little quote illustrations.

It’s looking at how other artists and illustrators work and letting what I see spark creativity in me, not to copy them, but to inspire myself to broaden my artistic ‘vocabulary’, to try those new things that develop my skills, to still do things in my own way but adding techniques to my toolbox of artistic expression.

This quote is also a work in progress, I’ve yet to work out what to do with the entangled drawing at the bottom – to leave it as it is in plain black, to add shading, to add colour.  At the moment I don’t know what to do with it, but I suspect it will come to me eventually.

Talking of work in progress wednesday, it’s the day the members over at the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans’ share their wip’s.  Why not pop along and join in? They’re lovely people, very friendly.

BuJo May 2018 Cover Page

dav I know, I know – a second blog post of the day.  However, I thought you might like to see my cover page for my BuJo for May 2018.

I’m well ahead of the BuJo game here I think, but I needed a bit of sparkle and shine today, and the colourful background I created just cried out for golden stars.

I had fun doing this, but now I have to focus on the other pages for this month, which will have a starry theme, or perhaps just golden, who knows yet?

WIP Wednesday

Angela Porter Wednesday 11 April 2018 This is my current work in progress, with a little bit of wisdom thrown in.

I planned the lettering out on Rhodia dot grid paper before scanning it in. I then re-drew the letters digitally.

I did a blog post with tips for hand lettering  yesterday, but there’s also some in my upcoming book A Dangle A Day, available for pre-order.

The patterns around the quote were also drawn digitally, using my faithful Microsoft Surface pen, along with my Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I’ve started to add colour, though there’s quite a lot to do, including adding textures. It’s a pleasant way to spend time.

What I’m quite pleased with is the stone background behind the letters.  It’s not perfect, but I got my head around how I could achieve this.  Working in layers means I can do things I can’t do with traditional media, try as I might, but it involves working out how I can use layers to do different things as well as becoming aware of what I could use layers for.

Yes, I could watch and read tutorials, but there’s something satisfying about working out for yourself how to do things, and creating things in your own way.  That’s the sheer bloody-minded independence I have at times.

Perhaps I could learn quicker with tutorials, but I also know I can become quickly overloaded with information and instructions and ideas (something that frustrates me as before my two episodes of severe depression and anxiety I had no trouble at all…) so bit by bit I discover what I need to be able to do at any one time. Then practice using it until it’s easy to do and natural.

I do love how I can flip-flop between traditional media and digital work, as well as combining the two, whether it be a sketch that is then worked on digitally or using traditional media backgrounds to draw upon digitally. It also takes me a little bit out of my ‘comfort zone’ too, but in an enjoyable way.

Hand lettering – Tuesday Tips

tuesdaytips angela porter 2018 My #tuesdaytips are all to do with hand lettering this week, but taken generally, the advice applies to any skill, artistic, creative, practical or otherwise I’m sure.

Lots of people aren’t happy with their handwriting, for many reasons.

I actually am, when I don’t rush any ways.  I worked hard on my handwriting when I was in school; I didn’t like my writing (it was too much like my mother’s), so I worked to change and develop it. It did take time and conscious effort on my part, but I enjoyed writing, I always did. Doing all my homework and re-writing and re-organising my notes in school and in University gave me plenty of practice in honing my handwriting skills.

However, handwriting and hand lettering are not the same thing.

Handwriting is something we do without a lot of thought about how we form the letters, it is a practiced, automatic skill.

Hand lettering involves drawing the letter shapes; it’s more of an artistic skill.

I’m working on my hand lettering skills.  I’m happy with my handwriting, generally, but my writing is naturally very small.  To write big, bold quotes and sentiments is a challenge for me, one that I had to face during my work on A Dangle A Day.

My first and most important tip about hand lettering is practice, practice and more practice.

dav

Here are some of the pages from my hand lettering collection in my BuJo. The pens are a Uniball UniPin, a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and a Lamy fountain pen with a fine nib.

The more you practice, the more you develop ‘muscle memory’ which makes it easier to be consistent in your lettering in terms of shape and so on.  It also helps it feel more natural and for you to speed up.

You can’t become an expert without first being a beginner.

My second tip is to start by practicing your natural writing style, your printing.  In these days of fonts by the million and perfect replication by computer and printing, I like to see the unique style that only your hand can bring to your hand lettering.

Practice your own printing until you are happy with the shape and style of your lettering, keeping it simple for now.  These letters will form the foundation of every other style you develop.

It’s easy to vary the style of your lettering by making simple changes to the letter height, width, line weight and so on. However, you need foundation letters you are happy with. So focus on this first and foremost.

My third tip is don’t compare your own writing to others’ or give up because you can’t seem to write as beautifully as you think they do.  Practice, practice, practice and work towards becoming the best you can be; it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of time.

“Daily learning of your craft makes you a master of your craft.” – Seema Brain Openers

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michaelangelo

My fourth tip is to practice daily, or as often as you can.  In my BuJo (bullet journal) I have a section on my monthly tracker for hand lettering practice. Keeping a BuJo means I do get daily hand lettering practice, but it’s still not enough for me to keep developing the skill.

There’s plenty of advice out there and practice sheets and exercises for hand lettering, calligraphy, faux calligraphy, brush lettering.  What I like to do, however, is to write, using just my basic hand lettering ‘font’.

Writing out the alphabet again and again is productive, but not always enjoyable.  It doesn’t help you with putting the letters together in terms of words.

One of my happy memories is of English lessons when I was in primary school (aged 7 to 11) where we used a book called ‘A New First Aid in English’ to learn about nouns, similes, verbs, plurals and so on.  I enjoyed learning, but I enjoyed writing lists and answers down a lot too.  It so happens I have a copy of this book, one of the few remaining books from my days as a science teacher, and so I dip into this as a source of material to practice my writing.

Of course, you can use anything you like – quotes, names, lyrics, poems, anything that you enjoy but won’t distract from the focus of drawing the letters.

The last tip I will give is to use paper with guide lines on.  I printed paper out to suit my needs; I created it in Microsoft Publisher.  Dot grid or squared (graph) grid paper works well too.

My last words are – practice, practice, practice!