B is for … a dangle design

Angela Porter 7 Nov 2018 B is for

B is for birthday balloons, birthday cupcakes, birthday gifts…baking … beads …beautiful cats, beautiful flowers…bullet journal (BuJo)…

It’s Friday and it’s taken me a couple or three days to get this monogram dangle design finished, mainly because yesterday was another jolly jaunty day with Liz (more of that on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops – when I get to write it, that is).

Today’s dangle design features some cute kitties, as is the theme of my current series of monogram dangle designs.

I started by sketching out my ideas in pencil on dot grid paper then scanning it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The next step was digitally inking in and adjusting the design. Finally, colour and texture was added to the design before adding my watermarks. My digital tools were my trusty Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I like the design, not so sure about the colour choices though. I also got a bit heavy handed with the added textures in some places.

After I’ve got my other tasks done today, I think I may print this design out and colour it with my Chameleon markers and see the difference. It looks like we’re going to have some heavy rain and some strong winds here today, so cwtching up indoors with some nice arty stuff to do could be the way to spend some of the day.

Friday means it’s #dangleday. My tutorial book about designing dangles, called ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available to preorder. In it I take you step by step through simple hand lettering, monogram dangle designs, and other kinds of dangle designs, showing how you too can draw and design your own. There’s lots and lots of examples in the book as well as suggestions of how to use them as greeting cards, notecards, bookmarks and framed pictures, as well as in BuJos, planners, diaries, scrapbooks…how to use them is limited only by your creativity!

 

Second version of my BuJo Monthly Cover page for November

Angela Porter November Bujo 2018 v2

Ah! That’s better!

I wasn’t happy with my first version, so I thought I’d use it as a start to create a digital version of my November BuJo page.

Done with the magic of my Microsoft Surface Pen and Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

The only place I made use of gradient fills were the hearts, the rest was coloured as if I was using marker pens, with the use of a blending tool.

A couple of simple dangles add some interest to the space below the wreath of poppies, foliage and berries.

I kept the colour scheme really simple to the reds, greens and dark greys so that the design is much more cohesive. The use of a texture brush makes the colouring a little less perfect, as it does on the background too.

I also added a drop shadow to give the illusion that the design is floating a little bit above the page.

My current thoughts on BuJo-ing

My current BuJo is a very minimalist one, though I enjoy designing pages like this. I found I was spending more time on my BuJo in terms of prettying it up rather than using it in a functional way. I do add dangles to the daily logs, when I feel the urge to.

This means I’m making far more use of my BuJo than I was when it was just an artistic/creative endeavour.

Not that there is anything wrong in that. It’s just that I wanted to immerse myself in bullet journaling in a way that it could help me with memories, thoughts, tasks and so on, in a way that I wasn’t doing previously.

And, not worrying if it’s not perfectly written/drawn/recorded is quite liberating actually! It takes a lot of pressure off BuJo-ing.

If I’d thought about it, I could’ve left a page blank at the start of the November logs for a pretty page like this. However, everything is getting rather more mixed up in my BuJo than when it was in my first versions of BuJos, and that makes me feel it’s working more for me as a record of my life, as well as planning a little more, though I don’t over-work that. Keeping track of ideas and notes and events is far more important to me, a more reflective kind of BuJo.

What I love about the BuJo system is it evolves as you need it to. You’re not limited by someone else’s structure, such as in a planner or diary. As your needs for it change, it changes.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t make use of colour. Of course I do! That helps in the index to pick out different kinds of contents and helps me separate tasks from events from notes – the symbols are great, but colour really helps me see them. That is a personal preference.

Collections, as always, are really important, and after reading a fair amount of Ryder Carroll’s book on the Bullet Journal Method the idea of threading and indexing back to earlier BuJos actually makes sense to me and seems to be a really valuable thing for me to do as I move forward with this.

As I’m typing away my mind is working on how I could work pretty pages into my working BuJo. I don’t think it’s working pages I need, more like book marks or maybe a postcard or a print out of my design I can use as a book mark …

Oh, the one thing I do pretty up a little bit are my monthly logs, with a pretty border next to the name of the month and year. At present they’re just black and white linework and I rather like the graphic nature of them.

What’s surprised me is how I’ve gone with this more minimal way of doing it. I mean, I love to see how people organise their BuJos ahead of time and so on and the beautiful things they create and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and if it’s someone’s way to express themselves and/or be creative then I’m definitely all for it!

However, for me I’ve found that setting my daily logs up ahead of time can be a problem as some days I need a LOT more space than I’ve allowed for, and I do like to to make notes in the daily log.

What I have to do is work out if I’m going to do more than the monthly cover and monthly logs for my BuJo or whether I’m still going to come up with ideas for the weekly/daily logs or trackers and collections just for fun.

I don’t know the answer to that rhetorical question at the moment. It will work itself out over time I’m sure.

I have wondered about making some of my monthly cover designs and others available as digital downloads so people can print and add them to their BuJo’s, or use as greetings cards or note cards or or or … leave me a comment with your ideas!

Bujo month page – November 2018

Angela Porter November Bujo 2018

I’m a tad late with the design for the November cover page for my BuJo. It’s very sketchy and rough and the scan has missed the edge of the page to the left. I used Crayola Supertips for the colours and a variety of black drawing pens, a white gel pen and a gold Sakura gelly roll pen for the outlines and highlights. Of course it’s a dangle design too – but a very simple dangle design with just hearts dangling from the wreath. No one ever said that dangle designs themselves have to be complicated, but dangles can add fun little embellishments to other things, such as this wreath.

November to me always means poppies. My dad passed away 10 years ago on the 10th November. He was nearly 87 and a veteran of WWII, Korea and Burma. He saw the effects of fascist Nazi Germany on the everyday citizens there. He was at the opening of a concentration camp. He never spoke of what he saw. In fact, he only mentioned it once when he was very, very drunk after celebrating Hogmany here in the Valleys of South Wales. As soon as he realised what he’d said, he refused to say any more about it and you could see the pain of the memory etched on his face and in his eyes. He joined the British Army to bring an end to the hate and the genocide and the desire for the end of freedom of speech and beliefs and human rights.

He was a kind, caring man who would do his best to help anyone, no matter of their religious or political persuasion. He did so without any expectation of anything in return. He loved to make wine and would share bottles of it around the community. Even when he couldn’t drink much anymore, he would still make wine and would give it away. He enjoyed the process of making it and he enjoyed seeing other people have the pleasure of  drinking the wine. This is a quality I only recently recognised in myself.

Last weekend, I took my amigurumi monsters and knitted pumpkins to the hallowe’en coffee morning. All the pumpkins had new homes with people asking me ‘are you sure you want to give them away after the time you’ve put into making them?’

My answer was that I enjoy making them and if I can find new homes for them, my home would be too full for me to make any more. I added that it’s lovely to see other people enjoy them. At a meeting last night I was told some of the boys at a youth club were fighting over the pumpkins and the lady who’d taken them said ‘I’m sorry, I had to give them to the boys’. My reply was, ‘It’s ok, I’ll make some more for you and them. I enjoy making them and that others enjoy having them warms my heart too’.

Something else I realised about my dad as I’m writing this is that he loved the old war films – John Wayne’s films, Dambusters, 633 squadron and the like. I think they gave him an alternative narrative, something less painful for him to remember about the wars he was involved in. I remember him just throwing his medals back into their box dismissively. He didn’t think he was brave. He didn’t think he was a hero. I think they just reminded him of the horrors he must’ve seen. I do know he wanted me to have his medals when he passed away, he said I would understand what they meant to him. I think I do.

His medals didn’t come to me, as my mother decided she knew better than he did about where his medals and other belongings should go. I’m not bitter or upset about that, as the words my dad said in the hope I’d get him and understand him one day were the real legacy from him, not objects.

We used to have long conversations when he followed me out to my car when I left after a visit to the family home. I always knew I’d need to leave an hour before I needed to so we could have these long chats without my mother talking over him or telling him to shut up or making fun of him. I think he and I are a lot like each other in many ways.

He developed Alzheimer’s a few years before his passing. He caught pneumonia, was admitted to hospital and they found he had a tumour in one of his lungs.  Eight months later he passed away. At first I’d sit with him and he’d talk to me about his younger days, his childhood, things he’d never told me before. But as the days and weeks went on his memories faded away until he was unaware he was in a hospital.

I visited him as often as I could as even though he didn’t know who I was consciously, having someone with him would calm him and he’d be more settled.

I was with him when he passed away, and even then he helped me to learn and understand various things.

These are just a few things I remember about my Dad. He wasn’t perfect, no person is. But, he was the person who took me to music lessons and choir practice and came to the concerts I was involved in. He took a genuine interest in what I was doing and he features in many of the very few pleasant memories I have from childhood and beyond.

So, forgive me my indulgence writing about things not related to arty things. Except that in  many ways they are.

My art isn’t full of profound meaning and commentary on society and so on. I make art that is pretty, colourful, often abstract, sometimes whimsical. What I hope is that it makes people smile, gives them some pleasure, some joy in looking at it. By sharing it I share my pleasure, my joy, the peace that I find in doing art with others. As I do in making knitted pumpkins and amigurumi monsters and other things and gifting them to others.  Just as my dad enjoyed making wine and also enjoyed the pleasure it brought to other people.

 

Inktober 2018 Day 24 ‘Chop’ and Day 25 ‘Prickly’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 24 Chop and Day 25 Prickly watermarked

Catching up time today for Inktober 2018!

Yesterday I was shattered both from the trip to Worcester the day before and by giving and anti-stigma talk for Time To Change Wales. The talk left me very emotionally exhausted and I was good for nothing the rest of the day.

This morning when I thought of the prompt for yesterday – Chop – I just had this vision of a cute Viking kitten with a big axe (the chop!). It seemed quite natural I should turn that little image into a bit of a dangle design. I tried to draw a round shield beneath the Viking kittie, not sure that’s worked out at all. I like the way the ears poking out of the helmet have ended up looking like horns with some protection around the ears!

In keeping with the theme, I did a prickly looking-cat along with a bunch of cacti. Again another dangle design.

I drew these, with some rough pencil sketchlines, on Clairefaintaine Graf it dotgrid paper using Uniball Unipin pens.

I’ve not cleaned the images up or removed the dot grid. I’ve just left them black and white line art.

Of course, these are quite simple dangle designs in terms of the dangles used. If you’d like to learn more about dangle designs and get loads of ideas on how to draw your own and designs and dangles and charms you can use, you’ll find my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ most helpful. It’s available for preorder and is due out early in 2019.

I know that colour would bring them to life; maybe I’ll do that later on.

It’s not often I get ideas for funny cats to draw. Or funny critters and so on – ones that relate to a particular theme like these. They’re actually fun to draw, give me a smile. and perhaps it’s something I can work on developing as time goes on.

I think everyone knows I love cats and I still miss my companion of over 16 years – the white purrfurrball called Cuffs. I’m not ready to let another pusscat into my life for many reasons, but I do donate the money I would’ve spent on Cuffs’ food, kitty-litter, medication and regular vets bills to the Cats Protection League so that I help other kitties to be looked after until they find their forever homes. It’s the best I can do at this time.

Dear goodness, I’m crying about that now. I’m still emotionally tired out after yesterday and so today is likely to be a day of some self-care.

Bullet Journals

Earlier this week, I had Ryder Carroll’s book ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ –  delivered to my Kindle on it’s release day. I’ve spent some time reading it and have found it a really interesting read so far, not just about bullet journalling.

As I’d started a new bullet journal at the weekend, I thought I’d try out some things, particularly the daily log and the system of symbols used for notes, events and tasks. It all finally makes sense to me, well the daily logs do and seem to be something that will be useful.

I’ve also worked out that dividing pages for the daily logs up into pretty sections and so on isn’t going to work well for me if I use a bullet journal as it’s meant to be used by me. The sections limit the space available for daily notes etc – Some days I need to jot down a lot, other days not so much.

I’m certainly still going to pretty up the Monthly logs and the future log for sure, as well as any collections I create. But the daily logs are going to be far more basic, though I suspect colour will become involved at some point!

I finally get the idea of ‘threading’ after seeing examples in the book.

I certainly can recommend this book (it’s available in other formats) – not just for people wanting to learn about bullet journalling for the first time, but for more seasoned/experience bullet journallers.

I can also see my viking kittie being redrawn in my bullet journal as a cute page I can look at to make me smile. The same for any other cute kitties I have – and I do have a few drawn already! Mind you, they’d be quite nice printed out, coloured and used as markers/inserts in the BuJo too. But I’d like them as greetings cards and notes cards.

Ooooh… I need to make some notes about these ideas in my BuJo!

 

 

October’s Bujo Spread

Angela Porter October BuJo Spread 2018Can you believe it? September is just about all and over with. Time does seem to be flying by at the moment.

This was a really quick bujo spread due to me being away last week.

It’s also a very messily coloured one. I can tell I’ve barely wielded a pen in the last week! Talk about shaky and wobbly and lacking the fine skills I had.

Goes to show you gotta keep working it daily, even if it’s for a short while.

Mind you, I have new glasses and getting used to them is going to take a little while. For work, I have ‘occupational varifocals’. This means the lenses gradually change from intermediate distance at the top to reading distance at the bottom. I didn’t get to use them much last week, so it’s going to take a little while and some practice with them.

I also have varifocals of the usual kind (distance, intermediate and reading). They’re great if I’m sitting down and out sketching, or drawing, or knitting and watching TV. I find them a bit disconcerting for walking around and going up/down hills or stairs or twisty turny ways they cause me to feel a bit dizzy. I know my problem is that I have really good peripheral vision and there’s a part of the varifocal lens on the outside and innermost areas that causes fuzzy vision.

So, yesterday I took my favourite pairs of glasses which double up as sunglasses (they’re very cleverly designed to have removable polaroid lenses that look like they’re part of the glasses, which essentially they are) to have single vision distance lenses put in them so I can use them for walking around and driving. I can drive with the varifocals, but that fuzzy bit bothers me.

Anyways, I have a lot of practice to do with drawing in the next day or two before I return to my next Entangled Coloring book. I’m half-way through the templates and I have some lovely reference photos from my trip for the next ones, including some ideas inspired by Forbidden Corner, maybe.

Back to the BuJo spread. I drew the design on dot grid paper using Sakura Pigma Micron pens and coloured in with Chameleon pencils.

I like the design, not fussed on my colouring skills today that’s for sure.

What theme should I go with for November? Remembrance, bonfires, fireworks…feel free to leave suggestions!

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.

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.