Easter Dangle Design

Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter 
From 'A Dangle A Day'
Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter
From ‘A Dangle A Day’

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.

April Dangle Design

April Dangle Design by Angela Porter 2019
April Dangle Design by Angela Porter 2019

I had a lovely time this morning looking at Arts and Crafts Movement, Rennie Mackintosh and Art Nouveau designs. I’ve always love these styles of art with their organic lines and stylised motifs and it’s certainly influenced my style of art in some little way.

I got inspired as I looked at these styles and decided to use them as a start for my April BuJo page design, which you can see above.

The had lettering is a little heavy handed where the squares are concerned, but over all I’m fairly happy with it.

There’s definitely a touch of the Rennie Mackintosh’s there with the organic motifs and lines contrasted with the graphic squares and diamonds.

I chose warm and sunny yellows with light, fresh greens as they are so dominant in nature this early on in Spring.

A quick sketch on Rhodia Dot Grid paper followed by a scan and I inked it using some of my brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Of course I wielded my Microsoft Surface Pen with some happiness on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio.

A simple but, I think, and elegant design. One which would look fab for any month in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, diary, journal or even in a scrapbook. Of course it would make a lovely greetings or note card too. I’m sure there are many more instances of where this design would work beautifully.

Want to know more about creating your own dangle designs? My tutorial book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is now published.

Entangled Art

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

This morning I started my day with some warm-up drawing. I drew this one with Sakura Pigma Micron pens on Daler-Rowney Bristol Board that measures approx. 7cm x 30cm. I added the coloured background digitally, along with the watermarks.

You may be curious why I use a square of coloured and textured paper behind my art work. Well, for Instagram, a square image fits perfectly without being cropped weirdly, and as many of my pieces of art are not square…well, you get the idea! So, for consistency across my social media, I use the same image.

I enjoyed drawing ths one. There’s some new patterns and motifs in it. I spent yesterday looking at ‘Art Forms in Nature’ by Ernst Haeckel for inspiration to add new patterns and motifs to my visual reference book. This little A5 dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine is becoming rather useful. I add my favourite patterns, new patterns, motifs, doodles to it as I need to. I make use of the idea of ‘threading’ used in Bullet Journals to help link sections together.

What a brilliant idea ‘threading’ is. I used to get so frustrated with either folders with drawings in or having sections scattered in a book with a clumsy index to help find them. Now, I just follow the page numbers to direct me to where the particular collection continues. The index then lists just the first occurrence of that particular collection. My collections include abstract botanicals, foliage, floral, fungi, trees, feathers, crystals, Christmas, favourite patterns, dangles and charms.

I’m sure that when I start a new book, there’ll be a way to thread to the new book!

Why am I doing this? Well, as well as keeping track of patterns and motifs I like and organising them roughly into collections it’s also a source book of inspiration for art when I feel I’m lacking in inspiration or I feel my work is getting more than a bit samey.

It’s also something that is part of my self-care on days where it’s too much of a challenge to do something completely new and different. Sometimes this means adding familiar patterns and motifs. At other times it means researching new ones.

Yesterday I was really tired and feeling quite low after a very tiring day on Saturday followed by a poor nights sleep. Last night my sleep was even worse. I woke from disturbing dreams with my mind busy, busy, busy. Not sure why this is, or why I just feel more anxious than usual. There’s no reason at all for me to feel this way. Just some stormy emotional weather in advance of EMDR today and starting to process something new to EMDR but old to me. The CPTSD recovery journey continues…

‘Amazing’ – Hand Lettering

© Angela Porter 2019

My morning warm up art session today was this little bit of hand lettering. I had a completely different idea in mind when I started this off but, as often happens, the creative energy flowed in a different direction.

I had wanted to do a monogram, perhaps with a dangle or maybe one set into a pattern border as a drop capital to a quote.

As I worked on first the pencil outline of the A, and then inking it in using fine and extra fine fountain pens filled with black ink, the lines that flowed out dictated the form of the letter rather than me consciously trying to force it into what I thought I wanted to create.

I think I’ve over patterned the inner space of the monogram, or not used the right kind of patterns there. However, it’ll do.

I wanted to use some birdwing copper FW Pearlescent ink from Daler-Rowney to add metallic highlights with a dip pen. I soon found out that dip pens and parchment paper that has been coloured with black ink don’t work well together. So, I ended up with the copper highlights at the bottom of the letters that fade up naturally. Adding dots of metallic colour to the monogram was easier on the unworked parchment. Over the black ink dots it wasn’t so easy. I’m also not sure that the ‘string of beads’ in the monogram actually works but I know it’s missing something. I need some time to reflect on this. As I do about adding any more copper highlights to it. I may yet decide to add some dangles to the word.

On the whole, I’m quite happy with how this turned out. I could add ‘You are’ in small letters above the letters. Either way, I think this would make a lovely notecard. I also think it could be used in a bujo, planner, journal, scrapbook or as framed art. I think I need to review the card making and mixed media techniques I once knew and have sidelined to focus on other aspects of art and adapt them to my current needs/ideas.

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.