Just because – Autumnal Dangle design mail art

Just because - Autumn dangle design greeting card © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Just because – Autumnal Dangle Design mail art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Making coloured backgrounds.

Yesterday evening I had a pleasant hour or so using Distress Oxide and Distress inks to make some backgrounds for future card projects.

I used a soft rubber Brayer roller to add distress oxides to a small Gelli Plate. I then spritzed the Gelli plate with water containing either pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls before lifting the print with some Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper. The water in the spray reacts with the inks to give an oxidised look. The Perfect Pearls in the spray add some subtle shimmer to the finished background.

Once the Distress Oxide background layers were dry, I used a rectangular die to cut a section from them.

To create backgrounds with Distress Inks, I used a mini foam blending tool to cover the card with colour. I then sprayed the card with some water containing pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls. Again, the water reacts with the Distress Inks, but this time creating small watermarks. The Perfect Pearls again add shimmer.

Making the card.

I chose a background coloured with Wild Honey, Tea Dye, Old Linen and Walnut Stain Distress Inks which were then spritzed with pearl Perfect Pearls infused water.

I wanted to create a dangle design card. From experience, I know that drawing on backgrounds with added Perfect pearls that my fine-liner Uniball Unipin pens can become clogged by the tiny flakes of mica that comprise Perfect Pearls.

So, I tried using a Uniball Vision Elite rollerball pen. The ink in it is supposed to be water-resistant, tamper-proof, fade-proof. It’s also very black, which suits me just fine.

 I was surprised at how well the pen wrote on the background – not just because of the Perfect Pearls and Distress Ink, but also because the mixed media paper is lightly textured. 

Once I’d completed the design, I used a needle=tip Pentel Energel Liquid Ink Gel pen to add smaller details.

While the plain black line on the coloured background looked OK, I thought it needed some colour to help lift it from the background.

I launched myself into using Copic markers, using somewhat darker colours than I usually would. That meant it wasn’t until I was adding some colour to the ribbon banner that I discovered that the Copic reacts with the inks in the pens and smears them. I was so disappointed in myself for not checking the pens were Copic safe. Oh well, you live and learn!

Rather than start again, I carried on with the card. I wanted to add some clear embossing powder to help the colours of the Copic markers stand out even more. So, I used a Versamark pen to colour over the designs, and then I sprinkled on the clear Wow Embossing Powder. I used a heat tool to melt the Embossing powder and achieve a glossy, dimensional finish on the dangle design.

The final step was to adhere the dangle design to a card blank, after adding some gold dots with a Uniball Signo glitter gel pen.

Fancy having a go at drawing your own dangle designs and not sure where to start? Well, you could start with my book “A Dangle A Day” where I lead you through the process. I have over 100 designs in the book where I take you step by step through drawing them. I have also included ideas for where you can use them including as cards, bookmarks, in BuJos, journals, scrapbooks and more.

Making the envelope.

I used the pre-made envelope that came with the card blank. I decided to keep the envelope white and add a border using some of the motifs from the dangle design.

I did use the Uniball Vision Elite gel pen and Pentel needlepoint pen to draw the design. This time, I coloured the design with some Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. 

The low quality of the paper envelope wasn’t conducive to really amazing colouring, but it worked well enough.

Reflecting on the card and envelope.

I could’ve kicked myself for not testing the pens to see if they were Copic friendly. I don’t think I could send this card to anyone as it just isn’t up to scratch. I need to remember this in future projects.

Also, the Versamark pen smeared the ink a little too, but nowhere as much as the Copics did.

I used much darker Copic colours than I usually would without thinking that heat embossing them would intensify the colours even more. The colours aren’t as dark as in the photo, but they are still darker than I would like.

The coloured pencils colouring worked much better and perhaps I would’ve been better off using them on the card panel. Again, something to remember for the future.

I also noticed that the anti-static powder I used before using the Versamark and embossing powder has either removed or covered the Perfect pearls. I used the anti-static powder so prevent the embossing powder sticking to places it didn’t belong. This is always a possibility, especially when using Distress Inks to colour the background.

In hindsight, I may have been better drawing, colouring and heat embossing the design before colouring the background. However, I do like to have pre-coloured backgrounds to use for arty projects.

So, Angela, how are you? 

I’m OK, still tired from a busy few days at the weekend and start of the week. I also have a flare-up of an ovarian cyst which is rather painful and achy. I’m feeling content and optimistic otherwise, though still tired even though I slept well last night. The exhaustion that comes with interacting with people, therapy and not enough me-time can linger for a good while — the joys of having CPTSD and being an introvert.

Yesterday, I was fatigued, and the flare-up ramped up in intensity as the day progressed. I wasn’t in the right place to create art or focus on work. I needed to practice self-care.

I chose to do some crochet after hearing about Crochyay, the online presence of a young woman called Olivia who makes flowers and leaves them with a little message tag for people to find and keep – random acts of kindness. She uses crochet to help manage her anxiety and depression as well.

I thought it was a beautiful idea and I thought flowers or little amigurumi hearts or similar would be lovely to make. Small, quick to finish projects that I feel I could manage. I’ve lost the oompf to do larger crochet projects such as shawls and blankets, but some little ones would be lovely to do. 

I do find crochet and other crafts quite soothing and calming. I also feel I’m doing something, and they can stop me from just sleeping my day away. Little projects like flowers are fab for me when the thought of anything bigger fills me with procrastination and disinterest. Also, I find it much more motivating to do projects for other people than for myself, even if I don’t know those people.

So I managed to make quite a few flowers yesterday. I now need to make leaves and assemble them into little posies. Then, there are tags to make.

I’m also looking forward to making the tags as I can draw and decorate them too! So, little projects in their own right.

Finally, I’ll need to overcome my self-consciousness and anxiety about leaving them for people to find them.

September Colouring Template

 Template for the Angela Porter's Coloring Book Fans facebook group, September 2019
Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, September 2019

The first day of a new month means I add a colouring template to the “Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans” Facebook group. I make the template an exclusive freebie for members of the group. The group is free to join. Why not pop over get access to this and all other group templates.

I drew the template on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board using a couple of Uniball Unipin pens. I scanned it in, cleaned up some smudges overruns.

As it’s September, my mind is on the changing seasons; we’re heading into autumn here in the UK. The rowan and hawthorn trees are laden with red berries already. The sycamore helicopters and ash keys are turning golden and are visible amongst the still-green foliage.

It is my favourite time of year. I love the comfortably warm days and the chilly nights. It’s a delight to snuggle down in bed with a warm body and a cool head. I sleep so much better too. Mind you, I think my weighted blanket is helping with that.

I love the change in the colour and quality of light – the golden hue delights me. I’m also looking forward to seeing the relatively rapid colour-changes that happen as the dull, dark greens of summer give way to the fiery conflagration of autumn.

So, my September template has autumnal motifs in it, though they’d work for any season no matter where you are in the world.

I will continue to add colour to this template throughout the month, hopefully. Then, at the close of September, I’ll show the finished coloured version.

I always look forward to seeing how different people colour the drawing. I love to see the different colours, media and techniques they use.

Thinking of you – dangle design card and envelope

Thinking of you © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Dangle designs

Today, I have a dangle design card along with a coordinating envelope for you. I’ve kept the construction of the card simple with just one layer on the card blank. The dangle design and hand lettering are also quite simple as well as whimsical in character.

If you’d like to find out more about drawing dangle designs, then
A Dangle A Day is my book about dangle designs with plenty of inspiration and suggestions.

Materials and dimensions of the card and envelope

The yellow card blank is 5½” x 4″ in size with a top fold. So, I started with a piece of card measuring 11″ x 4″.

I also cut a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board to 5″ x 3½” for the top panel.

Next, I used some thick printer paper to make an envelope. I used the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board. The size of paper needed and the position of the first score line are printed on the board. This tool from WRMK makes it so easy to create custom envelopes.

To make an envelope to fit a 5½” x 4″ card I needed to cut a piece of paper measuring 7⅞” x 7⅞”. I used 120gsm white printer paper for the envelope.

Pencil guide-lines

Before I started, I used a ruler and pencil to draw in some faint guide-lines for the banner ribbon and the hand lettering on the top layer. I also pencilled in the hand lettering.

On the envelope, I added some guide-lines on the left and bottom to give me a border.

Hand-lettering and drawing the design

I started by hand-lettering the sentiment, then I drew the ribbon banner around it.

My next task was to draw the dangle comprising of beads and hearts.

Finally, for the top layer, I drew in the arrangement of plants and added some shells and butterflies.

I didn’t use a pencil to sketch the design before I drew it in ink simply because I’m confident in drawing these kinds of designs. However, it is a good idea to do so if you’re less than confident. I started with the central flower pot and let the design grow out from there.

I then took my attention to the envelope. I started by drawing in the ledge on the bottom. Next, I added the plants, flowers, shells and butterflies. I then drew a black border around the envelope, just inside the edge. This line gave me something to hang the dangle from; I added a dangle similar to the one on the card.

Adding colour

With all the drawing complete, it was time to add some colour.

I’d received my Chameleon fineliners yesterday, so I thought I’d try them out as there are lots of small areas in this design. I love my Chameleon markers, but using them to add colour to tiny spaces can be a little tricksy.

I did try the Chameleon fineliners out yesterday for drawing lines and hand lettering. I found that they give a very long gradient, even with the shortest of touches of the cap to the pen. I thought this might work well in colouring the flowers in. I achieved a pleasing change of colour of the petals on each bloom from just one blending process. This blending also worked well for the butterflies.

What I did notice is that the fineliners moved some of the black pigment from the Uniball Unipin pens that I used to draw the design with. That was a bit disappointing. It may be that in the future I will need to draw, scan and then laser print the design out. That’s a bit of a faff, but it’s doable.

I’ve never been a fan of fineliners for colouring; I find they leave lines and tend to pill the paper. This is just a personal gripe about all fineliners.

The Chameleon fineliners are pleasant and comfortable to write with – comparable to other fineliners. So, unless I want to add colour using lines and cross-hatching, writing is going to be my primary use for these pens.

To colour the pots, banner, leaves, cacti, shells and ledge, I used some of my Copic Ciao markers. I chose to use these as the brush nib lets me colour tiny areas. Also, I wanted to use pastel-ish colours to tone in with the colouring from the Chameleon fineliners.

I did add some very simple Copic shading to the design.

The Chameleon fineliners had spread the black dots I’d added to the flower centres. So, I broke out a gold Uniball Signo pen to colour in the centres of all the flowers. I also used it to add a sprinkling of little dots around the design.

Reflections

I enjoyed creating this card and envelope. It was a quick, simple project. I also do enjoy drawing whimsical designs.

I like the sunshiny yellow card blank; it makes me smile, especially as it is currenty a grey and rainy day here in the valleys of Welsh Wales.

I think the card may benefit from the use of a bit of Wink of Stella to add some shimmer and shine to the wings of the butterflies and maybe the hearts.

I could’ve ink blended a background to the design using Distress Inks. I also could’ve added a drop shadow around the design to give it some dimension. Today, I chose not to do these things to keep the card relatively simple.

I also only added one layer to the card. I could’ve cut a piece of contrasting colour to go beneath the top layer to give a bit more of a layer. Alternatively, I could’ve used amarker to colour the edge of the layer to give a border, or ink blended some distress ink around the edge. Again, I chose not to do so; I wanted to keep the card simple and easy to do.

I think the result is cute and whimsical. I now have to find someone to send it to! I think that I’ll use some Distress Micro Glaze to protect the artwork on the envelope before posting it though.

Hand writing matters!

In a blog post called “Handwriting matters!” by Marie Celine she discusses why she thinks handwriting still matters in this age of digital communication.

I agree that handwriting does matter. Handwriting is as unique and individual as the person creating it. It’s also a much more personal way to communicate with others. It takes longer to handwrite a letter, note or memo and then deliver it either to the person or the post office.

It’s always nice to receive chatty, friendly emails from friends, and of course this is a quick and instant communication. However, there’s something to be said about the slower nature of communication by traditional post and that personal touch that handwriting gives.

I make these cards but rarely send them to another person, let alone include a handwritten note or letter. The cards sit around my home and never get shared with another person.

I think that needs to change, don’t you?

Not sure how to go about it, but if anyone who reads this would like to receive one of my cards and maybe a letter then leave a comment or contact me via social media or email.

I actually do love to hand-write; I always have and I’ve always taken a lot of pride in my handwriting. I remember making a huge effort to change it when I realised it was looking like my mother’s writing.

My preferred way of learning was to write and re-write my notes, condensing them into just a few lines of ‘memory joggers’. If my notes in lessons or lectures were messy, I would make it my task to tidy them up as soon as I could, which was also a way for me to review, consolidate and learn.

I have the facilities to hand-write digitally. I could keep a journal by writing on the screen. However, such activities frustrate me as I can’t turn the writing area to the angle I like to write at!

Also, as much as I love working digitally in so many artistic pursuits, there’s nothing quite like the feel of pen on paper, and I do love pens! I have a bit of an obsession with stationery, even though much of my work is digital these days.

Handwriting and therapy

Nowadays most of my handwriting is in my journals. It’s not as neat as I’d like it to be. I make mistakes. I like to hand-write my journals as the process of putting pen to paper slows my mind down. It gives me a chance to reflect and review what’s been going on in my life and also with my emotions.

Of course, reflecting on my thoughts and emotions, catching them in action is important to me as I continue with my journey to recovery from CPTSD. It also helps me to record events, emotions and thoughts that need to be discussed in EMDR therapy.

Handwriting vs Hand Lettering

Handwriting is that almost unconscious way we write things down – thoughts, notes, memos, to-do lists etc, as well as our signatures.

Hand lettering is a much more deliberate activity. It is like drawing the shapes of letters, not writing the whole word in one go. It’s consciously deciding what the shape, size and embellishments of a letter should be.

I enjoy hand lettering and I do tend to use the shapes of letters that I use in my handwriting. But that’s where the similarities end for me.

Do you still hand-write? How do you make use of handwriting? Do you think it’s still an important skill?

Leave a comment, I’d be really interested to hear what you think?

Colouring Reef Illustrations

Coloring Reef Illustrations © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Coloring Reef Illustrations © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

This morning I started to colour the reef illustrations I posted yesterday. I’m using a mixture of Chameleon marker pens and pencils to do this. My photograph of the work in progress isn’t brilliant, but you get the idea I’m sure.

In the larger motifs, I’m using the Chameleon Color Tones markers along with the Color Tops to achieve gradient colouring. Flat colour is added to smaller areas using the pen.

Then, I use Chameleon pencils to add depth and dimension. I’m also adding more depth and dimension by using a white gel pen and a fine Unipin pen to add highlights and texture.

I’m enjoying the process, but I must admit I’m finding it more ‘fussy’ to do than when I digitally colour! Continually swapping pens and pencils is a little frustrating for me.

Maybe that’s just today as I’m tired. I didn’t sleep at all well last night. Stomach cramps were plaguing me throughout the night, though they do seem better today. Painkillers have stopped the pain completely today; yesterday, they merely dulled it.

Also, when I woke, my mind was very active with flashbacks related to my EMDR therapy yesterday. It was a very emotional session, lots of tears and upset. However, my therapist tells me I’m making good progress. I believe her.

Today, everything seems like hard work as I’m so exhausted, not just from the lack of sleep, but emotionally too. These feelings will pass; they always do.

I don’t know how much more I’ll do today. I don’t think I’ll get a lot of colouring done. I do feel I need to draw though, so perhaps I’ll do that after I’ve done some errands today. Typical of ‘adulting’ to get in the way of self-soothing and self-care.

Coloring Book Day 2019

Angela Porter's Coloring Book Fans August Template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans August Template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

That’s right, there’s an annual day to celebrate coloring books and to indulge yourself in the relaxing, calming, stress-busting activity of coloring, no matter your age or gender!

As you can see if you browse this blog, I do a lot of art. Whether drawing, colouring, or other forms of creativity in art it really does relax, calm and soothe me when I need it.

And there are times when I really do need calming and relaxing. It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my blog for a while that I have complex PTSD (CPTSD) and I am slowly recovering from it with the help of EMDR therapy. On the days where I have low mood or anxiety or I’ve been startled into hyper-vigilance, art really helps to soothe my jarred emotions and calm me until the stress hormones leach from my body returning to their normal level for me. That is still an elevated level, but a level that has always been there in my life.

It’s not just me saying this. Research has shown that spending time colouring has a similar effect on the brain as mindfulness meditation.

One piece of research at the University of West England in Bristol has shown that colouring can reduce stress, boost creativity and increased mindfulness (being aware of what you are doing at that moment, not thinking about the future or past).

The benefits of colouring are listed in an article on the developing good habits blog.

There are so many coloring books available as well as colouring pages, you can find just about anything to suit your tastes. Also, I have many colouring books available (I think it’s around 20 now) – have peek at at my Angela Porter Amazon author page.

If you like to draw your own designs to colour and are looking for something new and a little different, then you may like to take a look at my book ‘A Dangle A Day’. In the book I show you what dangles are, how to draw them and use them with hand lettered sentiments and monograms. They’re fun to draw, simple, and there are many ways to use them such as in bullet journals (BuJos), planners, journals, scrapbooks, greetingscards, note cards, bookmarks and more.

Also, I gift an exclusive template to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group at least once a month. They’re free to members and shouldn’t be available anywhere else, though intellectual theft isn’t unknown in the realms of the internet.

The image above is the August template for the facebook group. I coloured it digitally using gradient tools for some speed. It would take me weeks to do the way I’ve been creating digital art of late!

No matter what you use to colour – digital or traditional media – I’d love to see how you’ve brought my line art to life, whether from one of my books or from one of the templates available in the facebook group. There’s also some templates available on my angela porter illustrator facebook page too.

Here’s the tags you can use to connect with me on the social media platforms that I use:

August’s Coloring Template

Coloring Template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group for August 2019 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd

Each month, I design a coloring template that is an exclusive free gift for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

It’s my little way of saying thank you for supporting my work. I have also posted a colour palette colouring challenge for the month, which colorists can use with this template or any other template from my books, the choice is entirely theirs.

I had some fun drawing this one. I’ve missed drawing cute fishies and the like. I even sneaked a couple of simple dangles in there too.

You’d be made most welcome if you pop along and join in. It is a friendly group for sure.

I’m looking forward to seeing how people bring this one to life with colour for sure.

I drew this one with Unipin pens from Uniball on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. Yes, traditional drawing. I did use digital tools to clean up some smudges and where the lines went a little too far into another section, but that was it.

Work in progress

Work In Progress ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Work In Progress ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

It’s a new month so that means a new coloring template is available to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, and this is the template! I thought I’d add some colour to it before I head out for the rest of the day.

I drew the template with Fudenosuke pens from Tombow on Bristol Board from Winsor and Newton. The paper is A4 in size (that’s approx. US letter size).

I’ve started coloring it digitally (Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio), as that’s what I’m enjoying at the moment.

This month I’ve gone for my signature entangled style of art, but using the Fudenosuke pens, which I’m really enjoying using, gives varying linewidths and heavier lines and a more graphic feel to the art.

It’s free to join the group, there are some terms and conditions attached to the template use. If you’d like to download and colour the image then pop along to the group and you’d be made most welcome!

I’d also love to see how you colour this template. Yes, really, I would!