The world is still in the grip of winter; I woke up this morning to a coverlet of snow covering everything. Yet again, I’m am so grateful that I work at home and don’t have to go out until it clears, even if that takes a day or so.
I wanted the colours in the dangle to reflect winter, but I also made Valentine’s Day a focus for the design, and I used that as an opportunity to include some more bits of hand lettering.
I did sketch the design out on Rhodia dot grid paper then scanned it in. I then re-drew the design digitally using my usual trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Book.
Today, I have a template or two to create for a colouring day at the Welsh Office in Cardiff on Time to Talk Day next Thursday. Time to Talk Day is the day where we’re encouraged to talk to people about mental health and well being. I don’t have anything to do on this day for Time to Change Wales, yet, or at any point in the week. I do have other projects to work on as well.
My own anxiety seems to have slid back to it’s usual constant background level after a stressful time earlier this week. It takes time. Mindfulness meditation helps somewhat, but it does take time for those stress response chemicals/hormones to leach out from my body even when I calm myself down.
This little card and envelope took me around 3 hours to make. I had to remember how to do various things and find my supplies to do them with!
My first task was to make the sentiment banner. I had the idea for this one after someone asked me for recommendations of good books for learning hand lettering as they’re not at all happy with their handwriting.
Hand lettering and handwriting are not the same thing. Hand lettering is something you unconsciously do. Hand lettering is the conscious and deliberate drawing of letters, one by one. Practice, like everything else you want to learn and become good enough at, is important. I suggested that they try printing the sentiments out on their computer or using words cut out of books or magazines or stickers or stamps and ink pads used by card makers until they’re comfortable with their own lettering style.
That led me to thinking that rather than writing the sentiment directly onto the paper that I’m going to draw the dangle design on, what about if I hand lettered it on paper again and again until I’m happy with it and then cut that version out. I could then layer it onto coloured card to make a border, or onto the paper or or or…
So, that’s what I wanted to use here. A variation on what I’ve done in previous cards. I cut two trips of mixed media paper, one around 1cm wide, the other around 0.7cm wide.
On the narrow strip I wrote my sentiment. I did this confidently as I knew if I got it wrong I could always write it again – I’d not ruin my dangle design in any way. I then trimmed the strip close to the start and end of the sentiment.
Next, I coloured the wider strip of paper with victorian velvet Distress Ink. I trimmed one piece so it was just a little longer than the sentiment. Then, I cut two rectangles from the coloured strip. I cut triangular notches into one end of each of the rectangles. I used the sponge applicator to make sure the edges of the coloured pieces, including inside the notches, and the sentiment strip coloured. By doing this, there’s a darker edge to the pieces and this defines them against the background. The final step in making the banner was to glue the pieces together as shown in the photo.
I cut two pieces of mixed media paper for the front of the card. The smaller one I made a little narrower than the sentiment banner; I wanted the ribbon to hang over the edge a little. I used a pencil to mark where I wanted the banner to sit on the card. I then used a pencil to mark out the centre of the card so I could position my dangle centrally.
Above where the ribbon would sit I wanted to place an arrangement of pot plants – succulents and a cacti. Below I wanted a fairly simple dangle, but one that had elements that appeared in the arrangement of pot plants. I drew these with a 05 Uniball Unipin Pen.
I then wanted to colour the two pieces of mixed media paper before I coloured the designs in.
For the larger one I used Peacock Feathers, Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks to colour the whole of the paper panel. I edged this panel with Faded Denim Distress Ink. Then, I lightly sprayed the panel with water so that I’d get some faded watermarks as a texture in the colour.
For the upper panel, I used a very light hand to add the same Distress Inks to the paper, but in a much paler shade. I also edged this panel with the Faded Denim Distress Ink. I realised it hadn’t erased the pencil guidelines before I added the Distress Ink so when I went to erase them they wouldn’t fully erase. I’d forgotten that I had to do that! Still, it adds a bit to the distressed feel of the cards, that and the damage marks that were on the larger panel too.
To colour the dangle design I used Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. I used a fairly limited palette across the design.
The last two steps before assembling the card were add dots of gold ink and some shiny adhesive crystal gems.
To assemble the card I used glue to adhere the lower panel directly to the card. I then used foam squares to adhere the dangle design panel to the lower panel and the sentiment ribbon to the dangle design panel. This card has quite a bit of dimension to it.
My final job was to decorate the envelope. I decided to draw some pot plants and some of the daisies along the bottom. I added some butterflies to the left as the area above the pot plant seemed empty, unbalance. I haven’t coloured the envelope in as I’m in two minds whether to or not. Also, it would be nice to edge the envelope with the Faded Jeans Distress ink too, maybe even colouring the envelope with the same Distress Inks as the card. There’s also the back flap of the envelope that would benefit from a little potted succulent drawing I think.
Distress Inks are water-reactive, so if I do this, once the envelope is addressed a light application of Micro Glaze would seal the colour in so it wouldn’t be damaged in the mail.
I’m actually quite pleased with this card. It’s got me thinking about how to do more of this kind of stuff – card making the ‘Angela’ way!
If you give making cards like this a go, I’d love to see what you create! Happy art-ing, lettering and crafting!
Here’s a pretty pair of whimsical and cute dangle designs card and envelope.
For the focal point of the card I used a butterfly from a pack of Ephemera from Tim Holtz called Botanical. I added some metallic gold ink highlights to the butterfly as I knew I’d be adding gold to the design. I also edged the butterfly with some Peeled Paint Distress Ink using a sponge ink applicator.
I then cut my paper to fit the card blank I wanted to use; I learned my lesson from the the last card I made! The card blank measured 8½” by 4¼”. So, I cut a piece of Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper 7¾” by 3¾” to create the dangle design on.
I used the butterfly as a guide as to where I wanted to add some flowers upon which it could alight. I also drew pencil guidelines in for the centre of the design and the sentiment banner.
Then it was drawing the design. I used a 05 Unipin pen from Uniball.
I started by drawing the flowers at the top of the design.
Next, it was the hand lettering for the sentiment ‘Just for you’.
Flowers, hearts, stars and spherical and teardrop shaped beads are my goto choices for dangles. I did add a charm that was based on some jewellery, as well as a square charm with a geometric pattern inside it.
When I’d drawn the main dangle I realised I wanted to add a bit of width to it. So, I added two bars stretching out from the side of the square charm and used the ends to hang dangles made up of hearts and beads.
Colouring was the next task. I used Tombow Dual Brush pens to colour the design in. The colour gradients weren’t strong enough for me, so I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to add depth to the colours.
Then, it was time to attach the butterfly using some foam squares.
I then used a dip ink pen to add some dots of gold FW Pearlescent ink around the design. I also used gold to fill in the lettering of the sentiment and various elements of the dangle design.
Next, I added white dots highlights to some of the design elements using a Sakura Souffle pen.
I also used a blue-grey Chameleon pencil to add shadows to the design at this point.
Before affixing the design to the card blank I used a sponge ink applicator and Peeled Paint Distress Ink to edge the design. That was the card done.
I then thought it would be fun to create an example of an addressed envelope using a dangle design as a monogram. I used some of the charms from the card for this design. I also drew some simple, whimsical butterflies above the monogram. I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to colour the dangle design and to add a shadow to the dangle.
Pencil guidelines helped me to keep my lettering evenly spaced and of a consistent size. In this case I just guesstimated them, but in future I think I will need to measure the spacing of the lines!
Finally, I added some glittery golden stars with a gold glitter Uniball Gel pen as well as some white dot highlights using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
One thing I realise I didn’t do was to make the colours in the dangle more harmonious with the butterfly. The color tones of the butterfly are quite antique and grungy and I used rather bright, clean colours to colour the design with. I also am not happy with the monogram on the envelope; it’s too small and the lettering style doesn’t seem sympathetic to the rest of the lettering.
I’m going to put these down to me still suffering the lingering effects of the stinking cold I’ve had for the past three days. It’s definitely broken now, but I’m still not 100%.
It’s also a learning experience. I’m not a wonderful card maker; I do dabble in it from time to time, however dangle cards are fun to make and with the decorated envelopes it’s double the fun! I think I need to start sending happy mail to people! I’d be happy to receive this card with a letter inside – how would you feel about it?
If you’d like to print and colour this design in, please follow the link and join the group. You’ll find some other coloring templates there too that are only available to members of the group.
Dangle designs are a lot of fun to create. They’re whimsical, cute and a lot simpler to draw than they look! I take you one step at a time through how to draw well over 100 different dangle designs in the book, as well as making suggestions about where you can use dangle designs and with words of encouragement.
If you do have a go at drawing dangle designs, and colouring them of course, I’d love to see what you create and how you use them!
Today has been a funny kind of day. I have a stinking cold and I had an appointment late morning. When I came home this afternoon, I decided I’d do another mandala made up of dangle designs and design elements from my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.
I just let the design flow from the tip of my Microsoft Surface Pen and onto the virtual paper that is my Microsoft Surface Studio screen. As always, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the app that lets me draw and colour naturally on the Surface Studio screen.
I incorporated some of my favourite design elements – hearts, stars, sun, moon, flowers, leaves – into the mandala. A big mug of tea and a nicely sweet cake could be most welcome, though I’m not entirely sure the cold would let me enjoy them.
I also included some of those graphic black and white squares that I like so much, as well as a rainbow pattern of little arches. A morning sky and a night sky as backgrounds to the rings in the mandala completes this rather cutely whimsical mandala design.
Although I don’t show how to create dangle-dalas in the book, they are easy enough to do using dangles and design elements from the book.
It goes without saying that I’m all excited about my book being published tomorrow. I’m really hoping some of you will share your dangle designs with me – I really am curious and interested in how you use dangle designs!
A couple of days ago I was musing about using a photograph instead of a monogram in a dangle design. That idea stuck with me and so I set out to make a card.
I had seen somewhere the Photobooth Ephemera by Tim Holtz and I was able to source a set at a sensible price. This pack contains thirty strips of three passport-sized, vintage, copyright free photos. Perfect for me as I have very few photos and none are a small enough size to be used in this way. Also, the photos are printed on fairly sturdy card.
I first started by trimming the photo and then tracing around it on a sheet of thick white printer paper. It was then easy to draw pencil lines to give a border or two around the photo as well as a pencil guide line for a central dangle.
My next job was to draw the flowers at the top of the design. I started with the big central blue flower and worked my way out, adding leaves and swirls as I went. The design here is symmetrical, but not perfectly so. I had to add some butterflies to finish this part of the design off.
My next steps involved drawing the borders. I wanted a black and white chequerboard pattern around the photo. I also added a thinner border around it.
My next step was to create a ribbon for the hand lettered sentiment ‘Hello friend’. I drew a pencil box, added some pencil guidelines for the height of the letters, then wrote the greeting in pencil so I could get the placement of the letters good enough.
My next step was to ink in the letters using a black Sakura Pigma PN pen, which I used for the rest of the drawing. I wasn’t concerned about perfection here. I wanted a kind of cutely whimsical feel to the lettering. For some reason, I always think adding wonky and uneven serifs to the letters helps a little with this. The final job was to draw the ribbon box with the cute ends.
I then needed to decide on the charms I’d use to build the dangle. Hearts are a foregone conclusion. When I think of time I spend with friends, tea and cake are often involved, so adding a coffee/tea cup along with a cupcake (or fairy cake as we used to call them here in the UK) was perfect. I joined the charms with small beads and a circular charm containing another heart.
To colour the dangle design I used copic markers. I did use two shades of pink for the greeting and the cupcake case. Everywhere else I used just one flat colour.
I used a fine brush and some black ink to fill in the square at the centre of the design. Next, I trimmed the paper around the design. I then used a foam ink applicator with Vintage Photo Distress Ink to edge the paper. I always feel that edging paper in this way not only gives a little bit of a vintage feel to it, which is in keeping with the photo, but it also gives a finished edge to the paper.
To mount the photo here I used some adhesive foam squares. These lift the photo above the paper, adding a little bit of dimension to the card. The photo was a little bit smaller than the square I’d drawn and so the black background gave black border around the photo. I then used a golden yellow copic marker to colour some clear adhesive gems and I attached three of them to the photo, just to add a bit more sparkle.
I used Chameleon duotone pencils to add shadow to the design elements. I also used a dip pen and gold FW ink to add some little dots here and there around the design as well as on the photo. Not sure that on the photo was such a great idea though. But once the dots were there, they had to stay there. The gold dots, however, did match the gold gems I’d added to the photo.
The final step was to affix the design to a blank card. I didn’t think to cut my paper to the size of blank cards I had in my stash before I started to work on the dangle design. I found that my design was too long. So, I just took a piece of A4 bristol board, folded it in half along the short edge. I burnished the fold and then attached the dangle design to the paper using strong double sided sticky tape.
To add a bit more dimension to the card, I could’ve used foam squares or a piece of fun foam cut to a little smaller than the paper the design is on. Fun foam would support the paper better, especially as I had a relatively weighty photo adhered to the paper already.
Instead of foam, I could’ve cut a piece of metallic card a little bigger than the design to give a metallic edge to it.
I decided, though, that there was enough dimension on the card with the photo.
I also could have used a Wink of Stella brush pen or a Spectrum Noir sparkle pen to add some shimmer to the design elements, but I decided that the gold dots were enough. However, I may go back and add some to the butterfly wings; butterflies should always shimmer and shine wherever possible as far as I’m concerned!
The only other thing I’d need to do is to make a custom envelope to fit the card.
I enjoyed making the card. My card making skills aren’t brilliant, but I kept it fairly simple, as I did for the dangle design itself and the colouring.
Oh, the patterned background for the photo is one I created from one of my mandala designs using Repper Pro, just in case you were curious! I thought it’s vintage feel would go nicely with the card.
On the whole, I’m quite happy with this card. I had serious doubts that it wouldn’t work out. It has, better than I thought it would. I think I need to make more of these in the future!
Dangles can be turned into mandalas! And ‘dangle-dalas’ satisfy my love of symmetry in an unusual way.
In this one, I have two rings to which dangles are attached. In the centre ring, they point towards the centre of the mandala. On the outer ring, they point out into space.
Then, there’s two central rings. One, I coloured in a pastel rainbow and added ‘A Dangle A Day’ in my weird take on hand-lettered uncials. The lettering isn’t perfect, but then neither am I, and neither were celtic/anglo-saxon/medieval manuscripts.
Ok, the manuscripts are more perfect than my hand lettering, but it’ll do. It’s perfectly imperfect. That is an idea I’m becoming to embrace more and more easily as time goes on, and an idea that I encourage you to adopt in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.
I used rather graphic black and white geometric designs to separate the three main rings of the design. This contrasts nicely with the brightly colourful design elements.
I felt the need to draw cacti, flowers and some weird seeds today, so that’s what I did. Of course it goes without saying that I’d have to include stars and hearts in my design! There’s some beads in there too, particularly those teardrop shaped ones that remind me so much of medieval jewellery.
Mind you, medieval in character this design is not. It is rather cute and whimsical, which is one of my signature styles – the other is intricacy.
For this design, I hand drew and coloured it digitally using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio. As always, my chosen art software was Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Yes, I really do draw on my Surface Studio with the Surface Pen as if I’m drawing with, say, a fountain pen on paper. Colouring I often do as if I’m colouring with traditional media, though sometimes I do use gradient fills. It just depends on the feel I want in the final artwork.
Being able to work in layers means I can do things that would be very difficult or time-consuming working traditionally. It also means that I can play with colour combinations – I love colour, but I don’t always make good choices of colour palettes, see yesterday’s Q monograms for evidence of that!
Of course, there’s so much more to digital art than this, and I’ve not discovered everything yet. But over time my experience is that I discover, workout or learn how to do what I need to do at that time when I’m ready to do that.