One dangle design, four colourways

One dangle design, four colourways © Angela Porter 2019

In my book, ‘A Dangle A Day’, I mention that just by changing the colour scheme you can easily change the appearance of a dangle design for an occasion or to match someone’s favourite colours. So, I thought it would be nice to show an example of this.

I chose a simple monogram dangle design from the book; you can see it in the top left corner. This dangle design has a very spring-like feel to it with the lovely bright pinks and greens of the new, fresh flowers and leaves that blossom and bloom at this time of year.

Taking my cue from this, I coloured in three versions of this design in the seasonal colours.

At the top right is a summery version, with a lovely warm sunrise as the background to the letter, blue summer skies, warm golden sun, and the bright and warm colours of the flowers. A golden summer glow could be achieved by using a hint of gold Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake, or by adding dots of gold glittery wonderfulness.

Autumn tones were used in the bottom left version. Fiery oranges, reds and yellows and clear autumnal sky blues were used. Enamel dots, glitter pens or stickles would add sparks of autumnal glory to this design.

The final design has a definitely cool wintry colour scheme – icy blues, cool purple and the blue-green tones of evergreens, along with silver. To this I could add white snowflakes or stars with a gel pen, or dots of silver glitter with Stickles from Ranger or Nuvo Drops or a glitter gel pen. Using a Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake to colour over the design would result in a lovely, sparkly, frosty finish.

Of course, there are many, many ways that the designs could be embellished to suit your taste, supplies or the recipient. So much fun can be had adding embellishments which also personalise the design even more.

I hand drew the original design on paper and then digitally for the book. My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which I also used for the colour variations above. I set the ‘brush’ pens up for the book so they mimicked the shapes/patterns pens on paper create and left lines a little wobbly and imperfect, just as I would when drawing on paper. Indeed, I very much treat my Surface Pen and Surface Studio screen as if they’re pen and paper in the way that I draw (and colour).

I do hope you’ll give dangle designs a go, and that you’ll show me the results of your work. You can find me online here:

An ‘A’ Dangle Mandala…

©Angela Porter 2019

I’m definitely on a mandala kick at the moment! This one, though, includes some dangle designs!

A Dangle A Day’ is released on 15th January 2019, and I just wanted to get yet another dangle design out in the interwebs to inspire you.

While checking out the release date (which I’ve been getting a tad wrong, oops!) I noticed there were some reviews of the book. I’d like to say thank you to all the reviewers who wrote such lovely words about the book! It’s filled me with a bit more confidence and belief in myself as this is my very first art tutorial book.

There’s some hand lettering with the letter A. The letter A has dangles forming the inner part of the mandala. Then, the outer ring has simple and cutely whimsical doodle designs and yet another dangle forming it.

Of course, hearts and stars had to appear; they are my favourite design elements for many of my projects. I also like beads and gems too. Flowers and foliage are also favourite motifs, as are spirals.

I decided the ring of A’s need to be in a rainbow colour scheme and I chose a bright colour scheme for the design elements.

It looks complicated, but if you look at just one A and follow the dangle towards the centre and the design out to the outer rim you’ll see that it really isn’t all that complex.

Of course, drawing mandalas on paper can be time consuming. I usually draw mine digitally.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is now free and it’s my drawing software of choice. It has a symmetry tool that is really easy to use. You only draw one segment of the mandala which is then automatically repeated around the circle. I find Autodesk Sketchbook intuitive to use, and it’s easy to use almost straight away. It also has some rather sophisticated features on it and it does all that I need it to do, and more. I use a Microsoft Surface Pen along with Microsoft Surface Studio to draw and colour digitally, and they work wonderfully with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I do colour my designs digitally. However, sometimes I will print out the black line art and then use traditional media (often Chameleon markers) to bring the line art to life with colour.

I do hope you will have a go at creating your own dangle designs. They look complicated, but they really aren’t! If you do have a go, then please share your designs with me on any of my social media homes – facebook, instagram, twitter or here!

Hello January! A Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2019

What a bright, sunshiny morning it is here in South Wales in the UK. The first sunshine of the new calendar!

I’ve been up for around 3 hours and have had a fairly artsy time.

My first job was to print out the lineart for this dangle design, which is one of many in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ which is due for release on 8 January 2019 – just a week away!

In the book, I take you through how to draw this design, one step at a time. Not only this design, but well over 100 more – designs for all seasons and many, many celebrations and occasions.

This design I drew in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Book. For the book, I coloured it digitally. Today, I printed out my black and white lineart and then coloured it using Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens. I also added some details to some elements of the design using a 08 Uniball Unipin pen and a white Sakura Gelly Roll Pen.

Yesterday, I said I need to to spelunking through my stash of mixed media and cardmaking supplies to find forgotten supplies I could use to embellish my designs.

This dangle design would make a lovely monthly cover page for a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, diary or journal. It would also make a pretty greetings card or notecard to drop a line to a friend wishing them a wonderful January. Change the words and colours to suit the occasion or recipient! It would also be a lovely, whimsical, cute design for a winter party invitation.

I realised then that my old watermark wouldn’t do for this year. So I hand lettered a new one. I made my symbol, the one I hide away in my artwork, part of the design, along with a little intricate but simple geometric pattern around it. A little touch of the uncials for my blog address, along with a typed copyright statement and it’s done and saved! I may end up changing it a little, or having variations on the theme, as time goes on. But I’m fairly happy with it.

So, I’ve already had a productive morning! It may be a Bank Holiday in the UK, but I really do need to focus on those templates that need colouring for Entangled Forests…and I may venture forth into the peopley world later on today, maybe.

Monogram ‘C’ with a dangle

© Angela Porter 2018

I was browsing through ‘Decorated Lettering’ by Jan Pickett yesterda and came across something I thought I’d like to try. This something involved drawing a letter using coloured pencils or watercolour pencils then adding patterns and embellishments afterwards.

I usually do the patterns and embellishments first, then add the colour. But I also know that if I were to use coloured pencils, watercolour pencils or other media over my line art (traditional art time here!) then the black lines can become masked a little by the colours.

So, I had to try this out.

I grabbed a pad of Daler-Rowney Mixed Media paper along with my Inktense pencils and a fine water brush and began the process of creating the design in colour.

I did use a pencil to sketch out the shapes very lightly, even using an eraser to make them lighter still. Pencil can become trapped under colours and become difficult to erase.

As I knew I’d be posting it on Christmas Eve, I thought a monogram C along with a simple Christmas themed dangle would do the job just nicely. Red, green and gold had to be the colours used too.

For each part of the design I used two or three different colours to achieve the colour gradients. Once I’d finished this step I scanned the drawing/painting/design in and you can see it on the left. Scanning does tend to wash out the colours a little – they are a little more saturated, honest, but not much more.

Then the fun begins. I decided to use a 0.7 Copic Multiliner outline the design elements and add some of the patterns and lines. I then used a 0.25 Copic Multiliner to add some of the finer lines, particularly around the dangles.

I was toying with the idea of using a dip pen or brush and gold ink, but thought I’d play it safe this time and go with rather graphic black lines.

My final steps included using green and gold metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pens to fill in small sections and add dots. I regret the outlines around the stars.It’s made them way too heavy and cumbersome I think. However, as this was an experiment, was me trying something a bit different, it’ll do.

Although I carefully drew out the design elements and added the colour to ensure that the shape was maintained, adding water to activate the Inktense colours meant there were places where I didn’t keep to the shape exactly. I used the finest water brush that I have, but I really could’ve done with not being so lazy and grabbing a fine brush and a pot of water. However, as this was just a bit of a play the waterbrush worked.

Also, I realised that I could fix any wobbly edges with the black lines and any overspill could be incorporated into the embellishment lines/patterns quite happily.

So, I didn’t start over. I went with the imperfections in the ‘just colours’ version.

Next, it was the fun bit – adding lines and patterns. My favourite thing! This time it was adding them to the shapes formed by colour, which is backwards to how I usually work.

There were times when I was getting a little stressed about the lines not looking right or I was making a mess of it all and I’d have to start again.

However, I reminded myself it’s an experiment, it’s trying something new to me and I just need to trust myself and go with it. Which I did. After all, working directly with black pen with no pencil lines, as I mostly do when I draw, means that what you put down stays down!

Adding metallic colours to these patterns as well as the dots around the lines meant that I became happy with what I’d done.

What I could’ve kicked myself for, however, was using the mixed media paper. This has a grainy texture to it and the pens just didn’t want to leave clean lines on it. I do have smooth watercolour paper lurking in my stash, but the mixed media paper came first to hand. Also, some of the smooth watercolour papers – the hot pressed ones – aren’t as white as the mixed media paper and I didn’t want the vibrant colours of the Inktense pencils to be dulled. Mind you, a watercolour paper would’ve helped the colours to flow and not be quite so patchy I think.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with this. It is ‘perfectly imperfect’ in its own way. Learned from the process. Enjoyed challenging myself to do something a little different. It’s certainly something I’ll be doing again, perhaps with different media. Copics or Chameleon markers spring to mind, as do Tombow Dual Brush pens and the Kuretake Clean Colour Real Brush pens, though not exclusively these. I do have watercolour pencils here somewhere, and Distress Ink pads and refils so they’re a possibility too. And, of course, I have plenty of coloured pencils.

I definitely have a love affair with digital art these days, but I also love using traditional media. They’re both important to me and allow me to express my creativity in different ways, that are really the same in so many ways.

Traditional media really makes me have to accept imperfections in colouring and line work as I create. Digital art means it’s easier for me to create those perfect colour gradations and to blend colour and add texture and so on. Also, it’s so easy to have really vibrant colours with digital art, something I really struggle with when using traditional media. I do love vibrant colours, if you hadn’t noticed!

‘A Dangle A Day’ is being published 8 January 2019.

A is for … Angel Kitty. A monogram dangle design.

Angela Porter 3 Nov 2018 A is for

I got lost in drawing and coloring this dangle design this morning!

I had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to do a series of monogram dangle designs with a kitty or critter theme along with following the letters of the alphabet.

For A it just had to be an angel kitty!

I started with a pencil sketch, then, after scanning the sketch in, I inked it in using my trusty tool trio – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. Colour and texture was added and a lot of use of layers has been made and a couple of new ‘tricks’ for my digital art spellbook have been learned.

The first was about making solid areas without the black lines by using the fill tool, first in white to block out the sections, then using it as transparent to remove the black.

The second was figuring out how to use layers so I could use a natural blend brush on these sections without messing up bits I was happy with. This may seem an easy thing to those of you who are digital art experts, but I’m slowly learning what I need as I need to learn it!

Finally, I explored the use of a natural blend brush and really enjoyed working with it, once I’d figured out how it works.

I really, really enjoyed doing this one. Cats as a subject for my more whimsical, doodley type art are something I want to do more of. Maybe other critters too; I also have a soft spot in my heart for ravens, koalas, badgers, and many others!

I wonder what B is for… will turn out to be? Birthday Badger? Bookworm Kitty? Baker koala? Any suggestions? Leave me a comment here, or on facebook, on twitter (@artwyrd), or on instagram (@angela_porter_illustrator). I’d welcome suggestions and maybe I’ll draw your particular one, not just for the letter B, but for any other letter of the alphabet.

Of course this is a dangle design, and monograms, handlettering and dangle designs are some of the topics I cover in my tutorial book ‘ A Dangle A Day ‘ which is published in January 2019, but can be pre-ordered now.

 

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!

 

 

Inktober 2018 Day 23 ‘Muddy’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 23 Muddy colored

Day 23 dawned slowly for me today it has to be said and I’m still trying to get my brain out of the sleepy fugginess that I woke with around 5am. Far too early to be awake.

Still, before I head out for the day – a trip to Worcester with my friend Liz – I wanted to get Inktober done.

The first thing that came into my head when I read the prompt for today (which is muddy) was the buddhist quote about lotus and mud. I had to look it up – thank goodness for the magic of the google!

After hand lettering the quote (hand lettering is a bit better today, but some of the word spacing is a bit iffy) I turned it into a dangle design! (Quick plug – My book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available for preorder should you fancy some guidance and ideas on drawing your own dangle designs).

Had enough time to chuck the scanned image into GiMP to remove the dot grid and any remaining pencil guide lines and then to create a transparent background. This was followed by a quick visit to Autodesk Sketchbook for the image file so I could add a coloured background and my watermark.

I have enough time to write this blog, do the other social media stuff before diving into the shower and heading over to Liz’s to start the day’s jolly journey to Worcester (which no doubt will appear on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops).

The quote speaks to me both of the feeling I get when I meditate, but also about my journey from the mental and emotional ill-health of cptsd towards a healthier state of being.