Fly Away 2019 – re-imagined entangled dragonfly drawing

Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com - all rights reserved.
Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com – all rights reserved.

It’s been an *interesting* couple of days to say the least, and the root cause of the *interesting times* was the discovery of my dragonfly drawing entitled ‘Fly Away’ from back in 2012 (which you can see in my deviantART account).

I re-imagined it digitally, using my Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It’s obviously hand drawn – I left lots of little imperfections in the drawing, including wobbly lines in places. I wanted it to have the human touch, not the slick perfection that can result from digital art. It took me around 12 hours or so to re-draw. That’s more than one day’s work.

Complaints, complaints and a heartwarming tale

I sent a message to the owners of the ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ facebook page explaining that they were using my artwork without my permission, effectively stealing my work for their own profit. Surprisingly I’ve not had a reply. My messages on their page have been deleted and I’ve been blocked too.

I have also submitted an official complaint of infringement of copyright/intellectual property to teespring.com, which is the website where they are selling merchandise with my dragonfly art on.

In the midst of this, with family and friends seeing what was going on and getting a good sense of righteous indignation, a woman from Texas sent me a message saying she’d seen the comments on the facebook page mentioned above and she’d decided to approach me directly. She was going to buy the dragonfly art from that page for her daughter’s birthday party. Instead, she asked if I would sell her a print so she’s supporting the artist who created the art.

I was touched. When people approach me I always try to help. Sometimes I waive my fees, such as when someone wants permission to use a design of mine to cover up a mastectomy scar.

Anyways, back to the tale. I told the texas lady that I’d have to re-draw the image as the original had been sold years ago via Etsy and I didn’t have a high resolution image of it.

More about the drawing

So, I got to drawing it again. The image above is the result of some 12 hours work.

I used a low resolution image of the original artwork as a guide and I worked digitally. I was quite keen to do this. I wanted to try out my new skills with brushes that change width with pressure, as well as showcase how my skills have developed in the 7 years since the original was drawn.

The drawing is NOT an exact copy at all. The dragonfly itself is pretty much similar, but the flowers are different as are the spirally branches in the background. I also added tiny seed pods and flourishes to add interest.

I let the varying line weight add depth and dimension to the elements of the image. Overall, I think it’s a more balanced design. Some of the branches look a little ‘flat’ and maybe would benefit from some grey shadows. But it’s good enough I think.

Did something good come from this debacle?

The intellectual property thieves did something good – they spurred me into action in terms of reworking an old image, using my new skills, the way my art has developed.

I also now have a very high resolution image which will print beautifully on many products – it’s up in my RedBubble Shop!

They’ve also made me realise that if my art is good enough for them to steal and use to profit from then my art must be good enough for me to sell.

My problem is promoting myself and getting word out there that I have stuff available to buy with my art on it, officially! I’ve given myself permission to put my artwork on products to sell.

A never ending battle…

I know I’m never going to stop the thieves. There are always unscrupulous people out there, willing to use anything or anyone for their own profit. But when I find them I will challenge them. What they are doing is wrong – WRONG I tell you!

The only way to defeat them in some ways is not to join them, it’s not to let it all slide, but it’s to offer my art with really good quality images on good quality products at a reasonable price.

It’s also getting the word out that this kind of thing is unacceptable, and to challenge the myth that just because an image is on the internet it’s free for anyone to use, even to make money for themselves.

So, from now on, I will be adding more prominent watermarks to my art and making sure it’s at a low resolution that will not print well. I’ll do what I can to make it more difficult for them to steal, to remove my signature or symbol and watermarks and so on.

I also have a plan to add a notice to my art warning people that it is copyrighted and it’s use without permission is illegal. Well, not quite those words, but that kind of meaning.

The easiest way to stop the unscrupulous out there would be to stop sharing my art. However, there’s been people saying they hope it doesn’t stop me as they like to see what I’m up to…so I’m going to have to learn how to protect my images, my art more and more. And if I find someone using my artwork for their own gain without my permission then I will do what I can to stop them.

Easter Dangle Design and another moan about stolen artwork.

Easter Dangle Design ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Easter Dangle Design ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Notes on the Dangle Design

A trio of cute bunnies along with their stash of chocolate eggs looking all happy and also a little bit smug with themselves. A really cute and whimsical dangle design for you to use as inspiration for your own designs. I kept the dangle to just one strand to let the bunnies be the stars of this design.

The ‘with love’ sentiment was hand lettered. Yes, on the paper that is the screen of my Surface Studio using my Surface pen with a brush in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro that I’ve set up to mimic a brush pen, such as the Tombow Fudenosuke pens I’ve been using lately to draw with.

I’ve chosen soft, pastel colours, which are quite fitting for spring time I think. The textured background paper dulls and darkens them a little. However, I think that gives a bit of a vintagey, aged feeling to the design.

I did sketch the design out on Rhodia Dot Grid paper before scanning in and inking and colouring the design digitally.

My book ‘A Dangle A Day’ takes you step by step through drawing dangle designs, with plenty of helpful advice and encouragement throughout.

Yet another theft of my artwork

Yup, it’s happened again. This time on teespring.com.

One of my dragonfly designs, which incidentally has been sold to a private collector, has been used on products that someone is selling to make profit, without even bothering to search out who the artist was (me in this case) and approach them (me).

I mean, it’s not a difficult task these days. Drag and drop the image into the search bar of Google images!

I’ve emailed the company. They have a week to reply. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

How did I find out about this particular theft? The product appeared on my facebook news feed as an advert!

I left a comment on the facebook advert saying the artwork had been stolen and I was the artist who created it too. And shared the advert on facebook on my timeline and my facebook page and on my twitter account too.

Not that it’ll shame the shameless intellectual property thieves who perpetrate copyright infringement for their own financial gain.

Not that it’ll shame the company (companies) that allow this to happen.

It’s really annoying though.

It really makes me very sad, disheartened, and absolutely worthless too. The people who do this shameless theft don’t care about the effect it has on the owners of the artwork, or other intellectual property.

Yes, that’s right I feel worthless as a person, that my art is good enough for you to steal but not good enough for you to give me credit for it, to contact me about being able to use it, or to pay me for the use of it.

I’d never, ever do that to anyone. Never.

It also makes me wonder how much of my artwork that I’ve shared via deviantART, facebook, instagram, Pinterest, twitter and so on has been stolen and used without permission from myself. There’s no way I can actually tell.

Yes, it’s flattering that people like my art enough to do this. But it’s annoying that they don’t even have the decency to either state who created it and how to contact them ( that’s me in both cases here) and don’t even have the decency to contact myself about licensing the artwork, as that is the honorable, decent, law abiding thing to do, isn’t it?

I don’t have the time to go through the interwebs and find all my artwork and either delete it, complain about it being stolen, or add very distinctive watermarks and copyright notices to older work.

I will keep adding watermarks and copyright notices to all the artwork I share on the interwebs for the foreseeable future in the hope it will deter some people.

The last thing I’d want to do is to stop sharing my creations with people who just like it to look at, for a bit of ‘eye candy’, for something that makes them smile, and fascinates them, particularly with my more intricate works.

I bet even then there’ll be unscrupulous people out there who won’t give a damn anyway, but I will do my best to make it as difficult as possible for them to make a product from my art that is of good enough quality for them to make any money from. Watermarks. Background textures. Low resolution images.

Perhaps I shouldn’t let it get to me.

No, I should. If someone stole my car, my bank cards, my money, my home I’d be upset.

I make my living through my artwork.

You who steal my artwork are stealing from me as if you were reaching into my bank account with your grubby, sticky, unscrupulous, thieving fingers. How would you like it if I did that to YOU?????? Ah, that’s right. I wouldn’t happen to you as you don’t have the skills, talent to create artwork like mine do you, but the only skills you have are to steal.

Magical landscape mandala

Magical landscape mandala © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Magical landscape mandala © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Creating this mandala has had me smiling. Gentle smiles on my face and in my heart. There’s something about the graphic black and white, the grey foliage in the background and the mystical, magical moonlight illuminating the design. I look at it and I feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction with this one. It’s not perfect. There’s things I want to do with it, and working digitally allows me to do that. However, for now, it’s more than good enough. I need more tea and a bit of a break from it.

I have to say that it looks really nice in just black and white. but, the simple gradient background really sets the atmosphere for the design. I did use a gradient fill tool to create the coloured background, but I do want to go back and create one that I can have a bit more control over for sure, maybe using watercolour brushes to do that, and adding spots of glow too.

I’m really pleased with the lighter foliage in the background, adding depth and dimension to the design, adding interest. It’s delicate and ephemeral, misty too.

I want to try not letting the background colour the motifs. That’ll involve me adding white to the white spaces. For some reason I created them with transparent ink.! No great problem to go back and sort that out though.

I also want to try working on a landscape that isn’t a mandala, using the same kind of style of drawing and adding magical, mystical coloured backgrounds.

But overall, I’m pleased with this and I’m pleased with the progress I seem to be making in both digital art and in developing my art ‘voice’.

There’s been quite a few pieces of art I’ve created that have made me smile recently – many of my mandalas and entangled drawings, my cute kitty ‘cartoons’ spring to mind, especially one I did of the pink anti-stigma badger as a Jedi knight!

I can honestly say that this mandala, and my previous one, have made me smile more than most.

Mandala 10 March 2019

Mandala 10 March 2019 ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Mandala 10 March 2019 ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

After a day of drawing templates for the book I’m working on, I thought I’d spend a little time relaxing by drawing a mandala, and this one is the result.

I’m gutted though; I managed to make a mistake on saving the full sized, layered file, so I’ve lost my high res version. Ho hum. I could always redraw if necessary I suppose. This one wouldn’t print out at all well – way too pixelly.

That’s not the only thing that went wrong today. My combination microwave-fan-grill oven also broke. So, I’ve ordered a new one for delivery this evening.

Add to that and my wrists, fingers, hands are still aching … and I’m going to go and give them a rest as soon as I’ve finished posting this around and about the interwebs.

I do have a busy week coming up with anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales, various appointments and other stuff. I have to use the time available t me to prioritise drawing templates for the book (they all have to be finished by the end of this month). So, if my posts are more sporadic than usual, that’s the reason.

Despite the problems in not saving the file correctly and the oven breaking down, I haven’t had any kind of tearful or angry meltdown. It’s not all that long ago where things like that would absolutely floor me. Today, I weathered them quite well, though there was a bit of a flap and panic around buying a new oven and trying to remember what brand I’ve had that has been the most reliable and long lasting. I’m still thinking did I really need to order one and have it delivered today? Well, given my busy diary this week the answer is yes!

Mandala

Mandala © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
Mandala © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

I worked on this mandala over a couple of days. it has a whole range of new motifs in it and is rather organic in nature, with plenty of pods and seeds included. I’m quite happy with it. I think there’s a kind of flow of design and the colours are vibrant enough to please me.

I really wasn’t at all sure about my colour choices as I added colour to the mandala. The beauty of digital art is that it’s much easier to change the colour, which I did do in just a couple of sections. The colour changes means I’m a lot happier with it.

It has no name as I’m not very good at thinking up names for my artwork. Perhaps I should just find some kind of quirky way of lettering or numbering the designs in future.

Drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Mental Wellbeing

Today I’m feeling really tired and I don’t feel I have many words at the moment – despite what my blog may suggest.

My fingers, hands and wrists are also rather achy which is making typing or drawing (either digitally or traditionally) rather painful. I don’t know what’s caused that. Yesterday I did do a lot of drawing with pencil on paper – sketches for my new book – and a lot of digital art too. No more than I often do though.

I suspect a bit of self-care is needed. I am feeling a bit low. Tiredness doesn’t help, but I’ve slept really well the last couple of days.

Maybe it’s the grey, wet, windy day.

Maybe it’s just emotional weather with no real cause.

Maybe it’s the start of the buildup to EMDR on Monday.

I just know that like the weather my mood will change and brighten.

Rosy Mandala

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

A simple mandala today, with some very stylised rose-like buds in shades of pink and purple. Just two colours of foliage too. Something a little pretty today.

I used my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

RedBubble account

I now have an account at RedBubble – Angela Porter | RedBubble.

I have just two images up there at the moment – the recent Daffodil Mandala and the Dragon with Daffodils. Both are available on a range of quality products including wall art and stationery.

My Journey to cPTSD Recovery

Today, I’m feeling more content and settled than I have for a number of weeks. Even though EMDR floored me on Monday, I seem to have been able to find my balance faster than previously. This is a good thing as I do have a contract to fulfil by the end of the month.

I am writing in a journal most days, particularly any insights I have through the day. They seem to be coming more quickly now I’m working on seeing where I’ve told myself a story to avoid any emotional or mental pain. I know this is a coping strategy that people with CPTSD use to protect themselves. However realising this, that I may have avoided the truth of a difficult, traumatic experience or situation makes me feel really stupid. Realising that this is a coping strategy I learned at a very, very young age doesn’t help stop me feeling stupid. There’s also a lot of guilt too as I’m stuck between the story I want to believe, the one that is nice and pleasant, and the truth of the emotional and mental distress I was experiencing and denying I was experiencing. It’s not an easy place to be in. It also makes me quite sad and teary that I’ve done this all my life.

Realising these kinds of things, no matter how painful they are, is part of my journey to recovery from CPTSD. I won’t stop though. To do so would mean I would have to live with the pain the realisation has caused me without any way of dealing with that pain. So the only way is to face up to these things, process them in EMDR and find a way to a healthier relationship with myself, to find a way to become a friend to myself.