March of the Dragon and Daffodils

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

Can you believe there are just a few hours of February left and March is nigh? Time seems to be just flying by for me.

I’ve spent the last 4 hours or so sketching then drawing this design. It’s yet to be coloured. I need to get some other stuff done first.

I sketched the dragon loosely out on paper, scanned the sketch in, then digitally inked it in using various thicknesses of drawing pen brushes.

I just felt some giant daffodils were needed behind the dragon. Or is it a miniature dragon lounging beneath some daffodils?

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve drawn any dragon. At one time, many years ago, I used to draw them a lot. Often it was a sign that something wasn’t right with my mental or emotional health. As I’m getting better and better thanks to EMDR and some effort on my part, I draw dragons and other fantasical things less and less. Though I guess you could argue that a lot of my art is rather abstract and not realistic.

It’s going to be interesting colouring this one in. Of course the dragon has to be red as tomorrow is St David’s Day. The red Welsh dragon is iconic of Wales. Daffodils are too.

As I’ve said, I need to do some other things for a while. Not just because the other things need doing but because I need a break from this. I may very well add some more elements to the design before I get around to adding colour. I think I’d like the colour to bring up the feel of stained glass or perhaps a lino or wood cut. I’ll see when I do it. I may also use this design and add dangles to it too, as Fridays are when I do tend to post a dangle design (A Dangle A Day is now published and available – my tutorial book on how to draw dangle designs).

Tools used – Pencil and Rhodia dot grid paper. Microsoft Surface Pen. Microsoft Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Backgrounds purchased via Creative Market.

Entangled Art – Transition

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

Yesterday I had some fun drawing some postcard sized pieces of Entangled art. Especially fun as I stumbled across a book I’d bought some years ago and had forgotten about. The book is “Zibu – The power of angelic symbology” by Debbie Zylstra Almstedt.

As it says, the book contains loads of symbols with different meanings and I think that’s what drew me to the book in the first place. It was nice to stumble upon it and it seemed to be a moment of synchronicity as I was thinking about what I could put on the postcards, so this was perfect!

Transition was the first symbol I turned to, particularly symbolic for me as I’m going through a transition via my CPTSD healing journey. And in the book, the author suggests aquamarine and green are colours that go with this particular symbol, so that’s the choice of my colour scheme.

I drew the design on an A6 sized piece of Bristol Board using Sheaffer and Pilot medium point pens. After scanning the design in I coloured it digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

I found both the drawing and colouring rather peaceful processes, the colouring made more so as I wanted to stick to the green and aquamarine colour scheme, though I did sneak in some greyish blue and greenish yellow.

It won’t be long before I head off to Neath for my weekly EMDR session. The day is gloriously sunny and is due to be rather warm for a late winter day. I’ve a window or two open to let the fresh but cool air into my home. This weather certainly does lift my spirits somewhat. I plan to go early so I can have a walk around before my appointment later this afternoon, as well as a leisurely lunch with some journaling and drawing too.

Mandala

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

I love the combination of teals and coppery tones so I chose to use them as part of the colour scheme in this mandala. A simple black outline mandala with no crazily intricate detailed patterns included. I’m not so sure about the purple-ish I used for the ‘crystals’ in the other most rings of the mandala though.

Drawn and coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio very, very late last night and into the wee small hours of this morning.

Today is likely to be another self-care day. I thought I was in a place where I could do loving kindness meditations again this morning. I’m not. So much emotional distress and even physical pain during the part of the meditation that involves bringing loving kindness to myself. I have no problem sending loving kindness to another being I feel love for. I have no problem sending it out to all of the Earth. Still, the nasty messages of the inner critic are fodder for EMDR. And it’s such a lovely sunny, late winter day here in the Welsh Valleys.

Friday Flutterby

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

I thought I’d dig through my image archives today and I found this charming butterfly, or flutterby as I sometimes refer to them.

It’s one of my early pieces of digital drawing that I was happy with and it was done on my first Surface – a Surface Book – back in 2016, I think it was.

I drew the flutterby using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and the original image is black and white with some greyscale shading. Today, I thought it would be nice to add some rainbow colours to the butterfly and a textured background too. So I have done.

I also have realised that this flutterby would make a nice focal point for a dangle design. Maybe I’ll have a go at doing that later on.

I’m still reeling from EMDR on Monday, still not found my balance point. It’s been a week of self-care. I am getting better, bit by bit, but this was a surprisingly tough session.

As I reflect on it, it’s interesting that I chose to post a butterfly today as butterflies are seen symbolic of transformation. But it’s also interesting that I chose to take a greyscale drawing and add a brightly coloured rainbow to it, as well as adding a textured and slightly coloured background.

I think I’ve lived my life mostly in greyscale. Not my art, though I do tend to enjoy drawing black and white line art a lot, but when I do use colour I do tend to go for really bright colours.

No, I mean my life, my emotional life particularly. All shades of grey and black.

I am in my fifties now and I’d like to think that I’ll be able to live a more colourful life for the rest of my human existence.

Perhaps this butterfly is one of those intuitive messages that’s telling me I am transforming into someone who does have a rainbow of emotions, is able to see them now. Maybe it’s telling me I’m transforming as I heal from cPTSD too.

EMDR does turn me into a chrysalis from the caterpillar I’ve been in life – a chrysalis that needs rest and time to complete that transformation, and when ready, the butterfly emerges, colourfully resplendent, able to fly and soar… the potential that was inside the caterpillar all the time now realised.

Tomorrow is Time to Talk Day

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time To Talk Day, which is tomorrow, and the art above was created using one of them, but more about that later in this wittering.

Time to Change Day and mental health

The whole idea of the day is to get people talking about mental health. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. There’s still a huge stigma surrounding mental ill-health and that leads to discrimination of those experiencing mental illness.

I’m one of the 1 in 4. My cPTSD means that I am constantly anxious and it’ doesn’t take much of a trigger to get me into a full state of panic. I can have bouts of depression, nowadays not as deep or dark as they have been in the fairly recent past. I get emotional flashbacks to times of trauma. I don’t remember many traumatic experiences, but my body remembers the feelings associated with that trauma and I experience them yet again, retraumatising me.

Thanks to EMDR, however, these emotional flashbacks are less common and sometimes aren’t quite as intense, sometimes just as intense.

I have a whole host of other issues related to cPTSD and a quick google will bring back lots of information if you’re interested.

Tomorrow I will have my champions hat on for Time to Change Wales as I go to give an anti-stigma talk to a group of police officers in Ton Pentre and then on to man (woman?) a stand in Port Talbot after that. That means I won’t be parking in the police station car park again after my last experience there!

The anti-stigma talk has me telling people a little about Time To Change Wales, the statistics for mental illness, what stigma and discrimination there are and then I tell my story of my mental illness.

The talks wipe me out emotionally. I end up exhausted and often with what I call an emotional ‘hangover’ – I feel headachy and spaced out, sometimes quite upset too.

However, I consider that a small price to pay if my talks (and my blogs) help one person to recognise their mental health isn’t what it should be, or to find the courage to seek help as they know they are struggling.

It’s also important as meeting champions who have experienced or are experiencing mental health problems helps to break the stereotypes of what people with mental illnesses look like and behave.

I’m well on my path to recovery. I don’t know if that will be a full recovery from cPTSD or whether it will be a good enough recovery that I’m resilient to lifes ups and downs, that I’ll be able to form meaningful relationships, trust people, be able to travel by myself, be able to go places because I can go there not because I have to have some reason…and more.

I know that crowded, noisy places are always likely to be a no no – I don’t appear it, but I am an introvert. I learned to wear a mask of extroversion (among other masks) when I was very young and that mask kind of protects what is beneath it. Wearing that mask is exhausting.

So, back to the art.

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time to Talk Day 2019. Originally they were for the colouring day being run as part of Time to Talk Day at the Welsh Office! I’ve also made the templates available to Time to Change Wales and Mind have copies of them too, so they’ll be available over social media.

I’ll also be adding them to my facebook page – Angela Porter Illustrator as well as on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group too.

To create the art above I used one of the templates as a basis for the art. I think you’ll agree that this is a very different piece of art from me. It’s rather graphic and quite 1960s psychedelic too!

I had a lot of fun doing this artwork and I’m surprisingly happy with the result.

It is digital art; I used my usual trio of Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create it, along with my creativity.

February dangle design

©Angela Porter 2019

Friday is dangle day here in my arty world, and as it’s the first day of February the dangle needs to relate to that!

I created this design for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group (where today is furbaby friday). If you pop over then, join, then you can download the template to colour yourself.

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.

Doing art does help too.

My book that takes you through drawing and designing dangles step by step – A Dangle A Day – is now published. Lots of ideas and examples of dangle designs are included in the book.