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.

Entangled Fantastic Fungi – coloured

Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I took some time to finish colouring my ‘Entangled Fantastic Fungi’ drawing from the other day.

I’ve said it before and, no doubt, I’ll say it again: colour brings my drawings to life. It also takes me a lot, lot longer to colour the artwork than it does to draw it! I think it would’ve been quicker with traditional media, such as Chameleon marker pens. However, I like using digital tools for coloring and I use opportunities like this to explore the different settings and various brushes so that I can add to my range of techniques I like to use and the effects I can get.

It’s a slow process for me, and it can be both enjoyable, satisfying and rather frustrating! However, I think I’m making some progress in finding my way through the plethora of options available and gaining some understanding of what they do and how to make them work the way I’d like them to work for me.

I also am enjoying drawing on paper with these Tombow Fudenosuke pens. Using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add colour to my drawings is me having the best of both words for sure!

There’s also the addition of a background texture, which, I think, makes all the difference. The pale grey tone of the background helps to tone down the brighter colours in the image, enhancing that kind of vintage kind of vibe I was going for.

Of course, it goes without saying that I used my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio to colour the image. Being able to use the pen on the screen, just like pen or brush or pencil on paper, is fantastic! I’m finally getting to grips with making use of the pressure sensitivity of the pen and exploring ways in which I can use it, as well as setting up brushes to suit my needs.

When I think back to when I bought my Surface Book, my aim was to draw templates for coloring books digitally so I didn’t have to scan in paper. It was also to make it easier to clean up the images. I had no intention of colouring the images digitally.

I think I’ve come a fair distance since those early days. I’m still surprised at how the ability to create digital art by using a Surface Pen on the screen of the Surface Studio as if the screen was paper, has opened doors to creative expression for me.

Sneaky peeky teaser

© Angela Porter 2019

Today, I’ve settled down to colour the templates for my latest book for the Creative Haven series published by Dover Publications Inc. And here’s a sneaky peeky teaser of the image I’ve just finished colouring not many minutes ago.

If you do a search on Amazon you’ll find out the theme of the book, but can you guess what the theme of this template is?

I’m feeling better emotionally, but I’m still very, very tired today. Processing emotional trauma through EMDR is surprisingly exhausting. After a lot of emotional distress yesterday, I’m feeling content at the moment.

Coloring and art-ing is usually soothing for me, and I have to say I enjoyed colouring this template in. I am going to have a bit of a break before I tackle the next one.

Drawn and coloured digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen with a Surface Studio.

Easter Dangle Design

Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter 
From 'A Dangle A Day'
Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter
From ‘A Dangle A Day’

This cutely whimsical dangle design is from my tutorial book ‘A Dangle A Day’, which has the step-by-step instructions for drawing this design. They really are simple to draw, and the hand lettering is based on your own writing style too.

For this design, I chose spring-time colours, more pastel than bright. Of course Easter eggs and a bunny balloon had to feature, along with all the lovely spring flowers and a sprinkling of hearts. I even snuck a star in, hearts and stars being some of my favourite motifs to include.

This design would make a really cute greetings card or notecard. The dangles can easily be drawn shorter. It would also make a lovely bookmark. As a BuJo page, planner page or an element on a scrapbook page it would be lovely.

Using Nuvo drops or Ranger’s Stickles or similar to make dots where the beads are as well as a sprinkling of them around the top of the design would add some lovely dimension and sparkle for sure.

I do hope you give drawing dangle designs a go. They are so much fun and a lot easier to do than you think they are. They can also be used in many, many ways, especially when it comes to sharing love with others at different times and events throughout the years of our lives.

About the drawing…

When it came to designing the dangle designs and monograms for A Dangle A Day, I started off by sketching the idea out on dot grid paper using either a pencil or a pen. I could then adjust the lines and draw guidelines in to help me with the design quite easily.

When I was happy with the sketch, I scanned it in and then re-drew it in a digital form. For drawing digitally I use a Microsoft surface pen directly on the screen of a Microsoft surface book or surface studio. This is like drawing with pen or pencil on paper, or even painting or colouring.

So, although my designs were created in a digital environment, they were still very much drawn by hand.

I used very little in the way of smoothing lines – only enough to remove the wobbliness that comes from the great sensitivity of the pen and screen position sensoring stuff, and never used the predictive line tools available in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I worked out how to set up pens that would leave a line texture similar to the pens I like to use to draw on paper with. I determined I wouldn’t make everything perfect, that there would be that perfectly imperfect human touch to everything that I created. I also made sure I included examples of dangles drawn and coloured on paper and turned into cards, bookmarks and BuJo pages too.

Working digitally to draw and then colour the designs allowed me to edit, erase, adjust and keep the image free of smudges and blots that would require re-drawing. It also made it a lot easier to make the edits my lovely editors suggested to improve the work.

It certainly saved a lot of time scanning image after image in – something I find extremely tedious.

Although I may have used digital tools to draw with, the techniques I used were the same as if I’d drawn on paper with pen and then coloured with various traditional media.

I also have to say that the year to year and a half ago when I was colouring these I was only just starting to explore the realms of digital colouring and I hadn’t quite worked out exactly how I’d like to do it. They worked out good enough, but now I think I’d approach it a bit differently.

I had such a lot of fun creating the dangle designs season by season, month by month, celebration by celebration and I hope you have the same amount of fun doing this too.

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

Mandala © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Mandala © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com
Available on a range of quality products from Artwyrd on Redbubble.com

The art…

A black and white mandala today. No colour. No shading. Just black and white and varying line width.

I set up one of my pen brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to vary it’s width with pressure. I’ve only ever used brushes where I’ve had their thickness set at one size as that has usually been my style of drawing in both traditional and digital media.

My favourite pens to draw with on paper are Sakura Pigma Micron, Sakura Pigma Sensei, Uniball Unipin, fountain pens, or technical drawing pens from Rotring or Staedtler. So, it was natural for me to set the digital pen brushes to mimic them and the lines they leave on paper – which are usually rather uniform in thickness, but with a bit of feathering around the edges.

I’ve never had much success or satisfaction in using dip pens or brush pens with drawing. No matter how much I practiced I never got a result I thought was good enough. The only dip pen I like to use is a glass dip pen as it has a very uniform line and writes smoothly too.

Late last night, I thought it was time that I experimented with a pen brush where I could vary the thickness with the pressure of my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Book.

I did set the pen to have a sharp edge and to vary in size from 1px to 9px with pressure, Then off I went with the intention to draw a mandala.

It took me a few attempts to work out how the new kind of pen brush worked for me. It also reminded me of lino prints, so I wanted to get that kind of graphic quality into my drawing.

I like it just as it is. I may try adding colour, even if it’s a subtle background colour, at some point. But I do like it.

What I particularly like is that the brush pen made it possible for me to draw lines that started fine and became thick in a gradual way and with a neat edge, something I struggle with when using my favoured pens or brush pens or flexible nibs.

I feel that this experiment has taken my drawing to a bit of a different level.

What I think I need to consider in future is adding elements of the design in shades of grey to create depth and dimension to the image. Perhaps even using different colours to draw such designs on a coloured background.

I also need to use this pen on drawings other than mandalas, such as the fantasy garden type design I did the other day ago.

I also think playing a little with the pressure sensitivity settings is on the cards, until I get it just right for me!

My mental and emotional wellbeing

I’m feeling more resilient today and I have a soft smile on my lips and in my heart.

The feeling of satisfaction with the mandala, and also completing the edits of the templates for the new book has contributed to this, along with a goodly amount of rest.

Days like this are nice for me. Days where I’m content. Days where my emotional and mental wellbeing are ‘good enough’. And they are today.

I may not feel brave enough to go out into the busy and people-y world today. If I can find a crochet pattern for a pretty shawl I may head out later to get some yarn with which to create that. I’ve almost successfully finished a crochet shopping/market bag for a friend and that has given me the confidence to try a different project. I love pashminas at all times of year. So I’d love to successfully crochet a pashmina/shawl for myself in yarn that changes from one colour to another perhaps. First to find the pattern.

Yes, the success with something I’ve struggled with – two failed attempts at a bag for myself had me feeling really useless, but the perseverance and success has lifted me. In fact, there’s been a lot of perseverance this week, what with EMDR and foiling and now the different kind of pen brush for digital drawing.

I need to make notes of this in my ‘When it’s dark, look for stars’ book as a reminder that things can be surprisingly good and I do do good stuff on my darker days. In fact, I need to start to add patterns/designs around the quotes and so on in this little book, and colour some more pages with Distress and Distress Oxide Inks for future use.

My biggest problem at the moment is feeling overwhelmed with all the ideas I have that involve drawing, foiling, creating digital stamps, a mandala coloring book, another tutorial book, designs for RedBubble, and more. This is part and parcel of cPTSD. So much I could do that it overwhelms so much that I can think and organise myself at all…

Despite that, it’s still a day where I feel what I’ve done recently is good enough, at the least it’s good enough. And for me to recognise and accept that is quite a step forward.

Here’s to getting a ‘good enough’ life and opinion of myself through EMDR and recovery from CPTSD!