Mandala WIP – update

Mandala WIP - update © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Mandala WIP – update © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I have to say I am really, really pleased with how this mandala is working out. It’s not at all what I expected in the first instance, but I am so chuffed with myself.

I also think I am really getting the hang of this digital art malarkey too. I can also say that there is no way I would have been able to create this using traditional media – I’ve tried similar things in the past and it all ends up such a mess with me.

Digital art is the media I think I may have been waiting for. It’s taken me three years to get to this artistic level with digital art. Even in this mandala you can see how I have learned and developed ideas as I’ve worked from the centre out.

I absolutely love my Microsoft products – Surface Pen, Surface Book and Surface Studio. I cut my digital art teeth on the Surface Book (not literally!) and found I enjoyed digital art and when I felt I could I got a Surface Studio as the smaller size of the Surface Book screen was frustrating me a little.

The change to the Surface Studio is what has enabled me to really take to digital art. The size of the screen, the ease at which I can change the angles at which I work with the Surface Studio, the speed of the processors, the sensitivity of the pen on the screen…

I just love it! So much so I’m on the point of destashing nearly all my traditional art media and gifting them to a worthy cause.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to draw with pen on paper, that won’t ever change so my pen collection won’t be going anywhere. But the way I can use colour and texture digitally is an absolute dream. It’s also mess-free!

I hope you noticed that I said I’m really pleased with this mandala. It’s not often I’m able to say that about my art. But today I can and I am. I am actually smiling when I look at this mandala.

My only problem now is that I’ve changed the design of the mandala in the latest ‘ring’. Oh well, I can adjust accordingly or just create a new design around this one. I’ll see how I go with that.

I also quite like the ‘ghostly’ outline mandala design as a background, though silly me managed to leave the outline above the coloured design. One of the wonderful things about working in layers is that things like this aren’t a problem!

I think I may celebrate my progress with this mandala and also my digital art skills with a nice mug of tea!

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.

C is for … dangle design

Angela Porter C is for 10 Nov 2018

I don’t know what’s occurring with WordPress, but the colours of this particular dangle design aren’t quite so grey and dull. I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks that when I upload an image the colours change. Never used to do that…

Anyways, today’s dangle design was fun to draw and I chose to use a different color palette than is usually for me. It’s not more pastel, it’s more subdued perhaps. I actually quite like it, which has surprised me!

I do tend towards bright colour palettes, bright and vibrant. For me to choose a more subdued one is very unusual, but it’s something I think I may work with more now as I rather like this one.

Also, I’ve chosen just  7 colors that I’ve used tones/shades of – cool grey, cool violet, antique pink, a blue-green, a yellow-green, soft blue-grey and old gold tones.

Again, using just a few base colors rather than a whole host of different colours is not my usual way of working. What I’m beginning to realise about this is that it gives a much more cohesive look to the finished design. With the colours being more subtle, it also gives a much more grown-up even, dare I say it, more sophisticated look to what is a rather simple and whimsical kind of design. It particularly works well with the monogram ‘C’.

In fact, the cute kitty is really the only whimsical element of this design. The others are simple, yes, but not quite so cute and whimsical. However, I wouldn’t remove the kitty-cat as cats are the theme of this series of monogram dangle designs.

I’ve said it before that I really struggle with seeing my art as others see it. I often think my art, like this, is rather childish, simple, unsophisticated, naive with no real artistic value at all.

This is part of how I think of myself and it’s part of my CPTSD. I’m working on it. For me to recognise that I’ve done nice things, things I feel proud of is a step or two forwards. However, there’s that nasty inner critic that does its best to derail any positive thoughts I may have about myself or the things I do.

Anyways, onto the nitty gritty of how I created this dangle design.

The steps I took were:

  1. sketched out the design on dot grid paper
  2. scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
  3. used a technical pen ‘brush’ to ink in the design
  4. worked out the color palette I wanted to use
  5. coloured the design, in this case using gradient fills for speed
  6. added shadows to the design
  7. created a drop shadow
  8. created a coloured background
  9. added texture to both the design and background

I sketched the design out last night, and it took me between 2 and 3 hours to complete the steps above as this is a relatively small design.

If you’d like to learn how to create your own dangle designs, then my upcoming book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start. You can pre-order it so it’s arrives on it’s release date in January 2019.

Abstract Botanical 16 September 2016

Angela Porter 16 September2018

Another abstract botanical. Here are the steps I took in creating it.

  1. Draw the black and white line art design on dot-grid paper from Rhodia using Sakura Micron pens.
  2. Scanned the drawing in, removed the dot-grid, removed noise and created a transparent background in GiMP opensource photo editing software.
  3. Imported the image with a transparent image into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and added colour and texture.

It took a couple of hours to draw the design and several hours to colour and so on.

My digital tools are a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I love the way many of the elements seem to glow against the dark green-blue background.

Many of my latest works like this seem to have an ocean, watery background going on. So, in the one I have on the go at the moment I’ve done a kind of sunset background. I’ll see how that turns out. Working digitally means I can alter my backgrounds really easily for sure.

I’ve been creating backgrounds digitally, but I want to create some on paper with Distress Inks and scan them in to use instead of the digital backgrounds.

I also made use of a more limited colour palette in this work – going for a more cohesive look/feel. These aren’t colours I’d normally choose to go together, but they seem to work fine.

I now have a fair few of these images and so now really need to try to work out what to do with them. I may try to import them into Repper and create repeating patterns from parts of them; that could be an interesting exercise for sure, but a fun one!

If you have any ideas of how my artwork could be used, leave a comment – I’d love to hear!

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

Angela Porter 9 September 2019 02 coloured small1

This was drawn on paper with Sakura Pigma Micron pens, scanned in and is in the process of being digitally coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m using my Surface Studio and a Surface Pen, both from Microsoft.

The background may go a little darker on this one, but I’ll decide on that when I’ve completed colouring the design elements in.

It’s also work in progress Wednesday over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. We’d love to see your colouring works in progress of pages from my coloring books. Why  not pop along and join in? You’d be very welcome there.

Peace

Angela Porter Peace 10 Sept 2018Drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on a Microsoft Surface Studio screen in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last hand-lettered and patterned a word, and this morning it seemed really appropriate to do so.

Yes, hand-lettered, in a digital environment. Working with the Surface Pen on the screen of a Surface Studio is just like working with pen on paper in terms of physically hand-lettering and drawing the patterns.

The ability to work in layers, add effects to layers and use gradients to colour the background is a bit different to working in traditional media.

I do like doing these words; they’re fun to do! Also, a nice way to spend a few hours of a Monday morning.

Joy – hand lettering

Angela Porter Joy 13 August 2018

I did hand-letter this one, though I did do it digitally using a Surface Pen on my new Surface Studio.

I love my Surface Book, which was a joy to use most of the time. However I was beginning to become a little frustrated with turning the screen around and losing the use of the keyboard and not being able to see the whole image I was working on at the actual size it would be printed.

So, as I officially take my teacher’s pension early today as I reach the illustrious age of 55, I decided to invest some of the lump sum in a shiny new Surface Studio for my business of art, illustration and writing.

The Surface Studio isn’t without it’s frustrations, not least of which were the hours and hours it took to download and install all the upgrades for Windows and the Surface system, and then installing the software I used (not done all of it quite yet).

I did get a Surface Dial with the Surface Studio, and it works interestingly with the free Autodesk Sketchbook, but it doesn’t work at all with the Autodesk Sketchbook Pro version, which is the one I prefer, perhaps because I’m familiar with it and find it easier to access the functions I make use of.

These are minor things, the Surface Studio is a joy to use (though I do need to remember to change the tip on the surface pen to one that glides more easily on the screen!)

So, it seemed appropriate that today, the day I turn 55 and become a semi-pensioner, that I hand letter the word Joy, in my own inimitable style.

I actually quite like the neon colours on the black background. I have a feeling I’ll be doing more like this now my mind has worked out that I can do stuff like this digitally.

Will I be turning my back on more traditional art? Not at all! If anything, I treat digital art as if it is traditional art – the pen means I draw like I would on paper.  All it means is I have access to tools that make some styles a little easier, the ability to use colours and textures that would be difficult for me in traditional media possible, and the ability to edit without frustrating use of white inks a dream!

Don’t forget, I do tend to work directly in ink on paper, often with no pencil lines at all.

Joy is also an appropriate word as I share my artwork because I share my joy in creating it with others, and I trust that viewing it (and hopefully my witterings like this one) joy for you.

What doesn’t bring me joy is when I find my artwork is shared or used without my permission, particularly when people use it to make money for themselves without any regard for the creator of the work. I try to protect my work by watermarking it, signing it, sharing at a low resolution, but still I find people steal my work.

That is not joy. Not joyful at all.

It is stealing too. I don’t know where people get the idea that artwork shared by artists on the interwebs means the artists give up their copyrights.

We DO NOT give up our copyrights in any way.

I sometimes create ‘freebies’, but even then there are limits to how they can be used – personal use, not for resale either coloured or uncoloured, not for inclusion in publications, and so on.

People who steal work like this, and let me be clear it is stealing, make me feel very un-joyful and on the point of removing all my accounts where I share art so people can view it and enjoy it, sometimes even buy it, or prints of it or products with it on, but not to steal it and use it without my permission.

I’m sure those of you who read this will agree with me on this and don’t need to read it, but if my words reach just one person who takes the work of others for their own personal gain in someway, without asking permission of the artist, without even crediting them or providing a link back to where they got it from, stop to think about the harm and upset they are causing to those of us who want to share our joy in our vocation with others, then my words will have done some good. Pricked a conscience or two maybe.

Perhaps then the days of me getting upset and writing emails that go unanswered to websites where I find my artwork offered to others will stop, and there will be more joy.

I can hope this will happen.

Returning to the theme of joy rather than not-joy, I do hope you find my little artwork of today brings you some joy too. Do let me know if you’d like to see more like this, or if you have suggestions of words that you’d like to see in this kind of style!

Finally, do have a joyful day yourselves. Do something that brings you peace and joy, be it art, coloring, baking, reading, dancing, playing music, a sunset walk in nature … whatever it may be, do something joyful every day.