Art Journal WIP

Art Journal WIP © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been awake since around 4 am yet again, and after watching a couple of journal making videos on youtube by Wendy’s Journal Adventure and Tracie Fox LoveJunk Journals, I wanted to get up and have a go at creating a tri-fold tag for my own art journal.

I had an idea that I can use the little drawings I like to do as ephemera and embellishments and focal points in my art journal, rather than using ephemera from other sources like books, printables, and so on. I’m sure I’ll find more uses for them if I persevere with this project.

So, back to the tri-fold tag. It was my plan to make such a tag for my art journal. However, as usual, my plans often take a slightly different route!

I started by working out the size of tri-fold tag I wanted to make – to fit an A5 sized art journal.

I settled on a piece of mixed media paper cut down to 11.5″ x 7″, which I scored at 3.75″, 4″, 7.75″ and 8″ to create the three tags joined by hinges. I cut the top corners off each tag panel.

I coloured the front and back of the paper using Distress Oxide inks and sprayed water to distress the surface more. Then, I used vintage photo Distress ink to edge all the sides and folds to frame the panels .

I’d chosen colours that would go with some ATC s I was drawing last night while attending a webinair and listening to the speakers. However, the Distress Oxide inks resulted in a much brighter colour and I really wasn’t happy with the result. I will use this panel to use as a reference in future, not so much for sizes but for ideas for pockets and panels and envelopes and so on.

So, I started again. I used Distress Oxide inks, but this time I used tea dye and vintage photo, applying them as lightly as I could. I also coloured some copier paper using the same colours in Distress Inks, with a hint of rusty hinge added to the mix.

I was much happier with the colours this time around.

I liked the idea of using a ‘belly band’ with little envelopes tucked into it. So, I used 5″ square pieces of the coloured copier paper to make some little envelopes (2.5″ x 3″). Two of these would fit neatly on one of the panels. So, I made a 0.75″ x 7″ belly band, and coloured it with the same inks as the panels. I applied thin beads of glue to the ends and centre of the belly band and then adhered it to the panel, off-set to the right of the centre line.

When the glue dried, I had two sections that would hold one envelope each.

My next job was to rummage through my stash of coloured papers to find ones that would go together and were sympathetic with the background.

I drew some panels to add to the envelopes and also the space between them. I backed the panels with vintage book paper. Then, I hand lettered some words on a piece of coloured copier paper. I chose ‘Journal’ and ‘Reflect’ from the selection, cut them out. I used both vintage book paper and a piece of coloured paper behind them to make labels that I attached to the belly band above each envelope.

Finally, for now, I used a gold glitter Signo gel pen by Uniball to add dots and highlights.

It was then that I realised I really wasn’t happy with the tri-fold tag as I’d made it. So, I set about cutting the tags apart so I had three individual tags. I want to join them together in a different way, using hinges of some kind.

But for now, tiredness has caught up with me, as well as the need for some breakfast. So, I will put my project to one side for now and return to it later.

Reflections

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, not yet anyway. I kind of like what I’ve seen other people do as far as ideas go for pockets, tags, labels, envelopes, pouches and all kinds of ephemera for art journals. However, they’re also not really ‘me’. I’d like to find a way of expressing ‘me’ in an art journal.

The one I have, in an A4 sketchbook is fine, and a perfect place to try things out. But, I’d like to do a smaller art journal that has sturdier, mixed media paper in it.

I do know I want to make use of my own artwork. Today, I drew the designs onto the coloured card. However, I quite like the idea of building up a digital library of my own drawings and designs that I could print out on paper and colour accordingly.

Although I hand lettered the words I used today, part of me isn’t happy with them and wants to create them in Affinity Publisher.

All the paper I start with is bright white in colour. Perhaps I could look at using different papers and colours of paper for future projects.

One other thing I’m doing, is keeping notes and diagrams showing templates and dimensions for various ephemera.

I’m babbling here, now. The early morning and lack of enough sleep last night is really catching up with me now. Time to post this then go get breakfast and more tea!

Sketchbook / Art Journal

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I woke at around 4:30am again today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I got up, made tea, and did some work on my art journal / sketchbook.

Making Distressed Paper

I spent a good two or three hours making the papers you can see to the left. I used the following:

  • printer and layout paper, cut to A6 in size (UK size)
  • Distress Oxide Inks
  • 5″ x 7 ” Gelli plate
  • small Brayer roller
  • water in a spray bottle
  • heat tool
  • craft mat
  • pieces of cut and dry foam
  • metallic inks and paints

For some of the pieces, I brayered the Distress Oxides onto a Gelli plate and then pulled the print onto a piece of paper. For others, I used the Brayer to apply the ink to the paper. I also used the black side of a piece of cut and dry foam to apply ink to some of the papers.

I sprayed the papers with water to activiate the Distress Oxide, and used the heat tool to dry them. After doing this, I crumpled up a lot of the papers and then used the brayer to flatten them out. Both of these techniques resulted in textured paper. So, I used the cut and dry foam and some Distress Oxide ink to lightly brush the paper to help to accentuate that texture.

Finally I used cut and dry foam to brush metallic paint or ink over the paper to add some shimmer and shine. I used some textured cut and dry foam to add patterns too.

I now have quite a stash of very distressed papers to use in my art journal in the future.

Both the printer paper and the layout paper are much thinner than I would usually use for such a task. The light spritz of water on each, however, created a lovely, bumpy texture. They were also easy to crumple up, adding that kind of leathery texture.

The subtle shine that the gold metallic ink gave is rather lovely, though I do like the bright, shiny gold of some paint I found in my stash.

I can see me using these papers for collage, for making pockets/envelopes and other bits and bobs for a journal, and no doubt for other things I’ve not yet thought of.

Storing my custom papers.

I realised the papers I’ve made over the past couple of weeks have been piling up and I really needed to do something that would let me find them easily. So, the quickest and easiest solution was to use A4 poly-pockets and a ring binder, both of which I had to hand! That certainly has let me have a tidier desk, and I’ll be able to find the papers easily too.

Art journal pages.

I also finished up the two pages shown to the right. I attached inchies, to fill in some gaps.

I used simple paper hinges to attach the ATC cards on page seen in the bottom image. If I ever wish to remove them to swap/share/gift, then I can remove them easily. That simple solution has relieved my anxiety about adhering them permanently into the sketchbook!

I’ve also folded some squared paper, used distress inks to colour the edges and folds, and put them in the vellum pockets I’d made earlier, all ready for me to journal on. Unusually for me, I made use of some washi tape to embellish the pockets.

I’ve also noticed that I’m very ‘regimented’ about how I put things in my art journal. I much prefer carefully cut paper to torn edges most of the time. Everything needs to be arranged ‘just so’ with me. Just as it is with my line-art – precise and neat. I suppose it’s another example of me expressing my personality through my art.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m exhausted. I’m practically falling asleep as I type this; that’s what happens when I wake up at stupid o’clock once again. I’m now officially overtired! I may try to get back to sleep soon; I do have work I need to do today!

As far as me being under the weather goes…

Well, I still have a sensitive digestive system and I feel nauseous from time to time. I did wake with a bit of a headache today, but that could just be lack of sleep, as is the tiredness I feel. I have eaten and my tummy doesn’t seem to be objecting as it has done. This all makes me hopeful that I’m almost over this bout illness. I was really quite grumpy about it yesterday, and I’m entirely sure I’m not grumpy today!

Other than that, emotionally I’m doing just fine. The sunshine helps with my mood for sure, as did being able to hear the bird song as the world was slowly waking up this morning.

Sketchbook Saturday

Sketchbook Saturday 2 May 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I am enjoying working a little either on my sketchbook-journal or preparing bits and bobs for it each day.

The main thing I wanted to do this morning was to get some little word tags prepared and in use.

I created a list of words I’d like to add to bits and bobs of art. I copied the list, using different fonts, then printed out an A4 sheet of the words. I made a second sheet using different words and different fonts. Then, I cut the sheets up into smaller pieces for storage.

Then, I realised I’d need to create a storage space for them in my sketchbook and thought an envelope would be the easiest way. I do have some commercially produced envelopes, but I thought it was time to use my We’R’Memory Keepers envelope punch board for a more custom size.

I cut an 8″ x 8″ piece of ordinary printer paper. I coloured the paper with distress oxide inks (old paper, tea dye and dried marigold) and then made an envelope that measures 3.5″ x 6″.

I then realised I needed a way to keep the envelope closed. I could tuck the flap inside the envelope, but as I used copy paper I didn’t know how durable it would be. So, I came up with the idea of having a little pocket to tuck the corner of the flap into. And that meant I could cut out “words” from one of the lists and add it to the little pocket.

Before I did that, I aged the edges of the label with Distress Ink. Next, I glued it to a an old book page and cut it out with a border of text. That layer was also edged with Distress Ink, then it was added to the pocket. I used a metallic Gelly Roll pen to draw around the label.

On the page, you can see some small drawings I’ve done over the past couple of days.

On the left of the page are three ATC cards (2.5″ x 3.5″) made from a piece of mixed media paper coloured with the same Distress Oxide Inks.

On the right, is a larger artwork, an experiment and exploration of what I could do. I collaged some Distress Oxide coloured pieces of paper on to the background. I added metallic gold and copper paint to some of the pieces, and also to create patterns behind them. I drew little designs too, including a Dangle Design from one.

I’m not all that happy with the ‘explore’ card. There are bits I like, and other bits where I think I messed up. I think if I’d left it with the gold patterning on the background and just some simple patterns on some of the collaged rectangles, maybe some gold paint on the smaller ones, then it would’ve worked out better.

I think I’m going to make a vellum envelope or pocket to store the ATC cards in. Vellum in translucent and so will provide a tantalising glimpse of the card(s) safely stored within.

The ‘explore’ card will be placed into the sketchbook, with notes and reflections about it. It’s one that will be a learning experience more than anything else.

Making a simple sketchbook or journal pocket.

Making a Simple Pocket © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I said I’d like to make simple pockets for my sketchbook-journal to hold my artwork rather than gluing it to the pages. So, this morning, I started my day looking on YouTube for some ideas and this video by joie de fi was the top of the list.

While I was watching it, I thought I’d make an instruction sheet to go in my sketchbook (or my virtual one I’m making in One Note).

I picked up some quadrille paper and wrote and drew as I watched the method for the first pocket. I worked in ink without pencil sketches and I made quite a few mistakes. A Tipp-Ex mini pocket mouse was my friend.

When I’d finished the instruction sheet, I scanned it in and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to remove the square grid from the paper, clean up some smudges, and correct minor errors.

Then, I added some colour to help bring out the drawings, but also to help with the instructions.

I’ve yet to make this kind of pocket, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do so quite easily now.

Reflecting on the artwork/illustration

This was a lot of fun for me to do. It’s something I’ve not done much since my days as a science teacher, or a learner in school and university myself. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy creating instruction sheets with my own drawings on them.

Back in those days, I would’ve used a ruler to draw straight lines, pencil for the diagrams, pen for the words, and little or no colour. Here, I free-handed the drawings, wobbly lines and all. The colour also adds life and dimension to the diagrams/drawings/illustrations.

The layout of the instructions may not be the best and easiest to follow through. That’s because I did this as I was watching the first part of the video. I think that for the next one, I need to sketch out the steps and notes first, and then work on organising them more clearly.

Yes, I’m going to do some more instruction sheets like this!

I also really need to do more hand lettering! I’ve lapsed in my writing practice, that’s for sure.

Mail Art

Mail Art ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yet again I woke with my mind swimming with an idea I wanted to try out. I’d had a problem when I was trying to add colour to drawings I’d done on distress ink backgrounds. Whether I used water and a brush or a Tombow Blender pen, the pigment from the Sakura Micron and Uniball Unipin pens bled, and I really wasn’t happy with that.

I spent some time yesterday trying different pens out, with no luck in finding any that didn’t smear/bleed. So, I put this to one side until I had a chance to think about it.

I slept on it and woke with an idea to try.

Why not use the Tombow blender to draw the basic shapes of my design in colour and then add black lines afterwards. Seed pods seem to be my default design when I’m experimenting, but I’m fine with that.

So that’s what I did. And this card is the result.

As I was starting to add the black lines to the design I thought I’d made a horrible mistake, had a bad idea. However, as I added more and more detail, I realised it would work out, and I think it did.

I added some gold to the seeds in the seed pod with a glitter gel pen. I also splattered some gold watercolour paint over the design.

The envelope is really simple; three seed pods, black line art with golden seeds.

Not a unique artistic approach, but it is something that has never worked for me before.

It’s not a dissimilar approach I take to my digital art, where I start with the basic shapes and then add shading and detail. I do use line art as a guide for my design, and that is an approach I can apply to traditional art in that I may need to pencil in the design, then colour, then add the line art.

Who would’ve thought it – working digitally is helping me develop my traditional art methods and skills.

Zentangle Greeting Card

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I needed to draw something that would be calming and also purposeful. So, as I’ve been enjoying drawing zentangle-style designs, I thought I’d create a greeting card.

How I made the card …

To start, I cut some Claire Fontaine mixed media paper into a 5″ x 5″ tile. Then, I used a mini foam blending tool to colour the paper with Tea Dye and Old Paper Distress Inks. A quick spritz with water to add some more texture followed by a blast with a hair drier, and the paper was ready to draw on.

I used the tangle pattern generator to give me some patterns to use. Today they were:
*Scena (bottom and middle top)
*Sedgling (the weird mushroomy things)
*Squill (the top left pattern)
*Well (the top right pattern)
*Arukas (the central pattern)

I also added some gold dots to the centre of the ‘flowers’ that make up the Well pattern, as well as to the central circle of Arukas.

Before adhering the design to a blank kraft paper card, I used a piece of foam to add some Black Soot Distress Ink around the edges of the card. Once adhered, I used the gold Gelly Roll pen to draw a line around the design.

It was then the envelope’s turn for attention.

I started with a lower border of Scena with some Sedgling growing from the top left and right. To finish the envelope, I added some gold dots.

Reflecting on the finished card

I actually quite like the design of this card. I started with Scena at the bottom and it ended up looking like hills and fields. So, it was a natural progression to add the Sedgling as mushrooms or trees growing on top of Scena.

The next two patterns were geometric ones, and it felt natural to join them with some more scena at the top. Scena also looks like clouds. Arukas was the final pattern to be generated, and it fit perfectly in the space left, filling it like a brightly shining sun.

I had no idea what I was going to create today, just let the random patterns lead me forward.

The only thing I need to do now is to find someone to send the card to! Mind you, I do have quite a few cards in my stash, so I need to find some ones to send them to!

Entangled Borders

Entangled Borders ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve enjoyed creating this sketchbook sampler page. I drew the designs with a mixture of Uniball Unipin pens, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, a medium nib Schaeffer fountain pen, and an extra-fine nib Faber Castell fountain pen. I used dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine.

After scanning the page in, I removed the dot grid and added a grungy paper background. I then decided I’d like to add some colour and shadow/light to the designs. To do this, I used a messy chalk brush, so my colouring isn’t as precise as I usually like it. However, it’s loosened up my expectations of myself as I went with it.

Pastel colours were my palette of choice as I like the way they seem to almost glow against the grungy kraft background. I also like the way they help to enhance the 3-D appearance of the designs. I do enjoy playing with shadow and light.

Some of the designs are examples of my organic, entangled style of drawing. Others are repeating, geometric zentangle-style patterns. And then there’s some inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

I also enjoy working within a clear border. I like the sense of structure it brings to my work. It also satisfies some kind of aesthetic need within me. Every now and then I try work without a border, but the artwork I produce just never feels quite right to me. So, it’s time for me to accept the need for borders is part of my artistic voice.

There is a purpose for me creating these borders. I’m building up a library of them that I can use to embellish quotes and other projects.

Some of these borders would look fab as greeting cards note cards, bookmarks, and to use in other paper craft projects. They’d also work well as embellishments for BuJo, planner, diary, scrapbook and journal pages.

Others would be a great foundation for dangle designs (my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start drawing dangle designs).

What I do know, is that I find drawing soothing and relaxing. So, I’m going to be spending the rest of my Sunday drawing more borders.

A festive dangle design video

This morning, I made a video of me drawing and colouring this festive dangle design and turning it into a card.

This video shows me drawing in real time, and I hope you enjoy it, despite the wobbliness in places.

Here’s a list of materials I used:

  • 8″x 8″ Winsor and Newton Bristol Board folded to make an 8″ x 4″ card
  • 7″ x 3″ piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board to draw the design on
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen, medium
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Various Chameleon Color tones marker pens
  • White Uniball Signo gel pen
  • Tombow Mono glue
  • Tumbled Glass Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool

I hope you have a go at drawing this dangle design and making your own papercraft or craft projects with it. If you do, I’d love to see them!

If you’d like to know more about drawing dangle designs, or would like more inspiration, step by step instructions, and encouraging words, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start.

Wintry Dangle Designs

Dangle Designs ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday was a crazy busy day with no time for art, let alone blogging!

This morning, I finally had some time to myself. As it’s Friday I wanted to do a dangle design, and I ended up doing four!

I cut the card into the wrong dimensions to create a card, so I thought I’d just make use of the pieces I had and make some custom card blanks and envelopes for them another time.

I coloured the pieces of card with Distress Inks in shades of blue and green. I used Chipped Sapphire, Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Evergreen Bough, Cracked Pistachio and Salty Ocean in various combinations.

These colours gave the card a frosty kind of feel, so I went with some snowy, icy, wintry designs.

I drew the designs and completed the hand lettering with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, which are waterproof.

Plain black lines on the coloured background did look a tad lacking. So, I added some shimmer and colour using Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints.

I’m not so fussed on the ‘Let it snow’ design. However, I am quite pleased with the others.

I am going to mount them as greeting or note cards. However, the designs would look charming in a BuJo, journal, planner, diary or scrapbook. They could easily be adapted to make bookmarks too, or place cards for a special meal.

I hope you’ll give drawing these designs a go, or use them as inspiration for your own projects. I’d love to see what you create – please tag me on social media so I don’t miss them!

If you’d like to know more about dangle designs and have some guidance and inspiration for them, then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start.

It’s been nice to have a couple of hours to indulge myself in art. The past four weeks or so have been crazy busy with other projects being quite demanding of my time, mind and energy. However, they will soon be over and my focus can return, properly, to art.

So Thankful

So thankful ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have a simple dangle design greeting card along with a coordinating envelope. If you’d like some more ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions for drawing dangle designs then my book, A Dangle A Day, is a good place to start.

Materials and dimensions

4″ x 4″ Strathmore Bristol paper with a vellum finish
5″ x 5″ acid-free white card blank
White envelope that card will fit in
Distress inks in Tea Dye and Rusty Hinge
Small piece of foam and a mini foam blending tool
A piece of card with a 1.5″ x 0.75″ window cut in it to use as a stencil.
Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in F, S and XS
Ruler and pencil
Adhesive
Glass pen and coppper ink by J Herbin

Making the card.
  1. Use the card stencil and a small sponge dauber to apply a rectangle of Distress Ink in the top left of the 4″ x 4″ top layer. I used Tea Dye to colour the whole rectangle in, followed by a subtle gradient of Rusty Hinge from the bottom up.
  2. Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
  3. Use a pen to draw the rectangles around the colour block. I like to do this free-hand as it gives a more organic, human feel to the design.
  4. Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
  5. Use a ruler and pencil to lightly draw a vertical line as a guide for the dangle. Also, draw pencil lines as guides for the position and size of the hand lettering. Sketch in the letters of the greeting.
  6. Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
  7. Ink the letters in. I did some faux calligraphy where I made the down-strokes thicker. I added some lines and shading to the top line.
  8. Carefully erase the pencil lines.
  9. Attach the top layer to the card blank.
  10. I used a glass pen and copper ink to add copper dots to highlight the dangle design and the hand lettering. I also drew a box just inside the top layer and another just outside it on the card blank. Again, I free-handed the lines, embracing the wobbliness.
Making the envelope
  1. I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
  2. I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
  3. I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
  4. Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
Before mailing…

Once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’d apply a thin layer of Distress MicroGlaze to the front and back of the envelope to protect the Distress Ink and drawing from the elements. I’ve done this to other cards and they have traversed the UK and US postal systems with no problems.

Ideas for using the design.

Although I’ve presented this dangle design as a greeting card, which is, I think, a lovely way to share a little bit of artistic loveliness with others, there are many other ways the design could be used, with or without any hand lettering.

In a BuJo, journal, planner or diary it would make a lovely little design to fill in a blank space.

This is a design that would work really well as a bookmark.

I’m sure it would look charming as part of a scrapbook spread.

I also think it would look lovely on a ‘with compliments’ slip or decorating the edge of a hand-written letter.

I’m sure there are many other ways and media that this design would be suited to.

Final thoughts…

I’m really enjoying drawing these kinds of dangle designs. They’re simple and elegant, to my mind anyway. They’re also quite easy to draw.

I do prefer to free-hand the lines and let the wobbliness be part of my signature style. It gives that human, hand-made, hand-crafted feel to the finished project, and a warmth to the finished project.

I work hard at finding a way of drawing digitally that lets me keep this uniquely ‘Angela’ way of expressing myself through line and pattern. I’m still working on it and sometimes get frustrated that, to my eye, my digital art seems too, well digitally perfect.

It’s all part of the process though – learning, developing, experimenting, trying out new ideas, techniques and methods. That’s what helps me grow as an artist.