Sakura white, metallic and starlight gelly roll pens in a black Sakura journal/sketchbook. I had a lovely few hours last night, sat in bed, settling down for a good sleep.
What you can’t see in the photos is how the matt white and shiny blue/green inks create interesting weirdness visually. By weirdness, I mean a strange kind of 3D effect that I can’t put into words. That was totally unexpected.
I haven’t decided what to do with these pages yet. Will I fill them in completely with colour/pattern, or will I leave the pages as they are. If I leave them as they are then they can be used for journaling, writing, and I quite like that idea to be honest. As the writing is likely to be very personal, I’m not likely to share that, but maybe I’ll mock something up digitally, see for myself what it’s like and then decide.
And with that last sentence, I may scan these in and use them as templates for a digital journal, which would then take away my worries about making a mess of the page by writing on it!
Of course, they’d work quite nicely as frames for quotes too.
Too many possibilities!
Whatever I decide to do – and it may be all of these things – there is something satisfying about working with shimmer and shine and the contrast with the matt white ink on black. The sparkle and shine makes my arty soul rather happy.
Just a note on the black Sakura sketchbook / notebook /journal. I like it! It has a LOT of pages in it of acid-free, sturdy enough, smooth paper.
Self-love is a concept that isn’t fully understood. It took me a long time to understand it, or to accept that it is possible.
Self-love isn’t about ego, grandiosity, boastfulness. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect or the most beautiful or the cleverest person in the world.
Self love is about accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, mistakes and all. It’s about accepting that all these, and more, make you who you are and that it is OK to be perfectly imperfect.
It’s about learning to treat yourself kindly, not to be so hard on yourself. It’s about being compassionate towards yourself.
Self love is about nurturing yourself, taking care of the needs of your body, mind, emotion and spirituality.
It’s about having a high regard for your own happiness and well being. It’s about not sacrificing these to please others. It’s about not settling for less than you deserve, about setting healthy boundaries.
It’s a practice, some days it will be easier to do this, others a bit harder. But it’s an importance practice for mental and emotional health.
Over the past few days, I’ve had to practice a lot of self love and self care. I don’t profess to be an expert; I’m constantly learning more about it, as well as constantly having to refer back to what it means and what I need to do.
So, I thought I’d do a blog post about it, as well as some arty stuff. I’ve not done much digital art of late. I became lost in the world of watercolour and journal making and paper crafting. This morning I felt the need to do some digital art. I dug out a sheet of small designs I’d created back in January 2020 and picked one to colour. The rest just fell into place.
Yesterday I got lost in finishing the first page in my new A5 journal. I’ve put together three photos that show how the page looks as the tags are folded in and as each is opened out.
Every image, pattern, coloured paper, inchie, panel, envelope and tag have been made by myself. Drawing and colouring my own bits of ephemera and the pattern on the page background tool quite a bit of time, but it’s my own work.
I could’ve chosen to use paper from old books, commercially produced designer series paper or digital downloads. Those would’ve saved a lot of time, for sure. The end result would have been my own way of using them. However, I got a lot of pleasure, contentment, peace and calm from creating my own.
I made a note along the edge of the page showing which Distress Oxide inks I’d used to colour the page so that I could use the same for the other elements. Well, mostly the same Distress Ink colours; I did vary them in other places. However, this resulted in a coherent feel to this page – it feels like everything there belongs there!
I also noted on the background what pens I’d used to add the zentangle-style pattern. I then used Distress Inks and a brush and water to bring out that pattern.
Yes, I realise I could’ve used stamps, embossing ink and embossing powder to do something similar. I didn’t want to. I wanted my own, personal touch to this.
I really like how little pretties are hidden behind the tags and only get fully revealed as they are opened. The same is true for the items tucked in the pockets on the backs of the tags. I will replace the pieces of paper with journaling paper or other things as time goes on.
I may very well add danglies to the tops of the tags, possibly little tabs on their sides to help open them.
I’m quietly pleased with this page. It is very much “Angela” in style and feel. I’m feeling a bit more confident about this now, and I’m sure that I will really develop my own style as I go forward.
I really got a a sense of satisfaction and pleasure from creating every little element for this page. When I had it finished (mostly) I knew I’d worked out just how I want to create art journals going forward.
What I do need to remind myself, however, is that I can add to them when I want to – they’re not a full time project. What I could do is combine journaling with them, especially if I include elements that are specifically for journaling.
I do have some other bits and bobs to try making for the journal – little booklets, decorated paper-clips, tabbed cards to fit in pockets (or tabbed booklets, maybe). I certainly want to add quotes, notes, memories and more. And I think I need to work on my hand lettering to do such things as well.
I do plan to build up a library of digital designs I can use for inchies, twinchies, tea-cards, ATCs, panels, quotes, and more. Also, blank ‘templates’ for them, maybe.
Perhaps I should scan the backgrounds in before I add to them so I can use them in my digital art too. I shall think about that going forward. For this page, I really wasn’t sure if my idea of adding the pattern would work. I was pleased it did, I really am. I’m sure to do similar things with the following pages, and now I know what I do like, I can always replicate the background on this particular page, and the notes of which Distress Oxide Inks I used will help me in doing this for sure.
For the rest of today, however, I will be mostly doing other art rather than working on my art journal. I do have some coloring book projects that need some serious attention for starters.
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
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.
I’ve been awake since stupid o’clock, which roughly translates to 3:30am BST. While I was trying to get back to sleep I watched a youtube video about making pockets and tuck-ins for an altered book journal.
I thought that could be something good for my sketchbook-journal. I have worried a little about gluing my little artworks into it, but pockets, tuck-ins, see-through envelopes could be a good way to both show the work and store it in a non-permanent way.
So, with my mind now working and sleep eluding me, I decided to have a go at making my own pockets. You can see the result at the top right, with a journalling card popped in one of them for now.
How I made the pockets
I used some ordinary white card, cut it into what I thought would be good sizes to make a set of stacked pockets for the ATC sized cards I’ve been working on.
I then coloured the cards with Distress Oxide Inks. For one of them, I used a brayer to add ink to a gelli plate. Before pulling a print, I spritzed the gelli plate with water that had some white perfect pearls added to it.
For another panel, I used the brayer to add ink directly to the paper. It did that unevenly. So, I used a ball-tool to carve some texture into the black side of a piece of cut and try foam and used that to add colour. That worked really well! Dabbing the foam added a lovely textured layer of colour. A spritz of water activated the dusty, chalky, soft nature of the Distress Oxides.
I enjoyed the look I achieved with the distressed foam that I coloured the remaining pair of paper panels in the same way.
I then tore the top edge of each panel, for added interest, then used a piece of foam and Rich Mahogany Distress Ink to add grunginess to the edges of each panel.
I wanted to add some embellishments to each panel, so I used a copper sparkle Gelli pen to draw patterns on them.
Finally, I used Tombow Mono adhesive to stick the panels together.
When I put the panels on the page in my sketchbook-journal, I thought a panel behind them. So, I coloured a panel of the same card with Distress Oxide inks and the distressed piece of foam and used the same gelly roll pen to add some sparkly patterns. Then, I adhered the back panel and pockets to my sketchbook.
When I tested some ATC cards in the pockets, I realised I need to work out a way for some more ‘give’ in the pockets as they’re too tightly put together to slip more than one ATC card in them. Also, I placed them just low enough down the page so the ATC card doesn’t stick out of the sides of my sketchbook.
I’m not well known for my fore-planning projects like this, though I do try to learn as I go along.
Inchies and Twinchies
My mind was working in weird ways this morning. As I was making the pockets, my mind strayed to inchies and twinchies. I’ve not made any of these for a long, long time. I thought it could be fun to do so and add them to my sketchbook-journal.
I cut two 1″ wide, and one 2″ wide strips of card. I used the distressed foam to apply Distress Oxide inks to them, spritzing with water to add to the distressed look. Then, after drying with a heat tool, I cut them into squares – 1″ x 1″ inches and 2″ x 2″ twinchies.
I decided to use metallic watercolours from Cosmic Shimmer to add a sparkly, shimmery border to each tile. I used rich gold, pale gold or copper on each tile.
Then, I got to draw on the tiles. Teeny, tiny zentangle-style drawings. That was fun to do!
After adding some dots using a white Sakura Soufflé pen, I adhered the inchies into my sketchbook-journal. I’ve left the twinchies for decoration later.
I realised that I could stored journalling cards in the pockets. All I needed to do was to colour the back of one of the ATC cards I coloured a few days ago. I also just realised that I could have added a layer of squared, dot grid or lined paper to write on too. That’s an idea for another time, maybe.
After drying the ink, I used a rollerball pen to add what notes I wanted to about this mornings creative sessions.
In fact, I’ve just created another journaling card to jot down ideas and notes to self as a result of reflecting on my pre-dawn arty activities!
Over the week I’ve been adding to my sketchbook- notes and images, ideas and reflections.
Each page has been coloured with combinations of Distress Inks, applied using the black side of a piece of Cut and Dry foam, followed with a spritz of water to bring out some water-staining grungy loveliness.
All the little drawings have been done on either Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper (300gsm) or mixed media paper, either from Claire Fontaine or Daler-Rowney. The papers have been coloured with Distress Oxide Inks, Distress Inks, or a combination of them. Most of the pieces have had the inks applied with the foam, but some were made by brayering Distress Oxide inks onto a gelli plate and taking a print of them.
The reflection about what I like, what I don’t like, and ideas that arise is important to me in my sketchbook/journal. I do reflect on my art, a bit too much in my head. When I write it down, it forces my sometimes abstract and swirling thoughts into some kind of order. When I make these thoughts a material manifestation by writing them down, it helps me to recognise the thoughts, sift through that which is useful, and still record those that are not particularly useful at this moment but may be in the future.
I think I need to find a way to do this with my digital art. My mind goes to using One Note to do this. I shall think on this one, and make a note of it in my physical sketchbook/journal.
This morning, I used the random tangle pattern generator and it came up with ‘Tripoli’. This is a tangle pattern I’ve had trouble with so often in the past. For some reason I find it awkward to draw the triangular motifs that make up this pattern in a way that I find pleasing. I almost clicked the button to generate another tangle pattern. Instead, I chose to work with Tripoli and this is the result.
I used one of the tiles I’d coloured with Distress Inks at the weekend, along with Unipin Uniball pens. No pencil ‘string’ or guidelines. I also chose to use a variation of the classic Tripoli pattern (see it on Tangle Patterns or here).
It was an enjoyable and relaxing process to draw this 5½” x 5½” tile.
I’ve been ‘zentangling’ long before Zentangle was a thing. I love pattern. I love stylised motifs. I draw inspiration from architecture, nature, Prehistoric art, pottery, Celtic and La Tene, illuminated manuscripts, and more.
I’ve always been fascinated with deconstructing patterns in order to replicate them in my own way.
Well being check in…
Today I’m tired. I look like I have a pair of black eyes. I really didn’t sleep well last night, again. I may well nap this afternoon; I’m finding it hard to keep my eyes open even as I write this blog.
Even though I’m tired, more than bone tired, the sunshine and warmth of the rays of light finding their way to me through the windows really lifts my spirits.
As I went to put some recycling out this morning, a neighbour’s cat came to say hello. He’s a strange kitty, likes a fuss, but not too much and only in very specific places on his body, but he’s a friendly chap. It was nice to make a fuss of him in the sunshine, his black fur soft, silky and warm from absorbing infrared light.
I had two deliveries today. One an organic fruit and veg box along with some other goodies. Some things weren’t available though, but it’ll be just fine I’m sure. The other was a box containing some tea bags – English Breakfast tea bags containing rolled leaves of tea in biodegradable mesh. And a rather nifty tin to keep them in!
Tea, twice and thrice blessed tea! Always a pleasure and always one to look forward to.
Little things to be grateful for even when limited to home for the foreseeable future.
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.
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.
Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
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.
Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
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.
Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
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.
Carefully erase the pencil lines.
Attach the top layer to the card blank.
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
I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
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.
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.
If you’d like to find out more about drawing dangle designs, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start. I’ve created over 120 designs, with step by step instructions, for you to use and inspire you.
It’s Friday, so that means it’s dangle designs today!
I drew these on postcard sized (148mm x 105mm) acid free heavy cartridge paper using a mixture of Tombow fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. I then used Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops to add some colour to the designs.
Again, I’ve drawn some really simple, cute and whimsical dangle designs that leave plenty of space on the paper for hand lettering or a hand-written note or letter.
Dangle designs are, of course, very versatile. I put these on the edge of a postcard sized piece of paper. However, they could be used as the focal point of a greeting card or note card. Lengthen the dangle, and they’d make cute bookmarks. They’d make interesting designs to fill spaces in a BuJo or scrapbook page. They’d also make interesting focal points on art journal pages.
I’d love to see how you use dangle designs – just tag me in social media!
Friday means it’s time for another dangle design, this time a ‘thank you’ card and coordinating envelope.
In previous weeks I’ve had some fun adding patterns to small blocks of colour. So, I thought I’d run with that idea and turn one into a simple dangle design. The steps I used were the same for the card and envelope.
The card is an A6 card and I cut a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol paper to 5″ x 3.5″ for the card topper. The envelope came with the card blank so is A6 in size too.
I started by drawing a square of colour using the BL3 (Sky Blue) Chameleon Color Tone pen – no gradient, just pure colour.
Then, I added a gradient of BL6 (Royal Blue) over the base colour. I added pure blender to the Royal blue bullet nib using the mixing chamber. I didn’t use the Color Tops to add Royal Blue to the tip of the Sky Blue pen as I wanted a more subtle colour gradient.
Next, I used a Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw around the block twice. Then, I added a filler pattern of spirals to the colour block. On the card I used a gold Uniball Signo sparkle gel pen. On the envelope I used the fudenosuke pen.
Now the colour block was decorated I turned my attention to the dangle.I decided to draw one dangle as I thought the design would look too crowded if I ad more. Sometimes, less really is more!
After drawing a faint pencil guide-line, I used a combination of beads, daisy-like flowers and a heart for the dangle. I wanted to keep it nice and simple.
Then it was time to add colour to the outline and design elements. I used the Chameleon Colour tops to add very simple colours. I didn’t do any gradients as the designs were so small. Instead I coloured them in the lightest colour, added a touch of darker colour where I wanted shadow and blended that out with the lighter colour.
I decided to hand letter ‘Thank you’ on the card using a soft nib Fudenosuke pen. I also added some tiny daisies to some of the loops and swirls to tie the hand lettering in with the dangle design.
I then mounted the card ‘topper’ on the card blank and added some gold glitter gel dots around the designs. I also added a gold line around the card topper.
Before I post the card, I’ll use some Micro Glaze from Ranger on the envelope to protect the Tombow pen from water damage.
Reflecting on the project…
Overall, I’m quite pleased with this. In hindsight I wish I’d used the Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw the spiral pattern on the card. I think it’s a cute, simple and versatile design.
It would make lovely stationery, such as note paper or note cards, along with coordinating envelopes. There are lots of ways the design could be used in BuJos, Planners, Journals, Scrapbooks, and Art Journals. The vertical nature of the design means it would make a lovely bookmark.
How would you use this design? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment!
If you have a go at drawing and using this design then please share your finished products with me – I’d love to see how people use dangle designs!
If you want to learn more about drawing dangle designs then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start. There’s over 120 designs for you to use as they are or for inspiration for your own designs.
Nearly every Friday I publish a new dangle design on my blog for more inspiration.