I wish each and every person the very best blessings of the season, not just for today, but for each and every day ahead of each.
Finishing Up a Zentangle Greetings Card
Link to today’s video/vlog on YouTube.
Actually, the title should be ‘How Not to finish up…’. I had a bit of an accident. More about that in a minute.
This morning, I decided to work on finishing up one card design. I knew I wanted to add another layer beneath the panel already finished before gluing it to the cream-coloured card blank.
I dug out some scrapbook paper from my stash. Nothing felt right. The colours were just ‘off’. That’s when I realised I needed to use Distress Inks to colour the lower panel.
I could have used them to colour the panel, then use pens (black, fineliner or metallic) to draw a pattern on it. Instead, I decided to try to emboss the pattern into the paper using a dotting tool / parchment craft ball tool / embossing tool.
Before I did this, I experimented on some scrap paper to see how I could colour the paper (more on this in today’s video).
I decided to emboss the paper first, then add Distress Ink (pine needles) with the black side of a piece of Cut ‘n Dry foam. That kept the embossing white. I found that if I used a blending brush (aka make-up brush!) more ink settled in the embossing. That is also a lovely look, but not what I wanted.
Inside this border, I added some gold ink to create a gold border around the upper panel.
That looked fine and dandy. The horror story came with the next step…
I added some foam tape to the back of the upper panel to add some dimension to the card, along with some glue so I had some wiggle time to make sure I got the panel centred.
The glue was the mistake I think. I had the panel nicely centred until I turned it over to add some pressure to get it to stick firmly. It must have wiggled and become de-centralised.
And when I noticed it was very firmly stuck.
I was so annoyed with myself as I know this is something that nearly always goes wrong when I try to make cards.
The only way I can ‘fix’ things is to cut out that central panel and re-make the embossed border and reassemble the card once again. This time I’d consider having the embossed pattern going under the central pattern so that if it is a little off it won’t be quite so noticeable.
I’m not, however, going to do that. This time, I’m going to make notes in the card about what I did, the media used, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I need to be very, very mindful of the next time I make a card.
Reflecting on the card creation
I know I’m fairly happy with the design. I like the central motif of holly leaves. The sutble pattern in the border around it is nice too, as is the embossed border.
I do wish I’d not used chalk pastels to add colour to this panel. There’s something dusty and muted about it that I’m not at all sure of. I think that keeping things mostly monochrome on a coloured background works best for me, with touches of gold and white, with some shading perhaps.
It’s that thing again. I love colour, but making use of it always has me feeling that it’s where I mess things up, unless I keep the colours really simple. Simple as in black, white, the background colour, and a shadow colour, and maybe touches of metallics for some sparkle and shine.
I do better with colour when I work digitally, but in traditional media I always feel like I struggle.
It’s always a learning experience, more so when things don’t go as planned or when I’m not entirely happy with what I produce. My problem is I try the same kind of thing over and over and expect it all to improve. I think I’m hoping that I’ll work out how to make the various media work for me at some point.
I say, often, I’m going to stick to monochrome, and then go and try working with colour, often with the same kind of feeling at the end. The feeling I like the pen drawing, but the colour/media isn’t what I’m looking for.
Perhaps time for me to make use of this colour printer and add colour digitally and print it out!
Today, I have two wintery mandalas for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Books Fans facebook group.
Number 1 has some really intricate details in the inner rings of the mandala. Number 2, not quite so many.
They may be tiny, but I managed to add colour with the bullet tip of Arteza Everblend markers. So it’s not impossible to do, just a tad challenging. But I do know some people like that challenge.
One way is to colour the whole section in one colour, or a gradation of colours, and let the drawing just be like it’s etched into the colour, a texture if you will.
Another way is to take a larger section of pattern, and just colour it all in, like the small squares in template 1.
Whatever you feel comfortable doing is fine!
There’s no video today. I’ve tried a couple of times, but have spilled ink on the paper, made a total pig’s ear of colour, and so I need to focus on getting as many of the templates for Adorable Dogs inked in as I can. I only have a few left to do, and I haven’t done any over the last two days due to the stress of appointments. When I’m totally stressed/anxiety-ed out, I become incredibly tired and lacking any kind of focus for anything. The priority then is self care. Naps, quiet time, nothing that will get me stressed again as it will be all to easy to get stressed once again.
I’m not saying I’ve totally destressed, but the frustration with videoing today shows there’s still a fair amount there. Self care. Do what I can. If I get frustrated, take a break, even if it’s a break until tomorrow. When I’m not stressed, work flows and gets done more quickly than pushing myself and I end up redoing it all when I’m calm again.
Sometimes, you have to go slow to go fast. Not an easy lesson to learn, given the way that being productive is in your face everywhere, from adverts to social media influencers.
I’ve learned, the hard way, that taking care of myself has to be a priority. Taking those breaks knowing that by nurturing my mental and emotional wellbeing and getting that into a good shape I’ll soon get all the work done that I need to do.
Slow and steady …slow…and steady.
It’s that time again – Template Thursday (or Thursyay!).
Each week during the pandemic, I’ve created a coloring page for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Books Fans facebook group. And this week is no exception.
A wintry themed page full of small drawings. Perfect for moments of peace and calm when feeling stressed or overwhelmed. There’s some tangle patterns (zentangle patterns) in there too.
I had had a thought to colour this in Hallowe’en colours, but totally forgot about it! It may be wintry themed, but any colours will go!
I now need a bit of a break – before I turn my attention to the next Adorable Dogs template.
Template Thursday…on a Wednesday!
A sneak peek at this week’s coloring template / coloring page.
My Wednesday mornings nearly always begin with drawing, either in part or full, this week’s coloring page / coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
This week it has a bit of a winter theme going on, and a part of it you can see above. I did film my drawing process this morning, and you can view the video by following this link.
The video does start with me showing how I’ve been enhancing the trees drawn and coloured on previous days.
There was no post, nor video, yesterday as between focusing on inking the templates for adorable dogs, a medical appointment, and a couple of online meetings, there just wasn’t time.
Template Thursday (on a Wednesday)!
I’ve created this week’s template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group a day early this week.
This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.
As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.
Taking a big of a break
I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.
I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.
Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.
I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.
Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?
Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.
I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.
Winter Solstice 2020
All the best of the blessings of the season to you one and all!
Today, the Sun passes into Capricorn, marking the astronomical start of winter. It’s one of the shortest days of the year as well, and so it seems right that as the days get longer, the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth in the Northern Hemisphere strengthens, that it is seen as the ending of one orbit around the Sun, and the start of a new one.
Of course, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Summer Solstice!
It’s that day again – Template Thursday!
Each Thursday throughout the pandemic I’ve designed a colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
This week, the design has one big focal point motif of a zentangle-inspired Christmas Tree. It’s cute and whimsical, and is surrounded by holly, mistletoe, gifts, stars and baubles. Of course there’s some hearts there too.
Although the drawing is quite detailed, it’s split into smaller sections. This is great if you only have a bit of time or feel overwhelmed by the whole image. This way you can do one section at a time.
There’s a couple of reasons I usually only colour part of the template. One is a question of time when I have other things that have to be done. The other is that it shows the difference colour makes to the drawing, how it brings it to life.
I love to see how colourists bring my drawings to life with colour and how unique each person’s approach to colouring is. Every time I see one coloured it brings a smile to my face. I have so many colouring books published, so many templates drawn that I don’t have time to colour them all myself.
But when I see a template I wasn’t happy with all coloured in and how wonderful it looks, it not only makes me smile, but it gives me a little confidence boost that my drawings may be just good enough after all.
Yes, I suffer with imposter syndrome and a lack of self-confidence still.
For the rest of the day I really do need to get on with my Christmas card design for this year and get the moonpig ones sorted out and sent off.
Yesterday I had a godawful migraine-y headache. I managed to get some drawing done for Entangled Starry Skies. However the headache scuppered my plans to complete the templates.
I woke this morning, after a broken night’s sleep due to overheating and some hot ‘flashes’, my first night time ones. So, though I’m a bit tired, the headache has, thankfully, gone and I was able to focus on work. All the templates are complete, apart from any edits on the new ones and a couple of the very first ones drawn. So, the next job will be to colour in three of the templates that the editorial team will choose. I let them have that difficult job as I find it so hard to choose just three out of the thirty-one templates.
So, to celebrate I turned my attention to my Christmas ‘card’ for this year. I do need to get a design done sooner rather than later for the cards that need printing and posting. I suspect that Moonpig will be used this year for those.
The design above is the next iteration of the Christmas/winter tree idea I have. I’ve got as far as trying out some color palettes for the final design. Green would be traditional, but I rather like the opalescent colours at the top right of the test area.
After doing my social media posts, I’m going to go and sort a late lunch/early tea out for myself. It’s a tad late to organise myself to go out for a walk – with the skies growing darker with clouds dusk will fall early. Ho hum, perhaps tomorrow!