Another day, and the inner need to create a mandala. I’m not entirely sure about this one. Whether it’s the red colour I’ve chosen, or the dense texture of the widest ring, or something else.
It may not be the mandala itself, but how I’m feeling today and how the mandala is, perhaps, a reflection of that.
Perhaps I’m just trying to read too much into it.
Though I’m not too sure about the finished mandala, the process of creating it was pleasant, calming, satisfying in it’s own right. Maybe as the day goes on the mandala will reveal more about myself today.
Yesterday and today my focus has been on colouring some templates for my Entangled Gardens coloring book that is due out next year – March 1st 2021 here in the UK to be precise.
This is just a small part of the second of three templates I need to colour. I thought I’d go with a night sky for this one. The first one I’ve given a sunshiny sky to, the third I’m going to go with a sunset colour scheme for the background.
It takes me quite a few hours to colour each template, which is a nod to how intricate and detailed my artwork usually is.
This template, like many in the book, was drawn with pen on paper. However, I like to colour the templates digitally, so I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Surface Studio and Surface Slim pen to add colour.
I’ve spent so long working at my computer that I’m feeling a bit stiff and uncomfortable. I’m able to tilt the screen of my Surface Studio so that’s at a comfortable position to work at with pen on screen. Still, I’m feeling somewhat stiff. So as soon as I’ve finished my social media stuff for the day, I’m going to take a walk to ease some of the stiffness before I return to the task.
I finished the top right design, and have completed the ‘A’ illustration on the bottom left. That leaves one space to be filled, no doubt later today.
I’ve used either Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens or Uniball Unipin pens to complete the drawings on ClaireFontaine’s Paint-On mixed media paper. This paper is fairly weighty (250g/m²) and has a lovely velvety feel to it.
The only pencil lines I’ve used have been to delineate the ‘boxes’ to draw in, and for a couple of the design elements in the top left image as well as the A.
Reflecting on the designs
The white space in the top left design works really well I think, and is quite an accomplishment for me. The same is true, to a lesser extent for the top right design. In both cases, the white space brings attention to the design.
In contrast, the densely pattered area helps to bring out the monogram A, making the white space the focus of the design.
I think I’m going to work on some more monograms in this style. They are fun to do, and dense, entangled patterns are one of my signature artistic voices. It’s been a long time since I’ve completed art like this, with a lot of detail to bring out dimension/volume in the design.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed using line and stipple to add volume in all the designs, exploring how I like to do this as I go. All the work I do with colouring books means I have put this to one side. It’s interesting how I’ve circled back to this style. It’s even more interesting to look at how my drawing skills have developed and evolved over time as well.
I found some peace, contentment and joy while drawing these, and feel a sense of accomplishment, particularly with the two on the left.
Do I prefer digital or traditonal drawing?
A difficult question to answer. I think it depends on what I’m creating.
I really do enjoy using pen on paper. I get a better sense of the overall design. Paper and pen is very portable too – whether I’m sketching when out and about, or drawing in different places at home.
Drawing on the screen of my Surface Studio with a pen is a lot like drawing on paper. The smoothness of the screen makes it a very different tactile experience. It also is great for inking in sketches. It also makes correcting mistakes or re-working areas a lot easier, and there are techniques I can use that are near impossible or very time consuming when working traditionally.
Sometimes, the lines produced digitally are too perfect. I’m still working on developing the brush styles that will mimic the unevenness of an inked line. I do have to use some element of line-smoothing as I draw; without it the lines are really wobbly, but with it they can be too perfect and I lose, to a degree, that personal and unique way that my pen moves on paper.
I also find it difficult to have a sense of proportion or detail when working digitally, even though I can look at the design at the same size as it will be printed. The ability to zoom in and work on a small area means I lose all sense of relative size and complexity/detail of a design. So, if I’m going to work on a drawing digitally, I prefer to start with a sketch to give me that sense of scale.
I rarely sketch out my design when I work on paper, except if I need the outlines of a design element as I’m drawing. I do tend to work very intuitively.
So the answer is, I prefer each for different purposes, and also to suit my different moods and purposes.
Of course, once I’ve drawn a design, I then have to decide if I want to add colour, and then what media I will use – traditional or digital!
One of my ideas is to create a digital library of designs of things that interest me and that may be useful in my journal making, card making, or just other kinds of art.
For some reason, I decided on dragonflies. So, I sketched out some ideas and then inked the drawings in digitally. I also added details and patterns ot the designs that weren’t present in the sketches. The dragonflies are in my signature entangled style for sure.
I still have a few sketches to work on, and some alternatives of the wing shapes and body designs. I also want to do them as silhouettes. I like silhouettes on coloured backgrounds, like the one I’ve used today.
I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to ink in the designs. I also used it to add the background, shadows and typography.
The background is one of my own made using Distress Oxide inks and water. I love that I can recolour the image digitally; the original was in shades of pink and purple, but I thought that blues and greens would suit the dragonflies much more.
I’ve left the dragonflies uncoloured, for now, though adding colour will bring the designs to life and add some dimension to them.
I don’t have a colour printer anymore, just a black and white laser printer. I may consider getting a colour printer in the future, however, as I think being able to print my own digital art would be useful, especially for using in journal making. An inkjet printer would be the most useful; it would allow me to print on many different kinds of paper and lightweight card.
I’m also thinking of putting together digital collections of backgrounds and ephemera and/or digi stamps for sale via my Etsy shop. Let me know if you think that’s a good idea by dropping a comment.
I wanted a circular frame in which to put quotes. So, I started by drawing some pencil guidelines for the circle and the outer borders on some dot grid paper.
I used 08 and 02 Uniball Unipin pens to draw the circle of flowers and foliage. Then, to start filling the space around the flowers with entangled designs.
It’s very much a work in progress. Part of me thinks I could’ve left an empty border around the circular flower and foliage arrangement to separate it from the background. The other part of me likes it as it is.
I want to try to get a balance of less detailed areas with the more densely detailed sections so that there’s space for the eye to rest.
I also suspect I’ll be adding colour or, at the very least, shadow and highlights to the design to bring it to life.
I’ve woken to a grey, wet, fresh day here in the Welsh Valleys. The coolness is actually quite delicious on my skin. The rain is freshening the air and world up, clearing the dust away. What a way for the weather to see out August!
It’s a perfect morning to do some artsy crafty stuff. For me, that meant finishing off a pair of cards with coordinating envelopes.
Making the larger entangled seed pods card.
The top panel measures 3″ x 3.75″, mounted on an A6 card (UK sizes).
I coloured The envelope, top panel and the border of the middle panel envelope and the edge of the middle panel with Crushed Olive, Forest Moss and Shabby Shutters Distress inks. I used a mini foam blending tool to achieve a gradient.
I sprayed water onto the top panel. Distress Inks react with water and results in some interesting textural patterns. I didn’t spray water onto the envelope; the paper is too thin to take such treatment.
My next task was to draw the entangled designs; I chose to go with some seed pods, leaves, a geometric pattern and some little flowers too. I added some ‘sparkle’ patterns around the main elements to give the illusion of little things floating in the air.
Next, I added some sparkle and shine with some gold and copper ink. I placed ink inside the sparkles, the seeds inside the larger seed pods and the flowers too.
I used a brush and Distress inks to add some depth of colour to the design on the card. I decided not to do this on the envelope, again because of the quality of the paper.
Once I have someone to send the card to, I will address the envelope and seal it with Distress Micro Glaze so that moisture won’t damage the envelope.
The colour choice on this card is unusual for me, but it’s worked out nicely, particularly with the gold and copper accents.
The tiny floral card.
This card is tiny, measuring just 2.25″ x 3.25″. It’s envelope is a little larger than needed, but the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board didn’t have measurements on it for a card this size, so I just used the closest available.
The panel on the card measures 1.75″ x 2.375″. It is one of the panels from the Foursquare background frames I messed up while making yesterdays cards.
I used one of my ideas from yesterdays musings on the cards I’d made. I drew a simple design on both the card panel and the envelope front and flap using Uniball Unipin pens and then coloured it with Copic markers. I added some gold glitter dots with a Uniball Signo gel pen.
Once all was dry, I used a Versamark Pen to colour over the flowers, leaves and gold sparkles. Versamark ink is colourless and sticky and is made by Tsukineko; it comes in ink pads but also in double-ended pens – a bullet point at one end and a brush tip at the other. The ink takes a little while to dry.
I covered the sticky areas with WOW super fine clear embossing powder and used a heat tool from Ranger to melt it, giving the design elements a glossy, protective and slightly raised finish. It also intensifies the colours somewhat, which I rather like.
So, I could now colour the background and envelope with Distress Inks without affecting the colours of the flowers, leaves and gold dots. I used a mini foam blending tool along with Pine Needles, Mowed Lawn, Tumbled Glass and Salty Ocean Distress Inks.
The final task was to glue the card panel to the card blank as well as the envelope flaps.
Again, once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’ll use Distress Micro Glaze to seal the inks and prevent any damage to the artwork while journeying to the recipient.
Reflecting on the cards.
I enjoyed making these cards. I particularly like the simplicity of the small card and the effect of the embossing powder. There’s something about teeny-tiny cards that really pleases me. I think it’s that their size makes them just so darned cute!
The larger card I am also pleased with, particularly in my use of colours that are unusual for me. I’m glad I added colour to the seedpods on the card; it helps them to stand out. I do love the copper and gold ink on this darker background too and how well they stand out.
Making envelopes that coordinate with the card is also something I enjoy doing; hopefully, the recipients see them as something a bit special dropping through their letterbox.
So, what’s on the cards for today?
It’s the last day of August, so I need to get a wiggle on to create a September colouring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I feel the need to include some autumn imagery in this one as we are in the dog days of summer for sure.
Tell me, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m tired but feeling quite content and optimistic again. I slept well last night; the weighted blanket really is working wonders for me as far as sleep is concerned. One problem is that I don’t want to get out from under it in the morning, so it must be comforting or soothing me.
I seem to have turned in a magnet for people who have escaped narcissistic abuse of all kinds. It’s nice to be able to help others by giving them space where I will believe their experiences, and I can help them, hopefully, to understand that they are not at fault but are victims.
Synchronicity pointing out to me how much I have learned and understood and healed and am now able to help others, perhaps?
Easy listening playlist on Spotify, creating art. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning!
I’ve been working at this monogram now for several days. It is coming along.
It really feels like a an embroidery sampler where the learning embroiderer would try out different patterns and shapes and still create something beautiful.
For me, the sampler is more about out different ideas as they come to me and increasing my knowledge and understanding of the digital art tools available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Of course being able to draw directly on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio with a Surface Pen makes creating digital art a dream for me; it’s like working with pens and pencils and so on on paper. However, I’m able to do things I don’t think I’d ever be able to do with traditional media.
I still love working with pen on paper; I currently have one drawing on the go and I may convert it into a digital artwork when it’s done.
Exploring the realms of digital art has opened doors to me that have expanded my creativity in ways I never could have imaged previously.
Yes, I learn by doing myself rather than following tutorials. My experience of watching tutorials is that I end up more confused than I started.
Don’t get me wrong, the ones I watched were excellent. However, they are by people who really know the software and what everything does, and they speak to people who have some idea of it all.
Besides, I want to do art my way, and these artists tend to show how they do things and that often doesn’t make any sense to me.
I’m grateful they share, and one day I may watch some more, but for now the exploration in my own realms of creativity is what is best for me.
As I look at my sampler monogram, I can see how I’m developing my own digital art voice in terms of techniques and effects that suit my style of rather intricate, abstract art based on patterns, curves, swirls and arches, along with a lot of motifs based on nature.
The plain curves in this monogram are adding some much needed scaffolding or girders to support and separate the patterns. Some of the fancily patterned curves are getting lost in the crazy intricacy of adjoining sections.
There are no individual sections that I really don’t like. However, some combinations of sections don’t seem to gel well, at least not to my eye.
What I do love is the layers of diversity of colour and pattern. Each glance reveals something new, whether it’s the way I’ve played with light and shadow, the way patterns look together, or the way colours I’d not normally put together seem to work together.
However, as this is turning out to be a sampler, then that’s fine. It’s all learning for me, and that’s good.
I’ve noticed I’ve not left any white space in this design, so far. I may do that in the area that is left to complete, just to contrast with the pattern-dense areas done so far.
It is a fascinating journey for me, and while this may not be an artwork that I’d offer for sale at redbubble.com or zippi, it’s something that is worth its weight in gold for me in terms of lessons learned and also gaining some confidence in my style of digital art.
I was looking at the monogram I started a few days back and I’m really not happy with it at the moment. I don’t like the shape of the letter. So, I thought I’d try out a more ‘blocky’ letter. I also thought I’d try filling the letter with abstract patterns and shapes to see how that goes too.
You can see the result of my last two or three hours of work. I like what’s happening here, but I’m not too sure about my colour choices. Time to get limited colour palettes going again I think!
I’m perplexed as to how I can so easily create abstract mandalas that are really quite complex, but something like this seems to cause me no end of troubles.
I will persevere. I always do when it’s art.
As usual, I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
So, tell me Angela, how are you today?
I’m tired. I’m content but feeling ‘flat’ at the same time. The ‘flatness’ is draining some of the contentedness away from me today. I don’t feel as ebullient as I did in the last week.
EMDR yesterday was puzzling, confusing and overwhelming. I also think I went with the expectation of the same kind of thing happening as last week.
Last week, we worked with one negative belief about myself and the image that popped up when I thought of myself as a baby or child while holding that belief and the feelings it generated inside me.
This week I went to therapy with an image of a ‘monster’ that had cropped up this week.
While processing in EMDR, the negative thoughts just kept coming and coming. The pain and sensations in my body were quite overwhelming.
At the end of the session, my therapist said we need to go back to how we’d worked in the last couple of weeks.
I’m so glad that despite the tiredness and flatness, the contentedness is still there, despite me feeling deflated from EMDR yesterday. Me being overly tired isn’t really helping things either.
I left the session feeling tired and I wanted to sleep. I couldn’t, however, as I had a commitment in the evening. That left me more tired. I really haven’t slept enough overnight to overcome the tiredness. It’ll soon be time to nap I think!
However, I did wake up with an idea about what I could do about a monogram, and wanted to explore that.
I also have to remind myself that yesterday in EMDR wasn’t a step backwards. It was finding out that the way to work is with a negative belief, just one, to prevent overwhelming, confusing sessions. Maybe not a lot of processing was done yesterday, but a lesson was learned.
On a positive note, I did some ‘adulting’ yesterday that involved going into a branch of my bank to pay a couple of cheques in and to enquire as to whether I’d received a payment, and to get the online banking thingy sorted it. It won’t let me log on. I can’t log on until I recieve this card reader thingy, but it should be a lot easier to do so in the future – woohoo!
I also had lunch in the park in Neath. Eating while out and about can be a huge problem for me, but yesterday I had the courage to do this again.
So, when I see those two things, I can see how much progress I have made, even though the tiredness and deflation are sapping me of a little bit of positivity today.
It’s only temporary, the tiredness and deflation. A nap could seriously help me out!
This is my way of saying thank you to those who follow my work, particularly the colouring books I have created.
If you’d like to download and colour, you need to be a member of the group and agree to follow the T’s & C’s.
I’m looking forward to seeing what members of the group will do with this one! I love to see the different colour schemes and media that they use to bring the drawing to life with the magic of colour.
To create this template, I started with a sketch on square gridded paper. It was a very basic sketch with just outline shapes, lines and so on. I then scanned it into the Surface Studio and completed this drawing using my Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
I had to include some of my favourite design elements – butterflies, stars, flowers, fungi, seed pods, arches and geometric patterns.
It was fun to draw, even the sketch was as I love to use a Koh-i-Noor Magic pencil to do the sketching with, one that has quite different colours in the lead so that I get a fair rainbow of colours.
I’m warming to sketching things out before drawing them in ink (either traditional ink/pens or digital) to give me a skeleton I can put flesh on in terms of details and patterns.
So Angela Porter, how are you feeling today?
I’m feeling contented. My stomach/digestive system is back to normal. All just in time for today’s EMDR session this afternoon.
That’s all I have to say about that today. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow post EMDR.
I drew the template with Fudenosuke pens from Tombow on Bristol Board from Winsor and Newton. The paper is A4 in size (that’s approx. US letter size).
I’ve started coloring it digitally (Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio), as that’s what I’m enjoying at the moment.
This month I’ve gone for my signature entangled style of art, but using the Fudenosuke pens, which I’m really enjoying using, gives varying linewidths and heavier lines and a more graphic feel to the art.
It’s free to join the group, there are some terms and conditions attached to the template use. If you’d like to download and colour the image then pop along to the group and you’d be made most welcome!
I’d also love to see how you colour this template. Yes, really, I would!