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.

B is for … a dangle design

Angela Porter 7 Nov 2018 B is for

B is for birthday balloons, birthday cupcakes, birthday gifts…baking … beads …beautiful cats, beautiful flowers…bullet journal (BuJo)…

It’s Friday and it’s taken me a couple or three days to get this monogram dangle design finished, mainly because yesterday was another jolly jaunty day with Liz (more of that on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops – when I get to write it, that is).

Today’s dangle design features some cute kitties, as is the theme of my current series of monogram dangle designs.

I started by sketching out my ideas in pencil on dot grid paper then scanning it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The next step was digitally inking in and adjusting the design. Finally, colour and texture was added to the design before adding my watermarks. My digital tools were my trusty Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I like the design, not so sure about the colour choices though. I also got a bit heavy handed with the added textures in some places.

After I’ve got my other tasks done today, I think I may print this design out and colour it with my Chameleon markers and see the difference. It looks like we’re going to have some heavy rain and some strong winds here today, so cwtching up indoors with some nice arty stuff to do could be the way to spend some of the day.

Friday means it’s #dangleday. My tutorial book about designing dangles, called ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available to preorder. In it I take you step by step through simple hand lettering, monogram dangle designs, and other kinds of dangle designs, showing how you too can draw and design your own. There’s lots and lots of examples in the book as well as suggestions of how to use them as greeting cards, notecards, bookmarks and framed pictures, as well as in BuJos, planners, diaries, scrapbooks…how to use them is limited only by your creativity!

 

A is for … Angel Kitty. A monogram dangle design.

Angela Porter 3 Nov 2018 A is for

I got lost in drawing and coloring this dangle design this morning!

I had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to do a series of monogram dangle designs with a kitty or critter theme along with following the letters of the alphabet.

For A it just had to be an angel kitty!

I started with a pencil sketch, then, after scanning the sketch in, I inked it in using my trusty tool trio – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. Colour and texture was added and a lot of use of layers has been made and a couple of new ‘tricks’ for my digital art spellbook have been learned.

The first was about making solid areas without the black lines by using the fill tool, first in white to block out the sections, then using it as transparent to remove the black.

The second was figuring out how to use layers so I could use a natural blend brush on these sections without messing up bits I was happy with. This may seem an easy thing to those of you who are digital art experts, but I’m slowly learning what I need as I need to learn it!

Finally, I explored the use of a natural blend brush and really enjoyed working with it, once I’d figured out how it works.

I really, really enjoyed doing this one. Cats as a subject for my more whimsical, doodley type art are something I want to do more of. Maybe other critters too; I also have a soft spot in my heart for ravens, koalas, badgers, and many others!

I wonder what B is for… will turn out to be? Birthday Badger? Bookworm Kitty? Baker koala? Any suggestions? Leave me a comment here, or on facebook, on twitter (@artwyrd), or on instagram (@angela_porter_illustrator). I’d welcome suggestions and maybe I’ll draw your particular one, not just for the letter B, but for any other letter of the alphabet.

Of course this is a dangle design, and monograms, handlettering and dangle designs are some of the topics I cover in my tutorial book ‘ A Dangle A Day ‘ which is published in January 2019, but can be pre-ordered now.

 

Second version of my BuJo Monthly Cover page for November

Angela Porter November Bujo 2018 v2

Ah! That’s better!

I wasn’t happy with my first version, so I thought I’d use it as a start to create a digital version of my November BuJo page.

Done with the magic of my Microsoft Surface Pen and Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

The only place I made use of gradient fills were the hearts, the rest was coloured as if I was using marker pens, with the use of a blending tool.

A couple of simple dangles add some interest to the space below the wreath of poppies, foliage and berries.

I kept the colour scheme really simple to the reds, greens and dark greys so that the design is much more cohesive. The use of a texture brush makes the colouring a little less perfect, as it does on the background too.

I also added a drop shadow to give the illusion that the design is floating a little bit above the page.

My current thoughts on BuJo-ing

My current BuJo is a very minimalist one, though I enjoy designing pages like this. I found I was spending more time on my BuJo in terms of prettying it up rather than using it in a functional way. I do add dangles to the daily logs, when I feel the urge to.

This means I’m making far more use of my BuJo than I was when it was just an artistic/creative endeavour.

Not that there is anything wrong in that. It’s just that I wanted to immerse myself in bullet journaling in a way that it could help me with memories, thoughts, tasks and so on, in a way that I wasn’t doing previously.

And, not worrying if it’s not perfectly written/drawn/recorded is quite liberating actually! It takes a lot of pressure off BuJo-ing.

If I’d thought about it, I could’ve left a page blank at the start of the November logs for a pretty page like this. However, everything is getting rather more mixed up in my BuJo than when it was in my first versions of BuJos, and that makes me feel it’s working more for me as a record of my life, as well as planning a little more, though I don’t over-work that. Keeping track of ideas and notes and events is far more important to me, a more reflective kind of BuJo.

What I love about the BuJo system is it evolves as you need it to. You’re not limited by someone else’s structure, such as in a planner or diary. As your needs for it change, it changes.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t make use of colour. Of course I do! That helps in the index to pick out different kinds of contents and helps me separate tasks from events from notes – the symbols are great, but colour really helps me see them. That is a personal preference.

Collections, as always, are really important, and after reading a fair amount of Ryder Carroll’s book on the Bullet Journal Method the idea of threading and indexing back to earlier BuJos actually makes sense to me and seems to be a really valuable thing for me to do as I move forward with this.

As I’m typing away my mind is working on how I could work pretty pages into my working BuJo. I don’t think it’s working pages I need, more like book marks or maybe a postcard or a print out of my design I can use as a book mark …

Oh, the one thing I do pretty up a little bit are my monthly logs, with a pretty border next to the name of the month and year. At present they’re just black and white linework and I rather like the graphic nature of them.

What’s surprised me is how I’ve gone with this more minimal way of doing it. I mean, I love to see how people organise their BuJos ahead of time and so on and the beautiful things they create and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and if it’s someone’s way to express themselves and/or be creative then I’m definitely all for it!

However, for me I’ve found that setting my daily logs up ahead of time can be a problem as some days I need a LOT more space than I’ve allowed for, and I do like to to make notes in the daily log.

What I have to do is work out if I’m going to do more than the monthly cover and monthly logs for my BuJo or whether I’m still going to come up with ideas for the weekly/daily logs or trackers and collections just for fun.

I don’t know the answer to that rhetorical question at the moment. It will work itself out over time I’m sure.

I have wondered about making some of my monthly cover designs and others available as digital downloads so people can print and add them to their BuJo’s, or use as greetings cards or note cards or or or … leave me a comment with your ideas!

Inktober 2018 Day 27 ‘Thunder’ revisited

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 27 Thunder small

Much happier with my Thunder Kitty!

Re-drawn and coloured digitally. I used my usual digital tools – Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Thunder Kitty had to be ginger! I couldn’t resist some rainbow stars and raindrops either, as well as adding to the dangles on the original sketch.

Nice way to spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon after having had a sleep – I really was exhausted after the stress for me surrounding the craft corner at the coffee morning, doing the craft morning and an evening with people, as lovely as all the people were.

The introvert me likes spending time with arty crafty projects.

Inktober 2018 Day 26 ‘Stretch’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 26 Stretch

If there’s one thing that kitties know how to do extraordinarily well it’s stretch. So, that just had to be the drawing that went with todays Inktober Prompt!

And as it’s Friday, that drawing had to be a dangle design too.

I really do need to work on my kitties in different poses – this one’s head looks a little strange, a little flat.

But, part of the inktober challenge is to draw without editing.

I did use a pencil to sketch the dangle design out on dot grid paper from Clairefontaine. After inking it in and erasing what I could of the pencil lines it was scanned into GiMP. I use gimp to remove the dots of the dot grid and then produce a transparent background.

The drawing with a transparent background and no dot grid I then plonked into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and added some colour and texture as well as a drop shadow.

I kept the colour palette fairly simple so I had a more cohesive look to the design.

Even with the problems with the cat’s head, I think this is cute – I couldn’t resist adding a sleeping mousie on the kitty’s tummy.

Of course, Friday is #dangleday and my book about drawing dangle designs, monograms and more is available for preorder. It’s called ‘A Dangle A Day‘.

Inktober 2018 Day 19 ‘Scorched’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 19 Scorched

Watch me.
I will go to my own Sun.
And if I am burned by its fire,
I will fly on scorched wings.
-Segovia Amil-

Today is Friday, so as well as being #Inktober 2018 day 19 it is #dangleday.

I had a pretty rough night. I woke with intense pains in my abdomen and had a very upset stomach and nausea. This plagued me for a couple of hours. I eventually got back to sleep, but have woken really tired and feeling wiped out.

I wanted to do Inktober and dangleday, but knew I needed to do something that was relatively easy to do, something that would brighten me up, and something that would require a quote today.

A quick hunt around and I found this quote, which resonated for me and it needed to be included in a mandala design that would symbolise the sun but also have wings and hearts.

For I think that my own sun is my heart and the self-love that I’m working on achieving through therapy and other work. It is the true nature of me; not the self-loathing and low self-esteem and lack of confidence I have. It is through believing in myself, not in the messages I’ve had from others throughout my life from as young as I can remember, that I will find my own sun, a sun that will allow me to fly even if it’s light scorches my wings. However, I think the scorching will be more of burning away the final vestiges of the limiting beliefs about myself that were imposed on me by others from a young age and beyond.

I think I know what I’m trying to say, but the tiredness I’m feeling is making it hard to think or communicate.

Now, onto how I actually created this.

I did it digitally. I used a Microsoft Surface Pen to draw and hand-letter the design on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I did make use of the symmetry tool as well as the tool that allows me to move things around so I could align my text properly.

All the lines are drawn as if I would on paper. I coloured the mandala as if I were coloring it on paper, but the dangle I did use gradient fills for.

Layers allowed me to add a drop shadow and a background gradient easily. I also used a brush tool to add some texture to the background.

The background really needed to be a glowing blue sky; blue being the complementary colour of yellow/orange/orange-red so it helps the mandala and dangle to glow against the sky.

I only added one single, simple dangle made up of golden hearts and beads. You see, dangle designs do not have to be at all complex; sometimes less really is more!

I intend to spend the rest of the day taking it easy so I can recover properly from the bout of icky-sickyness I had last night.

Oh, before I do, just a reminder that in my upcoming book ‘A Dangle A Day’ (available to preorder) I show you how I design dangles and give lots of examples for you to use, adapt and the confidence to design your own. I also have some simple hints and tips on hand lettering, bullet journals and more.