Golden mandala

©Angela Porter 2018

It’s stupid o’clock here in the UK and just as I was getting ready for bed I had an idea that I just had to try out. So, this was a very quick mandala where I used a gold texture background and drew on top of it.

Digital art this time. Had to try it out. My idea kind of worked out. Now how to figure out how to use this with dangle designs! But I think I may have to sleep first!

Microsoft Surface Studio and Pen, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a texture I found lurking in my files.

#createdonsurface

Monday – a dangle design

©Angela Porter 2018

A quiet start to Monday morning here with a spot of hand lettering and dangle drawing.

This is my first draft of a design, which is a bit wobbly in places and there are some ink smudges too.

I pencilled in the basic shapes of the letters, inked in the outlines and then added the inner decoration.

The dangles were drawn with pen directly on paper. The use of dot grid paper helps to keep things vaguely level usually, but this morning that’s not quite gone to plan. Of course as it’s December I’ve gone with December themed charms and a Moon for Moonday Monday!

I have a few tasks to do and then I may just re-draw this, or at least colour it in. Colour makes all the difference.

This could be a bit of a big dangle design to use in a BuJo, but just the word with one dangle to the left would make a charming header with dangle for a day. The beauty of dangles is that you can just add to them as you go through the day. If the charms are small enough you could even add ones that will go with your BuJo entries – event, note, task and so on.

I think that would work well for a big and busy day.

A Dangle A Day is released on 8th January 2019.

©Angela Porter 2018

I did go away and create this sample BuJo page showing the kind of thing I meant above. The hand lettering has worked out a lot better. I also like the blue gradient I’ve used to colour the letters with. A grey shadow was added to the left and bottom of the letters too. I also like the cute little date box. The ornate ends on the bar through it give it a ‘feel’ that goes with the lettering.

I did have fun doing this. It’s maybe not something I’d do everyday in my BuJo. My BuJo is very much a working one, with lots of mistakes and rubbishy writing going on as I scribble down things. However, I do enjoy hand lettering, especially more so as I’m beginning to accept that I have to accept my own way of forming letters is perfectly acceptable and that I can work with that.

I have to remember that others don’t see my hand lettering (or art) as I do. They see it with fresh eyes, without the close up work that goes into it, without the small flaws that I see and are magnified by my inner critic into hideous blemishes and fatal errors in the work.

I can quieten the crtiic when it comes to my drawings/art, mostly. Except on any bad days I have in terms of my mental and emotional health. Because hand lettering is something that is a new focus for me, the inner critic feels it’s empowered to be hypercritical of anything I do. It’s only by doing, by doing what I can not to ignore the critic, but to check what it’s telling me as being valid or invalid and learning what I can from the valid points to improve in the future.

Snowflake Mandala – WIP

This one is very much a work in progress. Drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio, I made good use of the symmetry tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

When ice crystals form they have a symmetry based on hexagonal shapes, so my mandala is separated into 12 sections, though I’m choosing to bring out the six-pointed patterns in different colour schemes.

I’m not sure if that makes sense – I know what I mean!

Of course, there’s only so much pointy-ness I can have in anything I draw, so curves have to make an appearance. And this is very much apparent in the fine detailed patterns within each section. Here I’ve used simple line patterns to more complex pattern fills using spirals and swirls. I’ve played around with adding a drop shadow and a highlight to these patterns to add a sense of dimension, not that it’s easy to see in a low-resolution image for the web.

I do like my colour choices of cool purples, blues and aquas so far. I think I’ll go with a more blue-purple to complement the purple in the design so far.

I do have an idea or two as to what I can do about the black lines as well, though they may not work out. As I’ve said often before, I do like black lines in my art; I like the way they define spaces and patterns and often give that feel of ‘stained glass’ to my work. However, sometimes I think they look a tad childish too, but that’s mostly on days where I doubt myself an awful lot, rather than the usual little to a lot.

The design isn’t quite as open as perhaps a snowflake is considered to be, but I rather like filling spaces in, though I may leave some of these spaces open so the background, when I add one, can shine through. That means I may end up erasing some of the colour I’ve added already to created a more open feel to the design.

It’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning, especially now I’ve finished downloading all the Amazon invoiced for the last financial year in preparation to getting my accounts to my lovely accountant, Leah.

Winter Dangle Designs 3 December 2018

Winter Dangle Designs – 3 December 2018

I have had some fun designing these, as always!

I did use some circle, oval and hexagon templates to help me design the wreaths and snowflakes. The dot grid paper helped me draw mostly straight lines for the dangles.

I did sketch them in pencil first before inking them in with a Uniball Unipin pen. Colouring was done with various Tombow dual brush pen markers and some sparkly elements added with Uniball signo sparkle gel pens.

These would look lovely as greetings cards. In fact, I’m thinking of redrawing them digitally and using them to make my own christmas cards this year. Printing out the black line work and then colouring them with traditional media. In the past couple of years I’ve designed my christmas/winter/yule cards digitally and had them printed professionally. This year, I think I’ll do it the way I suggest in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.

They’d also look great as note cards or as pages in a BuJo, planner, scrapboook or journal. They’d lend themselves to cute bookmarks too.

These relatively simple and small dangle designs are perfect for practicing hand lettering too. And in these four dangles I’ve used four different lettering styles.

I’ve also kept the finished designs simple by not adding any drop shadows, except around the ‘HO! HO! HO!’. Not only that, a lot of the colouring is very simple too.

I do hope you’ll have a go at designing your own, maybe using these as a bit of a guide.  If you do, I’d love to see what you’ve created.

Inspire – 28 November 2018

Today’s hand-lettering is just a variation on the one I posted on Monday.

For this one, I’ve used simple patterns to fill the white space in the letters and added a ‘line shadow’ to left and below the letters. To do this I used a Uniball Unipin 0.5 pen.

I like the graphic nature of just black and white as well as the intricacy of the patterns.That intricacy is something that warms the cockles of my artistic heart.

I didn’t only add details to the letters – I’ve added details to the dangle too! Simple additions but add a feeling of complexity.

I feel at the moment I’m in a position both in terms of demands on my time but also in how I feel about myself and my artistic nature to explore hand-lettering so it’s an ‘Angela’ thing that I’m comfortable with.

Not just comfortable, confident in my skills too. So, re-working a fairly open hand lettered word like this in different ways. 

So, it’s possible you’ll see variations on a word appearing on this blog, my Instagram, deviantART, Twitter and facebook accounts as time goes on.

We’re rapidly approaching December so it’s time for a number of personal artistic pursuits :

  • my christmas/winter cards for 2018 need to be designed and printed
  • ‘freebie’ templates need to be designed for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
  • BuJo spreads and design elements

I’m sure there’s some other things that need doing, but this morning they escape me. Of course I’m going to note these things in my BuJo.

I’ll also be starting work on a new book for Creative Haven by Dover Publications.

So a nicely ‘busy enough’ time ahead. 

Yesterday, I had a lovely day out to Aberglasney Gardens for lunch with my pal Liz. It was hammering down with rain during our journey there, but the rain cleared up by the time we’d finished a leisurely lunch. 

It had been many years since I’ve visited Aberglasney and I’d forgotten how interesting it is. I’ll return sometime soon with sketchbook in hand for sure!

My evening and night until well past midnight were taken up designing a birthday card for someone. The design was finally uploaded to Moonpig ready for posting today near midnight. To say I was, and still am, shattered could be an understatement today! Still, I can have a semi ‘self-care’ day today to recover.

Basic Hand Lettering reference sheet

I woke up early today and thought I’d organise my ideas about basic hand lettering into a reference sheet, and this is what I’ve come up with.

The foundation of hand lettering, to my mind at least, is to practice, practice, practice drawing your basic letter shapes, both upper and lower case. Bullet journaling can be a good way to practice hand lettering and to try out variations in letter forms and styles. My current bullet journal is very functional and minimal, but I do use different letter styles in the headings for each day and collections and so on. Mind you, I could do with a lot more practice.

Notice is said your basic letter shapes, not my basic letter shapes The reason I say this is that the more I’ve struggled with my hand lettering and it not looking like other peoples, the more I’ve come to realise that it’s MY hand lettering, my style, that I need to work on.

Yes, I draw inspiration from other people’s work, but at the end of the day I’d like my hand lettering to be mind, with my ‘stamp’ on it, my uniqueness, my quirkiness, my imperfections.

I struggled with this idea in the early years of my artistic journey, and now I’ve realised I’m having the same struggle with my hand lettering.

Hand lettering is exactly that – done by hand, not by machine. If I want perfect letters, then I can use fonts on the computer. What I can’t have is perfect hand lettering as in perfect like a computer font. 

What I need to work on accepting is that my hand lettering is good enough, it’s human, it’s an expression of myself.

I spent a lot of time and effort in my teenage years to change my handwriting. I realised it looked a lot like my mothers. I didn’t want to be anything like my mother, even down to my handwriting, which actually is more like fast hand lettering as I really do draw each letter. I gave up joined-up cursive writing at this time too. My handwriting isn’t entirely print, some letters do get joined up.

I came up with my own style of writing that I like, mostly. It’s usually teeny-tiny too, so writing BIG is a problem for me.

Hand lettering is, for me, an extension of my own style of printing/drawing my letters.

This doesn’t sit all that well with me at this moment, but it feels more authentic to me.

I want to use my own letter shapes as the basis for my own hand lettering, along with all the imperfections that my bring. After all, it’s all the little imperfections in my drawings that make them uniquely mine, that make them human. Even when I draw digitally I make sure that there are imperfections in my work – the slightly wobbly lines, the imperfect circles and shapes and so on.

I am working on having the same kind of attitude towards hand lettering and stop thinking that mine has to be perfect like computer fonts, that it is just another way of artistic expression and perfectly imperfect.

Notice that I say this is about me and my attitude towards myself and my hand lettering. I’m not criticising anyone who has different opinions. I just know I can be incredibly hard on and brutally critical of myself.

It’s so easy in this day and age with so much available on social media that you compare yourself to others and judge yourself as seriously inferior or a failure. As my inner critic already believes that I am a failure and useless at anything I do and tells me this, it can be a lot harder for me to believe that what I create is good enough. I believe that about my drawings, I don’t believe that about my hand lettering, yet.

What I’d like to achieve is hand lettering that stands out as being ‘Angela Porter’ and for me to be comfortable with my hand lettering, not worrying that it’s nowhere near even good enough.