Entangled art, mental health quote.

©Angela Porter 2019

The Art…

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this quote before I headed off to my EMDR therapy session. I decided I wanted a fairly simple pattern around/behind it, and just simple colours, though I’ve played around a little with adding patterns to the sections.

I printed out the quote and the borders. I Used a Pentel Sign pen to draw the bold, black lines of the design. To colour the design, I used a Microsoft Surface Pen, a Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Behind the design I added a paper texture which, with some wizardry of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I was able to add to the design to add some texture and imperfection.

Walks, EMDR and being brave…

I had a lovely drive to Neath for my EMDR therapy and I arrived with enough time to go seek out some yarn to buy for my knitting/crochet stash as well as have a walk around Victoria Park in the winter sunshine.

The first blooming daffodils were proudly holding their bright yellow heads up for all to see, and there were signs of plenty more to follow. Snowdrops, crocuses, pansies were all there to be seen too. Lichens on the bark of trees created a beautiful natural tapestry of colour and pattern. It really was lovely to see.

Without the leaves on the trees to muffle the songs of the birds it was quite raucous at times, but raucous in a beautiful way. The birds didn’t quite drown out the sound of traffic, people or the tinny sounding music coming from the speakers in the bandstand, but they were loud enough that I could listen to them and filter out the other sounds.

It was nice to be out in the fresh air after a few days of barely leaving my home as I recovered from the emotionally draining days of last week. It was nice to take a space to breathe before going in for therapy.

The quote above was a starting point for my session, during the usual reflection on how last weeks EMDR had affected me and how I’d been through the week. One of the weeks sticking points that cause me some discomfort was the many people telling me I’m brave for telling my story, for going to therapy and how good it is that I’m showing people that it is possible to recover from mental illness.

Brave? Me? Surely not! That goes against everything I was led to believe about myself from as young as I could remember.

“You’re fat, thick, stupid, ugly. No one loves you. No one will love you. No one will be your friend. You’re useless. You’re a failure. So and so is much better than you at everything. Don’t bother me. You’re making it up. You’re’ to blame for all of this. Why do you want to bother doing that?”

If I asked for help I was either made fun of, dismissed or ignored. Me and my feelings weren’t important.

No matter what I did to try to please or make people proud of me or to acknowledge how well I had done it was never good enough. There was always a put-you-down.

The only time my narcissistic mother ever expressed any pride in me wasn’t really pride in ME.

My daughter has graduated.” ” My daughter has a PhD.”

She has three daughters. I was never mentioned by name, not even if I was stood next to her. It was all about her. I was only useful for what could make her look better, for her to be the centre of attention.

These messages were taken up by other people around me. They became ingrained in me as the view I had of myself. I still speak to myself using these phrases when I’m in a fragile state mentally or emotionally.

I’ve known about the way I think about myself and where it has come from long while. However, the realisation that my feelings have never been important to anyone, not even to myself. I’ve pushed my feelings, my needs away so that other people don’t get upset or angry with me, so I make sure they’re always happy, even if inside I’m suffering in some way. This was something that came out of the very, very painful, emotional and frustrating EMDR session that followed.

Frustrating as I have very, very few memories of my past. I was made aware I was trying to hard to find a memory and reminded that part of cPTSD is hiding painful memories away, forgetting about them as a way of coping. I was told it’s ok not to have any memory. That I just need to let things be as they are in EMDR.

I think I’m trying so hard to ‘succeed’ at finding a memory, not to disappoint, the harder I try, the less likely it is for a memory to appear. The funny thing is, that once I accepted that through all the tears and anger and frustration with myself, the memories just appeared. There were so many that we just bundled them together as a ‘cluster’ and worked with them.

Then, through the tears and the pain in my throat and heart, a quiet, small voice told me that I had done nothing wrong and I did not deserve any of this. That I deserve better.

We tried working on me believing that through EMDR techniques. That caused me more tears and upset and emotional pain. So we called an end to the EMDR and talked a little about things.

Through EMDR I’m revealing more and more of my story. It causes me pain when new parts are discovered or insights are gained. But without that revealing taking place there is no hope of me healing. My aim is to tell my story without feeling any pain.

I was very tearful with weird memories cropping up as I drove home and through the evening. I had weird and disturbing dreams through the night. I woke with a blinding headache, which is still with me despite some painkillers. I feel so tired, weepy. However, I know there’s been a breakthrough, more than one actually, through yesterday’s therapy session.

The last words my therapist left me with were that she thinks I am very brave. Brave for telling my story. Brave for seeking out therapy to help me heal. Brave for persevering with EMDR when it can cause me a lot of distress and upset. Brave for showing people that recovery from mental health problems is possible. Brave for telling people that seeking therapy/counselling is a strong thing to do as we are helped to learn the skills we need to regain our mental and emotional wellbeing.

I don’t feel brave. I don’t understand how people think that I am. I do know I want to tell what I feel able to do so of my story to let others know they’re not alone. I do want to tell people about my journey to recovery so they can see that recovery is possible. I tell it to try to help others.

I don’t do it for attention. I don’t do it to have people feel sorry for me. That is my narcissistic mother, and others, still putting me down via the voice that is my inner critic.

‘Hello Friend’ – A Dangle Design Card

‘Hello Friend’ ©Angela Porter 2019

‘A Dangle A Day’ is released on 15 Jan 2019. I show you how, in easy steps, you too can draw your own dangle designs!

A couple of days ago I was musing about using a photograph instead of a monogram in a dangle design. That idea stuck with me and so I set out to make a card.

I had seen somewhere the Photobooth Ephemera by Tim Holtz and I was able to source a set at a sensible price. This pack contains thirty strips of three passport-sized, vintage, copyright free photos. Perfect for me as I have very few photos and none are a small enough size to be used in this way. Also, the photos are printed on fairly sturdy card.

I first started by trimming the photo and then tracing around it on a sheet of thick white printer paper. It was then easy to draw pencil lines to give a border or two around the photo as well as a pencil guide line for a central dangle.

My next job was to draw the flowers at the top of the design. I started with the big central blue flower and worked my way out, adding leaves and swirls as I went. The design here is symmetrical, but not perfectly so. I had to add some butterflies to finish this part of the design off.

My next steps involved drawing the borders. I wanted a black and white chequerboard pattern around the photo. I also added a thinner border around it.

My next step was to create a ribbon for the hand lettered sentiment ‘Hello friend’. I drew a pencil box, added some pencil guidelines for the height of the letters, then wrote the greeting in pencil so I could get the placement of the letters good enough.

My next step was to ink in the letters using a black Sakura Pigma PN pen, which I used for the rest of the drawing. I wasn’t concerned about perfection here. I wanted a kind of cutely whimsical feel to the lettering. For some reason, I always think adding wonky and uneven serifs to the letters helps a little with this. The final job was to draw the ribbon box with the cute ends.

I then needed to decide on the charms I’d use to build the dangle. Hearts are a foregone conclusion. When I think of time I spend with friends, tea and cake are often involved, so adding a coffee/tea cup along with a cupcake (or fairy cake as we used to call them here in the UK) was perfect. I joined the charms with small beads and a circular charm containing another heart.

To colour the dangle design I used copic markers. I did use two shades of pink for the greeting and the cupcake case. Everywhere else I used just one flat colour.

I used a fine brush and some black ink to fill in the square at the centre of the design. Next, I trimmed the paper around the design. I then used a foam ink applicator with Vintage Photo Distress Ink to edge the paper. I always feel that edging paper in this way not only gives a little bit of a vintage feel to it, which is in keeping with the photo, but it also gives a finished edge to the paper.

To mount the photo here I used some adhesive foam squares. These lift the photo above the paper, adding a little bit of dimension to the card. The photo was a little bit smaller than the square I’d drawn and so the black background gave black border around the photo. I then used a golden yellow copic marker to colour some clear adhesive gems and I attached three of them to the photo, just to add a bit more sparkle.

I used Chameleon duotone pencils to add shadow to the design elements. I also used a dip pen and gold FW ink to add some little dots here and there around the design as well as on the photo. Not sure that on the photo was such a great idea though. But once the dots were there, they had to stay there. The gold dots, however, did match the gold gems I’d added to the photo.

The final step was to affix the design to a blank card. I didn’t think to cut my paper to the size of blank cards I had in my stash before I started to work on the dangle design. I found that my design was too long. So, I just took a piece of A4 bristol board, folded it in half along the short edge. I burnished the fold and then attached the dangle design to the paper using strong double sided sticky tape.

To add a bit more dimension to the card, I could’ve used foam squares or a piece of fun foam cut to a little smaller than the paper the design is on. Fun foam would support the paper better, especially as I had a relatively weighty photo adhered to the paper already.

Instead of foam, I could’ve cut a piece of metallic card a little bigger than the design to give a metallic edge to it.

I decided, though, that there was enough dimension on the card with the photo.

I also could have used a Wink of Stella brush pen or a Spectrum Noir sparkle pen to add some shimmer to the design elements, but I decided that the gold dots were enough. However, I may go back and add some to the butterfly wings; butterflies should always shimmer and shine wherever possible as far as I’m concerned!

The only other thing I’d need to do is to make a custom envelope to fit the card.

I enjoyed making the card. My card making skills aren’t brilliant, but I kept it fairly simple, as I did for the dangle design itself and the colouring.

Oh, the patterned background for the photo is one I created from one of my mandala designs using Repper Pro, just in case you were curious! I thought it’s vintage feel would go nicely with the card.

On the whole, I’m quite happy with this card. I had serious doubts that it wouldn’t work out. It has, better than I thought it would. I think I need to make more of these in the future!

An ‘A’ Dangle Mandala…

©Angela Porter 2019

I’m definitely on a mandala kick at the moment! This one, though, includes some dangle designs!

A Dangle A Day’ is released on 15th January 2019, and I just wanted to get yet another dangle design out in the interwebs to inspire you.

While checking out the release date (which I’ve been getting a tad wrong, oops!) I noticed there were some reviews of the book. I’d like to say thank you to all the reviewers who wrote such lovely words about the book! It’s filled me with a bit more confidence and belief in myself as this is my very first art tutorial book.

There’s some hand lettering with the letter A. The letter A has dangles forming the inner part of the mandala. Then, the outer ring has simple and cutely whimsical doodle designs and yet another dangle forming it.

Of course, hearts and stars had to appear; they are my favourite design elements for many of my projects. I also like beads and gems too. Flowers and foliage are also favourite motifs, as are spirals.

I decided the ring of A’s need to be in a rainbow colour scheme and I chose a bright colour scheme for the design elements.

It looks complicated, but if you look at just one A and follow the dangle towards the centre and the design out to the outer rim you’ll see that it really isn’t all that complex.

Of course, drawing mandalas on paper can be time consuming. I usually draw mine digitally.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is now free and it’s my drawing software of choice. It has a symmetry tool that is really easy to use. You only draw one segment of the mandala which is then automatically repeated around the circle. I find Autodesk Sketchbook intuitive to use, and it’s easy to use almost straight away. It also has some rather sophisticated features on it and it does all that I need it to do, and more. I use a Microsoft Surface Pen along with Microsoft Surface Studio to draw and colour digitally, and they work wonderfully with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I do colour my designs digitally. However, sometimes I will print out the black line art and then use traditional media (often Chameleon markers) to bring the line art to life with colour.

I do hope you will have a go at creating your own dangle designs. They look complicated, but they really aren’t! If you do have a go, then please share your designs with me on any of my social media homes – facebook, instagram, twitter or here!

Lots of K’s…

©Angela Porter 2018

I woke way too early this morning after not getting to sleep until around 3am.

© Angela Porter 2018

On looking at the monogram K I posted earlier with slightly rested eyes and mind, I’ve decided to leave it as it is. For now at least. I may try to add a dangle design to it in the coming days.

So, I thought I’d post my page of various hand lettered styles of the letter K. I used a 0.4 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen to draw them. No pencil lines were used for any of these letters, just the dot grid to help me keep things vaguely organised and vertical where they need to be.

I like the 0.4 Pigma Sensei pens. You may notice that I do tend to vacillate in my choices of pens – I just like to change things around from time to time! The Pigma Sensei 0.4 has a solid plastic tip, a bit like the Pigma PN pens. That means it’s not quite so easy for heavy handed me to wreck the nib as quickly as I do on the Sakura Microns or Uniball Unipins or Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens or the Copic Multiliners.

That doesn’t mean I’ve managed to use them until the ink runs out – the nib gets wrecked long before then – but they do seem to last longer.

I’ve spent the 3 hours or so that I’ve been up adding patterns/motifs to my lovely new A4 Leuchtturm dot grid ‘Master’ notebook. It’s a rather comforting activity for me. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to do this in various formats in order to create my own reference book of patterns/designs/motifs and so on. However, realising that my use of a bullet journal is working for me on a more or less daily basis, at least as far as organising myself and making notes ot what to do, what’s been done and so on, I wanted to use a very, very basic form for this visual reference for me.

The A4 notebook will also take up a lot less space than the ring binder I’m currently using. It is a bit cumbersome working in the hardback notebook compared to loose leaf paper, but it should help to keep things all in one place. It’s the method of tracking collections in a index in bullet journal fashion that will make it most useful for me.

So, this morning I’ve started to add my small collection of medieval motifs inspired by jewellery and floor tiles.

I suspect I’ll be having a bit of a quietish day today. I’m practically nodding off here as I type! Maybe a short nap later will help me a bit – but not too long otherwise I’ll be up at stupid o’clock once again!

Wednesday Work In Progress

©Angela Porter 2018

Wednesday is #wipwednesday around the interwebs and sometimes it manifests itself on this blog.

This is my current work in progress, well just a part of it. I drew the design using various pens on paper and then scanned it in. I’m part way through colouring the image. It’s going to take me many hours to finish it, but that won’t be today. I have appointments this afternoon.

I am coloring it digitally with the usual tools – Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m trying to keep to a winter/yule/christmas kind of colour scheme. That means the purple coloured ‘berries’ may have to be changed, but that’s easy enough to alter when working digitally.

#createdonsurface #quartoknows #autodesksketchbook

Winter design

I drew this a few days ago and have only got around to coloring it today. 

The hand lettering and drawing was done with Uniball Unipin pens on paper. In black and white it has an almost vintage linocut feel to it. 

I did scan it in and print it out on paper more suitable for alcohol markers. I used Chameleon Duo Tone and Duotop markers. Highlights were added with a white gelly roll pen from Sakura. I then added more black lines to add more dimension in places using a Staedler Mars Matic technical drawing pen.

Not sure I’ve done too good a job with the colours. Or line shading. Or the highlights in some places.

I’m quite pleased with the black and white line drawing however. 

I am going to make this template available on Friday 7 December 2018 in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group as an exclusive to members. Terms and conditions in it’s use apply.

December 2018 BuJo Monthly Cover Page

I’m absolutely dreadful at taking photographs! However, here is my coloured version of the dangle design I posted earlier today, all glued into my BuJo ready for the start of a new month tomorrow.

This is likely to be the only artsy stuff I do in my BuJo as the rest of my bujo is rather minimal – it’s functional and I can lose way too much time prettying it up. For instance, sketching, inking in the design and then colouring it has taken me most of my day! It’s been fun though, and a much needed ‘quiet’ day after a hectic week.

I realised after coloring the hand lettered December in that I’d messed up the letter M. The second vertical line should’ve been like the first one to give balance to it.

I also forgot that when I printed out the A4 sized design as an A5 that the lines would be reduced in thickness. So, I had to invest time in going over them with a thicker pen after I’d finished the coloring. Mind you, this helped to make the lines nice and bold again.

To colour I used Tombow Dual Tip Brush Markers along with glitter Signo gel pens from Uniball. I also used some Chameleon coloured pencils to add a bit of shading here and there and to add the shadow around the design.

I left the background white. I realised that I could’ve coloured it with Distress Inks and then coloured over them. So, instead of messing up the background by trying to colour it I elected to use silver and gold glitter gel pens to create patterns of ‘sparkles’.

Yes, glitter! I rarely get to add glitter or metallics to my work, especially if it’s for publishers as it really doesn’t photography or scan at all well. But as this is a personal project I did add a fair amount of sparkly highlights and elements.

I think this one may be my favourite BuJo monthly cover so far.

I must admit if I had time or desire to colour it again I’d not use the  Tombows. I managed to smear the colours lightly here and there so I haven’t got a ‘clean’ coloured illustration.

I think I’d go with alcohol markers such as my Chameleon Color Tones along with the Color Tops.

However, I think I may find it difficult to colour the tiny spaces with the Chameleons. That’s the problem with printing the design smaller than the original.