Inktober 2019 Day 19

Inktober 2019 Day 19 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve just managed to get today’s Inktober drawing mostly done. I’m now too tired to do any more work on it this night.

My prompts for today were an otter skull, Tremella mesenterica fungus and Diva Dance tangle pattern.

As otters are water creatures (and one my my favourite animals – did you know they have pouch of folded skin where they keep stone that is special to them?) I chose watery blues and blue-greens. I also kept the fussy drawing behind the skull monochrome. I’m too tired to work out what else I could do. I quite like that the background design is a tad etheral and ghostly.

I’m so tired now; it’s nearly 11pm here in the UK. I’ve spent the last two or three hours working on the illustration above.

So, Angela, how are you feeling?

My day began with getting myself sorted to give a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk to the CHAMPS Group based in Pontllanfraith. Champs stands for ‘Chartist Help 4 All Mental Health Peer Support Group.

I was invited to talk there by a friend of mine that is involved in CHAMPS and I met a fantastic group of people, all of whom experience mental ill-health. So, after telling them about Time to Change Wales and the story of my own mental ill-health, there were lots of conversations, some taking the chance to talk to me to say how my story mirrors theirs in many ways, or how something I said made a penny drop for them. I’m also an example of someone well on the way to recovery from CPTSD, and that shows people it really is possible to heal from a mental illness.

I think it was a positive experience for everyone, myself included. However, it did leave me drained and after having some lunch I retired to bed to sleep – all part of my self-care routine.

I woke in the early evening and had a long chat with a friend who is struggling with mental ill health, had supper and then turned my attention to Inktober.

I woke after my nap feeling quite awake and alert. I felt that way until just half an hour or so ago; my mind has become foggy, I’m tired and I will soon be back in bed to sleep.

I know the toll doing talks like this can take on my energy. There’s anxiety about a number of things – finding my way to the venue, meeting strangers, sharing my story to name the main ones. However, the Time to Change Wales campaign is a cause I feel strongly about and if by giving my talks I can help others to understand what it’s like to live with mental ill health and the impact of how they behave towards us as a result of stigma/discrimination, or help others to feel they’re not alone, or to consider other aspects of their mental health that they’ve perhaps not considered before, then my day or so of emotional tiredness is worth it.

Yes, for a day or so I may feel drained but I now know that this drained feeling doesn’t persist for long. Even though I’m tired, I can still sense that inner contentedness glowing warmly with in me as a smile in my heart.

Inktober 2019 – Day 18

Inktober 2019 – Day 18 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Something a bit different from me today. It took me a lot of fiddling and faffing around to decide on the blue colour scheme for the intricate drawing that envelopes the crocodile skull.

My natural instinct is to use black for such drawings. However, black looked a bit too stark and dominant; the skull felt lost amongst the drawing. So, I tried out shades of blue and white, making the fill colours transparent so that they faded into the background a little and giving the ‘feel’ of water plants.

Overall I’m pleased with this, though I’m not sure I’ve got the colours for the line art right. Still, I’ve not really done anything quite like this before and it is something I want to do again in the future. Maybe with tomorrows Inktober prompts.

Today’s prompts were a crocodile skull and slime mould from Inktober lists by Instagrammers @book_polygamist and @nyan_sun respective.

Inktober 2019 – Day 17

Inktober 2019 – Day 17 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I enjoyed creating yesterday’s skull on top of a mandala-like ring that I wanted to do another one. I particularly enjoyed using the monochrome colour scheme that gives the mandala element an ethereal, ghostly feel.

Today’s prompts from the Instagrammers’ lists are:

  • Badger skull from @book_polygamist
  • Agaricus mushrooms from @nyan_sun
  • Dreamdex tangle pattern from @havepen_willdraw

A pink badger is an in-joke amongst some champions and staff at the Time to Change Wales campaign; pink is also the dominant colour in the Time to Change Wales logos and so on. So, using pink as my monochrome colour was a no-brainer.

As badgers live amongst trees, mushrooms and falling leaves needed to be added, also giving a nod to it being Autumn here in the northern hemisphere.

I enjoyed drawing this illustration. I also think my shading on the skulls is improving. It’s taken some time to get more confident with higher contrast shades of colour to get the dimension I’d like.

On a related note, yesterday I received a copy of ‘Skulls’ by Simon Winchester – a book full of photographs of all kinds of skulls. I’ve not had a good browse of it yet, but it looks fabulous. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with drawing skulls – in a few different styles. I’m sure I have a lot more to explore in the remaining days of Inktober and the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Inktober 2019 Day 16

Inktober 2019 Day 16 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a sunny day here in South Wales, a much-needed one for me as sunshine helps to lift my mood. It’s also day 16 of Inktober – halfway through the challenge to draw something each day using a prompt list.

I’m using three lists from three Instagrammers:
Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
Tangle Patterns by @havepen_willdraw

So, my Inktober art for today features a kangaroo skull, Lactarius torminosus fungi and the Trentwith tangle pattern.

After drawing the skull, I added colour to make it feel more dimensional. I used a monochrome colour palette based on the Lactarius torminosus mushrooms. I also needed to draw something calming for me, and that means a mandala. So, I included the circular Trentwith tangle pattern in the mandala along with very stylised Lactarius t. fungi. Again, I used the same colour palette as for the skull to make the overall design more cohesive.

I like the way the colours work and the way they bring the design together. I’m also glad I left the black line art on the skull; it helps the skull to stand out against the mandala.

To complete today’s Inktober challenge, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

Inktober 2019 Day 13

Inktober 2019 Day 13 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another sketchbook style of page from me. The prompts for today were rabbit skull, Macrolepiota excoriata fungus and Yin-cut tangle pattern (Instagram lists from @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).

Simple, fun, with space for more additions if I should choose to do so in the future.

As I’m typing this, I realise that I could have added some patterns etc. from the skull in boxes. Duh go me!

On this skull I have increased the contrast between highlighted/shadowed areas. I’ve forgotten to sort the teeth out, however, and they do look a tad flat.

Traditional tools

To draw the mushrooms, texture panels and the tangle pattern I used a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen with Rhodia dotgrid paper.

Digital tools

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to draw the skull and also to add colour/shading to the skull, some of the fungi drawings and the colour swatches and gradient. I also added a vintage, aged, grungy textured paper as the background.

Inktober Day 12

Inktober Day 12 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’m a day late posting this Inktober drawing. My plans for yesterday went somewhat awry as I went to help out a friend in need. So, no beating myself up for the tardiness!

The prompts of the day were a snake skull, the Schizophyllum commune fungus and the Floo tangle pattern (from Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).

I started with the fungus as I really wasn’t really enthused by snake skulls. The caps and gills of the Schizophyllum c. formed lovely shapes and lines, and so I focused on areas of them to do some small drawings using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on dotgrid paper. All I wanted to do was capture the flow of the lines and the interesting shapes and patterns too. I wanted to keep it simple, so no shading or highlights – just pure pattern.

As I was drawing the squares filled with line and pattern I was reminded of how I used to create sketchbooks while doing my AS and A level Art exams around 15 or so years ago. I used to colour the pages or use interesting paper to draw on and collect the patterns and shapes that really interested me. I often focused on small areas of the object of interest and drew the details in squares and rectangles. I added an example of the Floo tangle pattern to a rectangle, just to make sure I’d included that challenge for the day.

So, it was a natural segue for me to add the grungy, vintage paper to the background as I turned Inktober Day 12 into more of a sketchbook page.

I was also reminded of how I used to use charcoal and white pastel or chalk to draw on coloured papers, and I thought I’d do that with the skull, but with my signature black outlines. I drew this digitally, and mimicked the process of laying down charcoal and chalk and blending the colours. I think I’ve managed to do that quite successfully digitally, though, yet again, I could have done with a bit more contrast in places.

So, rather than an illustration that combines all three prompts for the day, I’ve ended up with an interesting melange of images.

If I were to spend more time on this page, I’d add some highlights/shadows and maybe colour to some of the drawings of fungi. I’d also overlay some dot grid paper to the background. I’d also add some hand-lettered information and commentary on the drawings.

However, if I did that it would eat into my time to take on Day 13 of Inktober today, as well as get some work done for commissions/contracts.

Traditional tools

  • Rhodia dot grid paper
  • Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen

Digital tools

  • Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
  • Microsoft Surface Pen
  • Microsoft Surface Studio

Inktober 2019 Day 11 and back home.

Inktober 2019 Day 11 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Deer skull, Mycena interrupta and inaflux tangle pattern.

Digital drawing done using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

I’ve used a lot of geometric patterns in the skull to create depth and interest.

I kept the other elements quite simple and, for now, uncoloured. Mycena interrupta, the mushrooms, are a lovely blue colour.

Instead, of adding colour I used a copper background and added my drawing on top of it using the screen option. This has resulted in it seeming to glow a little. I quite like this effect.

There’s a very good reason I’ve not coloured this drawing yet. I am absolutely bushwhacked. I had a busy, nervy day yesterday followed by a long drive home mostly in the dark, heavy rain and high winds. I was too tired even to eat when I got in and was glad to go to my bed and sleep.

The Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit proved to be an interesting time. I was there to chat to people, along with Russell, the community outreach officer for Hafal who also works with Time to Change Wales to organise us champions, amongst other things, and Nicole, a newly changed champion from North Wales. I was also there to give a ten minute talk about my experience of mental illness while at work and the stigma, discrimination I faced as well as the helpful and not helpful things that were said or done. Russell said I did great, as did the other panel members.

So, I did more than my bit for World Mental Health Day.

I’m feeling really dozy again now, so I think I’m going to go and sleep for a while. It’s not just the two four and a half hour drives, not sleeping well away from home that has tired me out. It’s also the anxiety and stress and being with lots of people in noisy environments that has tired me out. It’s going to take today, maybe tomorrow, to recover fully. So, self-care is the order of the day for me.

This tiredness is worth it though. Plenty of people came to tell me how helpful they found my talk and how well I had spoken and I had given them things to think about.

Raising awareness of mental illness and that sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make the biggest difference to someone experiencing mental illness.