So Thankful

So thankful ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have a simple dangle design greeting card along with a coordinating envelope. If you’d like some more ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions for drawing dangle designs then my book, A Dangle A Day, is a good place to start.

Materials and dimensions

4″ x 4″ Strathmore Bristol paper with a vellum finish
5″ x 5″ acid-free white card blank
White envelope that card will fit in
Distress inks in Tea Dye and Rusty Hinge
Small piece of foam and a mini foam blending tool
A piece of card with a 1.5″ x 0.75″ window cut in it to use as a stencil.
Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in F, S and XS
Ruler and pencil
Adhesive
Glass pen and coppper ink by J Herbin

Making the card.
  1. Use the card stencil and a small sponge dauber to apply a rectangle of Distress Ink in the top left of the 4″ x 4″ top layer. I used Tea Dye to colour the whole rectangle in, followed by a subtle gradient of Rusty Hinge from the bottom up.
  2. Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
  3. Use a pen to draw the rectangles around the colour block. I like to do this free-hand as it gives a more organic, human feel to the design.
  4. Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
  5. Use a ruler and pencil to lightly draw a vertical line as a guide for the dangle. Also, draw pencil lines as guides for the position and size of the hand lettering. Sketch in the letters of the greeting.
  6. Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
  7. Ink the letters in. I did some faux calligraphy where I made the down-strokes thicker. I added some lines and shading to the top line.
  8. Carefully erase the pencil lines.
  9. Attach the top layer to the card blank.
  10. I used a glass pen and copper ink to add copper dots to highlight the dangle design and the hand lettering. I also drew a box just inside the top layer and another just outside it on the card blank. Again, I free-handed the lines, embracing the wobbliness.
Making the envelope
  1. I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
  2. I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
  3. I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
  4. Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
Before mailing…

Once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’d apply a thin layer of Distress MicroGlaze to the front and back of the envelope to protect the Distress Ink and drawing from the elements. I’ve done this to other cards and they have traversed the UK and US postal systems with no problems.

Ideas for using the design.

Although I’ve presented this dangle design as a greeting card, which is, I think, a lovely way to share a little bit of artistic loveliness with others, there are many other ways the design could be used, with or without any hand lettering.

In a BuJo, journal, planner or diary it would make a lovely little design to fill in a blank space.

This is a design that would work really well as a bookmark.

I’m sure it would look charming as part of a scrapbook spread.

I also think it would look lovely on a ‘with compliments’ slip or decorating the edge of a hand-written letter.

I’m sure there are many other ways and media that this design would be suited to.

Final thoughts…

I’m really enjoying drawing these kinds of dangle designs. They’re simple and elegant, to my mind anyway. They’re also quite easy to draw.

I do prefer to free-hand the lines and let the wobbliness be part of my signature style. It gives that human, hand-made, hand-crafted feel to the finished project, and a warmth to the finished project.

I work hard at finding a way of drawing digitally that lets me keep this uniquely ‘Angela’ way of expressing myself through line and pattern. I’m still working on it and sometimes get frustrated that, to my eye, my digital art seems too, well digitally perfect.

It’s all part of the process though – learning, developing, experimenting, trying out new ideas, techniques and methods. That’s what helps me grow as an artist.

Be an encourager

Be an encourager © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Be an encourager © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a busy day learning new things to do with video and so on. The concentration has taxed my brain just a bit, and I needed some time in an arty happy place.

My first task was to find a quote that appealed to me today. This one is quite apt I think, for many reasons. I’m not entirely sure my typography is right for the quote, but it will do for now.

I then knew I wanted to do a mandala as a background. I find this style of mandala very soothing to draw, and soothing was just what I needed today.

Once I’d finished the mandala, I added colour in greens and teal. Calming, soothing, balancing colours for today. Colours of calm contentment, which is just how I feel at the moment. Also hopeful colours. That green reminds me a lot like the first leaves showing themselves at the tail end of winter, spreading hope that the warmer, lighter days will soon be here.

Abstract design 23Nov19

Abstract Design ©Angela Porter |Artwyrd.com

This is the result of a few hours spent drawing this morning. I like it, but not the central vertical and horizontal ‘lines’ that have appeared.

I wanted to create a design to upload to Redbubble. However, it won’t be this one as I really don’t like those lines! Ho hum…

Still, I draw, I reflect, and I learn, perhaps.

Fiery, warm colours for a grey, dull and rainy day.

“Words may lie…” quote

Words may lie … Artwork ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I had some arty fun creating a similar, but different background for a quote. This time I went for a blue-grey background with the patterned border in fiery shades of red, orange and yellow.

Rather than hand letter the quote, I chose to use fonts.

I’m not sure I’e developed this particular style of creating abstract patterns much, but I do like the results.

Calming Mandala

Calming Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd

A bit of a calming time was needed this morning before attending to my business of the day. I thought a mandala in blues, greens and purples would hit the mark.

I enjoy using a flexible ink pen ‘brush’ to achieve the varying line widths. This allows me to build up abstract patterns and textures quite nicely I think. I have a way to go to find my ‘voice’ with this style of art. The more I do, the more will become clear to me I’m sure.

I’m not sure that the design flows as much as in yesterday’s mandala. I wonder if that’s because I only put one rather geometric series of rings in the centre of the design.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I had a tough EMDR session yesterday. Today, I feel content and upbeat but I’m realising just how tired I am mentally, despite 10 hours sleep. Yesterday’s session had a lot of body processing going on. That means stored trauma is processed via physical sensations. Yesterday those included electric shocks in my leg/foot, side, arm, pains like hooks in my shoulders, a blunt pushing/stabbing force from my stomach up towards my heart, pain in my eye. Those are just a few I remember. The pain/sensations weren’t more than I could bear, though some came close to it!

30 or 40 minutes of this is enough in a session I find, and that little amount of time out of my day is worth it for the long term benefits it brings of helping me recover from CPTSD. The tiredness I feel will pass in a day or so.

Monday Mandala

Monday Mandala ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I actually drew this one last night. My emotions were overwrought and I needed something that was calming and relaxing.

I used a digital equivalent to scratchboard art. I used my digital brushes to remove areas from the upper black layer to reveal the lower, coloured layer.

To create the more geometric areas I used the digital equivalent of fineliner pens. For the more organic lines, I used a flexible nib digital brush.

There is a kind of magic in revealing the colour hidden by the black darkness. I found myself working in a quite different way to recent mandalas; it’s going to be a technique I return to again and again I’m sure.

Digitally created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

Monday musings

Monday is still EMDR therapy day for me. My emotional and mental health is generally the best it’s ever been. However, I’ve discovered that I’m still a bit too close to the edge of the abyss within which I was trapped for most of my life. I wore a well practiced mask so that few people really knew the inner struggles I had on a daily basis.

It was such a good mask that I mostly fooled myself, until I could no longer do so around ten or twelve years ago.

I thought everybody thought and felt the same way I did; I never knew any different. Now, however, I know what contentment is and what feeling happy is too.

Last week’s EMDR session floored me for around three days. I didn’t expect it to do so. Memories surfaced that I’d pushed away and they distressed me greatly. The emotional exhaustion was intense; all I wanted to do was sleep. That wasn’t possible – as well as having the Spectacular Sea Life colouring book to finish I’m involved in an intense project which requires a lot of focus and concentration of a different kind. It’s also provoking emotional responses in me that are causing me some difficulties. One of those emotional responses resulted in me running away from the internet to watch Star Wars and then to create this mandala.

I have learned how to self-soothe!

The realm of emotions is really tricky for me. For most of my life I numbed my emotions. It was a strategy that helped me to survive as a child and the unhealthy strategy continued into my adult life.

Through EMDR, I’ve discovered that I have emotions, some I never knew existed in me and I had no names for them. Which is odd, as I could always recognise those emotions in others!

Anyway, by becoming more self-aware of my body and emotions and dropping the protective mask I’m having to learn to put boundaries and barriers in place to protect myself. Learning to say no, or the clear equivalent of that little word, is not an easy task. However, I am learning.

Healing from CPTSD is a tricky process, but it really is possible! It takes time though. Well, in my case it has.