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 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.

Inktober Day 10. World Mental Health Day.

Inktober 2019 Day 10 (c) Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Inktober Day 10

Today’s Inktober prompts were rat skull, Lactarius indigo fungi, and the cubine tangle pattern from Instagram lists by @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.

What did I end up with? A very stylised drawing that is rather Art Nouveau in style.

I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the rat skull. I also am rather enamored by the Art Nouvea-y fungi and fronds.

Simple colours were needed for this design, along with a texture overlay that makes it look a little less ‘digitally perfect’.

Yes, I did draw this digitally, again using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.

I may not get tomorrow’s Inktober done, as I won’t be home until quite late tonight I think.

World Mental Health Day 2019

I’m currently sat in a hotel in Llandudno, having breakfast and getting myself ready to go and set up a table and take part at an event in a different hotel.

I’m going to be at the Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit where I’ll be talking to delegates but also taking part in the ‘Open Minds’ workshops in the afternoon, which is all about taking positive action on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

I’m there as a Time to Change Wales champion, and so will be giving a short version of my mental health story at the start of the workshops.

Time to Change Wales is an all-Wales campaign that aims to reduce, if not end, the stigma and discrimination around mental illness by getting people to have conversations about mental health.

I’ve suffered poor mental health all my life, having developed cPTSD in early childhood. The rest of my life, until the past few years, saw my mental health decline until I had two big breakdowns. EMDR therapy has been the ‘magic pill’ for me, that is helping me to process and release the traumas of my past and replace the negative beliefs I have about myself with more positive ones.

If I had known what good mental and emotional health was, as well as what it wasn’t, sooner in my life I may have sought help sooner. The self-stigma I have experienced around my own mental health prevented me from recognizing I had a problem and also made it difficult for me to seek help.

Indeed, my mental and emotional ill health would cause physical ill health in me when I was ignoring the stress, depression, anxiety, fear, hypervigilence, and other symptoms of cPTSD.

If I can change attitudes, make people more aware of what good mental health is, help people to recognise that they too may be suffering and then seek help, then I’m doing a good thing. Oh, and of course getting people to talk about mental health, thus beginning to break down the stigma.

So, today is a good day for everyone to ask those they meet not just to ask ‘How are you feeling?’ and accept the first answer given, but to repeat the question, ‘No, really, how are you feeling?’ to let them know you really are interested in them it’s ok for them to tell you that they’re not ok.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m tired. I never sleep well away from home and I did have quite a broken night’s sleep.

However, I am also quite pleased with myself. I managed to stop at a Starbucks on the 4 hour journey to Llandudno for something to drink and eat. I then had a good walk along the sea front and pier after booking into my hotel and having a mug of tea. Then, I actually went to an Indian restaurant by myself to have an evening meal!

Maybe it was out of sheer necessity I went out. However, I could’ve just picked sandwiches or some such at a Sainsbury’s local a short walk away. But I didn’t.

I also didn’t feel all that awkward in the restaurant. I did wish I’d brought my Kindle along so I could read while waiting to be served throughout my visit. I do have the Kindle app on my phone, but I didn’t have a good enough signal in the restaurant to download the book I’m reading.

I am also feeling a little anxious about today, which is only to be expected. I’m going to a strange place, talking to people I don’t know about something that is important but that also can provoke an emotional response in me.

However, I’m sure I’ll be fine for sure.

Inktober 2019 – Day 9

Swallow skull, Clathus Ruber and Lola tangle pattern.

This one is a riot of colour and I’m not entirely sure it works. However, I took my colour inspiration from the Clathus ruber fungus and thought green would play nicely against the reds, oranges and yellows. I’m not at all sure about the end result.

The swallow skull was simple to draw, so I took the opportunity to try colouring and shading with it to gain some depth and dimension. I think I achieved it, though the contrast between shadow and light could be greater.

The skull was so small so it lent itself to being drawn in a mandala-style ring; that’s how I ended up drawing another mandala today.

I definitely stylised the Clathus ruber fungus, with it ending up looking more like a holey autumnal leaf than the fungus itself. However, no one said the fungus had to be realistic!

The lola tangle pattern formed the two outer rings of foliage.

I worked digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.

I’m using Inktober 2019 prompts from these lovely people on Instagram – @book_polygamist (animal skulls), @nyan_sun (mushrooms) and @havepen_willdraw (tangle patterns).

Time to Change Wales Duties

A little later today I’m going to wend my way to Llandudno for an overnight stay in preparation for an event tomorrow, which is mental health day. I’m attending the Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit to set up a small stand and to take part in two ‘Open Minds’ workshops, which will focus on mental health and wellbeing in the work environment.

I’m feeling a bit anxious, which is normal. I’ve never been to Llandudno. I’ve not travelled further north than Llandridnod Wells (which is on my route). I’m travelling alone, overnight, for the first time in many, many years.

Challenges for me will be eating. I’m not good at going into unfamiliar places by myself to eat, especially at night. I’d also like to take a walk along the seafront and I’m hoping I’ll be able to manage that too. I also would like to stop along my way for a late lunch.

I’m feeling a bit tired. I had a really weird dream that relates to the anxiety I feel about the trip.

So, I’d better finish posting Inktober day 9 across my social media and then myself packed and sorted for my little trip.