D is for … A monogram dangle design

It’s Friday, so it’s also #dangleday.

Today, I’ve continued with my series of kitty monograms with the letter D – die, domino, daffodil, doughnut are the design elements I chose.

I started by sketching the design on paper, scanning it in, drawing it digitally then colouring it all in using a marker ‘brush’ and a blending tool.

So, I made use of my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Oh, my tutorial book about drawing and creating dangle designs – A Dangle A Day – is available for pre-order.

Oh, it’s also #furbabyfriday over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. We’d love to see your furbabies there.

A busy couple of days

It’s been a nice way to spend a couple of hours this morning. A relatively easy and relaxing couple of hours too. I really need a day of self-care after a couple of crazy days for me.

Wednesday I had a very anxious kind of day. Anxious in a good way but it was also very emotionally draining. I spent the day on a media training course with Sarah Hibbert at the Mind Cymru offices in Cardiff. The day was all about learning how to be effectively interviewed by the media in reference to Time to Change Wales and it’s campaign to end stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health. A large part of the day was spent being interviewed and recorded on video camera then watching ourselves back and having feedback about how well we did and how we could improve.

It’s horrible seeing myself on video. I cringe so much. It provokes the inner critic so it rises up and attacks me, noticing every little flaw, mark, error, how the camera exaggerates features and so on.

It was a good day, the training was really excellent and gave lots of things to consider going forward.

I came home exhausted, barely able to string two words together. Having to travel in the rush hour so it took me nearly an hour and a half to get home, a journey that is usually less than half an hour, didn’t help at all.

I then tried to get to sleep early as I had to be up and into the shower at 5:15am so I could be dressed and ready to leave home around 6:10am to head out to Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest for around 8:30am, picking the lovely Russell up on my way.

The staff at the college had a wellbeing day and Russell and I were both involved for Time to Change Wales, with me giving two anti-stigma talks in the morning.

The day was lovely, the people were friendly and welcoming and some told me my talk was inspirational and I was brave for telling my story. The receptionist was an absolute darling; when I handed in my visitors badge she handed me a roll of papers saying ‘This is for you’. I had no idea what it was, thinking it may be a certificate for taking part in the day. When we had a look she’d gone online and found and printed loads of memes with wonderful words on that she thought would help me. I was really, really touched by her gesture.

The journey there and back again, a 200 mile round trip, went quickly as Russell and I chattered about all kinds of things. Russell did amazingly during the day as well, as he always does.

When I got home, I managed to empty the remains of the mocha in my travel mug over my handbag, and inside it. There’s no way I can salvage/clean the bag. It also went over my bullet journal, so I’ve ordered a new one as this one is wrecked. So today is a bujo-less day for me as the new one won’t arrive until tomorrow.

I had a very quiet evening, retired to bed earlier than usual and had a good 8 or 9 hours or so sleep. This is unusual for me, and I must’ve needed it.

I missed doing art over the last couple of days, but it’s been nice meeting new people, even though it does exhaust me, me being an introvert.

Digital or traditional art? My perspective.

Today, as I’ve said, it’s a self-care day, so art is definitely on the cards, as well as some flute practice I think.

I also have to think about, and ask for opinions on, digital drawing vs traditional drawing.

I love doing both. They both have their pros and cons.

I use a Surface Pen on the Surface Studio screen in just the same way I would use a pen or pencil on paper. I hold the pen the same way, I make lines and marks the same way. The only difference is that the paper is virtual and doesn’t exist unless I print it out.

With digital drawing I can make use of tools such as mirror and symmetry to help me with some elements of my art, particularly mandalas.

I rarely use tools like line smoothing and predictive lines (if anything predictive lines annoy me, they never end up as I want them). I do use line smoothing if I’m drawing a long straight-ish or curved line, but I still end up with wibbly bits.

I like to have the wibby bits, and I’ve carefully set up the pen ‘brushes’ I use so that they mimic Sakura Pigma Micron pens or Uniball Unipin pens in how the edge of the line is uneven due to ink bleeding.

Depending on what I’m doing, I do make sketches in pencil or pen on paper, scan that in and use it as a guide for my digital drawing.

The big advantage to working digitally, however, is the ease with which corrections and adjustments can be made.

I have, on very, very, very rare occasions, ‘copied and pasted’ a design element to create a design; so rare that I think I’ve done that once, maybe twice in the three years or so that I’ve been working digitally.

I love to draw traditionally too, with pen on paper. It’s a different kind of sensory experience, no better or worse than digital drawing. Just different.

It can be frustrating when an error is made or ink is smudged or the pencil line won’t erase properly. I then can use my digital tools to clean up the scanned in image, sometimes seamlessly erasing and re-drawing the area that needs correcting. No one notices when I do this as I’ve honed my skills and my pen ‘brushes’ so that they are as near the drawing pens I use on paper.

What can cause me problems digitally is that I lose sense of the scale of the patterns/designs I’m drawing and I can get way too intricate for traditional colorists to add colour to them. That’s why I often sketch at least an outline of the design out and scan it in draw the finished line work digitally. This is all because of the ability to zoom in to the area I’m working on. So, I often need that pencil/pen on paper guide to keep my drawing at the right kind of complexity.

Before I worked digitally, I thought that it would be easier, simpler than working traditionally, that the skill level would be lower, that anyone could achieve fantastic results.

However, I’ve found that opinion is completely false.

Yes, digital tools make certain aspects of drawing a bit easier, such as symmetry. However, it’s just as difficult to draw digitally as it is traditionally. It’s taken me a long time to get my pen ‘brushes’ set up so they mimic my traditional pens. It’s taken me a long time to be able to draw on the screen with the same precision and smoothness of lines as I can on paper. It’s been like learning to write and draw again.

I’ve had to learn, and continue to learn, a whole new skill set that you don’t need with traditional pen and paper.

I can do things digitally that I could never do with traditional media.

Digital drawing, digital art is NOT traditional art’s poor cousin. Drawing digitally, as well as coloring digitally, does not mean I’ve gone over to the dark side at all.

I’ve had comments made about mandalas I’ve drawn digitally, taking as much time over them as if I’d drawn them traditionally, that it’s a pity that they’re digital, as if my skill, my creativity is less because I use the digital tools. That made me feel pretty worthless at the time, to be honest, and comments like that say a lot either about the tastes or prejudices of the person making the comment.

They liked the mandala until they saw it was digitally created, which meant they no longer liked it.

More recently someone showed me a comment about one of my coloring books where the person didn’t like it because I’d drawn the images digitally so I’d sold out and gone to the dark side. There was none of the human touches or faint lines where pencil had been erased (erm, there’s never any of that in my work as I’m asked to clean it all up!), that the lines are too perfect, too much copying and pasting was used (never – except in one template) and so on.

Again, this said a lot about their prejudices. I work hard to keep the human touches in my art work – the wibbly lines, the imperfect circles and so on. The pens that have the irregular edges.

It’s almost like those who choose to do digital art are somehow less than traditional artists – less skilled, less hardworking, less human, less creative, less talented.

I don’t think I am. I think I do a fairly good job with digital and traditional media, often mixing the two together such as when I digitally color a traditionally drawn design.

I don’t think I’m lazy by drawing digitally – it takes me longer, even when I use the symmetry tool for mandalas, to create a mandala as I’m able to add more details.

I like to think I have a good level of skill in traditional art and that I’m getting better with the digital art.

I’m sure I don’t take full advantage of the digital medium as I seem to try to work in it as I would as a traditional artist! I just treat it as a different brand of pen, a different kind of paper, and a different kind of coloring medium, with the ability to layer and use a huge color palette.

I work hard to keep my style of drawing quintessentially ‘Angela Porter’ no matter whether I draw traditionally or digitally.

In my next book for Creative Haven, Entangled Forests (available for pre-order), I actually have a mixture of digitally drawn and traditionally drawn templates in there.

That’s a reflection of me, how I like to work, and how I can get the effects that I want in the drawing.

However, even with the traditionally drawn images there’s some digital ‘art’ going on as I have to scan them in, clean up smudges and errors and make corrections based on suggestions from the editorial team at Dover Publications Inc, and you’d be hard pressed to find these corrections and clean ups, though you may work out which is drawn digitally and which is drawn traditionally if you look hard.

One of the things on my list of things to do is to start a YouTube channel where I can show how I create my art. Perhaps that will help to end the stigma and discrimination that exists around digital artists, so that I, and others don’t get comments such as ‘ I liked it until I saw it was digital’ or ‘I used to like them until they sold out and gone to the dark side of digital drawing’.

A couple of years ago this would get to me. I’d lose my confidence in myself, I’d doubt myself, I’d want to give up. But not now. I take it in my stride. You can’t please all people all the time, especially as art is such a personal kind of thing.

However, comments such these say far more about the person making them and their likes/dislikes than they do about my art. On the back of a comment about me having sold out, it turns out that my newest book ‘Entangled Butterflies’ was fully stocked in a Walmart on Monday; by Thursday it had sold out, and one of the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group had let me know they’d had the last copy.

That puts it all into perspective I think.

Inktober 2018 Day 31 ‘Slice’ and Happy All Hallows’ Eve!

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 31 Slice

It’s All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe’en or Samhain as you prefer. It’s also the last day of Inktober 2018. Here is my offering based on the prompt of ‘slice’

Well, it had to be a celebratory slice of cake, complete with a pumpkin candle and all kinds of cutely spooky monsters and critters and so on.

This was, as all have been, fun to do. I quite like the grungy look I’ve achieved with the use of texture brushes and slightly duller colours along with black as a component of the gradients.

I sketched this in pencil on dot grid paper, scanned it in and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw and colour this dangle design.

Yes, it just had to be a dangle design to round off the month of Inktober!

My Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Pens were my magic tools to help me create this.

Now I see it in a smaller size, I can see where some highlights and lowlights would help to increase dimension in places. However, it’ll do as it is as I do have to finish the templates for my new book Entangled Forests. Yes, the cat is out of the bag on the theme of this coloring book for Creative Haven by Dover Publications. You can pre-order it on Amazon and it’s due for release in July of 2019. I should have all the templates completed today, then it’s just colouring a couple of them as examples in the book.

Before this book, Entangled Butterflies is due out in November 2018 and A Dangle a Day in January 2019.

I said (typed?) it yesterday – I’ve enjoyed Inktober, for many reasons, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’ve created using the daily prompts.

Oh, as it’s Hallowe’en, there’s a little event going on over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I provided a hallowe’en themed coloring template at the start of this month and asked everyone to hold off posting their finished versions until today. I’m hoping for a flurry of postings throughout the day to give a lovely, cutely spooky feel to the group throughout this day! I have my own version of the template to post there in a short while too, and I’ll post it here later on today as well.

However you spend your All Hallows’ Eve, have fun and keep safe too!

Inktober 2018 Day 28 ‘Gift’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 28 Gift small

Day 28 of the Inktober challenge and I’ve done another kitty dangle design, with a rather surprised looking kitty in a gift box with a party hat on.

How cute would this be as a greetings card for the human of a kitty?

I sketched the design in pencil on dot grid paper then scanned it into my Surface Studio. I then drew the design using a pen brush and the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. After drawing, I added colour and texture as well as a bit of a drop shadow.

This image makes me smile just a bit. It was a nice thing to do this morning. I’m tired today.

Yesterday, I was absolutely shattered after the Hallowe’en Coffee Morning and being in charge of the craft corner. The little monsters (read little darlings dressed up in their Hallowe’en finery) kept me nicely busy and they seemed to have a lot of fun making pumpkins on glow sticks and paper pumpkins and other things. I had a lot of fun too.

At the end of the morning, it was lovely to have some help to clear up; thankfully my plans on using glue dots and double sided sticky tape and paper fasteners and staples rather than glue sticks helped greatly with this. As did the washable marker pens and the like.

I came home and had some lunch and then slept. On waking I had time to have more tea, shower and get ready to pop out in the evening.

As lovely as my couple of hours out were, I was glad to get home. It was really chilly last night here in South Wales. The cold got into me even in my short journeys; I chilled right off in the morning too. So, today my hands and feet are a tad achy and stiff with arthritis.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pen on the Surface Studio certainly helps my finger joints – so little pressure is needed. The pen is a tad weighty, but it’s rather well balanced so I can cope. On days like today I could do with a slightly thicker barrel, so I need to find some grippy things that I could slide on my pen for days like this.

I do want to work on my sketch of the viking kitty that I did for yesterdays’ Inktober prompt. I need a quiet day of self-care today. Not only was yesterday a busy one for me in terms of interacting with people it was also the end of British Summer Time and the clocks went back by an hour some time during the night. This means we got an extra hour of sleep, in theory. In practice I slept the same amount of time! The change in the clocks will cause confusion for a while I think.

I am an introvert, though people seem to assume I’m an extrovert. I learned at a young age that I had to be loud and seemingly outward going like my very loud brothers to have even a chance of being noticed or listened to (that didn’t happen often). I have a fairly extrovert mask I wear when out and about and with people, until I get to know them and then the introvert can relax and come out. I like people, but I also recognise that I need alone time to recharge my batteries. Being with people both lifts me and drains me. So, today is a day for some quiet time, before I have to head out this evening for a couple of hours to be with people again.

 

Dangle Day Friday 21 September 2018

Angela Porter Dangle Day 21 September 2018

It’s Friday, so that means it’s #dangleday!

A simple, elegant design with a sweet sentiment for this week’s dangle design. I like the symmetrical nature of the dangles.

I did sketch the design out in pencil on dot grid paper which I scanned in to ink in digitally and make use of the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I also coloured and added texture with various brushes in Sketchbook. Naturally, I made use of a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to do this.

I kept to a really simple colour scheme, using just one pink, golden, blue and green colour gradient for the design, with the exception of the rainbow beads in the central dangle.

It would be really easy to put a different sentiment or greeting in the box, but I like this one.

A different colour scheme, of course, would result in a very different ‘feel’ to the card, matching all kinds of seasons and occasions.

This would make a lovely greetings card or note card. I think I’d like to use it for the beginning of each month in a BuJo, planner or diary, changing the colour scheme as appropriate for that month. I do like playing with themes for my BuJo, but there’s something in me that likes a cohesiveness in design/style.

What would you do with this design? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Of course, I could print the uncoloured version out and colour with different media. It would be no great chore to re-draw the design on paper more suitable for, say, watercolours, where my printer doesn’t cope with decent quality watercolour paper.

Just a little reminder that my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available for pre-order, just click on this linkIn the book I give help, guidance and advice on creating your own dangle designs, as well as providing many examples of monogram dangles and dangle designs that you can use for your own projects.

Dangle Day Friday

Angela Porter Dangle Day 14 September 2018

Here’s two dangle designs for dangle day Friday. Simple designs, perfect for getting into the weekend vibe.

These are both experiments where I’ve worked on vellum/parchment, the kind that is used for Pergamano.

The one on the left – the monogram A – is nowhere near as garish in colour in real-life; I really don’t know what the scanner has done to the colours. I drew the design with a metallic gold Sakura Gellyroll pen. I then used Tombow Dual brush pens to colour the design on the reverse. I used shades of yellow, orange, red and magenta, but the scanner seems to have removed much of the red. I also managed to smudge the colours too. I don’t think I’ll be using Tombows on Vellum again.

I do like the gold linework and I think I’ll draw this design out again and colour on the reverse with coloured pencils, like in the dangle design on the right.

You may recognise the design on the right as last weeks dangle design. I traced that design onto vellum using a white Uniball Signo pen. I altered some of the details and the style of lettering.

Next, I did a little bit of ‘whitework’ on the reverse. This gave the highlights on the design that help to give the illusion of dimension as well as some texture. I let the design rest under a heavy book for an hour or so.

Finally, I used my Chameleon coloured pencils to colour the design in, again doing this on the reverse.

I like the colours on this one. The vellum mutes the colours somewhat, but it also softens any imperfections in the colouring.

I’m not sure about the white lines though. I need to try this one with some coloured paper underneath to help the lines stand out a bit more. I’ll post an image of it if it works.

I’d like to draw this design in gold and see how that looks. I may try black too. As well as using coloured pencils, I want to try using Copic  or Chameleon markers to colour the designs in, to see how they work on vellum.

These certainly were experiments, which I’ve learned from. Not only that, I’ve got some ideas to try out the next time I use vellum. I’m trusting I’ll find the combination of line colour and colouring medium that works for me and my style of working.

What would I do with these designs? Well, they would both work really well as spreads in Bujos, planners, journals and scrapbooks. I also think the monogram would make a lovely bookmark. They’d both make nice greetings cards or notecards. I’m sure there’s lots of other things they could be used for, such as framed pictures.

If you have any suggestions for how they could be used, leave a comment.

Dangle Day Friday

Angela Porter September 2018 coloured

Friday is dangle day!

We’re a week into September and autumn is nearly here in the Northern hemisphere, so I thought my dangle design should be one for this season. I think this would be a lovely BuJo page to separate the autumn months. I also think it would make a pretty notecard or greetings card. The hand lettering could be changed for another sentiment and it would be suitable for an autumn celebration. Alternatively, it would look great framed and hung as part of a quartet of designs that cover the four seasons; now there’s a project for me to do!

I drew the design on squared paper using Sakura pigma micron pens.

Then, I scanned the image in, used GiMP to remove the squares and create a transparent background

Next, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to colour the image, create the textured background and add a shadow to the design.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love autumn! I love the way the world changes in terms of colours over the space of a few weeks, and the colours can be absolutely glorious.

I don’t know how the long, very hot and dry summer in here in the UK will affect autumn this year.

If you would like to design some dangles and not quite sure how, then my upcoming book A Dangle A Day (available for pre-order) will lead you through the steps as well as giving you plenty of ideas for dangle design.

Friday freebie

Just a reminder that today is the last day for you to enter any of my giveaways, the prizes being signed copies of Eerily Entangled Art, my latest book in Dover’s Creative Haven series of coloring books.

See my previous blog post for details on how to enter.  I’ll be drawing the winners at random tomorrow evening, UK time.

Furbaby Friday

Over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, it’s furbaby friday.

Of course, it’s Furbaby Everyday over on the Happy Tails Animal Group facebook group.

Both groups would love to see your pictures of your furbabies, as would I.

Dangleday

dangledayfriday angela porter 13 April 2019Friday means it’s #dangleday!

I thought I’d created a little dangle for this particular hashtag.

#createdonsurface #autodesksketchbook #microsoftsurface

A Dangle A Day, my upcoming book, is available for pre-order now.  In the book, I will take you, step by step, through drawing dangles, along with lots of charm and dangle designs you can use to create your own, just like this one!

If you’re already drawing dangles, I’d love to see what you create!