Holly Mandala – Version 2

© Angela Porter 2018

I woke early this morning, it was still dark. The night has now lifted to reveal a dull, grey, misty, damp morning here in the Valleys of South Wales.

I wanted to re-colour the holly mandala in a more traditional colour scheme of red, green and gold, and so I have done so.

The colours help to give an illusion of dimension to the concentric rings in the design. Of course, the colours are kind of my signature – bright and jewel-like. I chose to change the background colour from stark black to a very dark, inky night-sky blue. I did add some lighter texture to the background to break the colours up just a tad.

It’s worked out ok. I think I prefer it muchly to the green foil version. The foil images are fun to do, that’s for sure. And of course they’ve allowed me to work out another way of creating art digitally, which is essentially by removing black to reveal the design. This has resulted in me drawing my motifs in a slightly different way to how I’d usually do them. They definitely have more of that lino-cut feel to them with the simplification of designs and lines. I like that.

I also like how the holly berries in the outer ring seem to be floating above and below the leaves. That wasn’t intentional! It’s just how it’s all worked out.

Sprinkling stars everywhere is one of my favourite things to do it seems and they do add a little magic to this design for sure.

Which version do you prefer? This one or yesterday’s green foiled version?

Tools used – Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Winter Solstice 2018

©Angela Porter 2018

Winter begins! It’s the end of one astronomical cycle and the start of a new one. Winter Solstice is one of my favourite days of the year, along with All Hallow’s Eve. There’s always a feeling of excitement on this day that’s associated with ending and beginnings. Time to lay to rest that which is completed to make way for the new that replaces them as the Sun symbolically ‘dies’ on this day and will begin to ‘grow’ again in the days that follow until the Summer Solstice. It’s also a time to be grateful too.

I know there are many endings and beginnings; every moment in our lives is both an ending and a beginning. However, I feel that days like this, where we can focus on this never ending process in a bigger, more symbolic, more formal way, is important. Traditions are important as they bring a semblance of order to our rather chaotic lives.

I spent some time yesterday drawing this mandala to go with today. The dull gold represents the weakness of the Sun, relatively speaking. I’ve included mistletoe, holly and ivy as they’re traditionally associated with this day. I’ve also added berries as symbolic of the fruits of gratitude I carry for all the days since the last Winter Solstice. And, of course, there are plenty of sun-ray-like motifs and patterns. And stars. Plenty of stars, which from a distance look like snow drifting down.

Yes, I can say I’m rather pleased with this mandala. That’s not something I say often as I’m highly critical of myself and my work. But this one I really do like. I like the more graphic nature of the motifs. I like my hand lettering. I like the rhythm and flow of the design with the rings of designs radiating out.

So, I wish you all the very best that comes with the Winter Solstice, for today and all the days ahead of you and yours.

This was created using a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a gold texture purchased via Creative Market.

Noel – Entangled Design

©Angela Porter, Artwyrd.com

I always have fun when drawing and creating, including this design. In it I’ve combined some of my entangled design elements along with winter/Christmas doodles. 

To start, I hand lettered ‘Noel’ using a guide for the shape of the lettering I wanted. Then, I printed it out so I could add the black and white line art using a 0.8 Uniball Unipin pen.

Once that was done, the finished lineart was scanned back into the Microsoft Surface Studio, a transparent background created and some smudges cleaned up. 

Finally, I could colour it. Today, I chose to use the color gradient tools, which does make the job of colouring a bit quicker, but it also results in a rather ‘shiny’ look too. Or perhaps that’s simply due to the colours I choose for the gradients.

I had fun adding the glowing stars and sparkles to this one, though I’m not sure I’ve got that right.A nice way to spend the morning and early afternoon as the weather has been wet and very windy at times here. 

Winter Dangle Designs 3 December 2018

Winter Dangle Designs – 3 December 2018

I have had some fun designing these, as always!

I did use some circle, oval and hexagon templates to help me design the wreaths and snowflakes. The dot grid paper helped me draw mostly straight lines for the dangles.

I did sketch them in pencil first before inking them in with a Uniball Unipin pen. Colouring was done with various Tombow dual brush pen markers and some sparkly elements added with Uniball signo sparkle gel pens.

These would look lovely as greetings cards. In fact, I’m thinking of redrawing them digitally and using them to make my own christmas cards this year. Printing out the black line work and then colouring them with traditional media. In the past couple of years I’ve designed my christmas/winter/yule cards digitally and had them printed professionally. This year, I think I’ll do it the way I suggest in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.

They’d also look great as note cards or as pages in a BuJo, planner, scrapboook or journal. They’d lend themselves to cute bookmarks too.

These relatively simple and small dangle designs are perfect for practicing hand lettering too. And in these four dangles I’ve used four different lettering styles.

I’ve also kept the finished designs simple by not adding any drop shadows, except around the ‘HO! HO! HO!’. Not only that, a lot of the colouring is very simple too.

I do hope you’ll have a go at designing your own, maybe using these as a bit of a guide.  If you do, I’d love to see what you’ve created.

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 Dangle Design for BuJo

It’s Friday, so that means it’s #dangleday! As it’s the last day of November it seems appropriate that I design a dangle design that would look fantastic as the monthly title page for a BuJO, journal, planner or just a fun design to color and frame or, printed out smaller, used on a greetings card.

As usual these days, I sketched the design out on dot grid paper and then scanned it in. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a technical drawing pen ‘brush’ to ink the design, as well as make adjustments to the design.

The final steps were to add a background colour and watermark it for sharing on the internet.

Naturally, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen along with my Microsoft Surface Studio to do the digital drawing. I think I’m going to print this design out so it will fit in my BuJo and colour it with traditional media.

I’m going to make this available as a coloring template in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. So, if you’d like to download and print the template, pop along to the group and join in!

This is quite a complex dangle design to look at, but it’s not that complex to create. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, released on 8 January 2019, I take you step by step through the process with loads and loads of examples of monograms and dangle designs for all seasons and all occasions, along with ideas of how to use them. There’s also a fair number of tips and encouraging words within the book.

If you do download, print and colour this design, I’d love to see how you’ve coloured and used it! You can find me on twitter, Instagram and facebook.

Bujo month page – November 2018

Angela Porter November Bujo 2018

I’m a tad late with the design for the November cover page for my BuJo. It’s very sketchy and rough and the scan has missed the edge of the page to the left. I used Crayola Supertips for the colours and a variety of black drawing pens, a white gel pen and a gold Sakura gelly roll pen for the outlines and highlights. Of course it’s a dangle design too – but a very simple dangle design with just hearts dangling from the wreath. No one ever said that dangle designs themselves have to be complicated, but dangles can add fun little embellishments to other things, such as this wreath.

November to me always means poppies. My dad passed away 10 years ago on the 10th November. He was nearly 87 and a veteran of WWII, Korea and Burma. He saw the effects of fascist Nazi Germany on the everyday citizens there. He was at the opening of a concentration camp. He never spoke of what he saw. In fact, he only mentioned it once when he was very, very drunk after celebrating Hogmany here in the Valleys of South Wales. As soon as he realised what he’d said, he refused to say any more about it and you could see the pain of the memory etched on his face and in his eyes. He joined the British Army to bring an end to the hate and the genocide and the desire for the end of freedom of speech and beliefs and human rights.

He was a kind, caring man who would do his best to help anyone, no matter of their religious or political persuasion. He did so without any expectation of anything in return. He loved to make wine and would share bottles of it around the community. Even when he couldn’t drink much anymore, he would still make wine and would give it away. He enjoyed the process of making it and he enjoyed seeing other people have the pleasure of  drinking the wine. This is a quality I only recently recognised in myself.

Last weekend, I took my amigurumi monsters and knitted pumpkins to the hallowe’en coffee morning. All the pumpkins had new homes with people asking me ‘are you sure you want to give them away after the time you’ve put into making them?’

My answer was that I enjoy making them and if I can find new homes for them, my home would be too full for me to make any more. I added that it’s lovely to see other people enjoy them. At a meeting last night I was told some of the boys at a youth club were fighting over the pumpkins and the lady who’d taken them said ‘I’m sorry, I had to give them to the boys’. My reply was, ‘It’s ok, I’ll make some more for you and them. I enjoy making them and that others enjoy having them warms my heart too’.

Something else I realised about my dad as I’m writing this is that he loved the old war films – John Wayne’s films, Dambusters, 633 squadron and the like. I think they gave him an alternative narrative, something less painful for him to remember about the wars he was involved in. I remember him just throwing his medals back into their box dismissively. He didn’t think he was brave. He didn’t think he was a hero. I think they just reminded him of the horrors he must’ve seen. I do know he wanted me to have his medals when he passed away, he said I would understand what they meant to him. I think I do.

His medals didn’t come to me, as my mother decided she knew better than he did about where his medals and other belongings should go. I’m not bitter or upset about that, as the words my dad said in the hope I’d get him and understand him one day were the real legacy from him, not objects.

We used to have long conversations when he followed me out to my car when I left after a visit to the family home. I always knew I’d need to leave an hour before I needed to so we could have these long chats without my mother talking over him or telling him to shut up or making fun of him. I think he and I are a lot like each other in many ways.

He developed Alzheimer’s a few years before his passing. He caught pneumonia, was admitted to hospital and they found he had a tumour in one of his lungs.  Eight months later he passed away. At first I’d sit with him and he’d talk to me about his younger days, his childhood, things he’d never told me before. But as the days and weeks went on his memories faded away until he was unaware he was in a hospital.

I visited him as often as I could as even though he didn’t know who I was consciously, having someone with him would calm him and he’d be more settled.

I was with him when he passed away, and even then he helped me to learn and understand various things.

These are just a few things I remember about my Dad. He wasn’t perfect, no person is. But, he was the person who took me to music lessons and choir practice and came to the concerts I was involved in. He took a genuine interest in what I was doing and he features in many of the very few pleasant memories I have from childhood and beyond.

So, forgive me my indulgence writing about things not related to arty things. Except that in  many ways they are.

My art isn’t full of profound meaning and commentary on society and so on. I make art that is pretty, colourful, often abstract, sometimes whimsical. What I hope is that it makes people smile, gives them some pleasure, some joy in looking at it. By sharing it I share my pleasure, my joy, the peace that I find in doing art with others. As I do in making knitted pumpkins and amigurumi monsters and other things and gifting them to others.  Just as my dad enjoyed making wine and also enjoyed the pleasure it brought to other people.