July 2018 BuJo

Angela Porter July 2018 BuJo Spread watermarked

Can you believe that June is nearly over? Time seems to be flying at the moment!

I’ve designed the front page for July in my BuJo, and here it is – a dangle design for the month. I felt the need to add words/phrases that epitomise July for me.

The rest of my BuJo is likely to be very plain and simple this month, and done in a Fauxdori rather than an A5 Leuchtturm as an experiment.

BuJo for June 2018 and a reflection on May 2018

Angela Porter Bujo June 2018 CoverAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 MonthlyOverviewAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 Mood Habit TrackerIt’s that time again – starting to fill in my bullet journal (BuJo) pages for the upcoming month of June.

I’ve set up part of my bullet journal for June. I decided to go with daises again.  They’re such happy little flowers, bright spots in the green grass. They remind me of innocence and hope. Pale pink, green and flashes of gold will be the colours I use, where I use them, for this month.

May has been a very stressful, upsetting and emotional month, and my bullet journaling, along with lots of other things, went out of the window.

My little smartcar, Smartoo Deetoo, broke down. I had the stress/anxiety/panic of a very long time for the car and I to be recovered and taken home, and then organising recovery of the car to the Mercedes dealership in Cardiff for repairs. Eventually it was diagnosed with a terminally broken gearbox.

Instead of paying to have it replaced, I decided to buy a brand new Smartcar fortwo, which then had the added stress/worry/anxiety/panic of applying for finance.

Very quickly though, Binky was with me – my third Smartcar. Binky is fantastic and I can’t be happier with it.

Just after I signed all the paper work for Binky, I went to check on my cat who had been poorly for a day or two and who had rallied round that morning. I found he’d gone seriously downhill, so to the emergency vets we went.

After a night at the vets, test results and observations of my beautiful boy Cuffs, the diagnosis was brain cancer, so I had to make the decision to let him go, and went to say goodbye to him.

Cuffs was amazing. I had 16 years companionship with him.  He was with me for some of the best and the worst times of my recent life. He always greeted me when I came home and he often tried to stop me leaving for work, especially when teaching had become so very, very hard for me when my mental health was plummeting downwards.

There’s just too much to say about him here. To say I’ve been upset would be a gross understatement. I’ve grieved for him, and it’s knocked me not just for six but for 6 million I think.

I’m beginning to feel better, I still have moments when I miss the purrfurball, when a lumpy bit of the duvet will make my heart leap that he’s under it, only to remember he’s not and to feel that disappointment and sadness.

I am feeling better and getting back into my creative stride.

I’m working on the illustrations for Entangled Butterflies.

I will be working on the June colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group later today.

 

BuJo May 2018 Cover Page

dav I know, I know – a second blog post of the day.  However, I thought you might like to see my cover page for my BuJo for May 2018.

I’m well ahead of the BuJo game here I think, but I needed a bit of sparkle and shine today, and the colourful background I created just cried out for golden stars.

I had fun doing this, but now I have to focus on the other pages for this month, which will have a starry theme, or perhaps just golden, who knows yet?

WIP Wednesday

Angela Porter Wednesday 11 April 2018 This is my current work in progress, with a little bit of wisdom thrown in.

I planned the lettering out on Rhodia dot grid paper before scanning it in. I then re-drew the letters digitally.

I did a blog post with tips for hand lettering  yesterday, but there’s also some in my upcoming book A Dangle A Day, available for pre-order.

The patterns around the quote were also drawn digitally, using my faithful Microsoft Surface pen, along with my Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I’ve started to add colour, though there’s quite a lot to do, including adding textures. It’s a pleasant way to spend time.

What I’m quite pleased with is the stone background behind the letters.  It’s not perfect, but I got my head around how I could achieve this.  Working in layers means I can do things I can’t do with traditional media, try as I might, but it involves working out how I can use layers to do different things as well as becoming aware of what I could use layers for.

Yes, I could watch and read tutorials, but there’s something satisfying about working out for yourself how to do things, and creating things in your own way.  That’s the sheer bloody-minded independence I have at times.

Perhaps I could learn quicker with tutorials, but I also know I can become quickly overloaded with information and instructions and ideas (something that frustrates me as before my two episodes of severe depression and anxiety I had no trouble at all…) so bit by bit I discover what I need to be able to do at any one time. Then practice using it until it’s easy to do and natural.

I do love how I can flip-flop between traditional media and digital work, as well as combining the two, whether it be a sketch that is then worked on digitally or using traditional media backgrounds to draw upon digitally. It also takes me a little bit out of my ‘comfort zone’ too, but in an enjoyable way.

Hand lettering – Tuesday Tips

tuesdaytips angela porter 2018 My #tuesdaytips are all to do with hand lettering this week, but taken generally, the advice applies to any skill, artistic, creative, practical or otherwise I’m sure.

Lots of people aren’t happy with their handwriting, for many reasons.

I actually am, when I don’t rush any ways.  I worked hard on my handwriting when I was in school; I didn’t like my writing (it was too much like my mother’s), so I worked to change and develop it. It did take time and conscious effort on my part, but I enjoyed writing, I always did. Doing all my homework and re-writing and re-organising my notes in school and in University gave me plenty of practice in honing my handwriting skills.

However, handwriting and hand lettering are not the same thing.

Handwriting is something we do without a lot of thought about how we form the letters, it is a practiced, automatic skill.

Hand lettering involves drawing the letter shapes; it’s more of an artistic skill.

I’m working on my hand lettering skills.  I’m happy with my handwriting, generally, but my writing is naturally very small.  To write big, bold quotes and sentiments is a challenge for me, one that I had to face during my work on A Dangle A Day.

My first and most important tip about hand lettering is practice, practice and more practice.

dav

Here are some of the pages from my hand lettering collection in my BuJo. The pens are a Uniball UniPin, a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and a Lamy fountain pen with a fine nib.

The more you practice, the more you develop ‘muscle memory’ which makes it easier to be consistent in your lettering in terms of shape and so on.  It also helps it feel more natural and for you to speed up.

You can’t become an expert without first being a beginner.

My second tip is to start by practicing your natural writing style, your printing.  In these days of fonts by the million and perfect replication by computer and printing, I like to see the unique style that only your hand can bring to your hand lettering.

Practice your own printing until you are happy with the shape and style of your lettering, keeping it simple for now.  These letters will form the foundation of every other style you develop.

It’s easy to vary the style of your lettering by making simple changes to the letter height, width, line weight and so on. However, you need foundation letters you are happy with. So focus on this first and foremost.

My third tip is don’t compare your own writing to others’ or give up because you can’t seem to write as beautifully as you think they do.  Practice, practice, practice and work towards becoming the best you can be; it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of time.

“Daily learning of your craft makes you a master of your craft.” – Seema Brain Openers

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michaelangelo

My fourth tip is to practice daily, or as often as you can.  In my BuJo (bullet journal) I have a section on my monthly tracker for hand lettering practice. Keeping a BuJo means I do get daily hand lettering practice, but it’s still not enough for me to keep developing the skill.

There’s plenty of advice out there and practice sheets and exercises for hand lettering, calligraphy, faux calligraphy, brush lettering.  What I like to do, however, is to write, using just my basic hand lettering ‘font’.

Writing out the alphabet again and again is productive, but not always enjoyable.  It doesn’t help you with putting the letters together in terms of words.

One of my happy memories is of English lessons when I was in primary school (aged 7 to 11) where we used a book called ‘A New First Aid in English’ to learn about nouns, similes, verbs, plurals and so on.  I enjoyed learning, but I enjoyed writing lists and answers down a lot too.  It so happens I have a copy of this book, one of the few remaining books from my days as a science teacher, and so I dip into this as a source of material to practice my writing.

Of course, you can use anything you like – quotes, names, lyrics, poems, anything that you enjoy but won’t distract from the focus of drawing the letters.

The last tip I will give is to use paper with guide lines on.  I printed paper out to suit my needs; I created it in Microsoft Publisher.  Dot grid or squared (graph) grid paper works well too.

My last words are – practice, practice, practice!

It’s Dangle Day!

Angela Porter April Bujo 2018

This is my Dangle Day dangle design – for the cover of my April 2018 section in my disc-bound BuJo (bullet journal).

Yes, that’s right, a disc-bound BuJo.

I love my Leuchtturm 1917 journal, however I wanted my collections all in one place, and wanted memories together, more like a traditional journal, and my planning pages and trackers all in another place.

I also realised that a lot of my collections are references for art projects and I didn’t want to have to either hunt through a pile of BuJos to find the collection I wanted, or to have to redraw them every time I started a new BuJo.

So, the light came on and I realised a disc-bound (or ring bound) journal may be the way for me to go, as it doesn’t just offer the flexibility of design/layout/space that comes with bullet journalling, but it also allows me the flexibility to organise things as I need them, as well as to archive the planners and memories and so on as I need to.

I also get to use the paper that I need to use for different purposes as well…

I had some of the Arc by M journals lurking around my home, so I re-purposed one of them for this, along with some bigger discs so I can get more pages in the BuJo.

I am notorious for flipping back and forth between ways of journaling.  This could be the solution to that.

As to the April design, I drew it with Copic Multiliner SP pens and coloured it with Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, using a Derwent Blender pencil to smooth the transition between colours.

Don’t forget, you can pre-order my upcoming book, A Dangle A Day, which is all about drawing dangles, such as the ones dangling from the mandala.

April BuJo setup and a look back at March

April’s BuJo

Angela Porter April BuJo Cover

I’ve spent some time today setting my BuJo (bullet journal) up ready for next month.

I decided I’d like a kind of mandala with dangles for the cover page, which you can see above.

I chose quite strong purple, purple-pink and green-blues for the colour scheme, with golden highlights.  Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, along with a blender pencil from Derwent, were used to colour the design.  I used various Copic Multiliner SP pens to draw the design.

Angela Porter April BuJo Overview and Trackers

After working with my BuJo for a month, I decided that I needed a different design for the Monthly overview, where I’ll add in my appointments and events later on. I also wanted to change my mood tracker to one that lets me track my  mood through the day.  I thought it would be a good idea to add the other things I want to keep track of – meditation, walking and hand lettering practice.

I used dangles to join the various boxes to the headers on this page.

I also used Tombow Dual Brush Pens to colour in the designs on this page; and you can see the key to the colours used on the Trackers page.

Angela Porter April Weekly Spread

I’ve also set up one of my weekly views.  I really liked having a page for week’s diary/notes and one where I can write my gratitude and memories.  It’s worked well for me the past week.

I will set up the other weeks as I head towards them through the month, but they’re likely to be similar with just different header and divider designs being used.

A look back at my first month with a BuJo

I’ve certainly had an interesting and fun time with my BuJo this month, and I’ve been finding out how it works for me.

My days are often very simple in terms of what I need to do, so I don’t really need or use large amounts of space for each day.  What I tend to record for each day is a list of tasks accomplished along with appointments.  The memories section is really valuable as well; for me a BuJo is more like a memory store rather than planning out my life in detail.

I’ve done a huge amount of work on collections; these include charms, dangles, bugs, botanical drawings, floral wreaths, feathers, crystals, cacti and succulents, and favourite patterns. My BuJo is becoming a kind of visual directory for me, which will be very useful as I look to start my next book project soon, as A Dangle A Day is nearly complete.

Creating the spreads is a rather soothing, meditative process for me, especially colouring.  It also gives me the chance to practice drawing dangles and other items too. I usually start my day be adding to a collection or colouring some of the drawings already done.

I do tend to keep a list of important things to do on a post-it note, but as I do them I write them down as having been done in the appropriate day.  I’ve mentioned it before, but I find ‘to-do’ lists not very motivational for me and a source of me beating myself up.  For me, lists of things I’ve achieved that day helps me far more.

I’ve added hand lettering practice to my trackers as I want to practice that a lot more.