Watercolour greeting cards

Greeting cards

It was a morning for some simple art. Art just for fun, relaxation and self-soothing. So, I thought that small watercolour gradient panels with really simple drawings on them and metallic and pearlescent paint highlights would be perfect.

For the first time ever I managed to create smooth colour gradients with watercolour. The secret, for me, was using a mix of water and gum arabic to wet the paper before applying the colour. Of course, working on such small pieces of watercolour paper helped. Still, it’s a personal achievement!

Once the panels were all done, itseemed a good idea to mount the little panels on some 4″ x 4″ blank cards. So I did just that and added a few more cards to my stash.

Stress and self-care

I had a really poor night’s sleep after the stress of my trip out to the pharmacy yesterday. I woke around 2:30am with a splitting headache and found it hard to get back to sleep. When I did, my alarm went off and woke me with quite a jolt.

I’d set my alarm last night as Wednesday is my delivery day with Able & Cole, and I like to get the deliver in and stored asap.

Once the delivery had come, around 6:30am. I had breakfast and then went back to bed to sleep.

I’m feeling a bit more centred and content now, but I’m still exhausted. So, today will be a quiet, self-care kind of day for me. I’ll be doing my best not to give in to the temptation to take a nap this afternoon so that I can sleep myself our properly tonight.

Watercolor Greeting Cards

About the artwork

I needed a quiet morning, again, today. So, I thought I’d dig out my Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft watercolour pencils and try some stuff with them.

I wanted to use them to draw a flower, or two, and then use water to create a watercolour effect. The result you can see on the left-hand side card. I’ve left loads of white space on this card, which is unusual for me. I couldn’t resist, however, adding some gold dots around the flowers. The colour of the petals was so delicate that I used a 2H 3mm pencil to outline them and the leaves. Just for info, the piece of watercolour paper measures 4″ x 4″.

For the other cards, I just wanted to work with the pencils to create gradients and abstract patterns in colour. I drew on the little panels using a 0.25 Copic Multiliner SP pen and added some lines and details with metallic gold watercolour. These cards are approx 3″ x 4″ in size.

Watercolor pencils are nice to use when it comes to drawing in colour with them, then activiating the colour with water. They really glow on 100% cotton rag paper (bottom right) compared to the other cellulose papers.

Cute and whimsical cards, some very detailed, one not quite so. But a nice way to spend my morning.

Self-care time, again.

There’s a situation going on around me that is draining my emotions greatly at this time. I’m doing my best to not become overly emotionally involved in it, but it’s difficult when it’s to do with people you care about.

It all has a knock on effect with me. I’m anxious, tired verging on exhausted, really grumpy, irritable, and lacking patience at this time. I’m also not able to concentrate too well. These are all behaviours I could do without in dealing with this situation. Yet I’m exhausted by it.

I have been meditating, making sure I take time to do self-calming and self-soothing activities, such as my morning art, Though I have work to do for contracts, I need to take a day away from everything, if I can.

I know there are lessons for me to learn about myself in how I’m reacting ot the situation, stuff from my past that wasn’t processed during my EMDR therapy. If I can work out what it is, I can work through it myself now. Organising EMDR therapy isn’t possible at this time, with lockdown still very much in operation and me being very nervous of going out into the world as well.

So, I’m going to make time today to drink tea, meditate, journal and try to get to the bottom of my own issues and start doing what I can to work through them and heal the past traumas that are causing my reactions at this time.

I think I’ll also take time to crochet (I started a mosaic blanket earlier this week) and watch films or crafting shows on the TV. Eat healthily – I have a yearning for brussel sprouts, of all things! And take time away from social media and news. I may even pick up my flute and play it, for the first time in months and months.

Template Thursday

Another week has gone by, so it’s time for a new template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, it’s another of my collections of little windows. Yesterday was a day where I needed to draw a template that wouldn’t overwhelm me, and a collection of tiny drawings and patterns is a way to break the task down into bite-size, cute, whimsical pieces. As I result, I enjoyed the process and found some contentment and peace too.

In fact, some of the colorists in the group have told me that the really like the way the page is broken down into pieces that can be finished quickly if they are limited for time. The different sizes allow them to choose something that can be coloured in the time they have available. That part can then be left finished, freeing them of the worry of leaving something unfinished.

Coloring, like any creative activity, can help calm, relax, soothe and give a break from negative self-talk, to name a few of the benefits. I know that scientific studies have shown this to be the case and that losing yourself in coloring has a similar effect on brain activity as mindfulness meditation.

I use art to help me with times when my emotional weather is stormy, dull, unsettled. As I said earlier, drawing a collection of small designs was far less overwhelming than drawing a full page illustration yesterday. Yet, I still end up with a full page of mini-templates to colour.

I feel I struggle with colours. I tend to try to put all colours available to me into one template. Every now and then I do work with a limited palette, which also has it’s own problems. My window templates take away any pressure I put on myself regarding colour. Each window is a unique image in it’s own right and I can use whatever colours I wish in it without worrying about the overall cohesiveness of the project.

These window templates are also great fun for trying out different colour combinations, for blending colours, and even for trying out new techniques. You could make notes on the template, or cut out the pictures you want to keep and start an art journal where you note down the media, colours and techniques used to get the effects/blends you like. No longer any need to remember what they are, just refer to the journal!

Talking of cutting the designs out, that is a perfect way to make use of a finished coloring page like this one. The individual images, or groups of them, can be used to make greeting cards, bookmarks or to embellish art journals, journals, scrapbooks, diaries, planners and bullet journals!

As always, I love to see what people create using my templates – share with and/or tag me on social media :
f: @artwyrd
t: @artwyrd
i: @artwyrd

Watercolor and Drawing

Today’s image is a collection of watercolors and drawings I’ve done over the past couple of days.

There’s a coordinating card and envelope (mail art), along with some small panels of watercolouring (approx 1.5″ x 1.5″, so a bit bigger than inchies). I’ve also included my foxglove experiments, which I did this morning.

Sometimes, black pen looks too harsh against the delicate but vibrant watercolours, so for the poppies, I tried pencil instead. I’m really not at all sure about them.

The foxgloves are symptomatic of how I feel today – out of shape, wobbly, ill-defined with harsh edges. I woke with a stinker of a headache again, definitely stress/anxiety/worry induced, as well as a lack of sleep last night. It will pass. In the meantime, I’m watching The Clone Wars on Disney+.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing any art for a few hours; my head and emotions are all bent out of shape at the moment. I’m dissatisfied with all the above; I know that’s me being so frustrated at the moment and it stops me seeing my art for how it really is. When I’m like this, I know that drawing will frustrate me, and the fact I’m not drawing will frustrate me more, especially as I have deadlines looming. However, I logically know that if I try to do things now, I’ll just prolong the feeling of frustration and I’ll end up having to do much more in the long run than if I’m kind with myself until the headache goes and my mood lifts.

The weird thing, however, is that I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me. It’s very confusing; on one hand my emotions are really unsettled, yet there’s contentment within. My EMDR therapist mentioned that it’s a peculiarly Western view that you can only experience one feeling at a time when I mentioned this kind of thing to her. So I know it’s possible to be both discontent and content at the same time – discontent with some parts of life yet still have an inner contentedness.

So, I wander off now to sit with these paradoxical feelings, to try to relax and let the headache ease off enough that I can sleep off the extreme tiredness it will leave me with.

More Botanical Mail Art

Two fairly quick, small projects this morning – small botanical cards. Simple, cute, whimsical, darling. Little treasures.

These were fun to make, relatively quick too. They’d be darling little cards to receive in the post or in person. They’d also work nicely as an addition to a journal – a place to journal or keep little memory making bits and bobs in the envelope too.

Each card is 3″ x 4″ in size and the panels are approx 3.5″ x 2″ in size. I made the envelopes to fit and decorated them with one of the motifs from the designs on each card. I did a tiny bit of hand lettering on one of them too.

So much fun!

So Much Fun ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I had so much fun making these little abstract art creations! They really do go back to my roots, but in the way I like to create now.

To give you an idea of size, the purple one is 3″ x 4″, the other two are 2½” x 4″ in size. I have mounted them on cards that are 4½” x 5″ in size, made from some white Daler-Rowney mixed media paper, and I love how they look!

I started by creating the backgrounds using Distress Inks, a mini foam blending tool and a spritz of water.

Then, I painted on some basic shapes using a brush, water and either colour from Zig Clean Real Brush pens or Distress Inks, followed by some splatters of colour.

The the real fun began. Taking some things I really wasn’t happy with and adding line and pattern to them to give them form, definition, and some dimension.

I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens (05 and 02). I also used a glass pen and gold ink in the top right design. For all designs, I used a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen to add gold highlights, which haven’t shown up well in the scans.

There was something so satisfying and pleasing in working with vague shapes and patterns, the random nature of the background, and using them to inform how my art would develop in each case.

I really, really enjoyed creating these, and I will do more in the future.

I’m not sure how I could create similar digitally – the randomness of wet media isn’t something I’ve worked out how to do…yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe it’s the case of me creating the backgrounds separately using traditional media, then adding the lines digitally. I don’t know yet, however. It may be that this is something I reserve solely for traditional media.

What I do know, is that each design is a work of art in it’s own right and these would look fab framed. In fact, I had a huge inner smile as I mounted them on the card blanks, giving them a simple frame, and saw how finished they then looked. Teeny, tiny pieces of art, by me, Angela.

Zentangle ‘toppers’ for cards

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been awake way too long already today. I just couldn’t settle to get back to sleep when I woke around 4am. I gave up trying just before 6am and thought I’d do some drawing to see if it would settle me.

The soothing style of choice at the moment is zentangle, so I made use of some of the coloured ’tiles’ I made yesterday, and these are the result. I’ve yet to decide whether I will actually turn them into cards, or whether I’ll just keep them as references for the future.

I thought plain black line looked a bit ‘flat’. That may be a consequence of me working digitally so much and the way I achieve dimensionality in my art.

So, in the top design, I used brush, water and some colour from Zig Clean Colour Real Brush Pens by Kuretake. I enjoyed adding shading with colour, though it was hard work with the fine brush I’d chosen, especially when I turned my attention to the one on the bottom left. So, I used a Tombow Blender pen with the colour for the third card on the bottom right. I’m much happier with the smoothness of the gradients here, compared to the other two.

What I’m not happy with is the way the pigment from the black lines seems to move, particularly when I used the brush. I’m not sure whether this is a result of me drawing on top of the distress ink coloured paper, or whether it’s to do with the friction of brush on the lines. I did get a little bit of movement of the pigment with the Tombow blender pen, but not so much it seems.

As I’m digging into my stash of media from past times, I remembered I had some Nuvo Drops from Tonic. So, instead of using a metallic gel pen to add some embellishments, I added some of these drops.

I’m not entirely sure they work. I think I’ll have to look at these cards again after I’ve had a good sleep and a break from them

I am glad I tried adding more saturated colour to the designs to give that illusion of dimension, even though I had to rediscover the joys of using a blender pen. I do find pens so much easier to work with than brushes, that’s for sure. That may be a knock on effect of me using pen ‘brushes’ so much in digital art.

I’m exhausted now, but I won’t go back to bed until my grocery deliveries have arrived.

Zentangle Greeting Card

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I needed to draw something that would be calming and also purposeful. So, as I’ve been enjoying drawing zentangle-style designs, I thought I’d create a greeting card.

How I made the card …

To start, I cut some Claire Fontaine mixed media paper into a 5″ x 5″ tile. Then, I used a mini foam blending tool to colour the paper with Tea Dye and Old Paper Distress Inks. A quick spritz with water to add some more texture followed by a blast with a hair drier, and the paper was ready to draw on.

I used the tangle pattern generator to give me some patterns to use. Today they were:
*Scena (bottom and middle top)
*Sedgling (the weird mushroomy things)
*Squill (the top left pattern)
*Well (the top right pattern)
*Arukas (the central pattern)

I also added some gold dots to the centre of the ‘flowers’ that make up the Well pattern, as well as to the central circle of Arukas.

Before adhering the design to a blank kraft paper card, I used a piece of foam to add some Black Soot Distress Ink around the edges of the card. Once adhered, I used the gold Gelly Roll pen to draw a line around the design.

It was then the envelope’s turn for attention.

I started with a lower border of Scena with some Sedgling growing from the top left and right. To finish the envelope, I added some gold dots.

Reflecting on the finished card

I actually quite like the design of this card. I started with Scena at the bottom and it ended up looking like hills and fields. So, it was a natural progression to add the Sedgling as mushrooms or trees growing on top of Scena.

The next two patterns were geometric ones, and it felt natural to join them with some more scena at the top. Scena also looks like clouds. Arukas was the final pattern to be generated, and it fit perfectly in the space left, filling it like a brightly shining sun.

I had no idea what I was going to create today, just let the random patterns lead me forward.

The only thing I need to do now is to find someone to send the card to! Mind you, I do have quite a few cards in my stash, so I need to find some ones to send them to!

Entangled Borders

Entangled Borders ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve enjoyed creating this sketchbook sampler page. I drew the designs with a mixture of Uniball Unipin pens, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, a medium nib Schaeffer fountain pen, and an extra-fine nib Faber Castell fountain pen. I used dot grid paper from Claire Fontaine.

After scanning the page in, I removed the dot grid and added a grungy paper background. I then decided I’d like to add some colour and shadow/light to the designs. To do this, I used a messy chalk brush, so my colouring isn’t as precise as I usually like it. However, it’s loosened up my expectations of myself as I went with it.

Pastel colours were my palette of choice as I like the way they seem to almost glow against the grungy kraft background. I also like the way they help to enhance the 3-D appearance of the designs. I do enjoy playing with shadow and light.

Some of the designs are examples of my organic, entangled style of drawing. Others are repeating, geometric zentangle-style patterns. And then there’s some inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

I also enjoy working within a clear border. I like the sense of structure it brings to my work. It also satisfies some kind of aesthetic need within me. Every now and then I try work without a border, but the artwork I produce just never feels quite right to me. So, it’s time for me to accept the need for borders is part of my artistic voice.

There is a purpose for me creating these borders. I’m building up a library of them that I can use to embellish quotes and other projects.

Some of these borders would look fab as greeting cards note cards, bookmarks, and to use in other paper craft projects. They’d also work well as embellishments for BuJo, planner, diary, scrapbook and journal pages.

Others would be a great foundation for dangle designs (my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start drawing dangle designs).

What I do know, is that I find drawing soothing and relaxing. So, I’m going to be spending the rest of my Sunday drawing more borders.

Wintry Dangle Designs

Dangle Designs ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yesterday was a crazy busy day with no time for art, let alone blogging!

This morning, I finally had some time to myself. As it’s Friday I wanted to do a dangle design, and I ended up doing four!

I cut the card into the wrong dimensions to create a card, so I thought I’d just make use of the pieces I had and make some custom card blanks and envelopes for them another time.

I coloured the pieces of card with Distress Inks in shades of blue and green. I used Chipped Sapphire, Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Evergreen Bough, Cracked Pistachio and Salty Ocean in various combinations.

These colours gave the card a frosty kind of feel, so I went with some snowy, icy, wintry designs.

I drew the designs and completed the hand lettering with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, which are waterproof.

Plain black lines on the coloured background did look a tad lacking. So, I added some shimmer and colour using Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints.

I’m not so fussed on the ‘Let it snow’ design. However, I am quite pleased with the others.

I am going to mount them as greeting or note cards. However, the designs would look charming in a BuJo, journal, planner, diary or scrapbook. They could easily be adapted to make bookmarks too, or place cards for a special meal.

I hope you’ll give drawing these designs a go, or use them as inspiration for your own projects. I’d love to see what you create – please tag me on social media so I don’t miss them!

If you’d like to know more about dangle designs and have some guidance and inspiration for them, then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start.

It’s been nice to have a couple of hours to indulge myself in art. The past four weeks or so have been crazy busy with other projects being quite demanding of my time, mind and energy. However, they will soon be over and my focus can return, properly, to art.