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!

Artistic journeys…

Mixed media

IMG_0650My previous blog post about a mixed media work in progress is still on hold, although I have added a crackle paint to it in places, which has added some texture to it.  I’m pleased with the result, but I still am not sure what else to do to complete it.

I have completed a very textured background for some mixed media work; you can see it above.  What I’m going to do with it I’m not quite sure, but I’m sure it will all come together at the right time.

Abstract Line Art

I’ve been drawing more ‘Doodle Worlds’ images from time to time and now need to gather them together to see if there’s enough for another ‘book’ for the Colorist app.

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I also turned my attention to colour and pattern and the two images above are the results of around three to four days work.

I used A4 300g/m² smooth watercolour paper and applied distress inks to create the coloured areas.  I wanted to create the illusion of shadow and light in these areas.  Next, I used various drawing pens to add the patterns.  On the green piece, I’ve added copper and gold coloured metallic highlights.  The pink one isn’t quite finished yet.

Sketchbooks and my artistic journey

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As the days are becoming lighter and warmer, my thoughts are going to getting out to visit places and to do some sketching/drawing (intense anxiety and intense self-consciousness allowing).

With this in mind, I’ve prepared pages in an A5 and an A4 sketchbook.  I’ve used Distress and Distress Oxide Inks.

The image above shows the first page in my A4 sketchbook, a page full of daisies, worked using different media, trying out different styles and degrees of detail.

I like to work on a coloured background, I don’t know why, I just do.  I think it may be that I like to add shadows and highlights to create and image from the colour on the page.

I’ve not done much in the way of sketchbook work for a long while, but the need to revisit and to continue to explore different ways of expressing myself artistically has surfaced.  I think this is a much over-due response to the surfeit of work on colouring books in the past three or so years, as well as the struggle I’ve had with my mental health.

My energy, when mentally able, has been focused on completing the work I was contracted for with various publishers.  I enjoyed the work, the subject matter pushed my boundaries in the subjects I tackled.  I’m so grateful for that work as well as it allowed me to make changes in my working life that helps me to take care of my mental health.  It was/is also an activity that helps me manage my mood.  I lose myself in drawing/creating, finding myself ‘in the flow’ where my mind stills, or, rather, where I no longer pay attention to the inner critic.

However, the colouring book work was the focus of my artistic energies for much of that time, and I had little energy left to explore other areas of artistic expression.  I didn’t mind that at all, as I’ve said, I enjoyed all the work I did, and I will continue to create templates.  However, that is not all I want to do or to create.

I now have time to revisit ways of artistic expression I put to one side in my focus on the work for publishers, and I have the chance to see how my skills and expression have developed/changed.  I also get the chance to explore and discover new ways of expressing myself, using new media.

In this way I can continue to discover, practice and refine my artistic voice and vocabulary.  I still feel like a toddler in the world of art.  I wonder if I’ll ever progress from that state.

The biggest obstacle to me doing this is the lack of belief and confidence I have in myself and my artistic abilities.  I also have a problem in deciding on what to draw.  Then, there’s also the issue of finding themes/styles/media to explore that will challenge me just enough that I feel I can make a good attempt at them and gain confidence in them, but not so much that it overwhelms me and I fail before even trying.

The most important thing for me, however, is to enjoy my artistic journey, no matter where it leads me.  The pleasure and peace I get from creating will be something that will serve me extremely well throughout the rest of my days on this planet.

 

New coloring books out!

New year, new books out!

The first is the sixth in the ‘Color Me’ series from Race Point Publishing, part of the Quartos group.  This one is called Color Me Grateful, and is Lacy Mucklow and I  It’s already available in the US, and in the UK from Thursday.

Out now, are two titles in the Forever Inspired series from Skyhorse Publishing – Angela Porter’s Designer Doodles and Angela Porter’s Tropical Rainforest.

To see all the books which have coloring templates designed by me, check out Angela Porter’s Amazon Author Page

Color me calm – NYT bestseller!

We’ve done it!  Color Me Calm has made it to the NYT bestsellers lists!

A huge thank you goes out to Jeannine Dillon, editor, and Lacy Mucklow for being partners in this five book series.

Thanks also go to all the bods at Race Point Publishing, a division of Quartos.

Finally, but definitely not least, a ginormous thank you goes out to all those people who have supported me in so many ways that have helped me get to this point in my life, one where my creativity is being expressed and I am healing on so many levels as a result.

 

Testing coloured pencils and methods of blending them.

I have been reading much debate on various facebook colouring groups about the best pencils to use and so on, and some of the things that are said seem to put a lot of pressure on people who are on limited budgets to feel their artwork isn’t any good because they aren’t using the best, most expensive pencils or products or they don’t have loads and loads of products to use.

I may get slated and harangued for this, but I have to say it.

The thing that makes the biggest difference to the end product isn’t so much the exact pencils you use but the way in which you use them.

There’s an old adage that says a poor workman blames his tools, and to a degree this is true.

If you are going to make a work of art that is to last for aeons, then yes, it is important to use the best of the best – acid-free archival quality paper, canvas, board, paints,pencils, pastels, etc etc.

However, is this really what we are doing when we colour in templates on printer paper that is most likely not acid free, or the books we buy?  The chances are not. People colour for lots of different reasons, and you need to examine your reason for enjoying colouring – it is something that should make you feel good in some way, not bad.  It should be an activity that isn’t filled with worries and concerns, it should be an activity that is carefree, relaxing and meditative. It should allow you to take a break from your day to day worries. It is an activity that can fit into anyone’s budget, and no one should be made to feel less because they have a tight budget, and the worry about what others will think will take away from the whole purpose of coloring.

Anyway, getting back to the point …

While the more expensive brands of pencils may make it easier to achieve various effects, that they may be more highly pigmented, that they may be less susceptible to breakage, are the cheaper pencils really that bad?

I admit it.  I use Crayolas as well as Faber-Castell’s Polychromos.  I have Staedtler pencils of different price ranges in my collection.  I have kids pencils, Pentel pencils, all sorts. What makes me choose a particular colour pencil over another is the colour and the vibrancy of the colour more than the make or ‘model’ of the pencil!

Then, it’s down to my technique on how I get the colours to fade out or to blend one into another…

So, what I thought I’d do is to do a little test.  And this image shows the results of my tests!  And I’ll divulge some observations underneath!

Angela Porter Coloured Pencils Test 1

The first rows are just one colour of gradient colouring and various ways of blending out the gradient.  I tried to achieve the same effect, not being too fussy, in each case.

Surprisingly, the Crayola pencil layered onto the paper really easily, much less effort was needed than for the Polychromos pencils, which were the hardest to lay the colour down with.  The Polychromos needed a lot of pressure to get a thick layer of colour down.

The various forms of blending worked well with all the pencils, but the blending solution gave the smoothest blending of all. In all cases, there wasn’t much difference in the final blended version, which surprised me as you’d expect there to be when dealing with pencils from the bottom end and top end of the market.

I then tried the blending solution to see how well it blended heavily laid down colour out over clean paper.

Here, the higher pigment content of the Polychromos pencils showed a bigger area could be blended out.  However, Crayolas and the Art-Colour Pencils weren’t far behind.  The Art-Grip pencils, again by Faber-Castell, were the worst, yet they were the second most expensive pencils tested.

The last rows show how well various shades of pencils can be blended by the different methods.

I was really surprised at how well the Crayolas did – they blended far more easily and smoothly with all the different blending methods!

Of course, the best method of blending for smoothness is by using blending solution.

I will say it again, I did my best to make this a test that compares the different brands fairly and took my time to ensure that the colours were laid down with as equal intensity and with the same method in all cases.

I must admit, I didn’t expect Crayolas to do as well as the other, more expensive pencils.  However, the Crayolas did significantly better, in my opinion, in many instances. What a shocker!

The big advantage that the more expensive pencils have is the huge range of colours available, which makes finding the precise colour you want to use easy and you don’t have to worry about how to mix different coloured pencils to get that colour you want.

The thing going for the Crayolas is their price point, they are easier to lay down than other brands which have harder leads, they blend really well and easily.

I hope this helps.  As I’ve said (typed?), I expect a lot of criticism and haranguing for this, but so be it, I speak as I find, and I found that all the pencils I tried out worked more than good enough for me, and I’m happy with that!