I took a short break from social media over the last couple of days. I had other things that needed to be done, not least a trip out for brunch in a local cafe with a friend. That’s the first time in over two years I’ve eaten out!
I was highly anxious and stressed, but had a lovely time. The cafe was quiet, thankfully. The food and drink were delicious. It’s our new favourite cafe to go to, one that’s close to us both as we, like most people, are mindful of the cost of fuel at the moment.
The comedown from anxiety and stress leaves me exhausted, and unable to focus my mind. So, some simple colouring of my whimsical flowers sketchbook page from my last blog was just the thing I needed. Nothing to tax my mind. Sketchbook work is a place to experiment, practice, and enjoy the creative process with no pressure for anything to be perfect!
To add colour I used a mixture of Pentel Brush Sign and Tombow Dual Brush pens, along with a water brush. Both of these pens are filled with water-soluble inks and so work a bit like watercolours. I feel I have much more success with these media than I do watercolours, especially as the colours are so bright and vibrant – saturated I think the arty term is.
Just a bit of colour brings the line art to life. It’s its own kind of magic.
I know, not another video. But yes, another. In this one I start to add colour to my drawing, and chat about my method and what makes me smile in terms of colour, and the struggles I have in coming to terms with that.
I’m going to go and work on a mandala now, for Mandala Monday of course!
It’s free to join the group, and the template is a freebie for members of the group.
This week, I created a mandala design with a background of geometric, repeating patterns.
I’m still recovering from the stress of my first trip out since March 2020. Drawing (and colouring) mandalas is an incredibly peaceful, relaxing and mindful activity. So, it was natural that I drew one.
The mandala design is based on some of the abstract art I’ve been doing of late. It’s a bit unusual for my mandalas, but I really do like the organic flow of the lines.
Even though the design is abstract, the repeating symmetry of a mandala bring some structure to the design. I am looking forward to seeing how members of the group add colour to the design.
The geometric patterns in the background also result in a soothing, repetitive rhythm for colouring; a rhythm that results in soothing and calming ones mind and emotions.
I have been totally shaken by the level of anxiety/stress that resulted from my trip out on Tuesday. I am beginning to feel more my contented and calm self. However, I find I’m still irritable and grumpy and have withdrawn from social media and the like for most of the day.
It was a sobering thought when I realised I’d lived most of my life constantly at elevated stress levels, often as higher than what I experienced in the past couple of days.
It’s also a wonderful realisation that I can recognise this now, and I also am able to allow myself self-care time to let all the stress hormones leach from my body. It’s been a long time since they peaked in this way.
It makes me extremely grateful to my therapist for her years of patient work with me. Experiences like the Tuesday Trip remind me of how I used to be and show me how far I have come in recovery from cPTSD.
Yesterday, after my social media post, I binged watched the Harry Potter films from The Order of the Phoenix. I found I was irritated by crochet. I tried cross-stitch, which irritated me too. Eventually, I settled on knitting, which, oddly, soothed me. I think it’s because I could knit and watch the film. Knitting allowed me to channel my irritability into something creative. As I can knit without looking at the knitting, I could also watch and immerse myself in the films at the same time.
My fingers are itching to knit again, now I’ve thought about it.
Even though I slept well last night, I’m still feeling really tired today. This happens as part of the post-stress come-down. It can last a few days. I’ll not be rushing to nap, however. Napping has a knock-on effect on my ability to sleep at night when I’m like this. My naps tend to end up as periods of deep sleep, so I try not to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.
This week, I’ve decided to do a mandala. Mainly because I find mandalas incredibly soothing and calming to draw. I have drawn and coloured the mandala digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
As always, the template is only available to members of the group. It’s free to join the group, and free to download the template. All I ask in return is that you follow the terms and conditions, don’t share the uncoloured template, and credit me with the artwork when you post your wonderful colourations online.
I enjoyed creating yesterday’s skull on top of a mandala-like ring that I wanted to do another one. I particularly enjoyed using the monochrome colour scheme that gives the mandala element an ethereal, ghostly feel.
Today’s prompts from the Instagrammers’ lists are:
Badger skull from @book_polygamist
Agaricus mushrooms from @nyan_sun
Dreamdex tangle pattern from @havepen_willdraw
A pink badger is an in-joke amongst some champions and staff at the Time to Change Wales campaign; pink is also the dominant colour in the Time to Change Wales logos and so on. So, using pink as my monochrome colour was a no-brainer.
As badgers live amongst trees, mushrooms and falling leaves needed to be added, also giving a nod to it being Autumn here in the northern hemisphere.
I enjoyed drawing this illustration. I also think my shading on the skulls is improving. It’s taken some time to get more confident with higher contrast shades of colour to get the dimension I’d like.
On a related note, yesterday I received a copy of ‘Skulls’ by Simon Winchester – a book full of photographs of all kinds of skulls. I’ve not had a good browse of it yet, but it looks fabulous. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with drawing skulls – in a few different styles. I’m sure I have a lot more to explore in the remaining days of Inktober and the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
The first day of a new month means I add a colouring template to the “Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans” Facebook group. I make the template an exclusive freebie for members of the group. The group is free to join. Why not pop over get access to this and all other group templates.
I drew the template on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board using a couple of Uniball Unipin pens. I scanned it in, cleaned up some smudges overruns.
As it’s September, my mind is on the changing seasons; we’re heading into autumn here in the UK. The rowan and hawthorn trees are laden with red berries already. The sycamore helicopters and ash keys are turning golden and are visible amongst the still-green foliage.
It is my favourite time of year. I love the comfortably warm days and the chilly nights. It’s a delight to snuggle down in bed with a warm body and a cool head. I sleep so much better too. Mind you, I think my weighted blanket is helping with that.
I love the change in the colour and quality of light – the golden hue delights me. I’m also looking forward to seeing the relatively rapid colour-changes that happen as the dull, dark greens of summer give way to the fiery conflagration of autumn.
So, my September template has autumnal motifs in it, though they’d work for any season no matter where you are in the world.
I will continue to add colour to this template throughout the month, hopefully. Then, at the close of September, I’ll show the finished coloured version.
I always look forward to seeing how different people colour the drawing. I love to see the different colours, media and techniques they use.
This morning I started to colour the reef illustrations I posted yesterday. I’m using a mixture of Chameleon marker pens and pencils to do this. My photograph of the work in progress isn’t brilliant, but you get the idea I’m sure.
In the larger motifs, I’m using the Chameleon Color Tones markers along with the Color Tops to achieve gradient colouring. Flat colour is added to smaller areas using the pen.
Then, I use Chameleon pencils to add depth and dimension. I’m also adding more depth and dimension by using a white gel pen and a fine Unipin pen to add highlights and texture.
I’m enjoying the process, but I must admit I’m finding it more ‘fussy’ to do than when I digitally colour! Continually swapping pens and pencils is a little frustrating for me.
Maybe that’s just today as I’m tired. I didn’t sleep at all well last night. Stomach cramps were plaguing me throughout the night, though they do seem better today. Painkillers have stopped the pain completely today; yesterday, they merely dulled it.
Also, when I woke, my mind was very active with flashbacks related to my EMDR therapy yesterday. It was a very emotional session, lots of tears and upset. However, my therapist tells me I’m making good progress. I believe her.
Today, everything seems like hard work as I’m so exhausted, not just from the lack of sleep, but emotionally too. These feelings will pass; they always do.
I don’t know how much more I’ll do today. I don’t think I’ll get a lot of colouring done. I do feel I need to draw though, so perhaps I’ll do that after I’ve done some errands today. Typical of ‘adulting’ to get in the way of self-soothing and self-care.