This morning I created some tall, thin (or short and wide) backgrounds using Distress Oxides on some Arteza Mixed media paper. The paper is 8.25″ x 2.87″ (21cm x 7.2 cm) in size.
I chose this one to draw on for no other reason that it was the one that appealed to me at this time. I started with the seed pods and foliage at the bottom, and worked my way through some hand lettering / hand-drawn typography to more abstract line-art.
I drew with a M Pitt Artist Pen from Faber-Castell, though I added the stippling with an XS Pitt Artist pen.
No glitter or glitz on this one, nor any highlights. Not yet. I’m not in the mood for any, not today.
It’s Friday so it’s dangle day! Today I’ve chosen to share with you my May dangle design from my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘
I’ve used the line-art design and just recoloured it. Different colours give a different ‘feel’ to the dangle design!
The design itself is made up of simple, repeating motifs added in chains of charms. Simple, cute, charming, whimsical and pretty too, even if I say so myself.
This would be lovely as the monthly cover page in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, journal, diary.
A different sentiment could be used in the banner to make it a perfect greeting card or note card.
One of the dangles would look rather cute as a bookmark; it’s easy to lengthen the designs.
I took a little trip out on my own yesterday. It’s one of my goals as I progress along my healing journey from CPTSD to get out and about more. I chose to go somewhere familiar to me, the little town of Glastonbury in Somerset.
I was able to wander around shops, but when it came for lunch I totally balked at going into any cafe at all. Issues surrounding my body size rose up and I just couldn’t go into them.
So I went home.
The whole trip exhausted me. More of an emotional exhaustion though from being brave and keeping it together and interacting with people in shops.
When I got home I had something to eat, which then resulted in an upset stomach/digestive system.
I then went to bed and slept.
I’m still exhausted today.
But I did it. I went somewhere a bit further afield (a round trip of nearly 180 miles is a little further afield to me!) by myself.
I’m surprised at how much the trip has exhausted me given I went somewhere I know, that is familiar, and I used to feel quite comfortable there.
All the same, it’s highlighted some issues I have with how I view myself.
Don’t get my wrong, I am overweight, but my mind seems to think I’m the size of a small elephant and I won’t fit anywhere. I have no idea of my body size other than the size of clothes I wear, which tend to be larger than I need as I think I’m larger than I am.
Is this body dysmorphia? I don’t know.
So, when a cafe or shop is busy I tend to walk away fearing there’ll be nowhere I can fit into, as well as me being overwhelmed in crowds and crowded places.
The complex layers of how CPTSD affects my daily life and activities a lot of people take for granted. It also shows some more of the barriers I need to overcome in order to finally live the kind of life I’d like to, one that isn’t quite as limited by CPTSD as it has been through most of my life.
Yesterday was a day where I was out of sorts for some unspecified reason. Drawing little, intricate bits of art was the only thing that helped to soothe me and calm me. Along with comfort eating, which was not good way to cope.
I get days like this. I have no idea what triggered this response. It may have been a visit to my accountant on Tuesday and the tax bill to pay – I have absolutely nothing to worry about with either, but dealing with finances is a trigger for the anxiety and depression that are part of my cPTSD.
I know I was on edge about the meeting, even though I knew there would be nothing to worry about. The anxiety had been gradually growing through the previous few days. This anxiety provoked the warning signs of an incipient migraine/stress headache on Tuesday morning. Luckily I caught it in time with painkillers so that it didn’t develop into a full blown migraine and after the meeting I was left tired but feeling more at ease.
Yesterday, the anxiety ramped up again as I went to get the paperwork and bank card to make the payments. So, yesterday I needed to manage my anxiety and tiny, intricate drawings were what was needed.
Today, I know I have to do these things, and I will. I don’t have the anxiety I had about them yesterday. I think yesterday was just too close to a few days of spiralling anxiety as accounts day approached closer and closer.
cPTSD can make doing the simple things in life far more difficult to do. I do get things done, though I do have to be kind to myself at times, making sure I have plenty of time before the deadline.
I used fountain pens on white paper to draw the designs. The M is on paper that is around 4″ x 4″, the G is a little narrower than 4″ for some reason.
After scanning them in, I did a bit of digital wizardry to fill the letters with a gold foil texture, just to see what it would look like, and they look OK to me. I’m not too keen on the black line around the G though. I do like the contrast of the golden letters and the black and white designs around them.
Today, I have to colour the cover for my next book for Dover Publications Creative Haven series. And keep warm and safe. I woke up to a lovely sunrise with a frosty world – everything was covered with white. I know the temperature was down to -3ºC last night as I came home around 10:30 pm, and it would only have got colder as the skies were clear and starry. It’s beginning to go now, but clouds have covered the sky.
The frost is beginning to disappear now, but clouds have covered the blue skies. Snow is forecast for a bit later on today. I like to see snow. I like the way the world falls silent in heavy snow as it seems to muffle the usual background noise of modern times. I’m wise enough to know that for me to go out in snow is never a wise idea; I tend to slip and slide and fall and hurt myself. So, as I have nothing pressing that requires me to leave home, I’ll be staying safe and warm indoors! Once the cover is coloured, my attention will go to February’s templates for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans Facebook group. Someone there has asked for some simpler templates like my dangle designs, so I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
This little card and envelope took me around 3 hours to make. I had to remember how to do various things and find my supplies to do them with!
My first task was to make the sentiment banner. I had the idea for this one after someone asked me for recommendations of good books for learning hand lettering as they’re not at all happy with their handwriting.
Hand lettering and handwriting are not the same thing. Hand lettering is something you unconsciously do. Hand lettering is the conscious and deliberate drawing of letters, one by one. Practice, like everything else you want to learn and become good enough at, is important. I suggested that they try printing the sentiments out on their computer or using words cut out of books or magazines or stickers or stamps and ink pads used by card makers until they’re comfortable with their own lettering style.
That led me to thinking that rather than writing the sentiment directly onto the paper that I’m going to draw the dangle design on, what about if I hand lettered it on paper again and again until I’m happy with it and then cut that version out. I could then layer it onto coloured card to make a border, or onto the paper or or or…
So, that’s what I wanted to use here. A variation on what I’ve done in previous cards. I cut two trips of mixed media paper, one around 1cm wide, the other around 0.7cm wide.
On the narrow strip I wrote my sentiment. I did this confidently as I knew if I got it wrong I could always write it again – I’d not ruin my dangle design in any way. I then trimmed the strip close to the start and end of the sentiment.
Next, I coloured the wider strip of paper with victorian velvet Distress Ink. I trimmed one piece so it was just a little longer than the sentiment. Then, I cut two rectangles from the coloured strip. I cut triangular notches into one end of each of the rectangles. I used the sponge applicator to make sure the edges of the coloured pieces, including inside the notches, and the sentiment strip coloured. By doing this, there’s a darker edge to the pieces and this defines them against the background. The final step in making the banner was to glue the pieces together as shown in the photo.
I cut two pieces of mixed media paper for the front of the card. The smaller one I made a little narrower than the sentiment banner; I wanted the ribbon to hang over the edge a little. I used a pencil to mark where I wanted the banner to sit on the card. I then used a pencil to mark out the centre of the card so I could position my dangle centrally.
Above where the ribbon would sit I wanted to place an arrangement of pot plants – succulents and a cacti. Below I wanted a fairly simple dangle, but one that had elements that appeared in the arrangement of pot plants. I drew these with a 05 Uniball Unipin Pen.
I then wanted to colour the two pieces of mixed media paper before I coloured the designs in.
For the larger one I used Peacock Feathers, Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks to colour the whole of the paper panel. I edged this panel with Faded Denim Distress Ink. Then, I lightly sprayed the panel with water so that I’d get some faded watermarks as a texture in the colour.
For the upper panel, I used a very light hand to add the same Distress Inks to the paper, but in a much paler shade. I also edged this panel with the Faded Denim Distress Ink. I realised it hadn’t erased the pencil guidelines before I added the Distress Ink so when I went to erase them they wouldn’t fully erase. I’d forgotten that I had to do that! Still, it adds a bit to the distressed feel of the cards, that and the damage marks that were on the larger panel too.
To colour the dangle design I used Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. I used a fairly limited palette across the design.
The last two steps before assembling the card were add dots of gold ink and some shiny adhesive crystal gems.
To assemble the card I used glue to adhere the lower panel directly to the card. I then used foam squares to adhere the dangle design panel to the lower panel and the sentiment ribbon to the dangle design panel. This card has quite a bit of dimension to it.
My final job was to decorate the envelope. I decided to draw some pot plants and some of the daisies along the bottom. I added some butterflies to the left as the area above the pot plant seemed empty, unbalance. I haven’t coloured the envelope in as I’m in two minds whether to or not. Also, it would be nice to edge the envelope with the Faded Jeans Distress ink too, maybe even colouring the envelope with the same Distress Inks as the card. There’s also the back flap of the envelope that would benefit from a little potted succulent drawing I think.
Distress Inks are water-reactive, so if I do this, once the envelope is addressed a light application of Micro Glaze would seal the colour in so it wouldn’t be damaged in the mail.
I’m actually quite pleased with this card. It’s got me thinking about how to do more of this kind of stuff – card making the ‘Angela’ way!
If you give making cards like this a go, I’d love to see what you create! Happy art-ing, lettering and crafting!
Here’s a pretty pair of whimsical and cute dangle designs card and envelope.
For the focal point of the card I used a butterfly from a pack of Ephemera from Tim Holtz called Botanical. I added some metallic gold ink highlights to the butterfly as I knew I’d be adding gold to the design. I also edged the butterfly with some Peeled Paint Distress Ink using a sponge ink applicator.
I then cut my paper to fit the card blank I wanted to use; I learned my lesson from the the last card I made! The card blank measured 8½” by 4¼”. So, I cut a piece of Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper 7¾” by 3¾” to create the dangle design on.
I used the butterfly as a guide as to where I wanted to add some flowers upon which it could alight. I also drew pencil guidelines in for the centre of the design and the sentiment banner.
Then it was drawing the design. I used a 05 Unipin pen from Uniball.
I started by drawing the flowers at the top of the design.
Next, it was the hand lettering for the sentiment ‘Just for you’.
Flowers, hearts, stars and spherical and teardrop shaped beads are my goto choices for dangles. I did add a charm that was based on some jewellery, as well as a square charm with a geometric pattern inside it.
When I’d drawn the main dangle I realised I wanted to add a bit of width to it. So, I added two bars stretching out from the side of the square charm and used the ends to hang dangles made up of hearts and beads.
Colouring was the next task. I used Tombow Dual Brush pens to colour the design in. The colour gradients weren’t strong enough for me, so I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to add depth to the colours.
Then, it was time to attach the butterfly using some foam squares.
I then used a dip ink pen to add some dots of gold FW Pearlescent ink around the design. I also used gold to fill in the lettering of the sentiment and various elements of the dangle design.
Next, I added white dots highlights to some of the design elements using a Sakura Souffle pen.
I also used a blue-grey Chameleon pencil to add shadows to the design at this point.
Before affixing the design to the card blank I used a sponge ink applicator and Peeled Paint Distress Ink to edge the design. That was the card done.
I then thought it would be fun to create an example of an addressed envelope using a dangle design as a monogram. I used some of the charms from the card for this design. I also drew some simple, whimsical butterflies above the monogram. I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to colour the dangle design and to add a shadow to the dangle.
Pencil guidelines helped me to keep my lettering evenly spaced and of a consistent size. In this case I just guesstimated them, but in future I think I will need to measure the spacing of the lines!
Finally, I added some glittery golden stars with a gold glitter Uniball Gel pen as well as some white dot highlights using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
One thing I realise I didn’t do was to make the colours in the dangle more harmonious with the butterfly. The color tones of the butterfly are quite antique and grungy and I used rather bright, clean colours to colour the design with. I also am not happy with the monogram on the envelope; it’s too small and the lettering style doesn’t seem sympathetic to the rest of the lettering.
I’m going to put these down to me still suffering the lingering effects of the stinking cold I’ve had for the past three days. It’s definitely broken now, but I’m still not 100%.
It’s also a learning experience. I’m not a wonderful card maker; I do dabble in it from time to time, however dangle cards are fun to make and with the decorated envelopes it’s double the fun! I think I need to start sending happy mail to people! I’d be happy to receive this card with a letter inside – how would you feel about it?
Today I give the second of my anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales. Today, it’s just a couple of miles down the road from me.
I was tired yesterday after my talk; not physically tired, emotionally tired, and I still feel a little so this morning.
I started drawing this before I went off yesterday, did some more work on it last night and finished it this morning.
Art really helps soothe my emotions and helps me find that place of calm, contentment and balance.
That’s my #tuesdaytip. Find something you can lose yourself in, that brings you peace and calm and contentment and a break from the stresses, worries, problems of life. It’s all about self-care. For me it’s art or making music, sometimes taking a walk, and mindfulness meditation. For others it could be gardening, baking, woodturning, swimming, cycling, or any one of a myriad activities that bring peace and contentment.
My 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.
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
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.