Just because – Autumnal Dangle design mail art

Just because - Autumn dangle design greeting card © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Just because – Autumnal Dangle Design mail art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Making coloured backgrounds.

Yesterday evening I had a pleasant hour or so using Distress Oxide and Distress inks to make some backgrounds for future card projects.

I used a soft rubber Brayer roller to add distress oxides to a small Gelli Plate. I then spritzed the Gelli plate with water containing either pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls before lifting the print with some Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper. The water in the spray reacts with the inks to give an oxidised look. The Perfect Pearls in the spray add some subtle shimmer to the finished background.

Once the Distress Oxide background layers were dry, I used a rectangular die to cut a section from them.

To create backgrounds with Distress Inks, I used a mini foam blending tool to cover the card with colour. I then sprayed the card with some water containing pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls. Again, the water reacts with the Distress Inks, but this time creating small watermarks. The Perfect Pearls again add shimmer.

Making the card.

I chose a background coloured with Wild Honey, Tea Dye, Old Linen and Walnut Stain Distress Inks which were then spritzed with pearl Perfect Pearls infused water.

I wanted to create a dangle design card. From experience, I know that drawing on backgrounds with added Perfect pearls that my fine-liner Uniball Unipin pens can become clogged by the tiny flakes of mica that comprise Perfect Pearls.

So, I tried using a Uniball Vision Elite rollerball pen. The ink in it is supposed to be water-resistant, tamper-proof, fade-proof. It’s also very black, which suits me just fine.

 I was surprised at how well the pen wrote on the background – not just because of the Perfect Pearls and Distress Ink, but also because the mixed media paper is lightly textured. 

Once I’d completed the design, I used a needle=tip Pentel Energel Liquid Ink Gel pen to add smaller details.

While the plain black line on the coloured background looked OK, I thought it needed some colour to help lift it from the background.

I launched myself into using Copic markers, using somewhat darker colours than I usually would. That meant it wasn’t until I was adding some colour to the ribbon banner that I discovered that the Copic reacts with the inks in the pens and smears them. I was so disappointed in myself for not checking the pens were Copic safe. Oh well, you live and learn!

Rather than start again, I carried on with the card. I wanted to add some clear embossing powder to help the colours of the Copic markers stand out even more. So, I used a Versamark pen to colour over the designs, and then I sprinkled on the clear Wow Embossing Powder. I used a heat tool to melt the Embossing powder and achieve a glossy, dimensional finish on the dangle design.

The final step was to adhere the dangle design to a card blank, after adding some gold dots with a Uniball Signo glitter gel pen.

Fancy having a go at drawing your own dangle designs and not sure where to start? Well, you could start with my book “A Dangle A Day” where I lead you through the process. I have over 100 designs in the book where I take you step by step through drawing them. I have also included ideas for where you can use them including as cards, bookmarks, in BuJos, journals, scrapbooks and more.

Making the envelope.

I used the pre-made envelope that came with the card blank. I decided to keep the envelope white and add a border using some of the motifs from the dangle design.

I did use the Uniball Vision Elite gel pen and Pentel needlepoint pen to draw the design. This time, I coloured the design with some Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. 

The low quality of the paper envelope wasn’t conducive to really amazing colouring, but it worked well enough.

Reflecting on the card and envelope.

I could’ve kicked myself for not testing the pens to see if they were Copic friendly. I don’t think I could send this card to anyone as it just isn’t up to scratch. I need to remember this in future projects.

Also, the Versamark pen smeared the ink a little too, but nowhere as much as the Copics did.

I used much darker Copic colours than I usually would without thinking that heat embossing them would intensify the colours even more. The colours aren’t as dark as in the photo, but they are still darker than I would like.

The coloured pencils colouring worked much better and perhaps I would’ve been better off using them on the card panel. Again, something to remember for the future.

I also noticed that the anti-static powder I used before using the Versamark and embossing powder has either removed or covered the Perfect pearls. I used the anti-static powder so prevent the embossing powder sticking to places it didn’t belong. This is always a possibility, especially when using Distress Inks to colour the background.

In hindsight, I may have been better drawing, colouring and heat embossing the design before colouring the background. However, I do like to have pre-coloured backgrounds to use for arty projects.

So, Angela, how are you? 

I’m OK, still tired from a busy few days at the weekend and start of the week. I also have a flare-up of an ovarian cyst which is rather painful and achy. I’m feeling content and optimistic otherwise, though still tired even though I slept well last night. The exhaustion that comes with interacting with people, therapy and not enough me-time can linger for a good while — the joys of having CPTSD and being an introvert.

Yesterday, I was fatigued, and the flare-up ramped up in intensity as the day progressed. I wasn’t in the right place to create art or focus on work. I needed to practice self-care.

I chose to do some crochet after hearing about Crochyay, the online presence of a young woman called Olivia who makes flowers and leaves them with a little message tag for people to find and keep – random acts of kindness. She uses crochet to help manage her anxiety and depression as well.

I thought it was a beautiful idea and I thought flowers or little amigurumi hearts or similar would be lovely to make. Small, quick to finish projects that I feel I could manage. I’ve lost the oompf to do larger crochet projects such as shawls and blankets, but some little ones would be lovely to do. 

I do find crochet and other crafts quite soothing and calming. I also feel I’m doing something, and they can stop me from just sleeping my day away. Little projects like flowers are fab for me when the thought of anything bigger fills me with procrastination and disinterest. Also, I find it much more motivating to do projects for other people than for myself, even if I don’t know those people.

So I managed to make quite a few flowers yesterday. I now need to make leaves and assemble them into little posies. Then, there are tags to make.

I’m also looking forward to making the tags as I can draw and decorate them too! So, little projects in their own right.

Finally, I’ll need to overcome my self-consciousness and anxiety about leaving them for people to find them.

Dangle Design Greeting Cards

Dangle Design Greeting Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Dangle Design Greeting Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today I have two card designs for you, both featuring dangle designs, but in different ways.

If you like dangle designs and you’d like to give drawing them yourself but need a little help or inspiration, then you may find my book “A Dangle A Day” of interest. In the book, I take you, step by step, through how to draw over 100 dangle designs, along with some ideas of how you could use them. 

Love Ya and With Love Card.

I started by using the Foursquare Backdrop: Portrait die from lawn fawn to cut the frames and panels from a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I purchased this die, and the one in the second card, from Seven Hills Crafts here in the UK.

Next, I used Stormy Skies and Broken China Distress Inks to add a subtle colour gradient to the panels.

My idea was to draw four different dangle designs for each small square panel. I also wanted to include some hand-lettering, which I did.

So, I used Unipin pens from Uniball to do the drawings and lettering. I did use pencil outlines for the ribbon banners and lettering to make sure their placement was just right.

I coloured the design elements and charms using Copic markers. As the individual design elements were so small, I just used two colours to achieve shading in the bigger ones.

I also added a drop shadow around the designs using a BV marker that is a greyish-violet. It’s a very subtle drop shadow.

I had to add some sparkle and shine to the card, so I used a clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle brush pen along with a gold glitter Signo gel pen to do this.

To assemble the card, I glued the frame to the card base using Tombow Mono adhesive. Then, I glued the square panels into place.

I managed to get glue onto the front of the card and trying to rub it off while wet just left a dark, dirty smear. I’ve ordered some Tombow Sand erasers to see if they’ll remove the mark. If not, I’ll have to either work out another way to cover it up or just consign the card to the pile of things not to do again!

Black and white floral card.

Again, my first job was to cut out the frame and panels using a die. For this card, I used the Foursquare Backdrop: Landscape die from lawn fawn along with Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I also decided to use this die in portrait mode.

To draw the design elements, I used Unipin pens from Uniball. I hung dangle designs from the top of each card to fill in some of the space that was there. I wish I’d used a slightly thicker pen than the 01 though. They look almost like an afterthought.

Anyway, once I finished the drawings, I wasn’t sure whether to add colour or not. So, I’ve left the pictures as black and white line art for now.

I used Tombow Mono glue to attach the frame and panels to a 5″x7″ piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board. I did this as I realised that the dies are made to fit card blanks made from half a sheet of US letter-sized paper folded in half. In the UK, we use A4 sized paper, which is different enough in size to make it awkward to cut the paper to fit the card. I have ordered some 5″ x 7″ card blanks with envelopes, and then I can finish assembling this card. I’m likely to trim the foundation panel down a little and maybe try to carefully add some colour around the edge. Maybe.

It’s at this point I’ll decide whether or not to add colour and to see if I can thicken the lines around the dangles without messing it up. Mind you, if I do mess it up, it’s another experiment I can learn from, hopefully remembering not to do this again.

Things I’ve learned and techniques I want to try.

The lawn fawn dies work great! They come with smaller dies – heart, cloud, small star, large star, sun, small sun and speech bubble – which may be useful in the future. I had made my mind up that I’d limit myself to die sets that are simple in shape to for cutting out panels to draw on and maybe for layering. 

I rolled my eyes at myself when I worked out that dies from an American company would work best with American sized paper for card bases. However, I can work around that now I’ve realised that. I’m comfortable working with inches; most of my craft tools have both inches and centimetres on them. However, the inches are visibly the most dominant measurement system. 

Glue. Me and glue. Not sure how I can avoid smearing in the future. Hopefully, the sand eraser will help to remove my gluey, sticky, dirty-looking mistakes.

I like using Distress Inks for backgrounds. However, the pale colours of markers that I prefer to use are translucent and so combine with the background. I could use other media such as coloured pencils for colouring. Or I could use distress inks or water-based marker pens with a damp brush to add colour. I could also use a damp brush to remove some of the distress inks. In that case, I may have to use watercolour paper instead of Bristol Board.

I could also use a Versamark pen – which contains transparent, sticky ink – to colour over my design elements once coloured and then use clear embossing powder and a heat gun to protect the colours. I could then add the distress inks after heat-setting the embossing powder. The embossing powder would add some dimension and shine to the cards. If I used a sparkle pen or gold gel pen, for example, the embossing would encase it and highlight these embellishments Ieven more, I think. I need to try this idea out!

So, there are lots of possibilities for going forward with this.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling the more content and optimistic than I have for the past two or three weeks.

I’m still feeling out of kilter; changes are happening in my perceptions around my emotional/mental wellbeing. I’m also aware of shifts that are happening in other parts of me.

I’m still poop-scared about what is going on in the world. I can’t see that ending anytime soon, however. This, and the rest of the emotional rollercoaster I seem to be on, are still upsetting my digestive system, so I’m not feeling too well much of the time. 

Yesterday, I was so unsettled and scared that I couldn’t settle to do much art, and I became so dissatisfied and frustrated with whatever I did. I couldn’t settle to anything else either – not crochet, reading, nothing. 

As I’ve said, today I do feel better, so I need to turn my attention to trying out Affinity Publisher to create some materials I’ve been commissioned to do (the artwork and inserts for a CD by a band!). I’ll see about setting the templates up first and go from there. I’ve not tried to do this the past couple of days as I know my head and my emotions weren’t in the right place. I’m not sure that they are today; it’s only by doing that I will find out whether they are or not.

Coloring Book Day 2019

Angela Porter's Coloring Book Fans August Template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans August Template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

That’s right, there’s an annual day to celebrate coloring books and to indulge yourself in the relaxing, calming, stress-busting activity of coloring, no matter your age or gender!

As you can see if you browse this blog, I do a lot of art. Whether drawing, colouring, or other forms of creativity in art it really does relax, calm and soothe me when I need it.

And there are times when I really do need calming and relaxing. It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my blog for a while that I have complex PTSD (CPTSD) and I am slowly recovering from it with the help of EMDR therapy. On the days where I have low mood or anxiety or I’ve been startled into hyper-vigilance, art really helps to soothe my jarred emotions and calm me until the stress hormones leach from my body returning to their normal level for me. That is still an elevated level, but a level that has always been there in my life.

It’s not just me saying this. Research has shown that spending time colouring has a similar effect on the brain as mindfulness meditation.

One piece of research at the University of West England in Bristol has shown that colouring can reduce stress, boost creativity and increased mindfulness (being aware of what you are doing at that moment, not thinking about the future or past).

The benefits of colouring are listed in an article on the developing good habits blog.

There are so many coloring books available as well as colouring pages, you can find just about anything to suit your tastes. Also, I have many colouring books available (I think it’s around 20 now) – have peek at at my Angela Porter Amazon author page.

If you like to draw your own designs to colour and are looking for something new and a little different, then you may like to take a look at my book ‘A Dangle A Day’. In the book I show you what dangles are, how to draw them and use them with hand lettered sentiments and monograms. They’re fun to draw, simple, and there are many ways to use them such as in bullet journals (BuJos), planners, journals, scrapbooks, greetingscards, note cards, bookmarks and more.

Also, I gift an exclusive template to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group at least once a month. They’re free to members and shouldn’t be available anywhere else, though intellectual theft isn’t unknown in the realms of the internet.

The image above is the August template for the facebook group. I coloured it digitally using gradient tools for some speed. It would take me weeks to do the way I’ve been creating digital art of late!

No matter what you use to colour – digital or traditional media – I’d love to see how you’ve brought my line art to life, whether from one of my books or from one of the templates available in the facebook group. There’s also some templates available on my angela porter illustrator facebook page too.

Here’s the tags you can use to connect with me on the social media platforms that I use:

Fish Dangle Design

Fish Dangle Design © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had some fun this morning! I wanted to create a cute and whimsical dangle design for today. A cute fish came to mind, so I went with that. See, you can create a dangle using any kind of design elements!

I also thought that it would be fun as well as a bit of a challenge to use the digital art techniques I’ve been using lately.

If you just focus on the outline shapes, it’s not a complex design. There are many ways to fill a fish shape with pattern and colour and you can make it as simple or intricate as you like.

My love of bright, almost psychedelic colours, has also crept out for the fish and I love the happy smile on the fish’s face.

The shell is a bit out of place, perhaps. A bit too realistic in colour and so on. But that’s OK. It’s shown me that I can digitally paint more realistic, if quite stylised, designs. That’s going to be an interesting path to explore.

The seaweed forming the ‘string’ for the dangle is very stylised and I just thought some pearls would be in keeping with the ocean theme.

This isn’t a design in my book “A Dangle A Day“. However there are many, many other designs that I give step by step instructions for within its pages.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, Angela. How are you today?

I’m fine today. Content. It’s warm here in the Valleys of South Wales so I think it’ll be a quiet day for me. I don’t do well in the heat; I wilt.

Nothing else about CPTSD, mental health, emotional health or EMDR today. Not after that humongous blog post I did yesterday.

I do need to sort out my anti-stigma presentation for Time to Change Wales as I’m giving a talk next week and it’s time to change things around and change the focus of my talk from my life story to
■ what CPTSD is
■ more about how CPTSD affects me
■ the stigma and discrimination I’ve faced
■ how people have supported, helped me
■ what support I would have liked to have from people

I’ve already created a CPTSD ‘graphic’ to use in the presentation. I do need to gather information together.

Ha! I’m glad I’ve written this as I now I have a clear outline to follow to create my presentation. I was fretting and worrying about that.

Before I do anything else, I need some tea I think.

A Dangle A Day Dangle Mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

I’m now feeling a little better this evening and I thought I’d create a dangle mandala (dangle-dala?) to mark the publication of ‘A Dangle A Day’ today.

I drew this using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the digital paper that is my Microsoft Surface Studio screen using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then coloured it using the same tools.

I’ve uploaded the black and white line art version of this design to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. 

If you’d like to print and colour this design in, please follow the link and join the group. You’ll find some other coloring templates there too that are only available to members of the group.

Dangle designs are a lot of fun to create. They’re whimsical, cute and a lot simpler to draw than they look! I take you one step at a time through how to draw well over 100 different dangle designs in the book, as well as making suggestions about where you can use dangle designs and with words of encouragement.

If you do have a go at drawing dangle designs, and colouring them of course, I’d love to see what you create and how you use them!

A Dangle A Day

Today’s the day! A Dangle A Day is published in the US. Thursday is the day for the UK. It’s my very first tutorial book and the reviews I’ve seen so far are lovely!

Well over 100 dangle designs in the book with step by step instructions for each. Simple steps leading to even quite complex designs. Whimsical, cute charms. Funky monogram dangles. Plenty for each season and most occasions. I’ve also written encouraging words as everyone can draw dangles and they are perfectly imperfect which is what makes them personal and unique!

I’d love to see what dangles you create and how you use them – in your bujo, planner, journal, diary, scrapbook, or as greeting cards, note cards, book marks, gift bags, envelopes, framed art, or any other way you can think of! Tag me on twitter, instagram or facebook!

Naturally, I have a stinking, streaming cold and I feel rough as anything. I don’t think I’ll get much in the way of art done today. Coughing, sneezing, runny eyes and a thumping headache don’t do much for focus.