November’s coloring template

November colouring template ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A new month means a new colouring template exclusively for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. If you’d like to download, print and colour a template, then pop over to the group, join (it’s free!).

A few, simple terms and conditions apply. All I ask is that you follow them and mention myself and the facebook group when you share the coloured template on social media. Tag me in your posts and I’ll definitely get to see them!

Autumn is well established here in the UK, so I wanted to combine leaves, berries and some acorns in a mandala.

I used an autumnal colour palette to bring the template to life. I think mine looks like a rich, decorative rug. However, I love to see how creative you people are with your colour schemes, particularly those of you who are heading into Spring or who don’t really experience Autumn in your part of the world.

I did draw and colour this mandala digitally, using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface pen and the paper that is the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio.

Turtle skull and Xerocomus dangle design – Inktober 2019 day 4 v2

Dangle design for Inktober day 4

Inktober Day 4 – a dangle design

I thought it would be fun to do a really simple turtle skull drawing along with those Xerocomus fungi and turn them into a dangle design.

I kept to simple line drawings, focused on ocean-themed charms for the dangle, and added really simple colour in places just to give an idea of how it could look fully coloured in.

I worked digitally, with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.

The splashes of colour show how the line drawing, as simple as it is, just comes to life with colour.

If you’d like to know more about drawing dangle designs, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to start. I show you how, one step at a time, you too can draw dangle designs and I have over 150 examples of dangle designs you can copy or use for inspiration.

Inktober – day 5

My prompts for day 5 are owl skull and Favolaschia calocera. The prompt lists I’m using are from two people on instagram – @book_polygamist and @nyan_sun.

I’m partway through my design – the owl skull is drawn and I’m rather pleased with it. I have yet to draw the Favolaschia and other design elements around it.

Again, I’m working digitally for day 5 and pushing stylised design just a little bit more with this one.

Reflecting on Inktober so far.

Five days in and I am really enjoying it. The hardest thing for me is to not let it dominate my arty work each day. For three out of the four days so far I have also managed to get my goal of at least two illustrations for the coloring book I’m working on done. The Inktober drawings are also giving me some ideas for the illustrations for the book as well.

I’m also finding I’m ‘rediscovering’ styles of art that I haven’t done for a long time; the owl skull is an example of this and I will write more about that when I post day 5’s ink.

Raven skull and chanterelle – version 2

Raven skull and chanterelle © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

After completing the artwork for day 3 of Inktober 2019, I wanted to go back and rework the illustration I did for day 2.

I re-drew the design digitally, and altered it somewhat too. I also used monochrome colouring for the page, giving it an old, aged look.

I really enjoyed doing this one and I am really pleased with the results.

Tools used – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft surface pen and surface studio.

Inktober 2019 – Day 3

Fox skull and Ramaria fungus

Fox skull and Ramaria © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Fox skull and Ramaria © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I used, mostly, traditional media for the first two days, but today I decided to use digital tools.

My Surface Studio and Pen from Microsoft mean I can draw on my screen just like I do on paper, especially as I have set up pen brushes with lines mimic those left by my favourite fine liner pens.

The added bonus of drawing digitally is that I get to use tools that aren’t available to me when working traditionally. In this case, I made use of the symmetry tool. As my illustration today is rather stylised, perfect symmetry works well in the design.

Stylised, symmetrical designs do make my arty heart and soul smile and sing. Yes, I still like to be challenged from time to time to draw more realistically, however I’ve just realised how much this kind of art really please me.

Yet I still struggle with accepting it as a valid way of producing art – it always seems so simple, like I have no great skill like those who produce wonderfully realistic art, or thought provoking pieces, or abstract wonders. I still struggle to see my style of art, of expression as valid and I think that is why I flip-flop betwixt different styles and media and projects. It’s that lack of self-belief perhaps, or maybe I just have a choir of creative voices in me, each of which need expression in it’s own way.

I think this kind of reflection is part of what Inktober is about.

Anyway, after completing the line art, I added some simple colouring to the image using a marker brush and then an airbrush with the synthetic paint setting, which nicely blends one colour into another.

I am very happy with the stylised skull design, along with the higher contrast colouring that I’ve used for it, which helps it stand out a little from the other coloured elements of the design.

This is, of the three days so far, my favourite Inktober2019 artwork.

Inktober 2019 – Day 01 – Chameleon Skull and Amanita

©Angela Porter 2019

Inktober 2019

After hunting around Instagram for alternative prompt lists, I decided to go with two and combine them. I chose the Animal Skulls prompts from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms list from @nyan_sun.

So, the drawing above shows a chameleon skull combined with Amanita, along with some other design elements. Today’s official prompt from Jake Parker’s Inktober 2019 list is ‘ring’. I can make that fit in too – a ring of fairy toadstools, the ring of the eye-socket in the skull.

The black line work was done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I then used an 8B pencil with a blending stump to clumsily add some shading. Then, after scanning the image in, I added colour digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

It’s been a very, very long time since I did any drawing like this. My usual style is rather whimsical, cute and simplified to create a stylised form.

While this drawing isn’t realistic, it is more so than I usually do. Having said that, I have added some simplified design elements in the form of leaves and berries and the repeating pattern of arches to give a floor for the skull to rest on.

I found it interesting to add the more realistic skull with the less realistic Amanita and stylised leaves and berries.

It took me over three hours to create this drawing; I’m not sure I can spend that amount of time everyday given the work I need to do in the coming weeks. I shall see though how it goes.

So, Angela, how are you feeling?

I’m OK. I don’t feel as tired as I have lately and there’s also a contented feeling inside me. There’s also a frisson of excitement about turning my attention to work – something that has been a bit lacking over the past month or so.

I did get an early night along with a good night’s sleep last night, which always helps. The sun has just broken through the clouds, albeit briefly, and even a little sunshine helps to boost my mood too. I hope there’ll be more periods of sunshine to help my mood after the past days of heavy rain and even heavier grey skies, although we did have a break from it on Sunday with some bright sunshine in the day.

It’s only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve recognised how much the weather can affect my mood.

EMDR yesterday was puzzling, confusing and upsetting too. However, I came away not as exhausted as I usually do. Indeed, I was able to focus on art in the evening – I did most of the drawing of the chameleon skull with amanita.

My therapist and I did have a conversation about how I found it so hard to go into a cafe for lunch after my Time to Change Wales talk last week. She suggested that in future I take something with me to eat just in case I can’t go into a cafe – that way I can still take care of my physical needs and emotional needs without being hard on myself, calling myself weak and a failure for not doing such a simple thing as going to a familiar cafe for lunch.

Still have progress to make on that goal of mine, but some progress on recognising how I feel about myself not being able to do it at the moment has been made. So it’s not all bad.

So long September

October Coloring Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group
© Angela Porter

October-eve

Can you believe that September is nearly over? I swear that the older I get the faster time seems to go.

Anyway, a new month on the horizon means a new colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. There just has to be a Hallowe’en theme for October’s page, and you can see a sneak peek of it above. I couldn’t resist colouring some of it in as a way of trying out some new digital brushes and some ideas too.

I put some of my favourite All Hallows’ Eve motifs into the drawing, including a raven, skulls, fungi and a vampire cat! I always enjoy drawing stuff to do with Hallowe’en; it’s my favourite time of year because I don’t have any past traumas associated with it.

If you’d like to colour this template, pop over to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group and become a member; each month I do one drawing exclusively for group members (terms and conditions of use and sharing apply).

About the art

I used a combination of fountain pens and fine-line pens to draw the design on dot grid paper. I then scanned the drawing in and cleaned up smudges and smears digitally.

Then, I set about adding colour digitally using my usual tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I also added a background and surface texture that I had purchased via Creative Market.

I am really quite pleased with how the colour is bringing the illustration to life, especially the skull in a jar. I hope to be able to continue to add colour as the month progresses, though I do know I have quite a bit of work to do and focus on.

To Inktober or not Inktober, that is the question.

Last year, I really enjoyed taking part in Inktober. Inktober has become a really popular social media event where artists and creatives use a daily prompt to draw (or create) something based on that prompt and share it on social media.

There is an official prompt list, but people do create alternative lists and I may look at some of them as there may be variations that might be less time intensive than last years’ was!

I shall see what I find and go from there I think.

So, Angela, how are you today?

Tired. However, I’m am quite content, my mood is good enough today. I do have EMDR later on, and I often feel ‘flat’ before my therapy session. I think my unconscious mind starts to bring stuff up in preparation for EMDR.

I know that the likelihood of me being exhausted later is rather high, so I’m not planning to do loads of stuff later on. Self care will be the order of the late afternoon and evening.

Whimsical Autumn Dangle Designs and More.

Autumn dangle designs and more © Angela Porter

About the art.

It’s been a while since I did any whimsical dangle designs, so here’s an A4 sheet full of ideas!

There are six complete dangle designs on this sheet along with lots of ideas for motifs to use. I’ve also done some hand lettering, something I don’t do often enough these days.

I know there are likely to be things associated with autumn missing from the sheet, but it is a collection of some of my favourites. I had a lot of fun filling in some of the space around the dangle designs with the lettering and design elements.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to draw and hand letter on an A4 sheet of dot grid paper by Claire Fontaine.

After scanning in, I decided I’d like to add some colour digitally. I used a different kind of brush setting – natural blend with an airbrush. I’ve not quite worked out how it works, but I like the way it’s turned out here. The colour blends turn out quite soft and gentle, however this brush setting does need some more experimentation by me.

These are lovely, simple designs that would be perfect for using in bullet journals (BuJos), planners, diaries, scrapbooks and journals as well as for greeting cards, bookmarks and more.

My book “A Dangle A Day” is a great resource for dangle designs and design elements (called ‘charms’ in the book), even if I say so myself. It also has easy to follow step by step instructions for beginners to more confident creatives, as well as lots of inspiration – there’s nearly 200 dangle designs in the book!

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling content, fairly upbeat and the exhaustion of the past few days seems to have mostly subsided. There’s still some tiredness there, but I feel more able to cope with the demands of daily life.

I do have to venture forth into the world; in my rather emotionally fragile state the thought of going grocery shopping filled me with, well not horror but trepidation. Fortunately, I keep a fairly well stocked fridge, freezer and cupboard, but now I do need to go get some fresh fruit and veg, which I will do in a short while I expect.

It is good to be back to having the contentedness the dominant feeling – it’s not as strong as it has been which tells me there’s still some emotional distress lingering. However, it is the prevalent emotion.

I’ve weathered another emotional storm. I do try to remind myself that I’ve come through plenty of hurricane force emotional and mental storms in the past and I can come through them again. Nowadays, I know what contentedness feels like and during emotional storms it acts a lighthouse to guide me back to emotionally calm waters.

Now, that’s a nice metaphor!

Be gentle with yourself.

Artwork © Angela Porter 2019

About the artwork

This is the same illustration I used for yesterday’s quote, however, after adding some textural lines to the drawing, I’ve coloured the design.

I decided to use flat colours as it brings a feeling of a coloured wood cut or lino cut print to the design. I used a grungy texture overlay to enhance the vintage feel of the coloured design.

The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens on paper, but the colouring, textures and text have been added digitally. I used Affinity Publisher to produce the typography. A Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were used to complete the colouring

It’s always interesting how just small changes can make such a big difference to artwork.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling fairly content and quite optimistic. I am, however, still a little tired to say the least.

My trip to Llandridnod Wells yesterday left me exhausted. I went there to give an antistigma talk as a champion for Time to Change Wales. Telling my story of cPTSD still leaves me emotionally exhausted and vulnerable. This is, however, a small price to pay for giving people food for thought and getting people talking about mental illness.

As I was feeling so emotional after the talk I didn’t take a walk around Llandridnod Wells. When I’m feeling the way I was it’s all too easy for me to panic and enter flight-mode when I’m overwhelmed by noise or an unfamiliar place. The anxiety I feel about getting myself turned-about and lost and not able to find my way back to the car just adds to the vulnerability.

So, I thought I’d drive back and see if I could find the courage to stop at a cafe on the way. I’d passed a nice-looking one called the Wye Knot. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop there. I was still too overwhelmed.

My brain kicked in and I thought I’d head to Honey Cafe in Bronllys. I’ve been there a few times before and it’s a familiar setting to me. However, when I went in there were so many people milling around the counter and others coming in the door and pushing past me that I went into flight-mode and dashed back to the car in tears.

I just drove home then, doing a mental inventory of what I had in the way of food.

I had something quick to eat and a big mug of tea and then I curled up in bed to sleep; a nap is one of my self-care activities. I know that if I can sleep for a while I wake feeling refreshed and more resilient than I was.

The exhaustion comes not just from being emotionally overwhelmed and triggered but from the effort of keeping a happy smiling mask up. Yesterday the mask wasn’t as ‘solid’ as on Monday, but I knew it was still there. Once the talk was over, I let the mask drop and I was suddenly exhausted.

This is, as I mentioned earlier, worth getting the word out about the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness, giving people some advice on what to and what not to do, and starting conversations.

I’m beginning to flag here; tiredness/exhaustion is catching up with me. I have managed to get some work done this morning. However, before I try to do anything else I need some more sleep I think.

So, I’m taking the advice of today’s quote – I’m going to be gentle with myself today.

The dos and don’ts of self-care.

The do-s and don't-s of self-care © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
The dos and don’ts of self-care © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Dos and Don’ts

Yesterday was a quiet yet busy arty day. I worked on some projects, but by the evening, I had a hankering for ‘comfort art’ to soothe my fragile emotions. I’d seen a similar list on facebook and thought it would be nice to do one of my own. Naturally, I just had to add some embellishment in the form of my style of drawing. The drawing then needed some colour. So, I started to add colour.

After typing out the list using Affinity Publisher and printing it out, I used a 08 Uniball Unipin pen to add the drawing. Next, I scanned the design in and then started to add colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using my trusty Surface Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.

My lines are a little less than perfect in the drawing. I’ve noticed a few tiny smudges and some places where the lines have overrun each other a little. I’ve left them as they are, this time.

I thought it might be a good idea to make the colouring a little less than perfect too; so I added a background texture.

About my art and my emotional state.

I seem to have started a lot of projects and not finished them of late. I’m not quite sure why that is. I know I’ve had a really tough time of it emotionally speaking over the last couple of weeks. I think that has a lot to do with it.

I have managed to settle down to get work done for a commission. The main artwork is now done, it’s just doing all the other stuff to go with it. Today isn’t the best day simply because I’ll soon have to sort myself out to go off to EMDR therapy; that’s likely to be emotionally distressing as there’s been a confluence of events in my life that have all triggered emotional reactions. I’ve also not had that much time to let the emotional waves calm. There have also been changes that need to become familiar too.

Today is the first time in a few days I’ve felt anything like settled. Yet I’m not settled fully. I keep having waves of fear followed by tears rising up for no apparent reason.

I think I know what the fear is about. The way I think and feel about a part of my life is changing. It had started to change before the experience, but now it’s really settling in. A yearning in me to ‘belong’, to have that sense of companionship, has been awakened once again. I’ve been given a taster session of what it’s like. So, I’m grieving the lack of that in my life, and fearful I won’t find it going forward. Kindred spirits are few and far between.

This is all part of the journey towards releasing trauma and healing from cPTSD. It’s also about replacing old, unhealthy outlooks with more positive and healthier ones. Grief is involved; even if the old beliefs are harmful, they have been a part of my life, and it’s still a loss. But go they must so something healthier can replace them.

Change is never easy, but it is necessary; for growth, for healing, for a better life.

Tomorrow is Time to Talk Day

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time To Talk Day, which is tomorrow, and the art above was created using one of them, but more about that later in this wittering.

Time to Change Day and mental health

The whole idea of the day is to get people talking about mental health. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. There’s still a huge stigma surrounding mental ill-health and that leads to discrimination of those experiencing mental illness.

I’m one of the 1 in 4. My cPTSD means that I am constantly anxious and it’ doesn’t take much of a trigger to get me into a full state of panic. I can have bouts of depression, nowadays not as deep or dark as they have been in the fairly recent past. I get emotional flashbacks to times of trauma. I don’t remember many traumatic experiences, but my body remembers the feelings associated with that trauma and I experience them yet again, retraumatising me.

Thanks to EMDR, however, these emotional flashbacks are less common and sometimes aren’t quite as intense, sometimes just as intense.

I have a whole host of other issues related to cPTSD and a quick google will bring back lots of information if you’re interested.

Tomorrow I will have my champions hat on for Time to Change Wales as I go to give an anti-stigma talk to a group of police officers in Ton Pentre and then on to man (woman?) a stand in Port Talbot after that. That means I won’t be parking in the police station car park again after my last experience there!

The anti-stigma talk has me telling people a little about Time To Change Wales, the statistics for mental illness, what stigma and discrimination there are and then I tell my story of my mental illness.

The talks wipe me out emotionally. I end up exhausted and often with what I call an emotional ‘hangover’ – I feel headachy and spaced out, sometimes quite upset too.

However, I consider that a small price to pay if my talks (and my blogs) help one person to recognise their mental health isn’t what it should be, or to find the courage to seek help as they know they are struggling.

It’s also important as meeting champions who have experienced or are experiencing mental health problems helps to break the stereotypes of what people with mental illnesses look like and behave.

I’m well on my path to recovery. I don’t know if that will be a full recovery from cPTSD or whether it will be a good enough recovery that I’m resilient to lifes ups and downs, that I’ll be able to form meaningful relationships, trust people, be able to travel by myself, be able to go places because I can go there not because I have to have some reason…and more.

I know that crowded, noisy places are always likely to be a no no – I don’t appear it, but I am an introvert. I learned to wear a mask of extroversion (among other masks) when I was very young and that mask kind of protects what is beneath it. Wearing that mask is exhausting.

So, back to the art.

I’ve created two coloring templates for Time to Talk Day 2019. Originally they were for the colouring day being run as part of Time to Talk Day at the Welsh Office! I’ve also made the templates available to Time to Change Wales and Mind have copies of them too, so they’ll be available over social media.

I’ll also be adding them to my facebook page – Angela Porter Illustrator as well as on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group too.

To create the art above I used one of the templates as a basis for the art. I think you’ll agree that this is a very different piece of art from me. It’s rather graphic and quite 1960s psychedelic too!

I had a lot of fun doing this artwork and I’m surprisingly happy with the result.

It is digital art; I used my usual trio of Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create it, along with my creativity.