After a day of drawing templates for the book I’m working on, I thought I’d spend a little time relaxing by drawing a mandala, and this one is the result.
I’m gutted though; I managed to make a mistake on saving the full sized, layered file, so I’ve lost my high res version. Ho hum. I could always redraw if necessary I suppose. This one wouldn’t print out at all well – way too pixelly.
That’s not the only thing that went wrong today. My combination microwave-fan-grill oven also broke. So, I’ve ordered a new one for delivery this evening.
Add to that and my wrists, fingers, hands are still aching … and I’m going to go and give them a rest as soon as I’ve finished posting this around and about the interwebs.
I do have a busy week coming up with anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales, various appointments and other stuff. I have to use the time available t me to prioritise drawing templates for the book (they all have to be finished by the end of this month). So, if my posts are more sporadic than usual, that’s the reason.
Despite the problems in not saving the file correctly and the oven breaking down, I haven’t had any kind of tearful or angry meltdown. It’s not all that long ago where things like that would absolutely floor me. Today, I weathered them quite well, though there was a bit of a flap and panic around buying a new oven and trying to remember what brand I’ve had that has been the most reliable and long lasting. I’m still thinking did I really need to order one and have it delivered today? Well, given my busy diary this week the answer is yes!
I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘If only’, not ‘as long as’. I matter. Full Stop.” – Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer.
A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. www.internationalwomensday.com
Today is International Women’s Day, Furbaby Friday and Dangle Day so what else could I do but combine them all into one design?
I started by sketching them out on dot grid paper. My favourite sketching tool at the moment is any one of the darker tones in the Koh-I-Noor Magic multicoloured pencils range. The thickness of the lead encourages me to be bold in my hand lettering and drawing. It also encourages me to draw on a larger scale than I usually do.
Something else I’ve noticed is that drawing with such a thick (but fun and coloured) pencil,I can’t put all the small details in that appear in the final image in the sketch. It really is a sketch which I can then use as the skeleton, the framework, the architecture for the final design.
The thickness of the pencil also means that my hand lettering is bigger than usual. I can also deliberately wear the lead down into more of a chisel shape which helps with the thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes.
It’s also a pleasure to write with pencil and my writing always feels neater when I do write with a pencil. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.
Anyways, once the design was sketched out, I scanned the design into the Microsoft Surface Studio and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface pen to first ink in the outlines and then add colour, details and texture.
For the colours I kept to a fairly simple colour scheme with pink and purple for the flowers and hearts and the Women’s Day symbol. I just had to use a rainbow to fill the hand lettering (apart from the word ‘women’s’). And the pusscat just had to be mainly white, but I thought peachy-pink stripes would be quite nice.
I have just two images up there at the moment – the recent Daffodil Mandala and the Dragon with Daffodils. Both are available on a range of quality products including wall art and stationery.
My Journey to cPTSD Recovery
Today, I’m feeling more content and settled than I have for a number of weeks. Even though EMDR floored me on Monday, I seem to have been able to find my balance faster than previously. This is a good thing as I do have a contract to fulfil by the end of the month.
I am writing in a journal most days, particularly any insights I have through the day. They seem to be coming more quickly now I’m working on seeing where I’ve told myself a story to avoid any emotional or mental pain. I know this is a coping strategy that people with CPTSD use to protect themselves. However realising this, that I may have avoided the truth of a difficult, traumatic experience or situation makes me feel really stupid. Realising that this is a coping strategy I learned at a very, very young age doesn’t help stop me feeling stupid. There’s also a lot of guilt too as I’m stuck between the story I want to believe, the one that is nice and pleasant, and the truth of the emotional and mental distress I was experiencing and denying I was experiencing. It’s not an easy place to be in. It also makes me quite sad and teary that I’ve done this all my life.
Realising these kinds of things, no matter how painful they are, is part of my journey to recovery from CPTSD. I won’t stop though. To do so would mean I would have to live with the pain the realisation has caused me without any way of dealing with that pain. So the only way is to face up to these things, process them in EMDR and find a way to a healthier relationship with myself, to find a way to become a friend to myself.
As well as working on templates for my latest book, I like to have some personal artwork on the go.
These two are the current works in progress. The dragon is partly through having the patterns added to it. I’m not sure about the circular fill pattern yet, hence the break from it. I also wanted to include some dangles, especially as his front paws seemed to be quite the right shape/posture to be holding the threads of the dangles betwixt the talons. As this is a digital drawing (I did start with a sketch on paper with pencil which I scanned in), it’s easy enough to edit and alter. Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were my tools for the dragon.
The other has all the linework finished. Like the dragon, I’ve added a ready-made background I purchased from Creative Market ahead of me adding colour, in this case it will be primarily blue. The symbol is a Zibu symbol that represents release. Again this is something that ties in with my EMDR journey. Part EMDR is about processing and releasing past trauma. Of course, the symbol does look like a fancy ‘h’ or maybe a capital ‘L’. This was drawn on bristol board with Sakura Pigma Micron pens; it’s postcard sized.
Yesterday was a funny day for me. I thought I had a meeting in the morning only to discover that I was two weeks early! That’ll teach me to read my emails properly rather than assuming the meeting would be, as it has been, on the first Saturday of the month. I then had an event in the late afternoon to attend and I didn’t get home from that to nigh on 8pm and I was absolutely shattered, so just needed some quiet time.
The weather has changed here in the UK, as is it’s wont. Wild, windy and wet over night and it’s still wet today. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, me being tired, it being the eve of therapy, or any possible combination that has mee feeling a tad low and flat today. I’m happy to stay inside today in the warm and dry, taking my time over doing things.
I do have some templates for the latest book sketched out, but not sure I want to ink them in at the moment.
Another mug of mocha is needed I think…before I decide what to do.
It’s another beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm late winter day. Daffodils are out, February is almost over and it’s time for me to turn my attention to a design for a BuJo monthly cover.
This is what I came up with today. A simple mandala of sunny yellow daffodils, bright fresh-green leaves and the lovely clear blue skies we’ve had here in the Welsh Valleys over the past few days.
Of course, 1st March is St David’s Day. St David is the patron saint of Wales, and daffodils are the flowers associated with this day.
As a child we used to have a half-day at school for St David’s Day. In the morning there was an Eisteddfod – a kind of concert and competition involving singing and poetry and music and clog dancing and all kinds of creative things. Much of this was done in the Welsh language. And of course My Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau would be the final song that all joined in with – the Welsh National Anthem that is still proudly sung at international rugby matches and other such occasions.
On this day, children went to school dressed in traditional Welsh costume, wearing either a daffodil or leek pinned to their clothing. The boys would try to show how big and tough they were by eating the whole leek raw.
I could’ve tried to draw a red Welsh Dragon for the mandala, but the daffodils are so pretty…maybe I’ll do another with a dragon in, or maybe a dangle design with a dragon as part of it.
This design would make a lovely monthly cover page for a BuJo, or in a planner, diary, journal or on a greeting card or note card.
A jolly day out
Yesterday I had a lovely jolly day out with my friend Liz.
We visited the stone circle at Stanton Drew. I’ve been there before, but Liz hadn’t. It’s bigger in diameter than Stonehenge but smaller than Avebury. It did have several concentric rings of timber posts inside the stones when it was in use, but they have long rotted away.
After that we headed to Wells. Again, I’ve been there but Liz never had. We had a walk through the town and spent some time buying lovely shoes from Moshulu, mine being rather sparkly and lovely!
Cake in the Cathedral cafe, with plenty of tea in my case, coffee in Liz’s, and then it was off to visit the Cathedral. Always nice to see the scissors arch there and the wobbly wonky steps going up to the chapter house.
It was sunny and warm and I managed to get sunburn! Mind you, that happens easily as I’m quite fair-skinned. In the past I’ve even managed to burn and blister through sunblock. I seem to be a bit more resilient. But who would’ve thought I’d’ve got sun burned in February in the UK!
The sunny, mild weather is helping my mood an awful lot. Leaving EMDR on monday having completed processing a trauma that was really painful to me has also helped. I’m still feeling a bit light headed from it today, but that’s a good thing – a change from the low moods, emotional distress and upset I have felt.
Being out and about and spending time with a friend was also a good thing for me. Lots of laughter and silly conversation along side more serious topics too. That’s what happens when you get two quirky, retired science teachers together.
I love the combination of teals and coppery tones so I chose to use them as part of the colour scheme in this mandala. A simple black outline mandala with no crazily intricate detailed patterns included. I’m not so sure about the purple-ish I used for the ‘crystals’ in the other most rings of the mandala though.
Drawn and coloured in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of a Microsoft Surface Studio very, very late last night and into the wee small hours of this morning.
Today is likely to be another self-care day. I thought I was in a place where I could do loving kindness meditations again this morning. I’m not. So much emotional distress and even physical pain during the part of the meditation that involves bringing loving kindness to myself. I have no problem sending loving kindness to another being I feel love for. I have no problem sending it out to all of the Earth. Still, the nasty messages of the inner critic are fodder for EMDR. And it’s such a lovely sunny, late winter day here in the Welsh Valleys.