Hello July!

July 2019 Colouring Template for members of the Angela Porter Illustrator's Coloring Book Fans facebook group ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com
July 2019 Colouring Template for members of the Angela Porter Illustrator’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com

Can you believe it? Half of 2019 has passed to history. Time has flown by.

With the start of July I also have an exclusive coloring template available free to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This is my way of saying thank you to those who follow my work, particularly the colouring books I have created.

If you’d like to download and colour, you need to be a member of the group and agree to follow the T’s & C’s.

I’m looking forward to seeing what members of the group will do with this one! I love to see the different colour schemes and media that they use to bring the drawing to life with the magic of colour.

To create this template, I started with a sketch on square gridded paper. It was a very basic sketch with just outline shapes, lines and so on. I then scanned it into the Surface Studio and completed this drawing using my Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I had to include some of my favourite design elements – butterflies, stars, flowers, fungi, seed pods, arches and geometric patterns.

It was fun to draw, even the sketch was as I love to use a Koh-i-Noor Magic pencil to do the sketching with, one that has quite different colours in the lead so that I get a fair rainbow of colours.

I’m warming to sketching things out before drawing them in ink (either traditional ink/pens or digital) to give me a skeleton I can put flesh on in terms of details and patterns.

So Angela Porter, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling contented. My stomach/digestive system is back to normal. All just in time for today’s EMDR session this afternoon.

That’s all I have to say about that today. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow post EMDR.

July 2019 Dangle Design

July 2019 Dangle Design © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
July 2019 Dangle Design © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

July Dangle Design

July is nearly upon us. It seems hardly anytime at all since June started! So, close to the eve of a new month it’s time for a dangle design.

This month I wanted to do a floral wreath with a little hand lettering. As I live in the Northern Hemisphere July means summer. So, my charms are a glowing sun, an ice cream cornet, and a tiny feather. I chose colours that remind me of summer too.

Now, for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere where winter has begun, feel free to substitute different charms – perhaps a snowflake instead of a sun and a steaming mug of hot chocolate instead of the ice cream cornet. Of course, a more wintry colour palette would be lovely.

I designed this to be A5 in size so that it would fit nicely in a BuJo, but equally it would look lovely in any planner, journal, diary or scrapbook. Of course the sentiment could be changed too.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the wreath has a seven-fold symmetry. Well, July is the seventh month after all!

If you’d like to learn more about how I design and draw dangle designs, along with plenty of designs to use or adapt, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is a good place to look.

I did create this dangle design digitally, using my trifecta of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. It would be quite easy to draw with pen on paper and then use any media you like to add colour.

So Angela, how are you today?

I’m feeling quite content today within myself. I seem to have rested quite well. My digestive system still doesn’t feel quite right, but it’s certainly a lot better than post-EMDR on Monday.

In my blog yesterday, I wrote about my CPTSD and the prejudices I seem to face for having therapy. I’m amazed at how that post garnered a lot of interest on twitter; a lot of interest for a tweet by me that is, the most I’ve ever had.

I was humbled by this, but the best thing for me was someone letting me know my blog post had helped them.

That’s why I write about my CPTSD, mental health and emotional health. It’s not for attention (I don’t deal well with being shown attention of any kind – all part of the CPTSD). I share my story and journey so that it may help others.

It took me nearly 50 years of life to work out that I had a problem, and a couple longer to work out that it wasn’t just anxiety and depression, that it was something more, that it was CPTSD.

This is a label I needed to have. As I learn more about CPTSD it helps me accept that I am stuck in the past; not in terms of reliving memories and events over and over, but in the way I behave, feel, react to life.

Being traumatised means continuing to organise your life as if the trauma were still going on – unchanged and immutable – as every new encounter or event is contaminated by the past.

After trauma … the survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their lives. These attempts to maintain control over unbearable physiological reactions can result in a whole range of physical symptoms including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other autoimmune diseases.

“The Body Keeps the Score” Bessel Van Der Kolk

Today, as I read a little of “The Body Keeps the Score” this quote really struck me.

If I think back to the weeks, months and years before my first bout of serious anxiety and depression, I can see how I was trying to control the inner chaos during my daily life. I struggled every single day with exhaustion, fear, fighting back the tears and wanting to hide away or run away. I also hoped I would die in my sleep so I didn’t have to continue with this.

I certainly had physical symptoms of illnesses for which there were no physical causes – upset stomach, losing my voice, problems with my lungs, outbreaks of weird spots on my skin. I’ve also developed a couple of chronic illnesses along the way too.

I don’t lose my voice anymore, but I certainly still get a dodgy digestive system and asthma attacks when the lightly napping anxiety monster is provoked and awakens. Oh, and I still get weird flare-ups of skin problems.

It’s taking me quite a while to read this book. I lost my ability to read during my first big ‘breakdown’; I still have problems retaining what I read. Sometimes I even have trouble making sense of what I’m reading. I used to be an avid reader. I miss that. However, I am aware that my ability to read is returning… slowly. In the meantime, audiobooks are a great source of pleasure for me.

Digital doodlies

Digital Doodlies ©Angela Porter 2019
Digital Doodlies ©Angela Porter 2019

I had a little bit of fun this morning after watching a video by creationsceecee on YouTube.

Rather than using traditional watercolours, I thought I’d try the idea out digitally.

I’m still very much learning and finding my ‘style’ when it comes to digital art. I haven’t really done much with watercolour brushes, so thought this a brilliant idea to try some watercolour brushes out as well as to practice drawing digitally.

Yes, practice digital drawing. Although it is almost exactly like drawing on paper it’s also slightly different, different enough that it’s good to draw regularly using digital media.

Anyway. I started with water colour ‘blobs’, trying out different watercolour brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The colours came from the blue-violet Copic colour palette.

Finally, I drew patterns on top of the blobs using a fine watercolour brush with black and white paints.

I said I had a bit of fun, and it was fun. I’m not so sure I like all of the results. the ones I don’t like are where smooth black outlines have resulted. All the same, it was fun to do and to try something new out too.

My tools for this artwork were Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I know Friday is usually dangle day and there’s still time in the day for me to get a dangle design done.

So Angela, how are you today?

Tired, but content enough. At this moment, I’d like to go back to bed and sleep some more. However, that’s not possible as I’m taking my younger sister out for a couple of hours.

I’m finding it hard to wend my way to the shower and get myself tidied up to pop out. That’s me just feeling tired, I think. But there may be something else going on with me too. Perhaps some anxiety about going out for lunch.

Hmm. Yes, there’s anxiety. Even though I know it will be just fine, I’m still all anxious about leaving the safety of my home and venturing out into the big, wide, people-y world.

Damn you CPTSD and the inner critic. I wish I could catch what you’re speaking to me at the moment so I can work on disempowering you.

There’s a ‘well done, Angela’ for me too for spotting that I’m feeling this way and for noticing how strong it is as I spot it. Yes, it’s intensified and is making me feel sick.

Oh, the joys of anxiety. Still, I won’t let it stop me going out for lunch with my sister, so it’s time to go shower and stuff.

June dangle design

June Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
June Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

It’s dangle day Friday!

Elsewhere on the interwebs it’s #furbabyfriday, but here, in the tiny corner of the web that is Artwyrd.com it’s dangle day.

It’s getting close to the end of May, so I thought today I’d create a dangle design for June. This would work really well as the monthly cover page for a BuJo or in a scrapbook, journal, planner, diary, greeting card, or anything else you can image it being used.

I did sketch this out in pencil on paper, but then I re-drew, hand lettered and coloured digitally using my usual trifecta of Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

On Wednesday I had a trip to Hereford for a meeting in the evening. On the way I stopped at my most favourite Romanesque church in Kilpeck to do some drawing. I included some patterns based on this visit in the charms and also the border under the plant pots.

As the Summer Solstice occurs in June, I wanted to include a lovely golden Sun, as well as plenty of golden tones. Also, the clear blues of summer skies and the aquas of sea and lake were a must as well. Cacti, succulents and flowering plants reside in the simple plant pots, with simple monograms on each pot. Of course I have beads and a heart as part of the design too.

I added a textured background upon which I layered a drop shadow for the dangle design.

So many ways that this design could be coloured. I’m quite happy with my design. I’m certainly happy with the line art, but I’m really not confident about my choices of colours. I do feel I’m struggling with colour at the moment.

A Dangle A Day” is my tutorial book that shows you how, step by step, to create dangle designs.

My CPTSD healing journey

Wednesday I was surprisingly content and managed to stop at Kilepeck Church, just outside Hereford. I usually visit the church once a year to soak up the awe and wonder and joy I feel looking at the Romanesque sculpture of this tiny three celled church.

I had my Dingbats quadrille A5 notebook with me, which is my current sketchbook. I spent a happy or or so inside the church taking my time to look at patterns and textures and to deconstruct then reconstruct them in thumbnail sketches.

It was really quiet and serene there; just what I needed.

Also, I’d packed up a light meal in a cool bag so I could have a late tea before going on to my meeting in the evening. I thought this was wise as the problems I have eating out when on my own could preclude me getting something to eat/drink. I found somewhere quiet with lovely views to park up and enjoy my light meal and some more quiet time.

My evening was long and I didn’t return home until nearly midnight. The stress being around people I don’t know also took its toll on me. So yesterday I was wiped out yet again.

I had to find my strength to get out to go and vote in the EU elections and to do some shopping, but this absolutely drained me.

When I’m this tired it is all too easy for me to be emotionally fragile and for this to impact on my mental health.

I caught myself having thoughts that were very unkind and hateful towards myself at times yesterday.

I’m still tired today, but feeling a bit more emotionally resilient. I’ve found the confidence to create art, something I didn’t have yesterday.

The ripples from EMDR and other stuff over the past couple of weeks still have energy, sometimes they’re more like storm waves. Storms pass. Waters calm eventually, with ripples that are easy to ride.

I think I’ve had a couple of storm waves approaching the size of tsunamis in the past couple of weeks and they’ve really drained me.

However, it’s all part of the healing journey. After all, I am a lot better now than I was a few weeks ago, a few months ago, a year ago, a few years ago …

Dangle Day Friday and the end of an emotionally exhausting Mental Health Awareness Week.

Daisy © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Daisy © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Dangle Design – Daisy

I woke up this morning with an idea, which was to use a dangle design of a flower along with some words about that flower. I chose to start with Daisy and you can see what I’ve come up with so far.

I’ve included a fair bit of etymology concerning the word Daisy; I find etymology (the origins and evolution of words) fascinating.

I drew the dangle design on paper and then scanned it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Surface Studio.

Next, I re-drew the design digitally using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen just like pen on paper. I set the brush to have a width that varied with pressure.

My plan was then to hand letter the title and the words about the daisy.

I tried again and again and again and I was never happy with what my pen put on paper (or screen). So, in frustration with myself and the knowledge I have other things that I really need to get done today, I decided to foray into the realms of Microsoft Publisher.

I did choose a font that is very similar to my own basic hand lettering style. I think I may need to look at how I can convert my hand lettering into custom fonts to use in the near future for days like today.

I do quite like the simplicity of the layout, but I do think I could’ve done a bit better with the text. I’m quite happy with the dangle design – the simplicity suits the simplicity and innocence of lovely daisy itself.

If you’d like to learn how to draw dangle designs, step by step, then my book “A Dangle A Day” is now published.

My Emotional well being

I am emotionally exhausted. I’ve not had much of a chance to recover from my EMDR session on Tuesday which left me absolutely poleaxed.

Wednesday and Thursday I took care of a stand for Time to Change Wales, and though they didn’t take up all the day it still drained me.

I’d said to myself on Wednesday I’d not put the happy smiley mask on over my exhaustion and emotional ‘flatness’ as I had little energy to spare for the effort it takes to keep that mask in place.

I had no choice about the mask; it appeared automatically, draining me further on Wednesday and very much so yesterday.

What didn’t help was that I had a commitment on Wednesday evening which I couldn’t cancel. So I had very little time between the stand and dashing out again to have some self-care time.

The result of all this is that when I got home after the stand and then running a couple of important errands that couldn’t be put off was that I was absolutely running on empty. I had something to eat and ended up sleeping for a couple of hours.

This has all taken it’s toll on my digestive system which has been upset since EMDR on Tuesday. It’s still not right today even though I went to bed early and woke up later this morning than I usually would.

I know I have a busy day tomorrow, one I can’t cancel on and I have lots of things to get ready for that today. All I want to do is sleep. My mind doesn’t want to work but it has to work.

You may be wondering why I do all this to myself. Well, Time to Change Wales (TTCW) with it’s goal to end stigma and discrimination around mental health by getting people to talk about it to gain more understanding and compassion is very important to me. I’ve faced that stigma, discrimination and total lack of understanding by so many people.

Mental Health Awareness Week happens but once a year (though it should be mental health awareness week every week!) and TTCW are so busy everyone who can help does to make sure the message gets out.

Also, I had no idea that EMDR would floor me this week, but it did.

I knew about my commitment for tomorrow, but didn’t think that everything else in the run up to Saturday would drain me.

You may think I’ve let myself down by not taking care of myself.

Perhaps that is true. However, I think it’s worth it for just this one week. I’ll recover, most probably just in time for EMDR on Monday!

Even though I do have a fair amount of stuff to do in preparation for tomorrow, I can stay at home and take a nap if I need to. I also don’t have to answer the door – I already ignored a knock from someone who seemed to be trying to sell double glazing; I saw him and his mate walking down the street with a handful of leaflets each.

Even though I am very tired, emotionally and mentally, it was important to me I took time to do some art and I’m quite pleased with my drawing, and disappointed in myself that I just couldn’t hand letter it myself.

So, as much self-care as I can do in the next couple of days is absolutely essential for me, and art is part of my self-care toolbox.

Fly Away 2019 – re-imagined entangled dragonfly drawing

Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com - all rights reserved.
Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com – all rights reserved.

It’s been an *interesting* couple of days to say the least, and the root cause of the *interesting times* was the discovery of my dragonfly drawing entitled ‘Fly Away’ from back in 2012 (which you can see in my deviantART account).

I re-imagined it digitally, using my Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It’s obviously hand drawn – I left lots of little imperfections in the drawing, including wobbly lines in places. I wanted it to have the human touch, not the slick perfection that can result from digital art. It took me around 12 hours or so to re-draw. That’s more than one day’s work.

Complaints, complaints and a heartwarming tale

I sent a message to the owners of the ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ facebook page explaining that they were using my artwork without my permission, effectively stealing my work for their own profit. Surprisingly I’ve not had a reply. My messages on their page have been deleted and I’ve been blocked too.

I have also submitted an official complaint of infringement of copyright/intellectual property to teespring.com, which is the website where they are selling merchandise with my dragonfly art on.

In the midst of this, with family and friends seeing what was going on and getting a good sense of righteous indignation, a woman from Texas sent me a message saying she’d seen the comments on the facebook page mentioned above and she’d decided to approach me directly. She was going to buy the dragonfly art from that page for her daughter’s birthday party. Instead, she asked if I would sell her a print so she’s supporting the artist who created the art.

I was touched. When people approach me I always try to help. Sometimes I waive my fees, such as when someone wants permission to use a design of mine to cover up a mastectomy scar.

Anyways, back to the tale. I told the texas lady that I’d have to re-draw the image as the original had been sold years ago via Etsy and I didn’t have a high resolution image of it.

More about the drawing

So, I got to drawing it again. The image above is the result of some 12 hours work.

I used a low resolution image of the original artwork as a guide and I worked digitally. I was quite keen to do this. I wanted to try out my new skills with brushes that change width with pressure, as well as showcase how my skills have developed in the 7 years since the original was drawn.

The drawing is NOT an exact copy at all. The dragonfly itself is pretty much similar, but the flowers are different as are the spirally branches in the background. I also added tiny seed pods and flourishes to add interest.

I let the varying line weight add depth and dimension to the elements of the image. Overall, I think it’s a more balanced design. Some of the branches look a little ‘flat’ and maybe would benefit from some grey shadows. But it’s good enough I think.

Did something good come from this debacle?

The intellectual property thieves did something good – they spurred me into action in terms of reworking an old image, using my new skills, the way my art has developed.

I also now have a very high resolution image which will print beautifully on many products – it’s up in my RedBubble Shop!

They’ve also made me realise that if my art is good enough for them to steal and use to profit from then my art must be good enough for me to sell.

My problem is promoting myself and getting word out there that I have stuff available to buy with my art on it, officially! I’ve given myself permission to put my artwork on products to sell.

A never ending battle…

I know I’m never going to stop the thieves. There are always unscrupulous people out there, willing to use anything or anyone for their own profit. But when I find them I will challenge them. What they are doing is wrong – WRONG I tell you!

The only way to defeat them in some ways is not to join them, it’s not to let it all slide, but it’s to offer my art with really good quality images on good quality products at a reasonable price.

It’s also getting the word out that this kind of thing is unacceptable, and to challenge the myth that just because an image is on the internet it’s free for anyone to use, even to make money for themselves.

So, from now on, I will be adding more prominent watermarks to my art and making sure it’s at a low resolution that will not print well. I’ll do what I can to make it more difficult for them to steal, to remove my signature or symbol and watermarks and so on.

I also have a plan to add a notice to my art warning people that it is copyrighted and it’s use without permission is illegal. Well, not quite those words, but that kind of meaning.

The easiest way to stop the unscrupulous out there would be to stop sharing my art. However, there’s been people saying they hope it doesn’t stop me as they like to see what I’m up to…so I’m going to have to learn how to protect my images, my art more and more. And if I find someone using my artwork for their own gain without my permission then I will do what I can to stop them.

Magical landscape mandala

Magical landscape mandala © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Magical landscape mandala © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Creating this mandala has had me smiling. Gentle smiles on my face and in my heart. There’s something about the graphic black and white, the grey foliage in the background and the mystical, magical moonlight illuminating the design. I look at it and I feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction with this one. It’s not perfect. There’s things I want to do with it, and working digitally allows me to do that. However, for now, it’s more than good enough. I need more tea and a bit of a break from it.

I have to say that it looks really nice in just black and white. but, the simple gradient background really sets the atmosphere for the design. I did use a gradient fill tool to create the coloured background, but I do want to go back and create one that I can have a bit more control over for sure, maybe using watercolour brushes to do that, and adding spots of glow too.

I’m really pleased with the lighter foliage in the background, adding depth and dimension to the design, adding interest. It’s delicate and ephemeral, misty too.

I want to try not letting the background colour the motifs. That’ll involve me adding white to the white spaces. For some reason I created them with transparent ink.! No great problem to go back and sort that out though.

I also want to try working on a landscape that isn’t a mandala, using the same kind of style of drawing and adding magical, mystical coloured backgrounds.

But overall, I’m pleased with this and I’m pleased with the progress I seem to be making in both digital art and in developing my art ‘voice’.

There’s been quite a few pieces of art I’ve created that have made me smile recently – many of my mandalas and entangled drawings, my cute kitty ‘cartoons’ spring to mind, especially one I did of the pink anti-stigma badger as a Jedi knight!

I can honestly say that this mandala, and my previous one, have made me smile more than most.