Flipbook Sketchbook Page

This morning I needed to do something arty to give me a bit of a break from the butterfly. So, I decided to create a digital sketchbook page in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It dawned on me that I could record the steps I took to create this page as a flipbook, which is what I did.

The little drawings include just a few of my favourite motifs/patterns that crop up in my colouring book pages or templates quite often, as well as in my artwork in general.

Creating little blocks of colour to draw on that aren’t perfect shapes is different for me, and not so easy for me to do it turns out.

I find creating flipbooks fun, and it’s a nice way to share a little of my process with people too. It’s also a nice way to shake up my creativity a little, to do something a bit different, especially when I need a break from a project I’m working on.

I used Movavi Video Suite 2020 to slow the flipbook animation down so it can be followed as a tutorial, as well as to add the intro/outro screens and music.

As always, my digital tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Mandala Drawing Flipbook

This morning I had a lot of fun drawing a mandala using the flipbook tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I made a flipbook animation by recording each step in the process, so element by element you can see how I draw mandalas.

It took a bit of getting my head around the process, even after watching a youtube video about how to do it, but I got there.

For this short video I left the mandala without any shading or colour. I’m just learning how this could work for me.

I think it would work really, really well for creating little tutorial videos on how to draw patterns and design elements. If you’d like to see videos like that, then leave a comment!

Of course, I had to edit the video by adding intro and outro screens, music and transitions. I also slowed the flipbook animation down. I used Movavi Video Suite 2020 to do this.

I have to say that editing a flipbook animation is a lot easier than editing a video taken with my phone or by recording my computer screen as I create!

I do need to be brave and add some voice overs in the future, or subtitles including hints and tips. However, for me this is a little by little process and I will get to a place that I’m happy with, and that hopefully any viewers will be happy with too.

Oh, along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, I used a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

Mandala 04 March 2020

Mandala 04 March 2020 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Finally! I have this mandala finished. Life events conspired over the past couple of days to keep me from paper and pen (digital or traditional) and the aftermath left me with a blinding headache and bone-deep tiredness this morning. Still, I did what I’d arranged to do today, and when I came home I had a late lunch and retired to bed to sleep the lingering effects of the extreme stress/introvert hangover off.

Before I left home this morning, I managed to get a little more of this mandala coloured. I’ve now finished it this evening.

The colours took an unexpected turn in places, as did the contrast betwixt light and shadow. The resulted in the outer rings of the mandala being more dimensional in appearance than the inner rings, less like decorative mosaic in a grand entrance hall and more organic, alive, vibrant.

I’m also glad that I’ve changed the background. The darker, richer colours really help the mandala to glow.

The colours aren’t my usual kinds of colour choice, that’s for sure. If I were to re-work this mandala, I’d most probably use a different palette. However, the colours kind of work.

Although I like the more mosaic forms of the inner rings, the dimensional nature of the outer rings really makes my arty heart smile.

I remember when I did my A level art and I produced three oil paintings, the only three oil paintings I’ve ever done and will ever do. I really disliked working with the slimy paints, despite the vibrance of the colours. These paintings were three abstracts – one from the folds in a Romanesque sculpture, another from some kind of worm screws from a steam locomotive, and the last from rusty gears from a diesel locomotive. Each was a monochrome study, focusing on highlights and shadow.

At the exhibition of students’ work (mine included), I was puzzled why people kept touching my oil paintings. I eventually asked someone why they’d done that. The answer was that they looked so three-dimensional they just wanted to touch them and were surprised that they were flat. I hadn’t seen the paintings that way myself, but when it was pointed out to me I could see the illusion I’d created.

Part of me would love to see mandalas of mine created as mosaics, to see people surprised that they’re not dimensional as they appear.

Working on this mandala today has reminded me of how much I love to create this kind of illusion. It may be stylised, not realistic, but it’s part of my artistic melody, a theme deeply embedded in my heartsong.

I created this mandala in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro running on my Microsoft Surface Studio and with a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Monday Mandala WIP

Monday Mandala WIP 02/03/2020
©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I woke a bit earlier than usual this morning, and while I was coming around I watched an Autodesk Sketchbook Pro tutorial by Trent Kaniuga – Sketchbook Pro for Absolute Beginners and came across an explanation and use of a tool I’d not worked out for myself.

This is the selection tool, and it’s a great way to select areas for adding colour, texture and/or effects to as well as copying, pasting, moving, rotating, resizing and so on. It does mean I need to use my keyboard along with my Microsoft Surface Slim Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. That means using the screen at a different angle to my usual, which is a good thing I think as I now can’t hunch over the screen.

It was the way that when an area is selected and colour or texture is applied, the colour/texture only applies to that selected area, or areas. It masks the rest of the image from the selected areas.

This is going to be so useful for me going forward, now I’ve played with the techinique. It’s given me an elegant way to do something I’ve previously achieved by the use of layer after layer after layer.

I’ve been working with it to add colour to this mandala design from a collection of mandalas I’m working on.

The colours and textures remind me of polished stones, perhaps mosaic pieces. I’ve used fairly complementary colours, but they don’t quite play off each other as much as I’d like. I am, however, going to work with these colours going forward to complete the mandala.

Mandala 26 Feb 2020

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

About the mandala

This morning, after a couple of topsy turvy days, I managed to get some art done before I get sorted for the day.

It’s always lovely to return to art after a little break from it. Today, I used a photograph I took last August while visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Gorgeously coloured flowers were blooming in the great glasshouse, and this stylised flower is based on some of them, including the colour palette.

A bright, sunshiny, warmly glowing flower is just what I needed to paint this morning. I think I’ve chosen a background colour/texture that allows those colours to shine too.

Digital art created with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.

Leaving therapy…

Monday was a crazy kind of day. In the morning I got sidetracked by a friend, all while I was trying to pack gifts up for my therapist before I headed to my last appointment, for the foreseeable future anyway.

That’s right. I’ve finished with EMDR therapy, for now. I feel I’m good enough learn to fly through life without the support net of my therapist. My wings haven’t spread much, and though weak, they’re strong enough for me to take my first bumbling, solo flights in life (solo as in not with therapy). I’m going to crash onto the ground, bump into trees and obstacles, even get tangled up from time to time in branches and brambles. I do feel, however, that I can cope with the bumps of my flight through my post-therapy life.

Getting tangled up may result in me needing help to untangle myself as something happens in life that triggers a part of the cPTSD that is still hidden and causes it to rise up to the conscious mind where it can be dealt with. This may mean a return to EMDR to deal with that particular set of traumas.

It was both a little sad and a fairly exciting and happy time too. My therapist and friends are proud of me for the work I’ve put in, as well as the perseverance and courage I’ve shown in facing some of the traumas that have resulted in the cPTSD.

New Camera!

I’ve had a need floating around my head for a little while – to buy a DSLR camera. I’ve looked at them, read about them, tried to decode the technical blurb, and finally found myself drawn to one particular model time and time again.

Rather than purchase it online, I steeled myself yesterday to take a trip into Cardiff to visit Cameraland. I’d looked at various shops where you can buy cameras, but this one really ‘felt’ right. And I have to say, it was the right choice.

So, after breakfast, I headed off to Cardiff, parked up, and walked from the Museum to Cameraland through the town. For many years I’ve not been able to go into Cardiff. Loud voices, noises and the high number of people ramp anxiety in me up to a level of startle and hyper-vigilance. So, I used noise-cancelling earphones and upbeat music to help me cope.

And I did! This wouldn’t be possible to do if I was with someone or people, but on my own it’s completely do-able.

Anyways, the chap I talked to in Cameraland was very helpful, knowledgeable. I explained what I’d like a camera for, my experience with SLRs in the past, and the model I’d had my eyes on. He did say there were other options, but none as good as the one I’d chosen.

He showed me around the camera, let me hold it, use it, and then when I’d decided it was the one for me helped me with a uv lens filter, memory card and a camera bag that is spacious enough for me to use as a handbag too.

This camera is a celebration gift to myself for completing therapy, to mark a kind of rite of passage for me. It’s also a way for me to encourage myself to explore the world a bit more. I’ve invested a fair bit of money in the camera and I really don’t want to see it sitting in the bag, being unused.

I still can’t just go out because I’d like to go out. I still need a reason to leave my home. Going out to use my camera is a good reason in my mind.

It also means that when I’m with Liz, or others, on days out, I can record things that catch my attention that I’d usually sit and draw. Yes, I can use the camera on my phone, which is a good phone camera. However, the images aren’t as clear or colour-faithful as I’d like.

So, I may be sharing particularly nice photos I’ve taken too, of all kinds of things that I find interesting, fascinating.

Sunday morning mandala

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

It’s a sunshiny morning in South Wales. A welcome respite from the rain we’ve experienced most of the week. The cleanup and return to ‘normal’ continue after the flooding that occurred just one week ago.

I had no idea what I would create this morning, other it would be a mandala.

I drew and painted the design digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Slim Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.

This one has the floral centrepiece with a zentangle-style background. The flower is an unusual colour choice for me; I tend not to use corals and red tones much. It’s easy enough to change colours digitally, but I went with it, knowing that my colour choice reflects how I’m feeling at this point in time.

Yes, I do tend to create rather intuitively. This design didn’t start with a sketch, but with the first shape to be drawn, which was reminiscent of a petal. The rest of the design grew from there.

I’m surprising myself with how I’m able to ‘paint’ digitally. I enjoy creating more stylised forms, but with added texture and contrast to bring them to life. I know I’m not an expert at this; however, each time I work in this way, I learn more.

Today’s big lesson was how to save a brush style I’d edited and liked as a new brush for my brush library.

I’m glad I’m learning and developing my digital art voices and styles and that it’s happening slowly over time and as my needs demand. I know if I watched videos or followed tutorials on how all this worked, I would become incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated.

I also know that by watching what others do, I would likely be tempted to emulate their style and way of working.

I need to work out my own style/voice and be comfortable with it.
So, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do something that I’m not yet ready for or haven’t had an awareness of what I could do.

Monochrome Monday Mandala

Monochrome Monday Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This mandala took an unexpected turn as I was adding colour. I was experimenting with brush settings in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, particularly the ‘colour’ setting. This will change the colour of any area, but preserves the shadow/light values. I thought I’d see what happened when I used grey as the colour, and I liked the monochrome that resulted. So, I completed the mandala in a similar way.

So, quite a different kind of mandala from me, and very different from my usual bold use of colour.

Lavender Mandala

Mandala © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve been busy this morning, working out how to video record the screen of my computer as I draw digitally.

I found a YouTube video about using OBS Studio to do this. I followed the instructions, problem solved, and after three attempts I had a poor quality video that I wasn’t happy with.

So, I went to Movavi, a video editor I’ve used previously. It has an app that will record the screen, easily. It’s a one button click to launch. A simple, small, and minimalist control panel sits in the bottom right corner of the screen. I can record, pause, start again easily.

I recorded myself drawing the mandala above. The video is currently processing and being saved. I’ll then need to edit it. The still of the video I can see while this is happening is of a fab quality it seems. So fingers crossed the video will be too!

I didn’t think to look at Movavi before Googling for advice on recording the screen. I did have to buy the software, but it wasn’t extortionately expensive and I’m sure that it will meet my needs.

So, once the video is saved, I can spend sometime today editing it and I hope to upload it tomorrow, as long as the recording is of a good quality.

Yesterday, I had a day out with my friend Liz. We visited Hay On Wye for a walk around and lunch. It was one of those glorious winter days where the sun shines warmly and the air is crisp and cool. It was mild enough for me to walk around without a bulky coat.

Mandala 29 Jan 20

Mandala 29 Jan 2020 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

A simple, monochrome mandala today, using some of my favourite patterns (plus a couple that are entirely mine).

Drawing mandalas is so soothing, mindful, meditative. The repetitive nature of drawing patterns is part of that relaxing experience.

It was also nice to use some of the patterns from my ‘visual dictionary‘ or ‘visual zibladone’ in some art.

I have some new patterns and motifs to add to my visual dictionary; they spontaneously appeared as I was drawing. I like when this happens, when I don’t over-think things and just go with my instincts.

I wanted to add a colour gradient to the mandala. However, when I tried to do so, it just didn’t feel right. So monochrome it is.

Drawn digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

New Year coloring template

New Year coloring template (c) Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

Today, I seem to have a lot of my focus back. I’m still not 100%; my appetite and taste buds are still way off, but my mind seems to be a bit less fuzzy.

That means I’ve been working on a colouring template for the members of Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group to celebrate the incipient calendar changing celebration.

Here is a section of the template, which I’ve been working on colouring. The gold background is just a temporary thing.

I used Affinity Publisher for the typography in the centre of the design. I then used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw the design and to start colouring it. The template is in my entangled signature art style.

I’m enjoying adding colour to this design; this is a good sign that I’m recovering from the tummy bug that has laid me low for the the best part of a week now.

If you’d like to download a copy of the colouring template, you do need to be a member of the facebook group – it’s free to join and the template is free to members!

Of course, I’ll be posting my coloured version of the template to welcome in the new year.