A little, pastel mandala

Angela Porter mandala 17 July 2018 watermarked

Today, I’ve been artfully busy with drawings for a new book for Dover Publications Inc., but have taken time out this evening to draw a simple mandala, and to colour it in.  Oddly, I’ve chosen lots of pastels!

Mandala created using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and my Microsoft Surface Book.

Rainbow Mandala – another

Rainbow Mandala01-Angela Porter

Late last night I spent some time playing with mandalas where the background is completely black and the design is in colour.  I came up with a few where the design was the same, but the colours were different.

This morning, I felt I wanted to try a bigger, more complex mandala, and this is what resulted.

I love the way the colours seem to glow against the black, there’s something almost magical about it.

Of course, I now want to play with different colour combinations, particularly complementary colours.

It’s fun!

Digital art- it’s a learning thing


Over quite a few hours I’ve used this design to explore digital colour a bit more.  Of course, it’s one of my own designs.


This is the first coloured version of the template.  I’ve left the black lines in and added some more line patterns for interest.  To colour the flower, I used a couple of pencil ‘brushes’ in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with two blender ‘brushes’.  The colours come from the Copic colour palette.

I’m quite happy with this; it’s very much like what I’d do with traditional media.  However, the digital environment means it’s far easier to correct mistakes.

As I’ve said before, you may think that digital colouring/art is faster and easier than traditional media; I have to tell you it’s not! It took me 2 hours or so to colour this simple flower – and that was just colouring one-eighth of the design and letting the symmetry tool copy it around the flower!  With traditional media it would have taken me much less than 1 hour to achieve a similar effect.

I don’t think that the extra time is due to me not being familiar with the ‘brushes’ I’m using, but more to do with the way that you can use layers as well as intensifying the contrast after each blending session.  It is quicker to lay colour down – it doesn’t have to be neat and smooth as the blending tools can help to smooth out the unevenness.


Now, this one really is something quite different from me.  NO black lines.  Not one.  Just colour.

It took me a lot longer to do this one – 3 to 4 hours in total I think, and it’s only a small and simple design!  Part of that time is because this is something very different for me – no black lines…

I also made good use of layers to keep the colours separate so they didn’t blend; one layer for blues/purples and another for the yellows/oranges.  A third was added for the background.

Getting my head around the concept of working in layers after a long time only ever working on one sheet of paper, is a really challenge, but as  I work in this way it becomes more familiar to me.

I’m also a bit ‘stubborn’ in terms of exploring and discovering what works and how to do things my own way rather than reading/watching tutorials.

Like any skill, it takes time to develop some level of competence with it, and a lot longer to achieve a mastery.  The more I do with digital art, especially in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, the more I like working with it.  I like Sketchbook, lots.  It may not be as complex as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it does what I want it to do without struggling with a complicated interface.  It allows me to draw/create a lot like I would with paper and pen, and then to explore more media than I’d ever use with traditional art media, and media that don’t even exist outside of the digital environment.

The more I work with it, the more I know I will need a Microsoft Surface Studio sooner rather than later; as much as I love my Surface Book, I do find it difficult to understand how things will look 1:1.

I’m in no great rush though, my Surface Book works just fine, and if the worst comes to the worst, I can sketch my ideas out and scan them in and work from that, using layers of course!

Dragonfly mandala


Over the last couple of days, my focus has been on designing mandalas.  I also have been learning a little more about Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and how I can import images, cut them and have them as an opaque image that ‘floats’ on top of other layers or designs.  The image above is an example of the work I’ve done.

My only issue with it is that I’ve used too thick a pen for the mandala. Now I know how to do this, I can always re-do the mandala part, or the dragonfly!

I also spent a fair part of yesterday doing some mixed media work.  A friend of mine asked if I’d do something with her wedding speech for one of her family so it’d become a keepsake for them.

I’d been puzzling about how to do it, when inspiration struck with the colours I needed to use, and off I went!  I’ll post a photo of it once the wedding is all done!

Drawing on the surface


Pastel fungi2

Over the past few days, I’ve been spending a lot of time exploring Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book.

I’ve been playing with colouring things, mostly in a very ‘flat’, almost marker-like kind of way, but also trying out different digital mediums and textures.

In the last hour or two, I thought I’d give drawing with pencil and pastel a go, something I’ve not been happy working with in the digital environment.  This is partly due, I think, to me not being familiar with working with the Surface Pen and becoming comfortable with drawing where I don’t rest my hand on the substrate I’m working on.  It’s only through working and working with the Surface and Surface Pen have I achieved this, and unconsciously so.  Perseverance really does pay off.

This is my first drawing with pencil and pastel on the Surface … and I’m quite happy with it.  It’s certainly something I’m going to work at a lot more.