Another lock-down week has passed us by, so it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. Here’s my partly coloured version. I’ve gone for rather soft yet glowing colours for this one.
As always, if you’d like to print and colour it, then pop over to the facebook group and join up. It’s free, it’s a lovely community of people who love my artwork and share their amazing colorations with each other. You’d be made most welcome.
I used one of the dragonfly designs from yesterday’s posting as the focal point for this design. Mandalas are something I love, so to place one behind the dragonfly felt the natural thing to do. I’ve used my signature style of entangled art to fill the space around the mandala.
This is digital art, drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with Microsoft’s Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.
The design is printed on the products to order and the delivery is fast!
This is only one of a small number of designs I have available on products ranging from tee-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, duvet covers, comforters, cushions, phone cases, laptop sleeves, laptop skins, prints, posters, clocks, mugs, postcards and greeting cards, and more!
I had a hankering to create a dragonfly this morning, and this how far I’ve got after 4 hours of work.
I’m fairly happy with the colours I’ve chosen; teals and purples are a favourite combination of mine. I do like the areas of green, magenta and blue in the background.
I’m not sure if the spiral bits work – they look a bit clunky to me. I will, however, let the artwork sit quietly for some time until I work out what to do to improve, or rework it. I may carve out some shapes to lighten the spirals. I don’t know for sure yet.
It’s very stylised, and I’d like to add some details to the wings in particular. I’m not sure what though. Again, I need a break from this particular artwork and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
One of the best things about digital art is the ability to edit work, to make changes without having to re-work everything.
I’m trying to work more without the black line art being visible in my finished work. It’s taken me a long time and lots of trials and errors to become comfortable with work that hasn’t got those outlines. I love to work with light and shadow, and learning how to use these instead of line art is a slow but enjoyable process.
This doesn’t mean I’m turning my back on line art, far from it. I do love to draw with pens on paper (either traditional or digital media). However, digital art is allowing me to explore different ways of expressing myself artistically, ways I’d never manage with traditional media. I think I’ve said that often, but it’s still as valid now as ever.
My digital media are, as usual, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen.
I now really do need a bit of a break from art and computers and I really do need some tea. I’ve not yet managed to shower and dress and I think I may go out this afternoon with my camera, maybe, if it stays dry.
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.
This took me a bit longer than I expected this morning. I did, however, enjoy creating this card.
First, I drew the design out on a piece of paper that is 10cm x 14cm using various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens.
I copied the image using my Brother Laser printer. I didn’t scan it in at this time, but will do later on. All I needed was a copy to play around with.
The next step involved the use of Chameleon Duo Tone and Color Top markers to colour the design elements in. Even though some areas were quite small, I still managed to get bits of shading there.
Once the colouring with the Chameleon markers was done it was time to hot foil the design, and you can see where the gold foil catches the light in places as I took the photo. A friend of mine saw some of my foiling yesterday in person and she was said she was wowed by it. She thought it was good in the photos, but the photos really don’t do it justice at all.
After foiling, it was time to colour the background. I used a selection of Distress Inks, starting with mustard seed in the centre to give a subtle glow, then tumbled glass, crushed olive, peeled paint, pine needles and evergreen bough. I used a piece of cut and dry foam and a very light touch to add the colour.
I was worried that the Distress Inks may muddy up the colouring done with the Chameleon markers. Yes, they subtly changed the colours in some places, but I was careful to choose colours that wouldn’t make mud. Also, so little Distress Ink is added it barely alters the colours.
I can tell you I was well relieved by that!
Distress Inks are water reactive, so I gave the image a light spray of water knowing that only the Distress Inks would be affected. After a short while I dabbed the water off with a piece of paper towel. This lifted some of the colour leaving a subtle background texture.
As this point, after letting the paper dry completely, I could’ve added more Distress ink. Instead, I decided to use aged mahogany, again on a small piece of cut and dry foam, to edge the paper, to give it a border, and also to add a darker layer at the bottom of the design to ‘ground’ the image.
When I can find my Wink of Stella pen from Kuretake I’ll add some very subtle shimmer to the dragonflies, maybe to the seeds in the seedpods too. I also think some gold dots in small clusters would enhance the background.
I also need to think about adding a bit more shading to the bottoms of the laves to give a more dimensional look to them I think. I could definitely do the same to the dragonflies’ wings too.
Those are simple and quite minor changes that will make a difference I think. It’s only as I’m looking at the finished image now that I can see how those things would help. I often don’t think to step back and give myself time to look at the image with fresh and kindly critical eyes, seeing what I could do to improve my work.
In hindsight, the dragonflies may have worked well as black silhouettes in the design, which would then become totally covered in foil. Or just outlines that would be foiled. That’s something for me to try another time and see if I like that idea more.
I think you can tell I’m really enjoying this branch of my artistic journey. I’ve concentrated a lot on digital art of late. I’m not going to abandon my digital art journey at all; I can do things digitally that I can’t with traditional media.
However, it is showing me that working with traditional media is also a pleasurable and successful activity for me to do.
What am I going to do with this? I don’t know. Part of me wants to add it to my BuJo. Another part wants to mount it on a blank greeting card to send to a friend. Another part of me wants to put it into a reference sketchbook or folder for inspiration in the future.