Entangled Landscape

Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

About the art.

Yesterday I took a quiet day at home, apart from a quick trip out to do a little shopping for vittles. I lost myself in drawing and this image is the result.

It took me around 10 hours to complete, using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 0.4 pen along with a couple of 0.1 and 0.2 Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

The drawing harks back in time where my love of Romanesque and Gothic arches and architecture showed in amongst entangled, rambling organic motifs.

However, I think the passage of time, increase in skill and/or refining of technique shows through. Perhaps even a bit more polish to the design.

Although drawn in black and white, I’ve added a background colour gradient and texture digitally (along with the rather over the top watermarks).

Talking of watermarks…

I had a response from Teespring.com concerning my copyright infringement complaint against ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ on facebook.

The agreed with me and have removed the offending listing.

I am most grateful for their speed and professionalism in dealing with this.

It may be a drop in the ocean, but if we all took care of just one drop at a time we’d definitely reduce the number of copyright infringements out there.

My mental and emotional wellbeing

It’s been over a week since my last EMDR session. In the UK we’ve had a bank holiday weekend, so no therapy this week.

Last weeks session was really draining emotionally. I expected it’s effects to linger long beyond Monday. However, although I was still a bit tired on Tuesday I’ve mostly been quite content with that gentle smile both on my lips and in my heart.

That doesn’t mean to say I’ve not had my moments, ‘cos I have.

However, the drama of stolen artwork didn’t affect me as much as it would’ve in the past. I did what I could about it. I spoke up rather than letting it slide. It also has given me a little bit of a mission as I go forward – to raise awareness of how to spot an ethical company that supports artists by properly licencing work and properly crediting the artists they work with. Compare this with an unethical company that doesn’t support artists, doesn’t even mention who the artists are, and is only in it to make money for themselves.

Copyright infringement is rife. The myth that things on the internet are copyright free and in the public domain has to be dispelled.

Back to the point. I’m doing ok in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Sneaky peeky teaser

© Angela Porter 2019

Today, I’ve settled down to colour the templates for my latest book for the Creative Haven series published by Dover Publications Inc. And here’s a sneaky peeky teaser of the image I’ve just finished colouring not many minutes ago.

If you do a search on Amazon you’ll find out the theme of the book, but can you guess what the theme of this template is?

I’m feeling better emotionally, but I’m still very, very tired today. Processing emotional trauma through EMDR is surprisingly exhausting. After a lot of emotional distress yesterday, I’m feeling content at the moment.

Coloring and art-ing is usually soothing for me, and I have to say I enjoyed colouring this template in. I am going to have a bit of a break before I tackle the next one.

Drawn and coloured digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen with a Surface Studio.

Colouring ‘Entangled Fantastic Fungi’

Entangled Fantastic Fungi WIP © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
Entangled Fantastic Fungi WIP © Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

Today’s been a tough day emotionally for me. Monday is, usually, EMDR day, and today’s was really emotionally upsetting. The memory I’m using led to quite a few insights that caused some distress, which was at a 7 out of 10 at the start and went up to 10 at the end of the session. This happens. I have a lot to think about and process before my next session in a fortnight.

I’m absolutely exhausted. I did have a sleep when I got home, but I’m still exhausted.

I’ve tried to sit and draw and I’m not able to work in a manner that is satisfactory to me. So, I thought I’d set up a colour palette in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and colour the drawing from yesterday. Well, more like start to colour it.

Oddly, I’ve gone for rather muted, vintage colours in this one. Perhaps a reflection of how I feel. Or, maybe it goes with the lino cut ‘feel’ of this particular drawing with the strong, black lines.

Tomorrow, I hopefully start to colour in some of the templates for my next coloring book. My editor and her team at Dover Publications Inc have chosen their favourites. I do intend to give you some sneak peeks as the coloring progresses.

My tools for drawing this image were a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and a pencil. To colour it I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

Entangled landscape

Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I’ve really not been myself the past few days. With a couple of busy days this week, the emotional fallout from EMDR on Tuesday finally caught up with me as I slowed down Thursday afternoon. I’m so tired, and my mood isn’t the brightest to say the least.

It’s always a sign that even when I’m tired I can usually draw and create, but not much this week. I haven’t been able to find the inspiration to draw, nor have I found the interest or energy.

Today, around a meeting, I managed to draw this.

It’s a throwback to the more familiar art of earlier days. It has given me a chance to use some new motifs, as well as some favourite ones that crop up often.

The process of drawing was soothing, and I did my very best not to be too judgemental, though I did want to throw it out and restart several times as I wasn’t at all happy with what was coming out of the nib of my fountain pens or Uniball Unipins.

I switched to the Uniballs as the fountain pen ink was smudging lightly. I’ve fixed that, mostly, by digital wizardry. I also added the Distress Ink background digitally.

I know my inspiration and energy to draw will return, I’m just not feeling at all myself at the moment.

I do have a new self-care activity, which is sitting in/on the bed, crocheting shawls and listening to audiobooks – currently working my way through the Harry Potter series.

The rhythmic nature of crocheting is soothing. The familiarity of the Harry Potter story is also soothing. Being upstairs makes me feel safe, secure and it’s also comforting.

The memory being worked on in EMDR certainly has stirred some stuff up. I’ve had some very upsetting insights into how I’ve viewed myself. Releasing the trauma associated with this particular memory will be accompanied by a better view of myself. I may not fully believe it, but if I can believe a little of it then that is good enough for now.

I have to believe that with each memory and its associated traumatic experiences that are processed via EMDR I’ll believe the healthier, more positive statements about myself more and more.

These are some quotes I’ve found recently that are helpful to me in understanding me, helping me through this.

Trauma creates changes you don’t chose. Healing is about creating change that you do choose.

What happened to you was not your fault. The struggles you have today, like your cPTSD symptoms, are a normal response to abnormal events. So, please be kind to yourself.

The poison leaves bit by bit, not all at once. Be patient. You are healing.

Easter Dangle Design

Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter 
From 'A Dangle A Day'
Easter Dangle Design © Angela Porter
From ‘A Dangle A Day’

This cutely whimsical dangle design is from my tutorial book ‘A Dangle A Day’, which has the step-by-step instructions for drawing this design. They really are simple to draw, and the hand lettering is based on your own writing style too.

For this design, I chose spring-time colours, more pastel than bright. Of course Easter eggs and a bunny balloon had to feature, along with all the lovely spring flowers and a sprinkling of hearts. I even snuck a star in, hearts and stars being some of my favourite motifs to include.

This design would make a really cute greetings card or notecard. The dangles can easily be drawn shorter. It would also make a lovely bookmark. As a BuJo page, planner page or an element on a scrapbook page it would be lovely.

Using Nuvo drops or Ranger’s Stickles or similar to make dots where the beads are as well as a sprinkling of them around the top of the design would add some lovely dimension and sparkle for sure.

I do hope you give drawing dangle designs a go. They are so much fun and a lot easier to do than you think they are. They can also be used in many, many ways, especially when it comes to sharing love with others at different times and events throughout the years of our lives.

About the drawing…

When it came to designing the dangle designs and monograms for A Dangle A Day, I started off by sketching the idea out on dot grid paper using either a pencil or a pen. I could then adjust the lines and draw guidelines in to help me with the design quite easily.

When I was happy with the sketch, I scanned it in and then re-drew it in a digital form. For drawing digitally I use a Microsoft surface pen directly on the screen of a Microsoft surface book or surface studio. This is like drawing with pen or pencil on paper, or even painting or colouring.

So, although my designs were created in a digital environment, they were still very much drawn by hand.

I used very little in the way of smoothing lines – only enough to remove the wobbliness that comes from the great sensitivity of the pen and screen position sensoring stuff, and never used the predictive line tools available in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I worked out how to set up pens that would leave a line texture similar to the pens I like to use to draw on paper with. I determined I wouldn’t make everything perfect, that there would be that perfectly imperfect human touch to everything that I created. I also made sure I included examples of dangles drawn and coloured on paper and turned into cards, bookmarks and BuJo pages too.

Working digitally to draw and then colour the designs allowed me to edit, erase, adjust and keep the image free of smudges and blots that would require re-drawing. It also made it a lot easier to make the edits my lovely editors suggested to improve the work.

It certainly saved a lot of time scanning image after image in – something I find extremely tedious.

Although I may have used digital tools to draw with, the techniques I used were the same as if I’d drawn on paper with pen and then coloured with various traditional media.

I also have to say that the year to year and a half ago when I was colouring these I was only just starting to explore the realms of digital colouring and I hadn’t quite worked out exactly how I’d like to do it. They worked out good enough, but now I think I’d approach it a bit differently.

I had such a lot of fun creating the dangle designs season by season, month by month, celebration by celebration and I hope you have the same amount of fun doing this too.

Entangled garden scene

Entangled Garden Scene © Angela Porter 2019
Entangled Garden Scene © Angela Porter 2019

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.

More Foiling experiments

More foiling experiments ©Angela Porter 2019
More foiling experiments ©Angela Porter 2019

The death of a laminator…

Another useless photograph, but I think you get some idea of how the foiling appears.

I’ve had a bit of a nightmare with the laminator. This morning it decided to terminally ‘eat’ a ‘foiling sandwich’ and there is no way I can get it out. I tried to put an A4 sheet through the laminator which meant that the folded ‘carrier’ paper had the fold to the side, not going through the laminator first. I think that’s what caused it all to get caught and stuck.

Lesson learned? Hopefully. I think I’m going to have to work on images that are A5 (UK) in size or less. Which is fine now I’m sure about that. However, I really was hoping to foil one of my A4 monogram images.

Ho hum. I shall purchase another laminator later today so I can continue working on it. The instructions with the foil say any home laminating machine will work with this particular foil.

About the foiled works…

Here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

Foiling works best on smooth paper, such as the heavyweight ‘premium’ paper I use in my printer. I do want to try Bristol Board as that is smooth and a bit more weighty again and stands up well to quite a few media.

Coloured cardstock, such as the dark blue example to the bottom left, doesn’t work quite so well as it’s not all that smooth. The foiling ends up a bit uneven and has a kind of ‘brushed’ look to it.

The copper foil I’ve used is amazing! It is like an interference ink or paint in that it’s colour changes from coppery-red to gold as it catches the light in different ways. I’m in love with this one for sure. It looks fab with turquoise blues and greens, a lot like the colours of verdigris.

I tried colouring the top left, top middle and bottom right images with Distress Inks after foiling. This worked brilliantly! It needs to be added after foiling; a little wipe with a dry paper towel removes any excess ink from the foil.

I’m not sure if you can see it, but the centre of the two mandalas at the top left and middle have some colour added to them. I used Staedtler Fineliners for the blue one and Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens for the orange one.

The mandala at the top right I coloured using Chameleon markers and pencils after I’d foiled it. Not my best choice of colours, in my opinion, but it was an experiment. The alcohol inks stained the foil where I couldn’t keep the nib in the tiny spaces. The mandala was designed to be printed on A4 paper so the gaps weren’t quite so tiny, but I printed them at 4″ x 4″ just to try the foiling out.

I need to draw at sizes that it’s possible to foil successfully without killing a laminator off quickly in the future, and that means A5 or less in size. Unless I decide to ’tile’ the image in some way.

Future experiments in foiling…

There are some different papers I want to try. Bristol Board from either Frisk, Daler-Rowney or Winsor and Newton in particular. Strathmore is textured and I suspect it won’t work well, it’ll be more like the coloured card stock.

Coloured, heavyweight paper is a definite, particularly black I think. Just for the line art in foiling.

Hot-pressed, smooth watercolour paper may be worth a try, along with the smoother side of Claire-Fontaine or Daler-Rowney mixed media paper.

Different papers mean I can used different coloring media in different ways.

What else I have learned and what else I need to think about.

I really, really like digital colouring and I’m rather rusty with different traditional media.

I also need to think about what I can do with foiling and any market that I can create for myself with my art.

I’m really not at all good at promoting myself or my art and pricing work is so very difficult for me to do. It really is. I have a bit of a break in contracts at the moment (apart from editing some templates this week) and it’s something I really do need to turn my attention to. I create so much, but do so little with it.