Yesterday I decided to make a second card with a coordinating envelope. I wanted to try out using the Chameleon fine-liners to add colour in the form of lines and cross-hatching. Finally, I added some gold dots to the points of the petals on the flower design.
To draw the design and execute the hand-lettering, I used a Uniball Unipin pen. I then used various pairs of Chameleon fineliners to add the colour.
I prefer this way of adding colour with the Chameleon fine-liners, though I’m not entirely happy about it either. Looking at it now, in the clear light of dawn, I think I could have added a flat colour below the coloured lines. I may go and add that colour in a little while. After all, it’s just a card, an experiment, and if I mess it up, I can always make another one! A lesson learned, an experience gained is worth the few pennies worth of materials and the time it took just as long as I remember the lesson in the future.
I’m also not happy with my hand-lettering; I like the idea of the letter layout, but it’s not centred between the arcs.
I do like the ‘banner’ I’ve used to enclose the hand-lettering. However, there’s something about the rectangular ribbons and the patterns within that I don’t particularly like. I’ll work out what it is in time.
For now, I’ll try adding flat colour to the coloured sections to see how that works out and not worry about messing up the card. I’ll use it as a learning experience.
And that reminds me, I’ve still not set up my One Note journal for my private critiques and what kinds of methods and techniques I use in my art.
A piece of yellow card cut to 4″ x 11″, scored and folded in half to make a top-fold card measuring 4″ x 5½”.
A piece of white card approx. 4″ x 5″ for the top layer.
A We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch board and an piece of paper measuring 7⅞” x 7⅞” or a blank envelope that will fit a 4″ x 5½” card.
A pencil and ruler for the guide-lines and a good eraser to remove them.
A black fineliner pen for drawing and hand-lettering; I used a Uniball Unipin pen.
Pens to colour the design; I used Chameleon fineliner pens.
A gold gel pen for the dot embellishments; I used a Uniball Signo gold gel pen.
If you’d like to learn more about dangle designs or are looking for some more inspiration for them and how they can be used in cards, BuJos, scrapbooks, bookmarks, journals, and more then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’is a good place to start. It takes you through how to draw monograms and dangle designs for all kinds of occasions around the year in simple steps.
My experiment laying down areas of colour with Chameleon markers then adding colour inspired me to try the same idea out with my digital art tools.
Here is the result of several hours trying the idea out.
I’m not at all sure about lots of parts of it. I’m not happy with it at the moment. I have some things to think about going forward.
Firstly, the way I have my pen brushes set up is giving a black line that seems to be way too stark against the colour. Black ink in fine line pens isn’t quite so opaque. So, I need to play around adjusting this.
Also, I have the edge of the pen brushes set up as ‘sharp’, so I do get that very sharp edge to the line. I need to play around with adjusting this as well. It’s not enough to have an uneven line edge; if anything, the sharpness of the rough edge jars my senses.
The background colour is quite OK if perhaps a tad complex. Again, I need to spend time playing around with various brush types, properties and textures to work out the best way for me to create such backgrounds if this is a route I’m going to go down in digital art.
As always, by taking time to do experimental art (not that all art is experimental I think) I explore the tools, effects, settings, and so on that are available to me in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Of course, I use my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio to create my digital art.
What’s important is that I make the time to do this regularly. It’s the only way I can learn and develop my digital art ‘voice’ as well as understanding how the different brushes and settings work.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m OK. Tired, but much better than earlier this week.
I’m tired from not enough sleep last night, but also from dealing with some difficult issues around a member of my family. I don’t mind myself becoming drained when it’s about helping another person. I know how to take care of myself now so that I recover and don’t stay stuck in this emotionally exhausted state. That’s what self-care is all about.
I did go out yesterday with my younger sister. We visited the Roman baths in Caerleon and ended up at the Honey Cafe in Bronllys for a late lunch.
I popped to the toilet at the cafe, and I got stressed out there. Children loudly screaming with a very loud hand-drier caused me to become anxious, stressed, hypervigilant. The children weren’t distressed at all, just screaming with the noise of the hand-drier for fun. Their mother was with them, so they were safe. So, I have no idea what my reaction was all about. All I know it’s grist for the EMDR therapy wheel.
Oh! The joy of the CPTSD triggers that hide from me. Well, this one has now come out into the light of a startle, so it can’t hide any longer!
Still, the startling left me twitchy, jumpy, on-edge and on the point of tears for quite a long while after this. Any slightly loud noise, someone walking past me in the cafe and I’d jump and catch my breath.
When I got home, I felt exhausted and collapsed into bed and slept for a couple of hours.
I did sleep well through the night, even though I went to bed a bit later than usual. However, I still feel tired, exhausted today.
I know it will pass. Self-care is required. I have some ginger chai that I’m sipping as I write this blog. I know that art, crochet, naps, music all help to soothe me. I’m not sure a walk in a people-y world would be a good idea today, well not if my by myself. I think I’m still on edge. It does take a good while for the stress hormones to leave my system so that I return to a less aroused emotional state.
Hmm, thinking about that, I do have this sense of anxiety today. There’s nothing I’m stressing about, nothing that is worrying me, so it’s just those hormones flooding my system still.
I think I deserve some gold stars for noticing that! Becoming self-aware, aware of my emotions and thoughts, is part of the healing process. It still amazes me when I see something that in the past that I would either ignore or bury deep inside me and put a happy smiley face on and carry on as if nothing was wrong.
Mostly gone are those days. I say mostly; there are times when I still return to the default setting of ignoring my emotions and needs to make sure whoever I am with is happy, even if it causes me great pain or a feeling of vulnerability and feeling unsafe.
I still find it very difficult to voice my own needs if I think someone is going to dismiss them or ignore them. Admitting I have needs make me feel even more vulnerable.
I am aware of this now, so that is a step forward. Progress is made through a series of small, manageable steps. In therapy, the first steps to change are recognising something that needs to change for healing and a healthier relationship with myself to occur.
Yesterday, I had an interesting day. I did manage to get these two illustrations done in between listening to a friend in need and taking care of a very upset tummy along with quite painful cramps.
I used 5″ x 7″ pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol board along with some Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs. This time, I didn’t add any grey shading. I will scan then print if I decide to colour them with traditional media.
The drawings turned out well, I think. I chose the size of paper for a reason, which I’m not about to divulge! It’s just an idea rattling around my noggin.
It’s Monday, so that means it’s EMDR therapy day.
I know on a Monday that my day can be broken up with a 3 hour or so trip to Neath and back for EMDR.
Today, I’m feeling more like I did last Monday before I received some post that threw me a curveball. I am tired as rather painful tummy cramps woke me from time to time through the night. I’m still getting them now, but a couple of Anadin Extra has taken the edge off them. I must leave early enough to pick up some more painkillers on my way to therapy.
I’ve had some flashbacks this week to events I thought I’d put to bed via EMDR. It seems that these events have several facets to them. Each of these facets relates to a negative belief I hold about myself, so each will need to be processed separately.
I’ve been trying to keep a record of the insights I gain from these flashbacks, and also any other negative beliefs that crop up from them. However, they often happen when I don’t have my BuJo to hand, and by the time I do, they’ve evaporated from my mind.
Hmm. Not really evaporated, the flashbacks have just been automatically shut away in their box once again.
I’ve learned not to try to second-guess what is going to happen in therapy each week. Whatever I have thought may happen rarely if ever happens. So I try to go with an open mind unless something has cropped up in the week that needs discussing.
Yesterday, I got round to colouring my little reef drawing. And it is a little drawing – the paper is just 4″ square (10cm square).
To colour it, I used my Chameleon pens – both the Color Tones and Color Tops. I finished the illustration off with some small dots from a white Uniball Signo gel pen.
What I didn’t expect was that the pigment from the Uniball Unipin pens bled somewhat. I don’t remember that happening before. Mind you, I usually scan and print my black and white line art and colour the print. I didn’t do that today — something to remember for future reference. This is why some of the colours look a little dirty.
All the same, it’s a colourful, happy little illustration. I also like the thickness of the main lines with the variation in line thickness in the details. Diversity in line weight is something I need to remember when I draw digitally. Looking at my latest colouring templates, I think I may have used a line that was too fine. Again, this is something that I need to consider in the future.
It’s always lovely to do artwork like this, using traditional media and working in a familiar, comfortable style. It gives me a chance to reflect on what I’m doing elsewhere and to adapt and change what I’m doing to improve it.
Creating this artwork has given me ideas for some projects in the future. More on that when they come to fruition.
So, Angela, how are you doing today?
I’m doing OK. I’m feeling a lot brighter as the aftermath of Monday’s bombshell fades.
I’m aware I really don’t get out of the house and move my body around much. I either get engrossed in art and the day slips past me quite quickly. Or, my anxiety rears up and try as I might to overcome it, I just can’t seem to make it out of the house.
After a conversation with a friend the night before, I remembered that I like to walk around cemeteries and that my local cemetery might be the perfect place to go for a stroll.
And I did. Go for a stroll.
My love affair with cemeteries started when I used to walk to and from school when I was 11 and 12 years old. Walking to school was always a bit of a dash. However, I could take my time on the walk home to wander and explore the cemetery.
Even on the gloomiest, darkest winter afternoons, I never got freaked out by the cemetery. The dead have never scared me. The living, however, are an entirely different matter. The living people around me were the source of my traumas and CPTSD. The dead could do nothing to me that was any worse than the living.
I found the variation in headstone styles fascinating. I found I could chart the change in fashions over time. I also found reading them fascinating as some of them could tell me about the deceased and their families. It was history related to real people and brought them back to life. It wasn’t the dusty, dry, uninteresting facts in the history lessons I had to endure in school.
And so began my love of wandering around cemeteries.
I find them soothing, calm places to be. They’re quiet, not many people visit them. And there’s plenty of wildlife in them if you’re quiet and take the time to look.
Perfect places for me to walk and explore. Even on the days when anxiety stops me going to more people-y places like towns or parks, a cemetery can offer me that quiet space I need to take a walk.
If you’d like to see some photos and read some words about my walk and the cemetery, then please visit my other blog, Curious Stops and Tea Shops.
I’m still in self-soothing mode after Monday’s emotionally draining trigger and EMDR session. I’m feeling a lot brighter, content, and not worried, but I’m tired as the stress from Monday is still affecting my sleep. It takes days for the stress hormones to leak away from me, bearing in mind I always have an elevated level thanks to the CPTSD.
Any way, back to art…
My self-soothing arty activity involved adding some patterns and motifs to my visual Zibladone (kind of a journal thingy). Always a soothing kind of experience for me. It also gave me the practice with pen on paper that I’ve discovered I need to do daily.
While drawing these patterns and motifs, I knew I wanted to try to create some of them in colour, with a lot of texture and dimension. So, the best way for me to do this is with a mandala. Well, that’s what I ended up starting work on. Originally I wanted to create a page similar to one in my Zibladone, with examples of motifs and patterns that are drawn/coloured digitally.
I may turn my attention to that after I’ve had some lunch. I’ll see.
Yesterday, I also completed the August template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I’ll post an image of it tomorrow, but it’s up in the group already, along with a colour palette challenge for August. The template is exclusive to members of the group, and new members are always made welcome there. I’m always blown away by the beautiful and unique ways in which the members of the group bring my line art to life with the magic of colour.
The other day, I was drawing a design for the book I’m working on. I wasn’t at all happy with the way I was drawing. I’ve been working so much digitally that I feel out of practice with pen on paper.
I may end up re-drawing my illustrations for the book digitally, but I want the option of doing that.
So, yesterday evening, as some self-soothing, and this morning, I’ve been drawing in my ‘visual zibladone’, my A5 dotgrid where I keep all the patterns and motifs, well maybe not all but most, that I like to use. It’s a little book that I can flip through to find inspiration if I need it.
Adding designs, even if they’re duplicates, is a nice way to practice my drawing skills with pen or pencil.
When I work digitally, my pen strokes are much bigger, longer and involve me using my whole arm and wrist a lot more than when I use pen on paper.
I’m perhaps a lot bolder with my lines as I work digitally than I am when working on paper. I’m still precise with my lines, but the way my muscles work when I’m working digitally is different.
I hadn’t realised this until today.
Don’t get me wrong, I love drawing both ways, with traditional tools or digital tools.
However, I’d not really noticed the way that I move my fingers, wrist and arm when I work is different with each media. How curious!
So, I need to make time every day to draw with pen on paper to keep those skills just ticketty boo.
Just a little warning. The words that follow may contain material for some that may be upsetting or triggering. Please feel free to skip it.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m ok. Tired. EMDR yesterday was very emotional and exhausting.
I arrived at the session after having some snail mail which had me doubting my abilities as an artist/illustrator/author and it triggered that inner critic inside.
I felt warmth drain from my body. I started calling myself a failure, useless, delusional of my abilities and talent, that I really am worthless and useless, and that I’ve let people down. I even questioned my abilities as an artist, if I was deluding myself and others, living in a fantasy world rather than reality. Part of me just wanted to give it all up.
Another part of me told me that I wasn’t being silly, what I was hearing was not myself but the inner critic who had attacked me at the point of vulnerability and tried to stick its claws in once again and continue the job of so many people in my childhood and beyond of keeping me down and thinking the worst of myself.
This all tracks back to the earliest days I can remember in my life, and most of the days beyond. Nothing I did was ever good enough, and if I did good at something there was always someone who was either better or potentially was better. Always the slap-down. Every time I thought I’d done something good and tried to show it, I was always told I was wrong and everyone else was right and better.
By the time I got to therapy I was in a bit of a state. I do have to say nowhere as near as bad as I would’ve been even a few months ago, let alone a year or more ago. But still in a bit of an emotional state. Tearful. Worried. But not with the level of anxiety I’d usually feel, which surprised me, even though thoughts were running around my head like crazy.
Some of the thoughts were fairly rational, sensible, logical. That also surprised me.
Jung would call this an prime example of synchronicity – there’s no such thing as something being just a coincidence. Last week we started working on the negative belief I have that I’m a failure and useless and a disappointment. What a bit of synchronicity is that, eh?
We talked about what had triggered me and how I don’t need to go into or stay in full panic/flight/freeze mode, and about the confusion I felt that I should be really anxious and panicked, but I wasn’t. But we did use those negative thoughts for EMDR.
Lots of tears and physical pain and discomfort with the session yesterday. The negative beliefs I had changed into one of being deeply disappointed in myself and of having let others down.
At the end, I left feeling more upbeat than I arrived, even though I was absolutely bushwhacked emotionally.
I eventually got home, after a stop to get supplies to make some cucumber sandwiches. For some reason I really fancied them. I was hungry as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast early that morning.
I was tired, but knew that I couldn’t nap as it would wreck my sleep pattern, which was likely to be wrecked anyway.
And it was. I had a broken night’s sleep. I kept waking up and started fretting a little about yesterday’s mail. In the end, I gave up trying to go back to sleep and got up, breakfasted and determined I’d do some drawing.
I seem to be OK at the moment. My mind isn’t dwelling on the mail. I still feel a bit nervy though. That will pass.
Even though it was a challenging day yesterday, I think it’s shown me how far I’ve come. Not that long ago this would’ve absolutely floored me. Now, I seem to have a little resilience, and I reached out to people for some more information and explanation and advice too.
The rest of my day is going to be spent in self-soothing activities, which do include art!
Today I thought I’d create a monogram dangle design for ‘F’ with some cute fish, as well as a couple of shells. Of course a whimsical crown with golden foliage tops the design off just nicely!
Fish means a water theme, so I used blues, and blue-greens quite liberally. However, golds and shades of red and magenta really give a tropical feel to the jolly little fish.
Fairly simple gradient colouring this week. No drop shadows, other than the one around the whole design.
Looking at it now, I think the monogram might benefit from a drop shadow or two. However, it’ll do just fine as it is I think.
It would be lovely on a card for someone with the initial F, especially if they love fish or fishing. Of course the colours can be adjusted accordingly, as can the particular kind of fish. I’m particularly fond of cute, whimsical, happy little fish.
It could happily find a place in a BuJo, scrapbook, planner, journal or diary. Making the monogram narrower and the dangles longer, it would make a lovely bookmark too, I think.
Just a little mention here about my book “A Dangle A Day”. It’s a dangle design tutorial book, Angela -style dangles that is. Lots of monograms as well as dangle designs for use around the year. It’s a good place for beginners, but is also full of ideas for the more experienced among you. And, of course, I add a new dangle design on this blog most Fridays which you can use for inspiration. I’d love to see what you create! Tag me on social media!