Christmas comes early to the Porter household!

My advance copy arrived this morning!

Oooh! Excitement!

A knock at the door, a Fed-Ex delivery driver asking me for a signature before handing over a parcel. I saw it was from Lydia at Quarto so knew it would be a copy of ‘A Dangle A Day’. So excited to open the package and see the book in a solid, tangible form.

A Dangle A Day is due for release on 8 January 2019.

I’ve seen the pdf versions of the book as it was put together before going to print. But, it’s never, ever the same as having that book in my hands.

Even more so today as this is my first book with words and art done by myself. I trust it won’t be the last.

About the book

I had a lot of fun creating this book. I’m so excited about helping others to create their own dangle designs and to gain confidence that they, too, can create lovely designs for use in all kinds of ways – BuJo pages and spreads, greetings cards, note cards, framed pictures, scrapbooks, planners, journals, bookmarks, place cards, and more.

I’ve done my best to show you how to create monograms and dangle designs in easy steps both visually and with some supporting words.

Suggestions about how to approach hand lettering is scattered throughout the step by step instructions for the dangle designs.

Examples of dangle designs in use in bullet journals and more are included – with all their imperfections. Remember, work created by each of us will be perfectly imperfect. It’s those imperfections that make it uniquely ‘you’.

There’s lots and lots of examples of designs and dangles and charms that you can use as they are or as inspiration for other designs. There are designs for all seasons and many, many different events throughout the year.

I’ve included suggestions for color palettes, media to use.

A short primer for bullet journals is included; I’m no expert on bullet journaling but I do make use of one and find it very useful not just in organising my tasks for the day but in recording ideas, reflections, memories and more. 

This has put a big smile on my face this morning, and that smile will continue for a long while. I never thought I’d write and illustrate an art tutorial book. I’d thought I’d like to, but didn’t have the confidence to think it would be so. 

Why I chose to use digital tools

I made great use of my Microsoft Surface Book and Microsoft Surface Studio along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw many of the designs. Working digitally made editing designs, breaking the design process down into simple steps so easy. 

I used to think, as many do, that digital art is simpler, easier than traditional forms of art.

It’s not.

The skill set required is different. I wanted my digital drawing and coloring to look like I’d done it with traditional media.

Digital drawing is no easier than drawing on paper.

What is easier is correcting mistakes, smudges and removing pencil lines. It removes the frustration I experience in scanning images in and spending a lot of time cleaning the image up for the publishers. Scanning can be a frustration for me too, which would’ve been worse if I’d had to scan in step after step after step. And having to re-draw if I’d missed a step out, or re-scan would’ve driven me nuts.

What I didn’t want was artwork that looked too perfect, too inhuman. I wanted digital drawings that looked like I’d drawn them on paper. So, I worked hard to set up pen ‘brushes’ that would mimic how my favoured drawing pens would look when drawn on paper.

Also, I rarely used any line smoothing tools for any of the work so it has that slightly ‘wobbly’ line appearance that my pen and ink linework has. I also kept the design elements, called charms, imperfect just as they would be if I’d drawn them with pen on paper.

In fact, each and every design started out as either a pen or pen drawing on paper which was scanned in so I could re-create it, step by step, digitally, saving a file for each step to the computer.

There were plenty of revisions/edits required and colour changes. Again, working digitally make this a less onerous task than if I’d had to do everything with pen and ink on paper, scanning in each step all the while worrying I hadn’t missed a step as I got engrossed in the process of drawing.

Working digitally did not make the drawing any easier or simpler, what it did was allow me a different way to draw the steps.

Coloring the designs digitally was no quicker than with traditional media, in fact it took me longer! I learned a lot about this process by doing this book, and I think it was the book that allowed me to become more comfortable with digital art and how to make it look like I’d drawn with pen on paper, in my own style.

Of course, I can print out the line art and colour it with any media I choose. I also can redraw any using traditional media. And of course, adjusting the size is so easy. 

Inktober 2018 Day 23 ‘Muddy’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 23 Muddy colored

Day 23 dawned slowly for me today it has to be said and I’m still trying to get my brain out of the sleepy fugginess that I woke with around 5am. Far too early to be awake.

Still, before I head out for the day – a trip to Worcester with my friend Liz – I wanted to get Inktober done.

The first thing that came into my head when I read the prompt for today (which is muddy) was the buddhist quote about lotus and mud. I had to look it up – thank goodness for the magic of the google!

After hand lettering the quote (hand lettering is a bit better today, but some of the word spacing is a bit iffy) I turned it into a dangle design! (Quick plug – My book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available for preorder should you fancy some guidance and ideas on drawing your own dangle designs).

Had enough time to chuck the scanned image into GiMP to remove the dot grid and any remaining pencil guide lines and then to create a transparent background. This was followed by a quick visit to Autodesk Sketchbook for the image file so I could add a coloured background and my watermark.

I have enough time to write this blog, do the other social media stuff before diving into the shower and heading over to Liz’s to start the day’s jolly journey to Worcester (which no doubt will appear on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops).

The quote speaks to me both of the feeling I get when I meditate, but also about my journey from the mental and emotional ill-health of cptsd towards a healthier state of being.

Inktober 2018 Day 18 ‘Bottle’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 18 Bottle

Not just one bottle, but several!

This was a fun one to draw – Faber-Castell Broad pen on paper. Scanned in to the Surface Studio to clean it up and print it out so I could colour it using Chameleon Color Tone and Color Tops marker pens.

I added some highlights with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I’m a bit later than usual posting the Inktober image today. I had quite a few errands to run today, including a slightly worrying recall to the opticians for photographs or my eyes, even though I only had them done around 4 weeks ago. It wasn’t pictures of my retina and optic nerve the optician wanted – it was images of the front of my eyes due to me having a wobbling blood vessel in one.

I had planned on popping into the opticians as I’d managed to drop one pair of distance glasses on a tarmac floor and had chipped the lenses (which I’d had for less than a week!) and so needed to have replacement lenses. That was the easy part…

They had trouble getting the camera to work to take pictures of the front of my eyes, so I have to have the process done on Saturday when I pick up my glasses with the new lenses in as the optician will have set the camera up. If it still won’t work, she’ll inspect my eyes with a ‘slit test’ I think it was.

I’ve never had such thorough eye tests/examinations before. I’m well impressed! And it’s with Specsavers! I’ve never had an optician comment on my differently pigmented eyes before either – one eye is mostly a light brownish-green with a small wedge of brown, the other is about half brown and the rest the same light brownish-green  as t’other eye.

Someone I met a long time ago described me as having ‘mutant eyes’ and asked if he could use them for a character in a sci-fi book he was writing. I didn’t have a problem with that!

Oh, they have no effect on my vision at all. It’s just a different level of pigmentation that has been, as far as I know, always there.

I also found out this time that my optic nerves are tilted a bit more upwards than is usual but it doesn’t affect my vision, just something noted of curiosity.

Perhaps this is why there’s an eyeball or two appearing in my latest drawings!

Anyways, my eyesight functions very well, apart from the need for glasses as I’ve aged. I’m sure the wobbling blood vessel isn’t anything to worry about either.

I’ve also ordered some beaded ‘chains’ to attach to my glasses so they don’t fall off my nose when I’m looking down again!

So, an unexpectedly extended visit to the opticians along with some shopping in the local town put me all out of sync today, but if nothing else I got my Inktober challenge of the day done!

Inktober 2018 days 15 and 16

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 15 Clock
Inktober 2018 Day 15 ‘Clock’ finished

First up is the coloured version of Inktober 2018 day 15 ‘Clock’. I got so frustrated trying to color it digitally that I printed the drawing out and used Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops to colour it.

I’m really not happy with some of the colours I’ve used in some places, however. But I went with it. It’s not as vibrant as I’d like and some of the colours have ended up a bit murky.

I also added some highlights with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, and a few shadows/textures with a fineline Faber Castell pen.

It took me most of yesterday and another hour today to complete colouring this image. It does take me a lot less time to draw the outlines!

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 16 Angular

Today’s prompt is ‘Angular’, so I had to go with geometric designs based on straight lines and point and create a pattern sampler. Some of these patterns aren’t in my pattern directory.

Yes, I have a kind of visual directory for patterns and other images that I can refer to when I need some inspiration. So, some of these will be added to that directory later on today after I’ve run some errands.

It was not easy to draw all straight lines; I miss my curls and swirls and spirals and arches.

Having said that, it was a good workout for my straight line drawing skills.

It took me around 2 hours to draw and it’s only a tiny drawing at 12cm x 12cm in size! That’s a tad shy of 5″ x 5″ for those who work in ‘old money’.

I used Fabercastell Broadline and Fineline pens on Rhodia dot grid paper. I then scanned it in and used Gimp to remove the dot grid, mostly.

Inktober 2018 Day 14 ‘Clock’ WIP and a letter to intellectual property thieves

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 14 Clock WIPIt took me a couple or three hours to draw this design using Faber Castell pens on paper. Then I scanned it in to the ‘puter, gave it a transparent background so I could colour it digitally. After several hours work this is as far as I’ve got!

I may get back to it later on or in a day or three…we’ll see!

The yeuchy coloured background is only temporary; trying to protect my work, don’tcha know.

A rant about intellectual property theft…

Yesterday I discovered that someone has stolen work from a published coloring book of mine (Entangled Dragonflies) and republished it as their own! Not only that, they’d also done the same with other authors from the Creative Haven series of books from Dover Publications Inc. I’ve reported it along to my editors.

So, you can understand why I’d want to try my best to protect my work. There are some very unscrupulous people out there with very low to no moral standards. They obviously only think of themselves not of others, such selfish people that they are. They should be ashamed of themselves, however I doubt they ever feel shame for anything they steal.

I don’t want to let them get to me, so I’ll still show bits and bobs of my work at a low resolution with watermarks to try to protect it, as well as coloured backgrounds if nothing else.

I do know, however, that some will stop at nothing to steal if it’s something they want to steal.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’m ‘talking’ to those who understand, that just because something is shared on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free for anyone to copy or use or re-sell in any form they wish. Just because I show you my work doesn’t mean I give up my rights to my work – I most definitely do not!

All my work is mine thanks to intellectual property rights and I will never relinquish those rights just because I show work here, on deviantART, on facebook, on Instagram, and on twitter.

I share my work because I get a lot of pleasure from creating it and I’d like to think people get some pleasure in seeing it.

Obviously, there’s a small number who only get pleasure from stealing other people’s work to profit from themselves. It’s no different to breaking into someone’s home and stealing their property – the thieves profit while the owners miss out.

If any such thieves do happen to read this, consider this. How would you feel if someone broke into your home and stole your treasured belongings for their own ends? Would you be upset? Would you see anything wrong in it?

I bet you would.

Whenever you are stealing from the internet for your own gain it is exactly the same as breaking into someone’s home and stealing from them.

I suspect you intellectual property thieves would only care about yourselves, however. I don’t think you thieves have any empathy for anyone else.

You’re not committing a victimless crime, you’re not stealing from big business, you’re stealing from the little people like myself and profiting from me, my talents, my skills, skills I’ve worked long and hard at to develop, and you just take advantage of that, of my good nature that I share things on the internet.

And worse, you steal from published books, that are covered by copyright law too, and republish them as if it’s your own work! This is illegal, it is breaking the law. You are stealing from myself and from other artists too.

You are horrible, horrible people – the intellectual property thieves that is, not you lovely people who support my work by buying my books and writing nice things and saying you like to see what I create.

I won’t let the small numbers of truly horrible people spoil it for other people that’s for sure. However, I want them to know a little of what I think of them – and I’m keeping it very, very polite. Trust me, I can swear worse than a pirate!

Back to Inktober…

So, to go back to Inktober Day 14 which has the prompt ‘clock’ And what I can say is that hopefully time is up for some of you unscrupulous, barefaced intellectual property thieves!

For the rest of the lovely world of people who support us artists/illustrators, how do you like to spend your time?

 

Inktober 2018 Day 10 ‘Flowing’ and World Mental Health Day 2018 #wmhd

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 10 Flowing watermarked

Today’s #inktober2018 prompt is ‘Flowing’, so I knew I had to incorporate ripples into my art for today. I also wanted a blue-green colour scheme, so I used Distress Inks and an ink blending tool to colour an A4 piece of Bristol Board from Frisk.

After drawing pencil lines to allow me margins, I set to work with a range of Uniball Unipin pens to draw my design.

I started with the wavy lines in the bottom left corner and just let everything flow out from there quite intuitively, as is usual for myself.

It’s taken me quite a while to do; I think I started it around 7:30am and it’s now nearly 3pm. Sheesh, that’s nearly 8 hours!  Here was me at the beginning of Inktober stating I was going to do little drawings and so on.

However, there’s a dual purpose in today’s art.

Although I’m not doing anything specific for World Mental Health Day (#wmhd #worldmentalhealthday #wmhd2018) I am taking care of my own mental and emotional health by creating this drawing.

Yesterday was a tough day for me emotionally. In my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales (#ttcw) I gave an anti-stigma talk to HR people in a college, both of which triggered some quite strong emotional flashbacks for me.

A couple of hours after that talk ended, I had my weekly EMDR therapy session which resulted in some strong and painful releases of trauma stored in my body as well as some emotional flashbacks of trauma in my childhood that I’d dissociated from.

So between the two, I was emotionally exhausted yesterday evening and night and I woke up headachy and tired today.

Part of my self-care for my emotional and mental well-being is being creative and it just so happens that Inktober’s prompt was a perfect one for today, yet again.

When I get lost in my artwork I enter a state called ‘flow’. It’s a kind of meditative state of calm, peacefulness. My self-talk (which is often so very negative) is either quieted or loses it’s power over me. It’s almost like I’m outside of time and space.

So, the approx 8 hours of drawing (well more like 6 or 7 as I had a break to meditate mid-morning and took a short time out to get a veggie bacon sandwich for a late lunch) had just flown by.

I’m still tired, but there’s a peace there within me that wasn’t there when I woke.

Creating a drawing that is rather intricate is something I don’t get to do often when I’m working on coloring books, but it is definitely something that soothes my sore emotions and mind.

Not only is it time that the stigma and discrimination around mental health is brought to an end, it’s time we all looked after our mental and emotional health as much as we do our physical health.

I have a couple of chronic health problems and during my regular checkups I’m asked about my mental and emotional health as it’s known that people can develop mental ill-health when they live day to day with a chronic illness.

I know from personal experience that when I don’t take care of my emotional/mental health I become physically ill, so the state of our mental health, emotional health and physical health interact with one another, of that I’m sure.

So, try everyday to take the time to do something that lets you relax and find joy and peace in doing. There are so many things that people use for this – drawing, coloring, painting, playing music, gardening, walking, cooking, exercising, dancing, singing, meditation, mindful activities, taking a relaxing bath by candle light, a massage, a cup of tea somewhere with a beautiful view, a walk in the surf’s edge on a sunset beach, yoga, tai chi….the list goes on!

What do you do for your own mental and emotional self-care? What do you love to do where you can find yourself in ‘flow state’ or a meditative state that gives your mind a rest?

 

Inktober 2018 – Day 9 ‘Precious’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 9 PreciousInktober 2018 Day 9 – What’s precious to you?

That’s what I thought I’d go with once I started drawing this one.

Yes, it’s another doodleworlds type image. I’m quite enjoying them as a change from my usual style of art.

I drew this on Frisk Bristol Board with Sakura micron pens. Scanned it into Gimp so I could create a transparent background. Then, I threw it (not literally) into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and added colour and texture there.

I actually finished drawing this this morning. I had to leave it uncoloured to go out to do an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales this morning. That left me feeling emotionally drained.

After the talk I had to make my way to Neath for a spot of lunch before my counselling/EMDR therapy appointment. That drained me even more and I’m still reeling from it now. A very intense session today.

I came home shell-shocked from it and I had to sleep. Which I did. On waking I turned my attention to colouring this in.

The colours aren’t quite as vibrant and bright as others I’ve used recently. I think that reflects my state of tiredness and emotional exhaustion.

All the same, I had fun coloring, which I don’t get to do often.