Inktober 2019 Day 19

Inktober 2019 Day 19 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve just managed to get today’s Inktober drawing mostly done. I’m now too tired to do any more work on it this night.

My prompts for today were an otter skull, Tremella mesenterica fungus and Diva Dance tangle pattern.

As otters are water creatures (and one my my favourite animals – did you know they have pouch of folded skin where they keep stone that is special to them?) I chose watery blues and blue-greens. I also kept the fussy drawing behind the skull monochrome. I’m too tired to work out what else I could do. I quite like that the background design is a tad etheral and ghostly.

I’m so tired now; it’s nearly 11pm here in the UK. I’ve spent the last two or three hours working on the illustration above.

So, Angela, how are you feeling?

My day began with getting myself sorted to give a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk to the CHAMPS Group based in Pontllanfraith. Champs stands for ‘Chartist Help 4 All Mental Health Peer Support Group.

I was invited to talk there by a friend of mine that is involved in CHAMPS and I met a fantastic group of people, all of whom experience mental ill-health. So, after telling them about Time to Change Wales and the story of my own mental ill-health, there were lots of conversations, some taking the chance to talk to me to say how my story mirrors theirs in many ways, or how something I said made a penny drop for them. I’m also an example of someone well on the way to recovery from CPTSD, and that shows people it really is possible to heal from a mental illness.

I think it was a positive experience for everyone, myself included. However, it did leave me drained and after having some lunch I retired to bed to sleep – all part of my self-care routine.

I woke in the early evening and had a long chat with a friend who is struggling with mental ill health, had supper and then turned my attention to Inktober.

I woke after my nap feeling quite awake and alert. I felt that way until just half an hour or so ago; my mind has become foggy, I’m tired and I will soon be back in bed to sleep.

I know the toll doing talks like this can take on my energy. There’s anxiety about a number of things – finding my way to the venue, meeting strangers, sharing my story to name the main ones. However, the Time to Change Wales campaign is a cause I feel strongly about and if by giving my talks I can help others to understand what it’s like to live with mental ill health and the impact of how they behave towards us as a result of stigma/discrimination, or help others to feel they’re not alone, or to consider other aspects of their mental health that they’ve perhaps not considered before, then my day or so of emotional tiredness is worth it.

Yes, for a day or so I may feel drained but I now know that this drained feeling doesn’t persist for long. Even though I’m tired, I can still sense that inner contentedness glowing warmly with in me as a smile in my heart.

Inktober 2019 Day 15

Day 15 #Inktober2019 #Inktober ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

This morning has been getting the day 15 of Inktober 2019 drawings done, but also catching up on those I didn’t get done yesterday.

I’ve gone, yet again, for a sketchbook style montage; focusing on line and pattern is something I enjoy. I’ve even managed to create a stylised motif from the cap of Lactarius resimus.

As before, I drew the mushrooms and tangle patterns on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen. After I’d scanned the page, I increased the contrast to remove the dot grid.

I drew and coloured the cat skull digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I just copied my illustration and made it greyscale for the smaller drawing. I thought purple would be a fun way to colour the skull in; cats are my favourite animal and purple is my favourite colour.

I’ve also included a little more hand lettering on this page than in the past. I know my hand lettering needs regular practice, and I do tend to neglect it.
I’m using Inktober 2019 prompts from three Instagrammers:

  • Animal skulls from @book_polygamist
  • Mushrooms from @nyan_sun
  • Tangle patterns from @havepen_willdraw

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

Today I’m feeling tired and have a rather tender digestive system. I had a really upset stomach yesterday afternoon and through the night, which disturbed my sleep.

Yesterday I was really upbeat, ebullient even. However, that drifted away as I drove home, my head full of the thoughts that I’ll soon be finishing therapy. Today, I feel content, a bit weepy, but the dull grey, dampness of the weather is having its effect. I really do need to get one of the SAD therapy lamps to help me on gloomy days.

I had therapy yesterday, but no EMDR. Instead, I talked about my trip to Llandudno last week and how proud I was of myself for walking in a strange town and going out for a meal by myself.

I also needed to talk about the flash of anger that rose up in me when I saw my narcissistic mother at a family thing on Friday. My therapist was pleased when I told her I felt anger; that is a perfectly healthy response to someone who has abused and neglected you. That I didn’t express that anger in a negative manner, such as screaming, shouting, abusiveness, was also a healthy thing to do.

My therapist was also pleased that I was self-aware enough to recognise this. We had a conversation about how far I had come since I started seeing her over six years ago.

Then, I talked about how I thought it would soon be time for me to end therapy, for now. I got all emotional and tearful about that. I still am as I type it.

I’m working on one trauma in EMDR at the moment, so I’d like to finish that. Also, a couple more have come to mind that need processing. Still, it won’t be long until I leave therapy.

First, I need to complete processing the trauma I’ve been working on, and there are another two that I need to process. But shortly I will be leaving therapy feeling I am good enough for now.

I need to continue with the positive steps made in being out and about by myself with some confidence and not much in the way of fear/anxiety, particularly when I am at home. I am, however, going to plan a short trip away over one or two nights in November, most probably to West Wales. I first need to finish my contracts and commissions.

I need to remember that I can always return to Linda should I have problems in the future. I don’t know what my life is going to bring me and what interactions with people there will be that may bring up a trauma response. Linda will always be there for me to go back to help process the traumas.

Inktober 2019 Day 11 and back home.

Inktober 2019 Day 11 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Deer skull, Mycena interrupta and inaflux tangle pattern.

Digital drawing done using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio.

I’ve used a lot of geometric patterns in the skull to create depth and interest.

I kept the other elements quite simple and, for now, uncoloured. Mycena interrupta, the mushrooms, are a lovely blue colour.

Instead, of adding colour I used a copper background and added my drawing on top of it using the screen option. This has resulted in it seeming to glow a little. I quite like this effect.

There’s a very good reason I’ve not coloured this drawing yet. I am absolutely bushwhacked. I had a busy, nervy day yesterday followed by a long drive home mostly in the dark, heavy rain and high winds. I was too tired even to eat when I got in and was glad to go to my bed and sleep.

The Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit proved to be an interesting time. I was there to chat to people, along with Russell, the community outreach officer for Hafal who also works with Time to Change Wales to organise us champions, amongst other things, and Nicole, a newly changed champion from North Wales. I was also there to give a ten minute talk about my experience of mental illness while at work and the stigma, discrimination I faced as well as the helpful and not helpful things that were said or done. Russell said I did great, as did the other panel members.

So, I did more than my bit for World Mental Health Day.

I’m feeling really dozy again now, so I think I’m going to go and sleep for a while. It’s not just the two four and a half hour drives, not sleeping well away from home that has tired me out. It’s also the anxiety and stress and being with lots of people in noisy environments that has tired me out. It’s going to take today, maybe tomorrow, to recover fully. So, self-care is the order of the day for me.

This tiredness is worth it though. Plenty of people came to tell me how helpful they found my talk and how well I had spoken and I had given them things to think about.

Raising awareness of mental illness and that sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make the biggest difference to someone experiencing mental illness.

Inktober Day 10. World Mental Health Day.

Inktober 2019 Day 10 (c) Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Inktober Day 10

Today’s Inktober prompts were rat skull, Lactarius indigo fungi, and the cubine tangle pattern from Instagram lists by @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw.

What did I end up with? A very stylised drawing that is rather Art Nouveau in style.

I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the rat skull. I also am rather enamored by the Art Nouvea-y fungi and fronds.

Simple colours were needed for this design, along with a texture overlay that makes it look a little less ‘digitally perfect’.

Yes, I did draw this digitally, again using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.

I may not get tomorrow’s Inktober done, as I won’t be home until quite late tonight I think.

World Mental Health Day 2019

I’m currently sat in a hotel in Llandudno, having breakfast and getting myself ready to go and set up a table and take part at an event in a different hotel.

I’m going to be at the Wales Health at Work Partnership Summit where I’ll be talking to delegates but also taking part in the ‘Open Minds’ workshops in the afternoon, which is all about taking positive action on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

I’m there as a Time to Change Wales champion, and so will be giving a short version of my mental health story at the start of the workshops.

Time to Change Wales is an all-Wales campaign that aims to reduce, if not end, the stigma and discrimination around mental illness by getting people to have conversations about mental health.

I’ve suffered poor mental health all my life, having developed cPTSD in early childhood. The rest of my life, until the past few years, saw my mental health decline until I had two big breakdowns. EMDR therapy has been the ‘magic pill’ for me, that is helping me to process and release the traumas of my past and replace the negative beliefs I have about myself with more positive ones.

If I had known what good mental and emotional health was, as well as what it wasn’t, sooner in my life I may have sought help sooner. The self-stigma I have experienced around my own mental health prevented me from recognizing I had a problem and also made it difficult for me to seek help.

Indeed, my mental and emotional ill health would cause physical ill health in me when I was ignoring the stress, depression, anxiety, fear, hypervigilence, and other symptoms of cPTSD.

If I can change attitudes, make people more aware of what good mental health is, help people to recognise that they too may be suffering and then seek help, then I’m doing a good thing. Oh, and of course getting people to talk about mental health, thus beginning to break down the stigma.

So, today is a good day for everyone to ask those they meet not just to ask ‘How are you feeling?’ and accept the first answer given, but to repeat the question, ‘No, really, how are you feeling?’ to let them know you really are interested in them it’s ok for them to tell you that they’re not ok.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m tired. I never sleep well away from home and I did have quite a broken night’s sleep.

However, I am also quite pleased with myself. I managed to stop at a Starbucks on the 4 hour journey to Llandudno for something to drink and eat. I then had a good walk along the sea front and pier after booking into my hotel and having a mug of tea. Then, I actually went to an Indian restaurant by myself to have an evening meal!

Maybe it was out of sheer necessity I went out. However, I could’ve just picked sandwiches or some such at a Sainsbury’s local a short walk away. But I didn’t.

I also didn’t feel all that awkward in the restaurant. I did wish I’d brought my Kindle along so I could read while waiting to be served throughout my visit. I do have the Kindle app on my phone, but I didn’t have a good enough signal in the restaurant to download the book I’m reading.

I am also feeling a little anxious about today, which is only to be expected. I’m going to a strange place, talking to people I don’t know about something that is important but that also can provoke an emotional response in me.

However, I’m sure I’ll be fine for sure.

Inktober 2019 – Day 8

Bat skull and Laccaria amethystina

Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com Bat Skull and Laccaria amethystina
Inktober 2019 Day 8 ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I decided to colour the bat skull and mushrooms to contrast with the graphic nature of the zentangle patterns I used to draw the background mandala.

For a bit of fun, I added an eerie glow to the eye and nasal sockets of the skull. Well, bats, spooky and October-Hallowe’en just go together! Of course, black, white and purple makes for a spooky colour scheme too. I think I’ve made the purple a bit dark, but it’s good enough! I can always, always rework my design in the future if I need to.

I wanted to keep the skull and mushrooms quite stylised rather than realistic. That’s hard for me to do when I’m working from photographic references.

In the past, I have drawn objects in an almost scientifically accurate kind of way. However, I do think that one of my strengths as an artist is being able to simplify and stylise whatever motifs and design elements I’m working with.

I have used Inktober 2019 prompts on from three lists on Instagram for today’s drawing:

  • Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
  • Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
  • Tangles by @havepen_willdraw

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

Yesterday’s EMDR session was productive if a bit painful and distressing with the thoughts, emotions and body feelings that arose during the session. I was left feeling a bit dazed but not too bad; I even managed to stop on my way home and wander around three shops, though I did baulk at the fourth one and decided it was time to head home.

After having something to eat and a bit mug of tea I was cwtched up in bed and asleep before 8pm. I didn’t wake until past 8am this morning. Between a late night on Sunday and EMDR yesterday I must have been absolutely exhausted. I’m still feeling a bit tired now.

Although I do feel a bit tired, I’m also feeling quite content. That is helped by it being a sunshiny day and sunshine always helps my mood.

Back to EMDR. I’m working with a physical sensation in my body at the moment. There seems to be no memories of trauma associated with it. However, that may be because there’s lots and lots of similar traumas rolled into one, or I may have dissociated from the memory – the memory being too painful to remember. However, the trauma is stored in the body and emotions and it is being processed.

I’ve experienced a foul, nauseating smell, a horrible taste in my mouth, a sensation that my heart can’t ‘breathe’, a feeling of tentacles being wrapped around my heart, nausea, pains in my abdomen, back, neck, head, my face going numb, my fingers feeling as if they are being burned, electric shocks in my feet and hands, lumps in my throat, a feeling of being restrained by my upper arms, fear, disgust, overwhelming sadness, and a heavy emptiness inside me. There’s also been a an awareness that I just don’t feel right, a feeling of being out of balance, of not knowing what someone or some people expect of me, that whatever I do is never right or good enough. I haven’t experienced these things all at once as I process this particular trauma; each comes and then goes as I just let it ‘happen’. All this happens in the 25 to 45 minutes an EMDR session lasts.

So much goes on in my body, with my emotions and with distressing memories that I can be left exhausted afterwards.

Yet, I know it’s working and helping me have a healthier relationship with myself. That feeling of being content is proof of that!

Inktober 2019 – Day 01 – Chameleon Skull and Amanita

©Angela Porter 2019

Inktober 2019

After hunting around Instagram for alternative prompt lists, I decided to go with two and combine them. I chose the Animal Skulls prompts from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms list from @nyan_sun.

So, the drawing above shows a chameleon skull combined with Amanita, along with some other design elements. Today’s official prompt from Jake Parker’s Inktober 2019 list is ‘ring’. I can make that fit in too – a ring of fairy toadstools, the ring of the eye-socket in the skull.

The black line work was done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I then used an 8B pencil with a blending stump to clumsily add some shading. Then, after scanning the image in, I added colour digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

It’s been a very, very long time since I did any drawing like this. My usual style is rather whimsical, cute and simplified to create a stylised form.

While this drawing isn’t realistic, it is more so than I usually do. Having said that, I have added some simplified design elements in the form of leaves and berries and the repeating pattern of arches to give a floor for the skull to rest on.

I found it interesting to add the more realistic skull with the less realistic Amanita and stylised leaves and berries.

It took me over three hours to create this drawing; I’m not sure I can spend that amount of time everyday given the work I need to do in the coming weeks. I shall see though how it goes.

So, Angela, how are you feeling?

I’m OK. I don’t feel as tired as I have lately and there’s also a contented feeling inside me. There’s also a frisson of excitement about turning my attention to work – something that has been a bit lacking over the past month or so.

I did get an early night along with a good night’s sleep last night, which always helps. The sun has just broken through the clouds, albeit briefly, and even a little sunshine helps to boost my mood too. I hope there’ll be more periods of sunshine to help my mood after the past days of heavy rain and even heavier grey skies, although we did have a break from it on Sunday with some bright sunshine in the day.

It’s only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve recognised how much the weather can affect my mood.

EMDR yesterday was puzzling, confusing and upsetting too. However, I came away not as exhausted as I usually do. Indeed, I was able to focus on art in the evening – I did most of the drawing of the chameleon skull with amanita.

My therapist and I did have a conversation about how I found it so hard to go into a cafe for lunch after my Time to Change Wales talk last week. She suggested that in future I take something with me to eat just in case I can’t go into a cafe – that way I can still take care of my physical needs and emotional needs without being hard on myself, calling myself weak and a failure for not doing such a simple thing as going to a familiar cafe for lunch.

Still have progress to make on that goal of mine, but some progress on recognising how I feel about myself not being able to do it at the moment has been made. So it’s not all bad.

So long September

October Coloring Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group
© Angela Porter

October-eve

Can you believe that September is nearly over? I swear that the older I get the faster time seems to go.

Anyway, a new month on the horizon means a new colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. There just has to be a Hallowe’en theme for October’s page, and you can see a sneak peek of it above. I couldn’t resist colouring some of it in as a way of trying out some new digital brushes and some ideas too.

I put some of my favourite All Hallows’ Eve motifs into the drawing, including a raven, skulls, fungi and a vampire cat! I always enjoy drawing stuff to do with Hallowe’en; it’s my favourite time of year because I don’t have any past traumas associated with it.

If you’d like to colour this template, pop over to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group and become a member; each month I do one drawing exclusively for group members (terms and conditions of use and sharing apply).

About the art

I used a combination of fountain pens and fine-line pens to draw the design on dot grid paper. I then scanned the drawing in and cleaned up smudges and smears digitally.

Then, I set about adding colour digitally using my usual tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I also added a background and surface texture that I had purchased via Creative Market.

I am really quite pleased with how the colour is bringing the illustration to life, especially the skull in a jar. I hope to be able to continue to add colour as the month progresses, though I do know I have quite a bit of work to do and focus on.

To Inktober or not Inktober, that is the question.

Last year, I really enjoyed taking part in Inktober. Inktober has become a really popular social media event where artists and creatives use a daily prompt to draw (or create) something based on that prompt and share it on social media.

There is an official prompt list, but people do create alternative lists and I may look at some of them as there may be variations that might be less time intensive than last years’ was!

I shall see what I find and go from there I think.

So, Angela, how are you today?

Tired. However, I’m am quite content, my mood is good enough today. I do have EMDR later on, and I often feel ‘flat’ before my therapy session. I think my unconscious mind starts to bring stuff up in preparation for EMDR.

I know that the likelihood of me being exhausted later is rather high, so I’m not planning to do loads of stuff later on. Self care will be the order of the late afternoon and evening.