Sneaky peek – Entangled Christmas

Sneaky Peek 2©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Sneaky Peek 2©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Today I finished colouring the templates for Entangled Christmas (available for preorder, publication date of 16 October 2019).

I thought I’d share another sneaky peek of one of the four that I’ve coloured for the book.

Unusually, I’ve drawn people in a couple of templates. Drawing people is not one of my better skills to say the least. So here’s part of the angel I’ve drawn, set in an entangled, festive landscape, and a starry sky, of course!

I’ve used my signature jewel-bright colours, of course.

And, because it’s me, I’ve coloured the templates digitally, my tools being Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

It’s nice to just colour, though keeping to a Christmassy colour scheme can be a little frustrating at times especially as here in the UK we’re enjoying an unseasonably rather warm Easter Bank Holiday weekend!

Entangled Christmas is one of the adult coloring books in the Creative Haven range from Dover Publications.

Bee in your bonnet, Porter?

Got a bee in your bonnet © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Got a bee in your bonnet © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Bee in my bonnet? I think I may have the whole hive! And it’s all to do with copyright infringement and copyright law.

I found a very, very useful and interesting article on wikihow.com called ‘avoid copyright infringement.

I recommend the article. It’s simple and clear and the quote above makes it very plain and clear that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it has no copyright. That includes Pinterest.

The only things that have no copyright are things that are in the public domain and/or declared copyright free.

Public domain is NOT the same as the internet. Public domain is another way of saying the images or content are without copyright or the originators of the images or content have waived their right to copyright.

Reputable websites, companies, people will give the source of an image, credit the artist/creator with it and won’t remove any signatures, copyright statements, watermarks or change the website address.

Reputable companies and people are proud to name the artists/creatives whose work they are placing on product or showcasing. They approach the owners of the work for permission to use the work, seeking a license and are willing to pay for this.

Disreputable companies make no effort to find out who the original creator was, even though it’s easy to drag and drop an image into the search bar of google images to find websites where the artwork has been shown. Yes, it might take a little effort to find the artist/creative, but not as much effort and time as it’s taken the artist/creative to create their work.

Disreputable companies and people usually remove any references to the original artist/creative and make no mention of who they are. They don’t sing their praises.

Disreputable companies and people make no effort to contact the original artist/creative in order to gain permission to use the work.

Now, we artists and creatives are more than happy for our work to be shared with proper credit being given and links back to the original source of the work. It’s always nice when people share our work as it shows it’s liked and appreciated and we’ve made someone happy for a while. It’s even nicer when someone leaves a comment; that always lifts the heart. Of course, it’s even nicer when someone wants to purchase our work.

It doesn’t take much to see if companies are proud of their artists or hiding that information. If they hide that information or don’t bother to find it then you can bet your bottom dollar (or any other currency of choice) that they aren’t working with the artist who created the work.

Many artists have their own shops online where you can buy original artwork, prints or products with their art on. I have an Etsy shop (though it’s been very much neglected lately) and a shop at RedBubble.

It is through these official outlets that you can purchase high quality products with really good resolution artwork prints on at affordable prices, and by doing so you can be sure the artist themselves is getting some monetary return for their efforts.

Of course, it can be hard to do this if you don’t know the name of the artist and you’ve seen their art on a facebook shop or similar. But use the drag and drop trick into google images to do what you can to find who they are. It takes a short amount of time for sure.

If we all did this these companies that use copyrighted work without permission (a licence) would soon have no one buying from them and they’d not profit from someone else’s hard work and creativity without even mentioning the original artist/creative.

It would be lovely if this blog post was shared far and wide (properly credited of course) to try to get people to understand what copyright and the internet is all about and how important it is to creatives who make their living through their creativity.

Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I’m going to make the black and white version of this artwork available as a coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. It’s free to join, and I try to add one template for members to colour each month. Some months, like this one, I add more.

It would be lovely if people would colour the template and share, properly credited, to try to get the message out.

About my illustration of the day

I must admit I didn’t handletter this quote, I used Microsoft Publisher to set the quote on the page and then printed it out on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

I then set about adding some artwork around the quote using a soft Tombow Fudenosuke pen. This has resulted in much bolder pen lines as well as variable width lines in my drawing. The motifs are also a little bigger than I’d usually draw.

I like the more graphic nature of my penwork; it gives it a bit of the feel of being linocut. It also adds plenty of depth and dimension to the artwork.

I will be colouring this one myself. Not quite sure if I’ll do it digitally or whether I’ll use my Chameleon markers. I need a break for some tea first.

Fly Away 2019 – re-imagined entangled dragonfly drawing

Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com - all rights reserved.
Fly Away © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com – all rights reserved.

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.

Entangled Fantastic Fungi – coloured

Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I took some time to finish colouring my ‘Entangled Fantastic Fungi’ drawing from the other day.

I’ve said it before and, no doubt, I’ll say it again: colour brings my drawings to life. It also takes me a lot, lot longer to colour the artwork than it does to draw it! I think it would’ve been quicker with traditional media, such as Chameleon marker pens. However, I like using digital tools for coloring and I use opportunities like this to explore the different settings and various brushes so that I can add to my range of techniques I like to use and the effects I can get.

It’s a slow process for me, and it can be both enjoyable, satisfying and rather frustrating! However, I think I’m making some progress in finding my way through the plethora of options available and gaining some understanding of what they do and how to make them work the way I’d like them to work for me.

I also am enjoying drawing on paper with these Tombow Fudenosuke pens. Using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add colour to my drawings is me having the best of both words for sure!

There’s also the addition of a background texture, which, I think, makes all the difference. The pale grey tone of the background helps to tone down the brighter colours in the image, enhancing that kind of vintage kind of vibe I was going for.

Of course, it goes without saying that I used my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio to colour the image. Being able to use the pen on the screen, just like pen or brush or pencil on paper, is fantastic! I’m finally getting to grips with making use of the pressure sensitivity of the pen and exploring ways in which I can use it, as well as setting up brushes to suit my needs.

When I think back to when I bought my Surface Book, my aim was to draw templates for coloring books digitally so I didn’t have to scan in paper. It was also to make it easier to clean up the images. I had no intention of colouring the images digitally.

I think I’ve come a fair distance since those early days. I’m still surprised at how the ability to create digital art by using a Surface Pen on the screen of the Surface Studio as if the screen was paper, has opened doors to creative expression for me.

Entangled garden

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

Drawn with a Tombow Fudenosuke (hard) pen on A4 11¾” x 8¼” Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

I worked on this one over three days, both to get used to working with the Fudenosuke pen but also for some self-soothing self-care.

It does need some colour and I think I may try a more vintage/distressed/grungy color palette with it, once I get round to adding color.

At the moment, my focus is on colouring the sample colored templates for my latest book for Dover Publications Creative Haven Series –Entangled Christmas.

I’m feeling more content today and less exhausted too, which is a good thing after this weeks rather intense EMDR session.

Entangled fantastic fungi

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

I’ve had a lovely, quiet Sunday and I’m glad to say my emotional wellbeing is better than yesterday. Still a bit fragile, but there’s that hint of contentment that has been lacking over the past few days.

I’ve even had my oompf back to draw. This took the guise of adding patterns and outline drawings to my visual reference journal, and then using some of these ideas, plus some old favourites, in this drawing. I even added some dangles in places. Just little, delicate dangles, but still there’s dangles there.

For the drawing, I used a hard nib Tombow Fudenosuke pen. This has a flexible nib, not overly flexible, and so I could vary line weight while drawing.

I was inspired to try the Fudenosuke pen again after my experiments with digital brushes that vary line width with pressure and found that so much fun.

I found it much easier to use the Fudenosuke pen after my experience with digital brushes; it turns out working digitally does influence my work in traditional media and helps me gain new skills or confidence in new media.

I drew this design on an A5 piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board which is white and very smooth. Then, scanned it in and digitally added a background texture and some colour, along with my watermarks.

The drawing was mainly to try out the Fudenosuke pen, but also a bit of quiet self-care too. I’m quite happy with it, especially as it’s main purpose was to explore using the pen for drawing with.

I’ve relied on line weight to add some dimension to the drawing, though some colour and/or shading could help a lot. Maybe that’ll be my next task with this – to colour it either digitally or to use my Chameleon DuoTone and Color Tops marker pens after I print the image out.

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.