Another mandala today, this time with my favourite Hafiz quote in the centre.
I wanted a mandala that seemed to be almost glowing for this quote. Also, I added a very subtle rainbow colouring to it too. I’m quite happy with this mandala, though some darker shading behind some of the parts, along with some subtle highlights, would’ve helped with the dimensionality of the design.
I didn’t hand-letter the quote; instead I used a clear and simple pair of fonts. I do want to learn how to create circles of typography; I think the quotes would then be more sympathetic to the circular geometry of mandalas. I’ll need a bit of time to play around in Affinity Publisher and Affinity Designer to see if I can achieve this. Mind you, I do need to practice my hand lettering a lot more too.
All the same, I’m still happy with this design. The lettering will do – for now.
I always enjoy drawing mandalas, and it’s nice to revisit the line-art style of mandalas with lots of intricate patterns in them once again. They are so delicate, airy, lacy in feel compared to my more arty, abstract, coloured mandalas. They’re also a lot quicker to create!
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.
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!
One of the things that is really nice about being between contracts is the opportunity to create art just for the fun of creating art and not having to stay within the limits of the contract. Not that drawing to fulfil contracts isn’t fun, it is. It’s just that I have to work within the remit of the contract.
Yesterday evening and this morning I’ve been having a contented time creating some entangled monograms. I’ve cut some Winsor and Newton Bristol Board down to approx 15cm x 15cm (approx 5.75″ x 5.75″).
I penciled in some guidelines for the edges of the artwork and for the position of the monogram.
First job was to hand letter the monogram. I did start with pencil guidelines for each letter, then used a hard Tombow Fudenosuke pen to ink them in.
Then, the real fun begins, which is the entangling of the space around the monogram. I used the Fudenosuke pen along with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Uniball Unipin 0.2 and 0.1 pens.
All done in plain black and white, with just the weight and concentration of lines adding depth and dimension to the finished design.
I do want to add colour to these at some point. I love pure black and white artwork, but colour can bring them to life as well. Digital colouring is my favourite way of adding colour these days, but I may print copies out on to marker friendly paper and then use Chameleon Duotones and Color Tops to add colour. I’ll see how I feel about that.
As is my wont, I had no preconceptions of how the entangling would unfold. I just let it flow. Some of my favourite motifs and patterns have been used. I did refer to my visual BuJo for ideas/inspiration from time to time too.
Yes, a visual BuJo (bullet journal). Or, rather, it’s a collection of motifs and patterns that are being organised using ideas from the Bullet Journal system of keeping a journal. It works for me. I have a way to help me find continuations of collections, or to start a new one, and not worry about a collection being on consecutive pages.
My visual BuJo is an A5 sized, dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine. It’s a soft back one so isn’t quite as weighty as Leuchtturms and the like. It is also a little less bulky in size, which helps when I want to travel light on a day out.
Mind you, when fill this present visual BuJo I may use a Leuchtturm for my next one. We’ll see…
It is also something that encourages me to seek out new patterns and motifs to add to it, as if I didn’t have enough already! Doing this is a good way to just practice my drawing skills and observation skills, as well as analysing a motif or pattern, breaking it down into simple shapes and steps to draw a stylised version.
I do tend to favour more stylised motifs and patterns in my art, that’s for sure.
So, I now no longer feel the need to try new ideas out for keeping my reference material, constantly redrawing them again and again. The visual BuJo is working for me for sure.
When I’m having a tough time emotionally/mentally with my CPTSD and/or EMDR it can be soothing, comforting for me to use the familiar, and of course I can still do that. I just don’t need to spend a lot of time drawing and redrawing and redrawing again the same things in my search for a perfect record keeping system for patterns and motifs.
The BuJo inspired system may not be perfect, but it works for me.
One other positive that has come from me using a BuJo is that I’ve had to learn to let mistakes go and just leave them in the notebook. The mistakes are what I need to make in order to understand how to draw a pattern or motif. Sometimes, though, a new pattern or motif arises from the mistakes.
Something else I’m starting to do is to make notes alongside the patterns with where to start, the order in which to draw the parts of the pattern or motif, and ideas for varying it.
All done and coloured now, but o,h, WordPress, why do you change the colours on my images?
The colours are a lot more vibrant in my non-uploaded file. But I’m sure you get the idea.
Anyways, I drew the image with Tombow Fudenosuke pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. After scanning the drawing, I used my favourite digital tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio – to add colour and texture (and watermarks) to the image.
The original drawing was a little less that A4 (US letter-ish) in size.
I’m quite happy with this. I’m also really happy I’ve managed to incorporate some dangle designs into my art. Something I’m going to continue to do now. I think they work really well with hand lettered banners and probably really well with arches too. Hmm, perhaps dangling from the edges of large fungi too… I know I’ll work it out!
Fancy trying your hand at dangle designs? Well, I have a tutorial book that takes you through monogram and dangle designs. It’s called A Dangle A Day.
What a troublesome letter J is! Well, as far as creating a monogram. Early sketches showed me that if I add too much fanciness outside of the letter, the letter gets lost in the embellishments! So, here are a few that I’m vaguely pleased with.
I used Daler Rowney Marker Paper to draw these letters on, with a mixture of black pens. I used Copic Markers to colour some of the letters. Others I used to experiment with Tombow Dual brush pens and a blender pen. Chameleon Color Tones pencils were used on a couple more.
The Copics work really well on the marker paper – no surprises there!
The Tombows tend to cause the pen I use to draw the designs with – Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens – to smear. I keep forgetting the Tombows do that. So, I tried drawing a J with the Tombow Dual Brush pen and then add the lines and patterns after it had dried. That worked. But white space needs to be created outside of the letter, and again, if I got too intricate, entangled, ornate with the embellishments I would’ve lost the letter. Or perhaps not if it was only the letter that was coloured in.
I was surprised at how easily colour from the Chameleon Color Tones coloured pencils laid down on the marker paper. Surprised because I’d forgotten how nice it is to colour on the marker paper! I did need a good layer of padding paper beneath the 70g/m² or 48lb marker paper.
I foresee similar problems with the letters I, L, and S. Not sure about the other letters I’ve not tried this kind of decorating with yet. Time will show!
What I can see here is that the style of embellishment I’ve used, while not always successful, such as the heart and arrow one (where did that idea come from? Sheesh!), it is different to the previous letters I’ve played around with. That is all down to the shape of the letter and the edges I have to play around with, while keeping clarity of the letter too.
What to do today? Well, I do have the 2019 template to colour for the colour explosion over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group set to run through New Year’s Day. I’m also aware that I haven’t done a cutely whimsical cat monogram dangle design for a few weeks. I also have three templates to colour for ‘Entangled Forests’ so that book can be put to rest ready for publication, before I start on the next one.