So Thankful

So thankful ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today, I have a simple dangle design greeting card along with a coordinating envelope. If you’d like some more ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions for drawing dangle designs then my book, A Dangle A Day, is a good place to start.

Materials and dimensions

4″ x 4″ Strathmore Bristol paper with a vellum finish
5″ x 5″ acid-free white card blank
White envelope that card will fit in
Distress inks in Tea Dye and Rusty Hinge
Small piece of foam and a mini foam blending tool
A piece of card with a 1.5″ x 0.75″ window cut in it to use as a stencil.
Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in F, S and XS
Ruler and pencil
Adhesive
Glass pen and coppper ink by J Herbin

Making the card.
  1. Use the card stencil and a small sponge dauber to apply a rectangle of Distress Ink in the top left of the 4″ x 4″ top layer. I used Tea Dye to colour the whole rectangle in, followed by a subtle gradient of Rusty Hinge from the bottom up.
  2. Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
  3. Use a pen to draw the rectangles around the colour block. I like to do this free-hand as it gives a more organic, human feel to the design.
  4. Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
  5. Use a ruler and pencil to lightly draw a vertical line as a guide for the dangle. Also, draw pencil lines as guides for the position and size of the hand lettering. Sketch in the letters of the greeting.
  6. Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
  7. Ink the letters in. I did some faux calligraphy where I made the down-strokes thicker. I added some lines and shading to the top line.
  8. Carefully erase the pencil lines.
  9. Attach the top layer to the card blank.
  10. I used a glass pen and copper ink to add copper dots to highlight the dangle design and the hand lettering. I also drew a box just inside the top layer and another just outside it on the card blank. Again, I free-handed the lines, embracing the wobbliness.
Making the envelope
  1. I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
  2. I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
  3. I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
  4. Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
Before mailing…

Once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’d apply a thin layer of Distress MicroGlaze to the front and back of the envelope to protect the Distress Ink and drawing from the elements. I’ve done this to other cards and they have traversed the UK and US postal systems with no problems.

Ideas for using the design.

Although I’ve presented this dangle design as a greeting card, which is, I think, a lovely way to share a little bit of artistic loveliness with others, there are many other ways the design could be used, with or without any hand lettering.

In a BuJo, journal, planner or diary it would make a lovely little design to fill in a blank space.

This is a design that would work really well as a bookmark.

I’m sure it would look charming as part of a scrapbook spread.

I also think it would look lovely on a ‘with compliments’ slip or decorating the edge of a hand-written letter.

I’m sure there are many other ways and media that this design would be suited to.

Final thoughts…

I’m really enjoying drawing these kinds of dangle designs. They’re simple and elegant, to my mind anyway. They’re also quite easy to draw.

I do prefer to free-hand the lines and let the wobbliness be part of my signature style. It gives that human, hand-made, hand-crafted feel to the finished project, and a warmth to the finished project.

I work hard at finding a way of drawing digitally that lets me keep this uniquely ‘Angela’ way of expressing myself through line and pattern. I’m still working on it and sometimes get frustrated that, to my eye, my digital art seems too, well digitally perfect.

It’s all part of the process though – learning, developing, experimenting, trying out new ideas, techniques and methods. That’s what helps me grow as an artist.

Emotional Pain – A Quote

Emotional Pain - A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com
Emotional Pain – A quote. Artwork by Angela Porter of Artwyrd.com

About the art

This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.

I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.

I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.

I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.

Warning – the following may contain triggers.

The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.

From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.

It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.

Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.

It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.

It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.

Heal

Heal - Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com
Heal – Artwork by Angela Porter at Artwyrd.com

About the art.

I don’t know who said these words, but they resonated with me when I stumbled upon them. Not only did they resonate, but they also brought tears to my eyes and my heart too. I have words for one of my goals for recovery from cPTSD. This is why I had to do something with the quote in my own inimitable style.

So, I took the words and chose a pretty font for them, arranged them as I wished and then printed them out onto acid-free paper. I trimmed the paper to approx 21cm x 21cm and added some pencil guidelines for space around the quote and the edge of the paper.

Next, I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw a design. I stuck to just a few motifs that I repeated to fill the space. I also let the design elements to spill over the pencil margins here and there to give a more organic feel to the artwork.

Finally, after erasing the pencil lines, I scanned the drawing in, increased the contrast a little to remove most of the remaining pencil marks. I then added a grungy, colourful, autumnal background.

I’m pleased with this one. I really like the way the Fudenosuke pens work for me now. I love the variation of line and the bolder line that I have used. I also think that using just a few design elements and repeating them to fill the space results in a more cohesive design.

I think I could have left a bit more space around the quote; however, it is good enough.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

And for me to say something is good enough is a sign that I am recovering from a bad day yesterday. I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile and vulnerable, but I’m able to see that my art is good enough.

Yesterday, nothing I did was good enough. I lost faith in my crochet, my digital art, my drawing. Nothing seemed to work out, and I really was doubting my abilities.

EMDR therapy for my cPTSD was rather distressing and left me exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted to begin with. Monday I wore my protective mask as I had to go somewhere where I’d be with people I didn’t know, doing something I was really anxious about, and I didn’t know the place I was going to. I was exhausted after keeping my mask on for just four or so hours.

How on earth did I find the energy to keep the mask up for all those years? 

One good thing has come from this experience – I can see how exhausting it is to keep up a mask for even a short time. I wonder how on earth I managed it for most of my life!

Anyway, after EMDR, I was more exhausted and came home and slept. In the evening, I thought I needed to be creative. It all led to me being hard and overly critical of myself. Little comments made to me just made it worse, even though the comments weren’t negative, my emotionally vulnerable and exhausted state twisted them that way.

Even though I was emotionally vulnerable and caught up in a storm of thoughts and feelings, I was still aware of this contentedness inside me, but I just couldn’t anchor myself fully to it. I was a little bit adrift in the turbulent waters of my emotions and thoughts.

I should know by now that I need to choose what activities I do carefully at times like this. Last night, I didn’t do that. However, I eventually got back to sleep, and I woke this morning feeling more content.

There’s not quite the sunshine within present today; there are still some emotional clouds covering it up. However, I know that they will not persist and will move along as I practice self-soothing and self-care and do creative activities that won’t push me too much and won’t engage the inner critics.

I’m still drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I am in a better place today. I think my drawing above shows that too.

One more piece of mail art.

One more piece of mail art ©Angela Porter
One more piece of mail art ©Angela Porter

This could be the last piece of mail art from me for a few days. I need to get focused on art that is ‘work’ rather than just ‘for fun’. I enjoy my art, no matter what it is, but I can be easily distracted by the metaphorical shiny, bright new toy.

Mind you, once I’ve spent time doing art ‘for fun’, the commissioned work then feels like fun. A change is as good as a rest for sure. Different styles and methods of working keep everything fresh for me.

Here’s a brief outline of how I created the card:

  1. Distress Ink background on watercolour paper. Use torn paper to use as a mask for the landscape. Use a circular mask for the sun.
  2. Spray with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water.
  3. Use Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw the design.
  4. Add metallic highlights using a fine brush and Cosmic Shimmer Iridescent Shimmering Watercolour paints.
  5. Add a distress ink ‘frame’ to the image.
  6. Mount the design on black card. Attach the black card to the 6″ x 6″ card blank.
  7. Use a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen to outline the top panel and black panel.

And here’s a brief outline of how I created the envelope:

  1. Use a white Sakura Glaze pen to draw the flower motifs.
  2. Use a fine paintbrush to add Cosmic Shimmer Iridescent Shimmering Watercolour paints.

For the envelope, I used a rainbow of colours for the flowers.

I like using Sakura Glaze pens to draw motifs when I’m adding watercolour; the ink dries to give a raised line that is waterproof. The thicker line width can also give stained glass feel to the artwork; this is particularly true for the black Glaze pens.

Seedpod Landscapes – Art and Card Making

I had a lovely time this morning making the card on the left. Before I started drawing, I added a moon or planet to the background. It really adds something to the card, I think. Something like this is needed on the card to the right I think. However, as I’ve assembled the card it’s not going to be easy to alter!

How I made the cards.

I used Distress Inks and a mini-foam blending tool to colour the backgrounds. I used a circle of paper as a mask for the moon/planet in the left-hand card. To create the land, I used a torn piece of paper to mask off part of the card.

Once I was pleased with the backgrounds, I sprayed the image with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry.

The next step was to draw the designs. I used black and grey Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell.

Metallic/iridescent highlights were added; I used Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints and a fine brush.

The final steps were to adhere the top layer to a black mat, and then this to the card base. Finally, I edged the mat and the top layer with a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen.

I have made coordinating envelopes for each card.

My thoughts on the cards.

I think you can tell that the card on the left is the second made. I can see how I’ve learned from the first card. I do like them both.

I would, if I could, add a moon/planet to the right hand card. It would fill that space rather nicely and give a more magical, mystical, ethereal feel to the landscape.

As to the left hand card, I wish I hadn’t done the pods all in black; they appear a tad ‘flat’. In hindsight, I could have used just black outlines and then filled the pod with a colour gradient before adding the metallic highlights.

I also am glad I didn’t try to add a spine to each leaf as I did on the right hand card. However, a highlight at the top of each leaf, suggesting the moon/planet light is reflecting from them.

Oh the whole, however, I am pleased with these cards. They are a new style of working for me. leaving open space is never easy for me, but I’ve managed it with these cards.

Would you like some happy mail?

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

I had a lovely time this morning making the card on the left. Before I started drawing, I added a moon or planet to the background. It really adds something to the card, I think. Something like this is needed on the card to the right, I guess. However, as I’ve assembled the card, it’s not going to be easy to alter!

How I made the cards.

I used Distress Inks and a mini-foam blending tool to colour the backgrounds. I used a circle of paper as a mask for the moon/planet in the left-hand card. To create the land, I used a torn piece of paper to mask off part of the card.

Once I was pleased with the backgrounds, I sprayed the image with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry.

The next step was to draw the designs. I used black and grey Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell.

Metallic/iridescent highlights were added; I used Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints and a fine brush.

The final steps were to adhere the top layer to a black mat and then this to the card base. Finally, I edged the mat and the top layer with a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen.

I have made coordinating envelopes for each card.

My thoughts on the cards.

I think you can tell that the card on the left is the second made. I can see how I’ve learned from the first card. I do like both cards, though.

I would, if I could, add a moon/planet to the right-hand card. It would fill that space rather nicely and give a more magical, mystical, ethereal feel to the landscape.

As to the left-hand card, I wish I hadn’t done the pods all in black; they appear a tad ‘flat’. In hindsight, I could have used just black outlines and then filled the pod with a colour gradient before adding the metallic highlights.

I also am glad I didn’t try to add a spine to each leaf as I did on the right-hand card. However, a highlight at the top of each leaf, suggesting the moon/planet light is reflecting from them.

Oh the whole, however, I am pleased with these cards. They are a new style of working for me. Leaving open space is never easy for me, but I’ve managed it with these cards.

Would you like some happy mail?

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

Whiling away the time…

Whiling Away the Time (c) Angela Porter 2019
Whiling Away the Time (c) Angela Porter 2019

Yesterday turned out to be a different day than I expected.

The anti-stigma talks I was booked in to do didn’t happen. No one knew about them. So, I drove to some services not far away for a wee, tea, something to nibble and time out to relax and draw.

Then, I wended my way to Neath for lunch in forty-six, a cafe in Queen Street that I love for it’s quirkiness. I finished the drawing over lunch, and the result is above. I used various Pitt Artists pens from Faber-Castell, grey Uniball Unipin pens, and some coloured pencils. I wanted to work in monochrome, but I also wanted to experiment with scanning a monochrome drawing in and adding colour to it digitally. I tried that last night, but my mood plummeted and well, I abandoned the idea for now.

EMDR therapy followed lunch and then a drive back home.

I thought the therapy was quite gentle this week, though there was lots and lots going on in my body. We haven’t quite finished processing the memory I’m working on at the moment. Maybe next week will see it finished. I felt tired and a bit spaced out when I left EMDR, but positive and hopeful on the way home.

However, when I got home, after preparing a vegetable stew and putting it on to cook, my emotions crashed in on me.

I was so disheartened with myself, my art, my life. I felt so sad, so tearful. I was so tired too. Emotionally tired, mentally tired.

I didn’t know why I was bothering to do art, to draw coloring books, to write words, to speak up about mental health and my journey to achieve some measure of healing from CPTSD. I felt so lonely, so alone. I didn’t believe my own story, that I was making everything up as an excuse for being overweight, for being a failure, for being useless at everything I do.

I’ve not felt this disheartened for many weeks, time. The suddenness surprised me. No warning. No gradual decline that I could pick up on and work towards halting it.

I ended up going to bed early to escape these thoughts and feelings.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit better but with a horrible, horrible headache behind my eyes. I feel the pressure to complete the book I’m working on before the end of this month, but I’m not sure I’m in the right place to continue with it.

I suspect EMDR has shaken some stuff loose… and I need to give it time and space to be processed and released. I’ll have to see how I go with drawing later on, when the headache tablets kick in, to see if I can do anything today.

I need to tell myself I have time to complete the requisite number of illustrations, plus a couple extra so choices can be made. That it may be better to take a day to find my balance again.

Just to say hello…

©Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I’m not a brilliant card maker, but I do like to have a go from time to time. Cards are quick, simple projects for me. They’re also a way to practice hand lettering.

I did have fun creating this design and also decorating the envelope. I used Faber Castell Pitt artist pens to draw the black and white line work. I added colour with Copic markers. I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, a blue Sakura Glaze pen and a silver Uniball Signo pen to add the details on the card. I also used a mini blending tool and Mermaid Lagoon Distress Ink to edge the paper. For the envelope I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I lifted the card design up using adhesive foam squares. However, I think it would’ve looked better if I’d attached the design to some white card, maybe some silver card and didn’t put the silver border lines on the design. Maybe some ink blending around the design would’ve added interest instead of the blue and silver dots – the blue are a bit heavy handed.

Always easy to be wise in hindsight. However, I don’t want to rework the design just now. I also think it’s useful that I share when I get things not right and how I would change things if I did this again.

Art doesn’t always work out right the first time. I always try my best to review why I’m not happy with something and what I could do the next time to improve things. There’s always something to learn and consider, and there’s always something good in each design.

I’m actually really quite happy with the snowdrops – the copic colouring worked out quite well on the leaves/stems particularly. I like the cat too, but I’m not too sure about the spiral embellishments. My hand lettering worked out ok this time too.

I know from personal experience that when I’m finding life a struggle as my mental wellbeing deteriorates from time to time I tend to withdraw from people. It’s weird as I want to be with people but I also don’t want to as I don’t want my Eeyore-ness to be a burden or a bother to them. It can be too much to deal with social media too.

However, a little piece of happy mail in the form of a whimsically cute card would be welcomed. Happy mail may not be quite the right term for this, caring mail maybe. Thoughtful mail perhaps. No matter what it’s called, it would be something I could accept to know that someone was thinking about me.

At the worst times of my depression/anxiety it may have taken me a long time to contact the sender and say ‘thank you’. I really would have appreciated the gesture.

Even more, it’s a physical, constant reminder that someone, somewhere is thinking of you. It’s something I would now put into a ‘self-care box’ to use when I am having a struggle with my mental and emotional health.

I have enjoyed making personalised cards to send to people for their birthdays and other celebrations. I can be really dim, but I’ve just realised here and now that it would be lovely to send cards or bookmarks to people to just say hello, to let them know they’re being thought of, something tangible that can be a constant reminder that they are important to me at least.

Talking is good. But sometimes it’s too much to talk, to leave the house, to use social media. A little something in the post though … especially something handmade, personalised … that’s something that speaks more loudly than words at times when spoken words don’t make sense.