Capybara skull, Rhodotus palmatus and Antidots tangle pattern (from Inktober prompt lists by the Instagrammers @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).
I drew the skull digitally, printed it out on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board and then used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw the design around it. I scanned the finished black and white line art back into the ‘puter and then digitally added the background and a texture to it.
I enjoyed creating yesterday’s skull on top of a mandala-like ring that I wanted to do another one. I particularly enjoyed using the monochrome colour scheme that gives the mandala element an ethereal, ghostly feel.
Today’s prompts from the Instagrammers’ lists are:
Badger skull from @book_polygamist
Agaricus mushrooms from @nyan_sun
Dreamdex tangle pattern from @havepen_willdraw
A pink badger is an in-joke amongst some champions and staff at the Time to Change Wales campaign; pink is also the dominant colour in the Time to Change Wales logos and so on. So, using pink as my monochrome colour was a no-brainer.
As badgers live amongst trees, mushrooms and falling leaves needed to be added, also giving a nod to it being Autumn here in the northern hemisphere.
I enjoyed drawing this illustration. I also think my shading on the skulls is improving. It’s taken some time to get more confident with higher contrast shades of colour to get the dimension I’d like.
On a related note, yesterday I received a copy of ‘Skulls’ by Simon Winchester – a book full of photographs of all kinds of skulls. I’ve not had a good browse of it yet, but it looks fabulous. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with drawing skulls – in a few different styles. I’m sure I have a lot more to explore in the remaining days of Inktober and the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
It’s a sunny day here in South Wales, a much-needed one for me as sunshine helps to lift my mood. It’s also day 16 of Inktober – halfway through the challenge to draw something each day using a prompt list.
I’m using three lists from three Instagrammers:
Animal Skulls by @book_polygamist
Mushrooms by @nyan_sun
Tangle Patterns by @havepen_willdraw
So, my Inktober art for today features a kangaroo skull, Lactarius torminosus fungi and the Trentwith tangle pattern.
After drawing the skull, I added colour to make it feel more dimensional. I used a monochrome colour palette based on the Lactarius torminosus mushrooms. I also needed to draw something calming for me, and that means a mandala. So, I included the circular Trentwith tangle pattern in the mandala along with very stylised Lactarius t. fungi. Again, I used the same colour palette as for the skull to make the overall design more cohesive.
I like the way the colours work and the way they bring the design together. I’m also glad I left the black line art on the skull; it helps the skull to stand out against the mandala.
To complete today’s Inktober challenge, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Surface Pen and Surface Studio.
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.
Another sketchbook style of page from me. The prompts for today were rabbit skull, Macrolepiota excoriata fungus and Yin-cut tangle pattern (Instagram lists from @book_polygamist, @nyan_sun and @havepen_willdraw respectively).
Simple, fun, with space for more additions if I should choose to do so in the future.
As I’m typing this, I realise that I could have added some patterns etc. from the skull in boxes. Duh go me!
On this skull I have increased the contrast between highlighted/shadowed areas. I’ve forgotten to sort the teeth out, however, and they do look a tad flat.
To draw the mushrooms, texture panels and the tangle pattern I used a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen with Rhodia dotgrid paper.
I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to draw the skull and also to add colour/shading to the skull, some of the fungi drawings and the colour swatches and gradient. I also added a vintage, aged, grungy textured paper as the background.
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.
I realised my skull and fungi Inktober illustrations were becoming a bit samey, so I’ve tried something a bit different.
Today, I used three Inktober prompt lists – Animal Skulls from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms from @nyan_sun, both of which are on Instagram. The third is the Inktober 2019 tangle from everythingis_art.com.
I kept the tiger skull drawing very simple, but added a complex patterned mandala behind them, incorporating the Mycena chlorophos mushrooms as the final ‘ring’. I did add some very simple (and rough) shading to the skulls.
As I wanted a more graphic feel to the design, I left it in black and white, though I did place a paper texture to overlay the artwork.
Again, I worked digitally, making use of the available symmetry tools to help speed up my work. Even then it took me more than a couple of hours to complete this design.
I do like the contrast betwixt the more scientific skull illustrations and the busy background of the mandala.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
It’s Monday and so it’s EMDR therapy day for my CPTSD. I am tired today from a lack of sleep, but underlying that tiredness is that contentedness that now seems to be constantly present within me. When my emotions and thoughts are in turmoil, whipping up a veritable storm on the surface of the ocean that is me, I can still sense the contentedness in the ocean-depths.
I have no idea how EMDR will go today, nor do I have much of an idea of how I will feel after it. Last week’s session was so very confusing and not all that clear that I think that a new negative thought about myself may be started upon to bring EMDR back to a definite focus.
I used, mostly, traditional media for the first two days, but today I decided to use digital tools.
My Surface Studio and Pen from Microsoft mean I can draw on my screen just like I do on paper, especially as I have set up pen brushes with lines mimic those left by my favourite fine liner pens.
The added bonus of drawing digitally is that I get to use tools that aren’t available to me when working traditionally. In this case, I made use of the symmetry tool. As my illustration today is rather stylised, perfect symmetry works well in the design.
Stylised, symmetrical designs do make my arty heart and soul smile and sing. Yes, I still like to be challenged from time to time to draw more realistically, however I’ve just realised how much this kind of art really please me.
Yet I still struggle with accepting it as a valid way of producing art – it always seems so simple, like I have no great skill like those who produce wonderfully realistic art, or thought provoking pieces, or abstract wonders. I still struggle to see my style of art, of expression as valid and I think that is why I flip-flop betwixt different styles and media and projects. It’s that lack of self-belief perhaps, or maybe I just have a choir of creative voices in me, each of which need expression in it’s own way.
I think this kind of reflection is part of what Inktober is about.
Anyway, after completing the line art, I added some simple colouring to the image using a marker brush and then an airbrush with the synthetic paint setting, which nicely blends one colour into another.
I am very happy with the stylised skull design, along with the higher contrast colouring that I’ve used for it, which helps it stand out a little from the other coloured elements of the design.
This is, of the three days so far, my favourite Inktober2019 artwork.
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.
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.
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.