It’s Friday so it’s #dangleday! E is for … echinacea (cone flower), envelope, earphones, Earth, eight (or eleven, or eighteen or eighty – you get the idea), eight-sided octagon, eighth-notes (semiquavers).
Purple and gold are complementary colours so I chose them for the pusscat, the monogram and the octagon with my initials in it. I chose silver as the colour for the frame around the monogram simply because it’s my favourite metal and I fancied a change from gold beads and so on. Pink hearts and earphone accents. Yes, the headphones had to have cat ears on them, and yes, I have a pair like this, but the ears are blue.
Cute kitties, cute charms and letters. Looking at the monogram now, the letter could do with a shadow around it, but it’ll do as is.
I sketched the design on dot grid paper. After scanning the sketch in, I inked it in using a Microsoft Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface Studio screen. When I was happy with the line art, I added colour and texture to the dangle design. The final steps were to create a coloured and textured background and a drop shadow for the design.
A nice way to spend a couple of hours on a cool, grey, damp Friday morning.
Oh, it’s also #furbabyfriday over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. We’d love to see your furbabies there.
A busy couple of days
It’s been a nice way to spend a couple of hours this morning. A relatively easy and relaxing couple of hours too. I really need a day of self-care after a couple of crazy days for me.
Wednesday I had a very anxious kind of day. Anxious in a good way but it was also very emotionally draining. I spent the day on a media training course with Sarah Hibbert at the Mind Cymru offices in Cardiff. The day was all about learning how to be effectively interviewed by the media in reference to Time to Change Wales and it’s campaign to end stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health. A large part of the day was spent being interviewed and recorded on video camera then watching ourselves back and having feedback about how well we did and how we could improve.
It’s horrible seeing myself on video. I cringe so much. It provokes the inner critic so it rises up and attacks me, noticing every little flaw, mark, error, how the camera exaggerates features and so on.
It was a good day, the training was really excellent and gave lots of things to consider going forward.
I came home exhausted, barely able to string two words together. Having to travel in the rush hour so it took me nearly an hour and a half to get home, a journey that is usually less than half an hour, didn’t help at all.
I then tried to get to sleep early as I had to be up and into the shower at 5:15am so I could be dressed and ready to leave home around 6:10am to head out to Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest for around 8:30am, picking the lovely Russell up on my way.
The staff at the college had a wellbeing day and Russell and I were both involved for Time to Change Wales, with me giving two anti-stigma talks in the morning.
The day was lovely, the people were friendly and welcoming and some told me my talk was inspirational and I was brave for telling my story. The receptionist was an absolute darling; when I handed in my visitors badge she handed me a roll of papers saying ‘This is for you’. I had no idea what it was, thinking it may be a certificate for taking part in the day. When we had a look she’d gone online and found and printed loads of memes with wonderful words on that she thought would help me. I was really, really touched by her gesture.
The journey there and back again, a 200 mile round trip, went quickly as Russell and I chattered about all kinds of things. Russell did amazingly during the day as well, as he always does.
When I got home, I managed to empty the remains of the mocha in my travel mug over my handbag, and inside it. There’s no way I can salvage/clean the bag. It also went over my bullet journal, so I’ve ordered a new one as this one is wrecked. So today is a bujo-less day for me as the new one won’t arrive until tomorrow.
I had a very quiet evening, retired to bed earlier than usual and had a good 8 or 9 hours or so sleep. This is unusual for me, and I must’ve needed it.
I missed doing art over the last couple of days, but it’s been nice meeting new people, even though it does exhaust me, me being an introvert.
Digital or traditional art? My perspective.
Today, as I’ve said, it’s a self-care day, so art is definitely on the cards, as well as some flute practice I think.
I also have to think about, and ask for opinions on, digital drawing vs traditional drawing.
I love doing both. They both have their pros and cons.
I use a Surface Pen on the Surface Studio screen in just the same way I would use a pen or pencil on paper. I hold the pen the same way, I make lines and marks the same way. The only difference is that the paper is virtual and doesn’t exist unless I print it out.
With digital drawing I can make use of tools such as mirror and symmetry to help me with some elements of my art, particularly mandalas.
I rarely use tools like line smoothing and predictive lines (if anything predictive lines annoy me, they never end up as I want them). I do use line smoothing if I’m drawing a long straight-ish or curved line, but I still end up with wibbly bits.
I like to have the wibby bits, and I’ve carefully set up the pen ‘brushes’ I use so that they mimic Sakura Pigma Micron pens or Uniball Unipin pens in how the edge of the line is uneven due to ink bleeding.
Depending on what I’m doing, I do make sketches in pencil or pen on paper, scan that in and use it as a guide for my digital drawing.
The big advantage to working digitally, however, is the ease with which corrections and adjustments can be made.
I have, on very, very, very rare occasions, ‘copied and pasted’ a design element to create a design; so rare that I think I’ve done that once, maybe twice in the three years or so that I’ve been working digitally.
I love to draw traditionally too, with pen on paper. It’s a different kind of sensory experience, no better or worse than digital drawing. Just different.
It can be frustrating when an error is made or ink is smudged or the pencil line won’t erase properly. I then can use my digital tools to clean up the scanned in image, sometimes seamlessly erasing and re-drawing the area that needs correcting. No one notices when I do this as I’ve honed my skills and my pen ‘brushes’ so that they are as near the drawing pens I use on paper.
What can cause me problems digitally is that I lose sense of the scale of the patterns/designs I’m drawing and I can get way too intricate for traditional colorists to add colour to them. That’s why I often sketch at least an outline of the design out and scan it in draw the finished line work digitally. This is all because of the ability to zoom in to the area I’m working on. So, I often need that pencil/pen on paper guide to keep my drawing at the right kind of complexity.
Before I worked digitally, I thought that it would be easier, simpler than working traditionally, that the skill level would be lower, that anyone could achieve fantastic results.
However, I’ve found that opinion is completely false.
Yes, digital tools make certain aspects of drawing a bit easier, such as symmetry. However, it’s just as difficult to draw digitally as it is traditionally. It’s taken me a long time to get my pen ‘brushes’ set up so they mimic my traditional pens. It’s taken me a long time to be able to draw on the screen with the same precision and smoothness of lines as I can on paper. It’s been like learning to write and draw again.
I’ve had to learn, and continue to learn, a whole new skill set that you don’t need with traditional pen and paper.
I can do things digitally that I could never do with traditional media.
Digital drawing, digital art is NOT traditional art’s poor cousin. Drawing digitally, as well as coloring digitally, does not mean I’ve gone over to the dark side at all.
I’ve had comments made about mandalas I’ve drawn digitally, taking as much time over them as if I’d drawn them traditionally, that it’s a pity that they’re digital, as if my skill, my creativity is less because I use the digital tools. That made me feel pretty worthless at the time, to be honest, and comments like that say a lot either about the tastes or prejudices of the person making the comment.
They liked the mandala until they saw it was digitally created, which meant they no longer liked it.
More recently someone showed me a comment about one of my coloring books where the person didn’t like it because I’d drawn the images digitally so I’d sold out and gone to the dark side. There was none of the human touches or faint lines where pencil had been erased (erm, there’s never any of that in my work as I’m asked to clean it all up!), that the lines are too perfect, too much copying and pasting was used (never – except in one template) and so on.
Again, this said a lot about their prejudices. I work hard to keep the human touches in my art work – the wibbly lines, the imperfect circles and so on. The pens that have the irregular edges.
It’s almost like those who choose to do digital art are somehow less than traditional artists – less skilled, less hardworking, less human, less creative, less talented.
I don’t think I am. I think I do a fairly good job with digital and traditional media, often mixing the two together such as when I digitally color a traditionally drawn design.
I don’t think I’m lazy by drawing digitally – it takes me longer, even when I use the symmetry tool for mandalas, to create a mandala as I’m able to add more details.
I like to think I have a good level of skill in traditional art and that I’m getting better with the digital art.
I’m sure I don’t take full advantage of the digital medium as I seem to try to work in it as I would as a traditional artist! I just treat it as a different brand of pen, a different kind of paper, and a different kind of coloring medium, with the ability to layer and use a huge color palette.
I work hard to keep my style of drawing quintessentially ‘Angela Porter’ no matter whether I draw traditionally or digitally.
In my next book for Creative Haven, Entangled Forests (available for pre-order), I actually have a mixture of digitally drawn and traditionally drawn templates in there.
That’s a reflection of me, how I like to work, and how I can get the effects that I want in the drawing.
However, even with the traditionally drawn images there’s some digital ‘art’ going on as I have to scan them in, clean up smudges and errors and make corrections based on suggestions from the editorial team at Dover Publications Inc, and you’d be hard pressed to find these corrections and clean ups, though you may work out which is drawn digitally and which is drawn traditionally if you look hard.
One of the things on my list of things to do is to start a YouTube channel where I can show how I create my art. Perhaps that will help to end the stigma and discrimination that exists around digital artists, so that I, and others don’t get comments such as ‘ I liked it until I saw it was digital’ or ‘I used to like them until they sold out and gone to the dark side of digital drawing’.
A couple of years ago this would get to me. I’d lose my confidence in myself, I’d doubt myself, I’d want to give up. But not now. I take it in my stride. You can’t please all people all the time, especially as art is such a personal kind of thing.
However, comments such these say far more about the person making them and their likes/dislikes than they do about my art. On the back of a comment about me having sold out, it turns out that my newest book ‘Entangled Butterflies’ was fully stocked in a Walmart on Monday; by Thursday it had sold out, and one of the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group had let me know they’d had the last copy.
Today’s Inktober drawing has turned out differently, a lot differently, to how I thought it would while sketching in Hay on Wye yesterday.
I woke up this morning and had some fond memories both of my white pusscat Cuffs and a sweet, large, cuddly (read overweight) ginger and white cat called William who was also known as ‘Willie the Whale’. He was a huge cat, even without his extra weight, but he had this sweet, high-pitched purr that was totally incongruous with his size.
So, today’s drawing had to be about Willie the Whale, who also loved to sniff flowers and definitely enjoyed his food.
As it’s Friday, it’s also #dangleday, so the drawing also needed to be a dangle design. And that’s what’s above.
This time, I sketched the design out on Rhodia Dot Grid paper, scanned it in, then did the inking digitally, as well as the colouring. My digital tools are a Microsoft Surface Pen along with a Microsoft Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
Regardless of any skill or not skill in the design, it makes me smile, lots, even if there are still tears and heartache, with memories of William, Cuffs my beautiful furrpurrball who passed away last May and who I still miss terribly, and other cats who have chosen to spend their lives with me – Gormless, Spotty Baby Girl, Tabitha, Whiskey and Toby. Quite apt as it’s furbaby friday across the interwebs, including on the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans’.
Just a little reminder that my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘ is available to preorder. In the book I show you how to draw and design dangle designs for yourself for use as greetings cards, notecards, bookmarks and framed pictures, as well as spreads for bullet journals, planners, scrapbooks and more!
We’re a week into September and autumn is nearly here in the Northern hemisphere, so I thought my dangle design should be one for this season. I think this would be a lovely BuJo page to separate the autumn months. I also think it would make a pretty notecard or greetings card. The hand lettering could be changed for another sentiment and it would be suitable for an autumn celebration. Alternatively, it would look great framed and hung as part of a quartet of designs that cover the four seasons; now there’s a project for me to do!
I drew the design on squared paper using Sakura pigma micron pens.
Then, I scanned the image in, used GiMP to remove the squares and create a transparent background
Next, I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to colour the image, create the textured background and add a shadow to the design.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love autumn! I love the way the world changes in terms of colours over the space of a few weeks, and the colours can be absolutely glorious.
I don’t know how the long, very hot and dry summer in here in the UK will affect autumn this year.
If you would like to design some dangles and not quite sure how, then my upcoming book A Dangle A Day (available for pre-order) will lead you through the steps as well as giving you plenty of ideas for dangle design.
Just a reminder that today is the last day for you to enter any of my giveaways, the prizes being signed copies of Eerily Entangled Art, my latest book in Dover’s Creative Haven series of coloring books.
See my previous blog postfor details on how to enter. I’ll be drawing the winners at random tomorrow evening, UK time.
The last days of July are upon us, which means it’s time for new BuJo pages.
I’ve settled into a kind of pattern for myself as far as a BuJo/Planner goes. It’s really minimalistic in terms of what I keep track of, but not so minimal in terms of artsy-ness!
I have two designs for the monthly cover page. One, a dangle design, the other one of my zentangly, entangled style drawings. Yes, I hand lettered these ones, not like the quotes where I am printing out the words before drawing on the paper.
Like my dangle designs? You can pre-order ‘A Dangle A Day’, my book where I take you through how to draw your own dangle designs!
I like both of my monthly cover spreads, but I know the more complex one may never get completely coloured in – it would need a lot of time invested in it.
I like to have a monthly overview page for my events and appointments, and I’ve added dangle elements to that, though I do like a simple layout for the days.
The final planned-out page I like to have is a mood tracker. As you may be aware if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I have CPTSD and keeping track of my mood is useful. For August, I’ve decided on some bunting. The spaces are large enough that I can, if I wish, record different moods throughout the day. Also, I like to keep the key for my moods simple, with just five different ones.
Hearts and stars are the theme for this month, which are common with me. They are two motifs that I really, really like.
The stars this month represent the Perseid meteor shower which happens around my birthday each year, natures own fireworks. Hopefully the skies will be clear this year so there can be a good view of them.
A little about the materials used
A Leuchtturm 1918 A5 dot grid notebook
Unipin pens from Uniball and a mechanical pencil to sketch out the letters and so on.
Chameleon duotone pencils for colouring
A metallic gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen for some metallic highlights on the cover page.
Furbaby Friday and a new facebook group
Today it’s #furbabyfriday over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. The members love to show their beautiful furbabies, especially when they’re ‘helping’ with their colouring! You’d be most welcome to join the group and share your beautiful furbabies.
One of the admins of this group has started a new facebook group called Pet Love, Care & Happiness. If you love pets and animals you’d be more than welcome to join in. I believe they have a competition at the moment to win some Amazon gift vouchers.
I declare today, Friday, to be #dangleday! And to celebrate, here’s a dangle design, which includes a hand-lettered quote.
Want to draw your own dangle designs? Need a bit of inspiration or advice? Then my book “A Dangle A Day” is available to pre-order from Quarto.
I drew this one on paper with a Sakura Pigma Micron PN pen, scanned it in and then edited and coloured digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which is now totally free! My Microsoft Surface Book and Pen were used to do this.
I’d include this in my bullet journal (BUJO) as a really cute quote page.
It would look lovely as part of an art-journal page too, though cutting out all the fiddly bits could be a bit challenging, though re-drawing them would be easy enough I’m sure.
I do have some ideas about dangle designs and art journals and other stuff that’s running around my head, but they’ve not really become solid enough that I can bring them into practice…yet.
If I made the dangles a bit longer, then this would make a really nice bookmark. It would also work quite nicely as a tall and thin greetings card, I think. Especially as the quote could easily be changed for something different.
Over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, it’s #furbabyfriday. I’m looking forward to seeing them all! Why not pop over and say hello?
Carrying on my theme of playing with ideas and paper and pen, I decided to do a monogram, and here’s the result.
If I’d thought ahead and either made this smaller or made the paper bigger, I could’ve added dangles to it.
I’m not at all sure of the coloured patterns I added around the outside of the monogram display; I didn’t choose some of the colours wisely. I do like the subtle grey “feathers” there though.
I also think I may need to thicken the outlines of the letter and/or create shadows on the design behind the letter so it looks like it’s standing a bit proud of the design.
All the same, I’m enjoying creating and exploring and experimenting with my art again, and it definitely gets the #weekendvibes going!
It’s also #furbabyfriday across the interwebs, and more particularly at the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans’. Why not pop over, join in and share your furbabies with the lovely people there!
Watch out for an exclusive giveaway related to my book, “A Dangle A Day”, which is due to be released in September and is available to pre-order right now. It’ll be announced, along with details of how to get your free dangle design here, on twitter @wyrdsmithing, on facebook @angelaporterartist.