Wednesday Wisdom

Angela Porter 18 April 2018

What does research mean for you?

For me, it’s trying out new materials, new methods, new styles of drawing, colouring, lettering, using my art in different ways, most recently that includes Bullet Journals (BuJo) and these little quote illustrations.

It’s looking at how other artists and illustrators work and letting what I see spark creativity in me, not to copy them, but to inspire myself to broaden my artistic ‘vocabulary’, to try those new things that develop my skills, to still do things in my own way but adding techniques to my toolbox of artistic expression.

This quote is also a work in progress, I’ve yet to work out what to do with the entangled drawing at the bottom – to leave it as it is in plain black, to add shading, to add colour.  At the moment I don’t know what to do with it, but I suspect it will come to me eventually.

Talking of work in progress wednesday, it’s the day the members over at the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans’ share their wip’s.  Why not pop along and join in? They’re lovely people, very friendly.

Motivation Monday

Angela Porter quote _15April2018

And hand-lettering is something I need to practice a lot!

I did draw the daisies and leaves on the background with a Unipin pen.  For the lettering, I sketched it out, scanned it in and then worked on it digitally.

I’m going to have to learn to embrace the human imperfections, as well as balance the weight of the black lines in the writing relative to the drawing.  It looks very heavy-handed, and not all that even.

Perhaps that actually suits the quote…

Don’t forget, you can pre-order my book A Dangle A Day, due out in September.

Dangleday

dangledayfriday angela porter 13 April 2019Friday means it’s #dangleday!

I thought I’d created a little dangle for this particular hashtag.

#createdonsurface #autodesksketchbook #microsoftsurface

A Dangle A Day, my upcoming book, is available for pre-order now.  In the book, I will take you, step by step, through drawing dangles, along with lots of charm and dangle designs you can use to create your own, just like this one!

If you’re already drawing dangles, I’d love to see what you create!

WIP Wednesday

Angela Porter Wednesday 11 April 2018 This is my current work in progress, with a little bit of wisdom thrown in.

I planned the lettering out on Rhodia dot grid paper before scanning it in. I then re-drew the letters digitally.

I did a blog post with tips for hand lettering  yesterday, but there’s also some in my upcoming book A Dangle A Day, available for pre-order.

The patterns around the quote were also drawn digitally, using my faithful Microsoft Surface pen, along with my Microsoft Surface Book and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I’ve started to add colour, though there’s quite a lot to do, including adding textures. It’s a pleasant way to spend time.

What I’m quite pleased with is the stone background behind the letters.  It’s not perfect, but I got my head around how I could achieve this.  Working in layers means I can do things I can’t do with traditional media, try as I might, but it involves working out how I can use layers to do different things as well as becoming aware of what I could use layers for.

Yes, I could watch and read tutorials, but there’s something satisfying about working out for yourself how to do things, and creating things in your own way.  That’s the sheer bloody-minded independence I have at times.

Perhaps I could learn quicker with tutorials, but I also know I can become quickly overloaded with information and instructions and ideas (something that frustrates me as before my two episodes of severe depression and anxiety I had no trouble at all…) so bit by bit I discover what I need to be able to do at any one time. Then practice using it until it’s easy to do and natural.

I do love how I can flip-flop between traditional media and digital work, as well as combining the two, whether it be a sketch that is then worked on digitally or using traditional media backgrounds to draw upon digitally. It also takes me a little bit out of my ‘comfort zone’ too, but in an enjoyable way.

Hand lettering – Tuesday Tips

tuesdaytips angela porter 2018 My #tuesdaytips are all to do with hand lettering this week, but taken generally, the advice applies to any skill, artistic, creative, practical or otherwise I’m sure.

Lots of people aren’t happy with their handwriting, for many reasons.

I actually am, when I don’t rush any ways.  I worked hard on my handwriting when I was in school; I didn’t like my writing (it was too much like my mother’s), so I worked to change and develop it. It did take time and conscious effort on my part, but I enjoyed writing, I always did. Doing all my homework and re-writing and re-organising my notes in school and in University gave me plenty of practice in honing my handwriting skills.

However, handwriting and hand lettering are not the same thing.

Handwriting is something we do without a lot of thought about how we form the letters, it is a practiced, automatic skill.

Hand lettering involves drawing the letter shapes; it’s more of an artistic skill.

I’m working on my hand lettering skills.  I’m happy with my handwriting, generally, but my writing is naturally very small.  To write big, bold quotes and sentiments is a challenge for me, one that I had to face during my work on A Dangle A Day.

My first and most important tip about hand lettering is practice, practice and more practice.

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Here are some of the pages from my hand lettering collection in my BuJo. The pens are a Uniball UniPin, a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and a Lamy fountain pen with a fine nib.

The more you practice, the more you develop ‘muscle memory’ which makes it easier to be consistent in your lettering in terms of shape and so on.  It also helps it feel more natural and for you to speed up.

You can’t become an expert without first being a beginner.

My second tip is to start by practicing your natural writing style, your printing.  In these days of fonts by the million and perfect replication by computer and printing, I like to see the unique style that only your hand can bring to your hand lettering.

Practice your own printing until you are happy with the shape and style of your lettering, keeping it simple for now.  These letters will form the foundation of every other style you develop.

It’s easy to vary the style of your lettering by making simple changes to the letter height, width, line weight and so on. However, you need foundation letters you are happy with. So focus on this first and foremost.

My third tip is don’t compare your own writing to others’ or give up because you can’t seem to write as beautifully as you think they do.  Practice, practice, practice and work towards becoming the best you can be; it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of time.

“Daily learning of your craft makes you a master of your craft.” – Seema Brain Openers

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michaelangelo

My fourth tip is to practice daily, or as often as you can.  In my BuJo (bullet journal) I have a section on my monthly tracker for hand lettering practice. Keeping a BuJo means I do get daily hand lettering practice, but it’s still not enough for me to keep developing the skill.

There’s plenty of advice out there and practice sheets and exercises for hand lettering, calligraphy, faux calligraphy, brush lettering.  What I like to do, however, is to write, using just my basic hand lettering ‘font’.

Writing out the alphabet again and again is productive, but not always enjoyable.  It doesn’t help you with putting the letters together in terms of words.

One of my happy memories is of English lessons when I was in primary school (aged 7 to 11) where we used a book called ‘A New First Aid in English’ to learn about nouns, similes, verbs, plurals and so on.  I enjoyed learning, but I enjoyed writing lists and answers down a lot too.  It so happens I have a copy of this book, one of the few remaining books from my days as a science teacher, and so I dip into this as a source of material to practice my writing.

Of course, you can use anything you like – quotes, names, lyrics, poems, anything that you enjoy but won’t distract from the focus of drawing the letters.

The last tip I will give is to use paper with guide lines on.  I printed paper out to suit my needs; I created it in Microsoft Publisher.  Dot grid or squared (graph) grid paper works well too.

My last words are – practice, practice, practice!

WIP Wednesday!

DoodleworldsFrontCoverwithwatermark

First work in progress (WIP) for this Wednesday is the Doodleworlds colouring book.  It is currently in the last phases of approval and proofing at CreateSpace.com, so it should be ready to purchase soon!  There will be a pdf version available on Etsy at the same time.

The coloured cover art on the front and back covers has been done by the winners of the contest run in the facebook group Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans.

Here’s the back cover with the list of winners and their images on the covers:

DoodleworldsBackCoverwithwatermark2

Congratulations to them, and thank you for your work as well!

WIP Wednesday is a weekly event in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, so pop on over if you’d like to join a whole heap of lovely, creative, friendly coloring fans!

And here is my contribution to this week’s WIP Wednesday:

ItMakesSuchADifferenceQuoteWIP29Nov2017

Hand lettering and update

ArtQuoteEmerson_AngelaPorter2017_watermarked

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with various projects, as well as sorting out my accounts for my accountant (a very stressful thing for me, I panic so much about money it’s ridiculous).

One project is exploring the realms of hand lettering, and the above image is one result from this.  I had fun doing this one, as if I don’t always have fun doing art!

Another project is the completion of the coloured art for Eerie Entangled, a book due out next July in the Creative Haven series from Dover Publications.

I’m still working on getting my Doodleworlds book ready for self-publication, that should happen before the end of this month, or at the latest the start of next.