Artistically, I’m feeling cute and whimsical this morning. So a little bit of hand lettering along with some simple, cute and whimsical wreaths have satisfied this feeling.
Pretty hearts with some spiral details that remind me of iced biscuits (cookies to you lovely people in America). Soft pink for love. Evergreen foliage for peace and compassionate love to grow and flourish around this planet. Purple berries to create a harmonious balance of awareness and peace.
Perhaps there’s more symbolism and messages in my art, something that belies my belief I’m just creating pretty things.
I did create this art digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio and a Microsoft Surface Pen.
I managed to miss #Inktober52 weeks 3 and 4 so I thought I’d combine them into a sketchbook page along with week 5.
The prompts were *week 3 – brick *week 4 – snake, and *week 5 – balloon.
I’ve not been imaginative with those prompts. I’ve included some sinuous snake borders and bricks. Some classic brick patterns. I’ve only added a smattering of balloons, and a repeating balloon pattern.
Of course, I’ve also practised my hand lettering.
I hand lettered and drew this page on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper and I used Uniball Unipin pens to do so.
I added the kraft paper background and colour digitally. It never ceases to amaze me that, as much as I love my line art, colour really brings it to life. I especially like the way the colours seem to glow against the kraft paper.
I’ve just had a giggle. I realised I coloured the balloon that is hanging down in leaden greys, almost like it’s filled with mercury. That was a totally unconscious decision of mine!
I’ve often mentioned my ‘visual dictionary’, so today I thought I’d show you a two-page spread from it.
I’ve kept a visual dictionary for a few years now. It’s where I keep a record of my favourite patterns, motifs, lettering styles and anything else of use to me when I need a little inspiration or to add something a little different to my art.
My original one is now just about full, and I thought it was time for a bit of a cull of patterns and motifs I wouldn’t use as I start a new dictionary. At the moment I’m working my way through zentangle patterns before I add my patterns and motifs. TanglePatterns.com is a fantastic online resource for zentangle patterns.
I’m using an A5 notebook with 5mm squared paper from WHSmith. It has quite a lot more pages in it than a Leuchtturm, Midori, or other A5 dot grid or squared notebooks, which is why I went with it. The paper seems to be pretty bleed-proof, and any ghosting is relatively minimal.
The past few days have had me needing some quiet time doing comforting, soothing art. I’ve had a very ‘people-y’ time of late, and it has left me quite drained. So, sifting through and drawing patterns and motifs and adding them to my new visual dictionary was just what my arty soul and overwrought emotions needed.
Doing this has the bonus of refreshing my creativity. Not only am I being reminded of patterns I like that I’ve not used for a very long time, but I’m also creating my own variations, either deliberately or as the result of some ‘happy accidents’.
Even though I’m trying to keep the pages neat and ordered and the patterns mistake-free, I find I’m not stressing if I make any mistakes. I find a way to either create a new pattern or to incorporate it into the design in some way. This is good for me as I tend to be hyper-perfectionistic if I’m not too careful.
Jake Parker, the originator of Inktober, has come up with #Inktober52 – a year-long series of weekly drawing prompts.
I’ve completed Inktober in the last two years and really enjoy having a prompt list to work to, all for fun. It is crazy, full-on for that whole month. I most probably will do Inktober again this year, in October.
#Inktober52 will be less pressured as the prompt lasts a week, so plenty of time to think and draw. Of course, it could result in a series of drawings on the same theme each week.
The first prompt of the challenge is ‘Flight’. It took a little while, but then a flash of inspiration came, and I wanted to draw seeds that fly!
I do like botanical things a lot. And though this may not be way outside my usual themes of drawing, it’s still a good one to do. I also thought it would be nice to do a sketchbook page of drawings of these seeds, trying out slightly different ways of drawing with different scales and so on. Oh, and I got a little bit of hand lettering practice in as a bonus!
I drew the seeds with a mixture of Uniball Unipin, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist and Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper.
After scanning my illustrations, I removed the dots, added a kraft paper background, and used a rough chalk brush to add some shadow and light to some of the seed pods. Add that hint of shadow and light does seem to bring them to life for sure.
I enjoyed creating this page of illustrations. I needed some time to relax and destress today. Yesterday turned out to be a bit of a day. The engine warning light went on in Binky, my SmartCar along with a quick flash of a malfunction warning when I turned the engine off. Luckily I wasn’t far from home and managed to get back quite safely.
A call to Mercedes, then to Smart Assist and within an hour, an AA patrol was at my home to see if they could find and rectify the issue.
It turns out there’s an error in the turbocharger (yes, I have a turbocharged SmartCar).
The patrolman did his best to work out what the problem was, but with no luck. So, he towed Binky to the Mercedes dealership and garage in Cardiff to be fixed. Luckily, Binky is still under warranty, so it should be repaired free of charge.
Before doing that, the Smart Assist cover also provides me with a hire car for three working days, and he arranged for that for me too.
So, by around 4:30 pm, I’d been given an almost brand new hire car to use until late on Tuesday at least, and I was on my way back home to try to breathe, calm and destress.
I worried about driving a car that is much bigger than my SmartCar. However, I surprised myself at how confident I was. Mind you, I’ve not been anywhere where I have to park the hire car in limited space!
Unfortunately, the anxiety this caused is causing me to worry and get scared of all kinds of random stuff. I woke up stupidly early worrying about things I don’t need to worry about!
When this happens, it shows me just how far I’ve come in my CPTSD recovery. So, despite the elevated anxiety, it is already fading as the day proceeds. Creating art has helped with that.
Feeling in a festive mood? Fancy getting a little creative? Well, there’s no better way than creating some dangle designs to decorate your own Christmas and holiday projects. They’re also a great way to practice hand lettering and drawing cute, whimsical and simple designs.
Being creative is also a great way to relax and take some time out of the hustle and bustle that can overwhelm us at this time of year. I always find it relaxing to sit down with some pens, dot grid paper and a big mug of tea (or mocha as it’s the last days of autumn here in the UK) and just draw for enjoyment. Mind you, all my drawing work is enjoyment, but drawing for just the pleasure of drawing, with no specific brief to work to is a different kind of joy for me.
I’m finding that I need a focus, a project to be creative at the moment. I’m in between contracts and need some time out as I’ve had a crazy few weeks. However, settling to do anything not connected to a contract can cause me some issues. I still feel the need to create for a purpose, and sometimes that simple joy isn’t enough. I still have some issues to work through in therapy it seems. However, I am now aware of them and can work towards releasing these limiting attitudes and behaviours.
Anyway, today, I’ve created a sheet of some examples of design elements, hand lettering and examples of dangle designs to use as is or just to inspire you. There’s plenty more to inspire you in my book “A Dangle A Day”.
My drawings today are a bit rough, ready and wobbly, as is my hand lettering. I coloured them in very loosely, not worrying about keeping inside the lines or perfect coverage or blending. Colour really does make a difference, doesn’t it? It brings the designs alive!
However, this is a page of sketches, ideas. Maybe I’ll use some of them another time, or maybe I’ll leave it as a page of drawing and hand lettering practice, a page that I enjoyed doing with no real reason other than enjoying the process of creating.
I had thought about doing a video of this page – if you’d like to see videos of me drawing pages like this, then leave me a comment.
I used a mixture of Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to draw the designs on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. I coloured the images digitally.
Yesterday was a crazy busy day with no time for art, let alone blogging!
This morning, I finally had some time to myself. As it’s Friday I wanted to do a dangle design, and I ended up doing four!
I cut the card into the wrong dimensions to create a card, so I thought I’d just make use of the pieces I had and make some custom card blanks and envelopes for them another time.
I coloured the pieces of card with Distress Inks in shades of blue and green. I used Chipped Sapphire, Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Evergreen Bough, Cracked Pistachio and Salty Ocean in various combinations.
These colours gave the card a frosty kind of feel, so I went with some snowy, icy, wintry designs.
I drew the designs and completed the hand lettering with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, which are waterproof.
Plain black lines on the coloured background did look a tad lacking. So, I added some shimmer and colour using Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints.
I’m not so fussed on the ‘Let it snow’ design. However, I am quite pleased with the others.
I am going to mount them as greeting or note cards. However, the designs would look charming in a BuJo, journal, planner, diary or scrapbook. They could easily be adapted to make bookmarks too, or place cards for a special meal.
I hope you’ll give drawing these designs a go, or use them as inspiration for your own projects. I’d love to see what you create – please tag me on social media so I don’t miss them!
If you’d like to know more about dangle designs and have some guidance and inspiration for them, then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start.
It’s been nice to have a couple of hours to indulge myself in art. The past four weeks or so have been crazy busy with other projects being quite demanding of my time, mind and energy. However, they will soon be over and my focus can return, properly, to art.
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.
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.
Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
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.
Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
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.
Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
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.
Carefully erase the pencil lines.
Attach the top layer to the card blank.
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
I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
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.
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.