One Frosty Morning – a mandala design

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve had a very pleasant two or three hours this afternoon creating this mandala.

It’s quite different to my usual styles of mandalas and I rather like it. I also rather like the monochrome colour scheme which inspired the title of this mandala.

Drawing in colour is a departure for me from the usual black line drawings which are then filled in with colour and/or pattern. I’m uncomfortable drawing other things in colour without that black line to define their shape/form. But mandalas are a whole different thing. They are a way for me to explore this way of working with colour.

What is exciting is that I carve into bold shapes, removing colour and adding more designs and interest. This is something that working digitally has allowed me to both discover and to begin to explore. The ability to add colour, remove colour, refine by adding more colour, and so on is what makes creating something like this a little easier than with traditional media, but it is what is allowing me to express my creativity in different ways.

I am really pleased with this design. It’s one of those that makes me smile for two main reasons. The first is I like it, lots. The second is the satisfaction of exploring something new and discovering a new, different and personally satisfying way to work.

My drawing tool was a Microsoft Surface Pen. My paper was the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro provided my colours and other tools so I could create this mandala design, which I think is lovely.

Monogram D entangled design (with some little dangles)

I had a day or two of subconscious reflection on how to pattern around a letter after not being all that happy with the lower case b design. So, I wanted to put my vague ideas into practice.

Yes, they were vague ideas, no clear idea of how I wanted things to look, but I just wanted to try them out and see where they led.

I started with a faint pencil outline of an uncial style letter d, and then used a fine nibbed Rotring Art Pen with black ink to draw the design with.

I used the pencil line as a guide to where the entangled designs would either butt up to the edge, spill over the edge or curl over it and I just let the designs flow and grow. I also left the design in an organic shape rather than working to a square or rectangular shape.

I did work on a piece of A4 paper, but the design is a little over a quarter of the size of the paper. I can’t believe I did such teeny-tiny drawings again! I really enjoyed it!

In some places I’ve made the edge too hard, too linear. In one place I tried to correct that (lower left of the d) by adding more bits to the pattern, but that linear line is still evident. However, it’s all learning.

After scanning in, I wanted to add some texture and a bit of colour to that letter to help it stand out more. I may try doing the reverse as in colouring the design in and leaving the letter plain later. I may even try using some watercolour brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I have designated friday as #dangleday, and I did add some tiny, fine danglesto the design. Dangles don’t always have to be big and fancy or a prominent feature of designs, like in my book ‘A Dangle A Day‘.

Monogram B Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2019

Originally, I drew the original version of this design with pen and ink on paper. I wanted to edit the design and add a dangle to it, so decided to work digitally (Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).

By working digitally, I could edit and amend the design easily, using the original sketch as a guide. You can see that I made quite a few changes. I’m much, much happier with the blue version. The pink one is pretty and a good start, a way to experiment, but the blue one is the more polished, finished version, and not just because it’s been drawn digitally!

For the original sketch, I used a copic marker to draw out the basic letter shape and then used Unipin and Pigma Sensei pens to add the lie details. The copic is patchy, but that’s because it was a quick sketch.

I like the increased amount of white space in the new version – it does add a bit of a stained glass look to the design. I also like the stylised roses inside the ‘B’ in the revised version; adding the patterns inside the rose rather than on the edge helps the rose to stand out from the coloured section by giving a mostly white border.

Once I’d thickened the main beams of the letter, I added dots to carry the lines on. Then, I decided it could be fun to echo these dots by carving out dots in the flared ends of these lines. These dots have lightened those lines up, adding some airiness as well as interest.

Oddly, as I look at them I am minded of a very Old  Bridge here in my home town. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. When it was built it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The addition of 3 holes at each end of the bridge allowed it to bear the weight of the stone and not collapse. It is these holes, the lightness they gave to the design that I recalled when I was thinking about those ‘holes’ in my blue B.

I really wanted to add a simple dangle to this monogram – the letter is ornate enough that it could be too fussy if I’d added more than one dangle, or made the dangle ornate. Of course one of the charms had to be a heart! Simple beads and a diamond charm complete the dangle. My dangles often remind me of jewellery!

It’s not very often I show any kind of editing or reworking of my artwork, that’s because I do tend to work very intuitively and don’t really draft my work. Sometimes, I may do a pencil or pen sketch for an illustration for one of my colouring books, especially if it’s a kind of ‘scene’.

Since I’ve been working digitally, however, I do seem to be doing a lot more of the sketching out or working more roughly and using this as the sketch for the digital art.

An added advantage is that this satisfies my need to work with traditional media. Also, by working on paper I get a better idea of the scale of the finished artwork.

I think I’ve said it before that I do struggle with a sense of scale when working on a screen due to the ease of zooming in and out. Paper is a fixed size so I can appreciate the scale far more, and it seems easier for my brain to get a better idea of the whole design.

It’s all part and parcel of my artsy journey, figuring out what is best for me and not trying to work like others or being worried about how others judge me and my process. More than anything though, it’s about me learning not to be such a harsh judge and critic of myself. One negative review, and my inner critic gives itself a rocket boost and any belief in myself is kicked to the outer edges of the known universe. That’s why I don’t read reviews – I struggle enough with my own inner critic without battling others’ opinions.

I’m learning it’s far more important that I appreciate my own work rather than looking to others for approval. It’s always wonderful when people tell me they love my work. It’s always valuable when people, particularly my editors, give me honest feedback on what needs to be changed to improve things – they see things I miss by working all too close to the artwork.

I’m learning that it’s more important for me recognise that what I create is mostly good enough, sometimes I’m really pleased with what I’ve done, sometimes I can see something is truly awful or that there is room for improvement.

Reflection on my work is important as it helps me to learn, grow and develop, and helpful input is always welcome.

When I look at this blue B monogram dangle design, I can honestly say I smile. It’s an example of a design I am pleased with. It’s intricate, but not overly so. There’s empty space within the design

Less than a week now until ‘A Dangle A Day’ is released – my book showing how you too can create dangle designs, one step at a time!

Monogram R

©Angela Porter 2018

I started work on these early this morning – around 7am. And I’ve finished for now – it’s around 9am. I’ll return to them later today or tomorrow as I have a lil trip out for lunch with a friend.

Some different kinds of styles appearing in this little bunch!

The big R at the top is mostly done – it just needs some colour I think. It’s also similar in style to the previous monograms, starting with the yellow K did a couple of days ago. It’s been drawn with 08 Unipin and 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens. Green metallic embellishments have been added with a metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

The R at the bottom, with the thick lines, was drawn using a Tombow Fude brush pen. Not easy to control the thickness of lines, so I used a Uniball Unipin pen to tidy up the lines and add the bits on the end. Not sure how I’m going to progress with this one.

The two in the middle row have been drawn with the Unipin and Sensei pens.

The R to the right was drawn with a Uniball Unipin brush pen, which is a bit easier to control the line thickness than the Tombow Fude pen. I did neaten up the lines and ad more using the Unipin and Sensei pens.

The bigger the letter, the more space for embellishments – the paper size is A4 (approx 8″ x 10.5″) in size and it’s white and very smooth Daler-Rowney Bristol Board. The smoothness of the paper makes it so easy to draw smooth, even lines on it. It won’t take water colours or watercolour washes, but markers and coloured pencils work fine on it. Tombow Dual Brush pens and similar tend to cause the paper to pill. Of course, I can always use a scanned image to colour them digitally.

Yes, I could also add dangles to each monogram. However the purpose of this exercise is to practice my hand lettering, particularly in this rather ornate and embellished style. Dangles can be added in the future.

I cover drawing monogram dangle designs in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, which is due to be published in just over a week! Exciting!

Winter Mandala

©Angela Porter 2018

A mandala today. Cool, wintry colours over a white-pearl background for the mandala. Just something relatively simple for me to create, but quite complex looking in it’s final form.

I did draw this digitally using my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I also used a pearl white texture and starry backgroun I purchased via Creative Market.

I have also created a winter solstice dangle design for later in the week (Friday), as I know tomorrow I’ve got a bit of a busy day.

Today, though, is a quiet day for me. I’m not feeling too well. Nothing specific, but my appetite isn’t there, I’m a bit sniffly and I just feel more than a little ‘meh’. Mind you, I do feel a little better than I did yesterday.

Now, it’s time for me to go cuddle up and complete some more amigurumi tiny toys which will go to add to stockings for children spending Christmas in a women’s refuge local to me.

Copper Mandala

©Angela Porter 2018

Another mandala resulting from my playing around with metallic textures and drawing to reveal the lovely shininess.

I know I got to the outer circle of the design and just felt the need to draw wiggly lines, like wires, connecting the mandala to everything outside of it, whatever that means.

These are fun to do. Mind you, I say that about all my art! And a bit of sparkle and shine is always welcome!

As a little bit of an aside, this weekend I added two coloring templates to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group for the exclusive use of members. One is the ‘Noel’ design I posted previously, the other is a design for 2019.

With the new year design, I’ve asked that those who colour it (or another template if they have no access to printers) as close to midnight between 2018 and 2019 at their local time as they can. It will be lovely to see a flurry of colour throughout the day as the world gradually moves into 2019.

Abstract Entangled Art 19 November 2018

I drew this triangular design a couple of days ago and I knew I wanted to add some words around it, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to add.

Well, today was counselling/therapy day for me. A fair number of issues came up in the past week, connections/realisations being made, awareness of my negative self-talk, and awareness of me talking care of myself a little more than I have done.

So it seemed appropriate that I should add words related to today’s session :

  • Nurture myself
  • Believe and trust myself
  • Have compassion for myself

Maybe not the best worded, but relevant to myself.

I drew the design and hand-lettered the words with Uniball Unipin pens on white acid-free paper. Shading was added to the design with a soft drawing pencil and a paper tortillon.