Blue Mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

I have had an artsy kind of day so far. A lot of the gloom, anxiety and troubled thoughts that descended on me have lifted, but not all. Once provoked the beasties that are my cPTSD take a while to settle down again. I also feel tired – mentally, physically and emotionally tired, despite a fairly good nights sleep.

I managed to get some work done on a template for my next book for Creative Haven by Dover. I got to a point, however, where I wasn’t happy with how it was going so I thought a break was in order.

So, for my break I thought I’d work on a mandala, and this is the one I’ve created today.

I didn’t consciously choose the colours or patterns I used in this mandala. However, the blues bring to mind water, rivers, the sea. I love to be near the sea. I find the rhythm of the waves calming, no matter how gentle or wild they are. The salty wind helps to blow away cobwebs in the mind, cobwebs that not so good thoughts have stuck to. I love to look at the patterns in the sand, rocks, pebbles. There’s so much more I love. So perhaps by choosing blue I’ve identified an unconscious need to visit the sea soon.

A lot of the patterns that have found their way into this mandala remind me of waves or shells. They’re all organic and flowing. Though there are some rather architectural arches and patterns there, lending some form to the design.

The ocean is used as metaphor in mindfulness meditations. I am the ocean. The waves are my emotions that ruffle the surface of that deep, calm body of water. Meditation is about finding that calm and being in touch with it in daily life.

Carl Jung believed that drawing a mandala daily helped to reveal what was going on in the subconscious mind, the things we need to bring into awareness and work on in order to heal.

Curious that this one speaks to me of water, the ocean.

Yesterday’s meditation stirred up the waves for sure. A veritable tsunami resulted of emotional, mental and physical pain. It’s freaked me out a little and I’ve been reluctant to meditate today, well not until I’ve done everything I need to do today.

I did draw this mandala digitally. In fact, returning to digital art let me exhale a little and relax a bit more into art. I also didn’t want to revisit my frustration with traditional media that I had yesterday.

I find working digitally wonderfully liberating in many ways. I know that I’m no expert in the use of mechanics of digital art – I use it more like I would traditional media. However, whereas I feel I struggle with colour and techniques with traditional media these days, I feel none of that with digital art.

Now that’s a surprise to me! I never, ever thought I’d feel that way about working digitally.

My digital tools are my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The screen of the Surface Studio is my paper, the Surface pen is a multitude of pens, pencils, brushes and colours in one instrument. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the software that allows me to work so intuitively, so naturally as I would with pen on paper, but with other tools and techniques I can use that I wouldn’t be able to reproduce with traditional media – I don’t have the skills to do that.

So, some insights about myself from the mandala, and also some realisations about myself and my relationship with digital art and how much that relationship has strengthened and deepened – and there’s still a lot more to learn and discover about digital art and myself.

A Dangle A Day Dangle Mandala

©Angela Porter 2019

I’m now feeling a little better this evening and I thought I’d create a dangle mandala (dangle-dala?) to mark the publication of ‘A Dangle A Day’ today.

I drew this using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the digital paper that is my Microsoft Surface Studio screen using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then coloured it using the same tools.

I’ve uploaded the black and white line art version of this design to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. 

If you’d like to print and colour this design in, please follow the link and join the group. You’ll find some other coloring templates there too that are only available to members of the group.

Dangle designs are a lot of fun to create. They’re whimsical, cute and a lot simpler to draw than they look! I take you one step at a time through how to draw well over 100 different dangle designs in the book, as well as making suggestions about where you can use dangle designs and with words of encouragement.

If you do have a go at drawing dangle designs, and colouring them of course, I’d love to see what you create and how you use them!

A dangle design mandala

A Dangle Design Mandala ©Angela Porter 2019

Today has been a funny kind of day. I have a stinking cold and I had an appointment late morning. When I came home this afternoon, I decided I’d do another mandala made up of dangle designs and design elements from my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.

I just let the design flow from the tip of my Microsoft Surface Pen and onto the virtual paper that is my Microsoft Surface Studio screen. As always, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is the app that lets me draw and colour naturally on the Surface Studio screen.

I incorporated some of my favourite design elements – hearts, stars, sun, moon, flowers, leaves – into the mandala. A big mug of tea and a nicely sweet cake could be most welcome, though I’m not entirely sure the cold would let me enjoy them.

I also included some of those graphic black and white squares that I like so much, as well as a rainbow pattern of little arches. A morning sky and a night sky as backgrounds to the rings in the mandala completes this rather cutely whimsical mandala design.

Although I don’t show how to create dangle-dalas in the book, they are easy enough to do using dangles and design elements from the book.

It goes without saying that I’m all excited about my book being published tomorrow. I’m really hoping some of you will share your dangle designs with me – I really am curious and interested in how you use dangle designs!

‘A Dangle A Day’ Dangle Design Mandala

‘A Dangle A Day’ Dangle Design Mandala © Angela Porter 2019

Dangles can be turned into mandalas! And ‘dangle-dalas’ satisfy my love of symmetry in an unusual way.

In this one, I have two rings to which dangles are attached. In the centre ring, they point towards the centre of the mandala. On the outer ring, they point out into space.

Then, there’s two central rings. One, I coloured in a pastel rainbow and added ‘A Dangle A Day’ in my weird take on hand-lettered uncials. The lettering isn’t perfect, but then neither am I, and neither were celtic/anglo-saxon/medieval manuscripts.

Ok, the manuscripts are more perfect than my hand lettering, but it’ll do. It’s perfectly imperfect. That is an idea I’m becoming to embrace more and more easily as time goes on, and an idea that I encourage you to adopt in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’.

I used rather graphic black and white geometric designs to separate the three main rings of the design. This contrasts nicely with the brightly colourful design elements.

I felt the need to draw cacti, flowers and some weird seeds today, so that’s what I did. Of course it goes without saying that I’d have to include stars and hearts in my design! There’s some beads in there too, particularly those teardrop shaped ones that remind me so much of medieval jewellery.

Mind you, medieval in character this design is not. It is rather cute and whimsical, which is one of my signature styles – the other is intricacy.

For this design, I hand drew and coloured it digitally using a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio. As always, my chosen art software was Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Yes, I really do draw on my Surface Studio with the Surface Pen as if I’m drawing with, say, a fountain pen on paper. Colouring I often do as if I’m colouring with traditional media, though sometimes I do use gradient fills. It just depends on the feel I want in the final artwork.

Being able to work in layers means I can do things that would be very difficult or time-consuming working traditionally. It also means that I can play with colour combinations – I love colour, but I don’t always make good choices of colour palettes, see yesterday’s Q monograms for evidence of that!

Of course, there’s so much more to digital art than this, and I’ve not discovered everything yet. But over time my experience is that I discover, workout or learn how to do what I need to do at that time when I’m ready to do that.

Monogram ‘Q’ dangle designs

Monogram ‘Q’ Dangle Designs – ©Angela Porter 2019

Following on from yesterday’s blog post (One dangle design, four colourways) I thought I’d do another monogram dangle design, but this time adding some embellishments.

The design for the Q monogram comes from my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ (published on 15 Jan 2019). I printed the design out on heavyweight printer paper and used a combination of Chameleon markers, Copic Markers and Chameleon pencils to colour the designs. The original drawing was hand drawn using a Microsoft Surface Pen on a Microsoft Surface Studio using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Once I’d finished the colouring, I then added some embellishments. I’m not a good photographer and sparkly and shiny elements are not easy to photograph, and even worse to scan!

Here’s the details of the embellishments I added:

  1. Aqua coloured Nuvo Glitter drops can be seen dotted around and within the design. These really sparkle and catch the light; they also dry raised, like a sparkly water drop. I also used a Wink of Stella brush pen to add subtle sparkle to the hearts and flower. Then, I realised that the Q was lost in the blue background which was similar in tonal value to the letter. So, I used an extra fine fountain pen to add a pattern made of various sizes of tiny circles to the background.
  2. I just used gold Nuvo drops to embellish the design as well as Wink of Stella to add some subtle shimmer to the hearts and flower.
  3. I used a Spectrum Noir clear sparkle pen to add shimmer and shine to the letter and the hearts. Dots of silver Nuvo glitter drops were added around the design. I also used a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen to add dots to the letter and the centre of the flower. Finally, I used an extra fine fountain pen with black ink to add the patterns in the frame. This helps the letter to stand out in the design. I also used Sakura Stardust Gelly Roll pens to colour in the arrow feathers. These pens allow the underlying colour to show through in a subtle way.
  4. Orange-gold Nuvo glitter drops were added around the design. The clear Spectrum Noir sparkle pen was used to add shimmer and shine to the letter and the dark blue ‘bars’ in the frames around the Q. Finally, I used the extra fine fountain pen with black ink to add patterns to the bars and the letter as well as a solid drop shadow to the left and bottom of the design elements to help them stand out.

These designs could be used for note cards or greetings cards, bookmarks and more. However, they’d make a beautiful ‘drop capital’ at the start of a quote or message.

Of course, it would be easy to substitute the Q for another letter or numeral, or even a cute doodle drawing. Instead of a drawing, you could affix an object such as a dried flower, a metal charm, a dimensional sticker, an inchie, or anything else you can think of. You could even put a small photograph in the frame instead of the letter, and this would make a unique, charming card or feature on a scrapbook, journal or bujo page.

Your options are only limited by your imagination and creativity!

One dangle design, four colourways

One dangle design, four colourways © Angela Porter 2019

In my book, ‘A Dangle A Day’, I mention that just by changing the colour scheme you can easily change the appearance of a dangle design for an occasion or to match someone’s favourite colours. So, I thought it would be nice to show an example of this.

I chose a simple monogram dangle design from the book; you can see it in the top left corner. This dangle design has a very spring-like feel to it with the lovely bright pinks and greens of the new, fresh flowers and leaves that blossom and bloom at this time of year.

Taking my cue from this, I coloured in three versions of this design in the seasonal colours.

At the top right is a summery version, with a lovely warm sunrise as the background to the letter, blue summer skies, warm golden sun, and the bright and warm colours of the flowers. A golden summer glow could be achieved by using a hint of gold Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake, or by adding dots of gold glittery wonderfulness.

Autumn tones were used in the bottom left version. Fiery oranges, reds and yellows and clear autumnal sky blues were used. Enamel dots, glitter pens or stickles would add sparks of autumnal glory to this design.

The final design has a definitely cool wintry colour scheme – icy blues, cool purple and the blue-green tones of evergreens, along with silver. To this I could add white snowflakes or stars with a gel pen, or dots of silver glitter with Stickles from Ranger or Nuvo Drops or a glitter gel pen. Using a Wink of Stella brush pen from Kuretake to colour over the design would result in a lovely, sparkly, frosty finish.

Of course, there are many, many ways that the designs could be embellished to suit your taste, supplies or the recipient. So much fun can be had adding embellishments which also personalise the design even more.

I hand drew the original design on paper and then digitally for the book. My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, which I also used for the colour variations above. I set the ‘brush’ pens up for the book so they mimicked the shapes/patterns pens on paper create and left lines a little wobbly and imperfect, just as I would when drawing on paper. Indeed, I very much treat my Surface Pen and Surface Studio screen as if they’re pen and paper in the way that I draw (and colour).

I do hope you’ll give dangle designs a go, and that you’ll show me the results of your work. You can find me online here:

Seamless Tile Pattern

Seamless Tile Pattern © Angela Porter 2019

Today has been a bit of a busy day for me. I thought I’d spend a bit of time trying to reduce the level of anxiety I’m feeling at the moment by playing with my second mandala of yesterday in RepperPro. This is just one of twelve patterns I created quickly before dashing off out to a meeting this evening.

RepperPro is easy to use and has a variety of geometrical styles of seamless pattern that you can create. I sometimes like to do this with my artwork as it’s just another way of creating pretty art. Sometimes, the patterns/shapes that form inspire me for other art. Of course, if I choose to save the seamless tile, I can adjust colours and play with the patterns in it to create new tiles for seamless patterns if I choose to do so.

I’m absolutely sure it’s possible to create patterns like this in other ways, with pen and paper. I’ve tried to do so in the past, but my brain just doesn’t seem to understand the process. Software that does this for me is brilliant and a bit of fun for sure!

Don’t know what I’ll do with these patterns. Maybe use some of them for products in my Vida and Zippi shops – both of which need a serious overhaul and update.