Dangle Design Card and Envelope

© Angela Porter 2019

Here’s a pretty pair of whimsical and cute dangle designs card and envelope.

For the focal point of the card I used a butterfly from a pack of Ephemera from Tim Holtz called Botanical. I added some metallic gold ink highlights to the butterfly as I knew I’d be adding gold to the design. I also edged the butterfly with some Peeled Paint Distress Ink using a sponge ink applicator.

I then cut my paper to fit the card blank I wanted to use; I learned my lesson from the the last card I made! The card blank measured 8½” by 4¼”. So, I cut a piece of Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper 7¾” by 3¾” to create the dangle design on.

I used the butterfly as a guide as to where I wanted to add some flowers upon which it could alight. I also drew pencil guidelines in for the centre of the design and the sentiment banner.

Then it was drawing the design. I used a 05 Unipin pen from Uniball.

I started by drawing the flowers at the top of the design.

Next, it was the hand lettering for the sentiment ‘Just for you’.

Flowers, hearts, stars and spherical and teardrop shaped beads are my goto choices for dangles. I did add a charm that was based on some jewellery, as well as a square charm with a geometric pattern inside it.

When I’d drawn the main dangle I realised I wanted to add a bit of width to it. So, I added two bars stretching out from the side of the square charm and used the ends to hang dangles made up of hearts and beads.

Colouring was the next task. I used Tombow Dual Brush pens to colour the design in. The colour gradients weren’t strong enough for me, so I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to add depth to the colours.

Then, it was time to attach the butterfly using some foam squares.

I then used a dip ink pen to add some dots of gold FW Pearlescent ink around the design. I also used gold to fill in the lettering of the sentiment and various elements of the dangle design.

Next, I added white dots highlights to some of the design elements using a Sakura Souffle pen.

I also used a blue-grey Chameleon pencil to add shadows to the design at this point.

Before affixing the design to the card blank I used a sponge ink applicator and Peeled Paint Distress Ink to edge the design. That was the card done.

I then thought it would be fun to create an example of an addressed envelope using a dangle design as a monogram. I used some of the charms from the card for this design. I also drew some simple, whimsical butterflies above the monogram. I used Chameleon Duotone Pencils to colour the dangle design and to add a shadow to the dangle.

Pencil guidelines helped me to keep my lettering evenly spaced and of a consistent size. In this case I just guesstimated them, but in future I think I will need to measure the spacing of the lines!

Finally, I added some glittery golden stars with a gold glitter Uniball Gel pen as well as some white dot highlights using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

One thing I realise I didn’t do was to make the colours in the dangle more harmonious with the butterfly. The color tones of the butterfly are quite antique and grungy and I used rather bright, clean colours to colour the design with. I also am not happy with the monogram on the envelope; it’s too small and the lettering style doesn’t seem sympathetic to the rest of the lettering.

I’m going to put these down to me still suffering the lingering effects of the stinking cold I’ve had for the past three days. It’s definitely broken now, but I’m still not 100%.

It’s also a learning experience. I’m not a wonderful card maker; I do dabble in it from time to time, however dangle cards are fun to make and with the decorated envelopes it’s double the fun! I think I need to start sending happy mail to people! I’d be happy to receive this card with a letter inside – how would you feel about it?

‘A Dangle A Day’ was published on 15 Jan 2019 and many of the dangle design elements can be found in this book.

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:

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 J Dangle Design

©Angela Porter 2018

Yesterday I said I wanted to turn one of the J monograms into a dangle design, and that’s exactly what I’ve done here!

I do seem to be favouring teals and pink as a colour combination for these letters lately. The colours were added using a combination of Copic markers and Chameleon Color Tones pencils. Again, I chose to use Copics simply because I wanted a ‘wash’ of pale colour to which I could add shading with the pencils. I also used a metallic silver pencil to add some subtle silver elements as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen to add some white dot embellishments.

For the charms in the dangle, I drew inspiration from my recent delving into things Medieval to create some that are a bit different to my usual kind. A heart seemed to be an obligatory charm for me to include.

I worked on Daler Rowney Marker paper and used Uniball Unipin pens for the black lines.

There’s quite a nice juxtaposition between the sharp, angular lines of the monogram and the rather softer, rounded shapes of the charms.

I also could’ve dug into my neglected stash of media from my days of mucking about with mixed media and card making and so on to find Stickles, NUVO drops, foil glue and foil, sequins, sparklies and so on to add more sparkle and shine to the design. Something I need to think about again in the future. I’d also have to work on sturdier paper than the Marker paper.

I feel that the dangle could be a bit longer to give a more elongated and elegant design. However, I ran out of paper! I may have been able to squeeze one more charm in at the bottom … but it would’ve been a squeeze!

Note to self – when doing monogram dangle designs on A4 paper, make the letter a little smaller so the dangle(s) can be longer!

Today, my attention must turn to colouring the 2019 templates I designed for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Fans facebook group for the New Year’s Day Color Explosion event, starting at midnight as 2018 turns into 2019. I think some may jump the gun on that though! Still, it’s a bit of colourful fun.

It’s only just over a week until ‘A Dangle A Day’ is published. In the book, I take you step by step how to create over 100 dangle designs for yourself, as well as giving some advice about hand lettering, using dangle designs, and creating your own using elements in the book, or your own too. I really do hope you will all give drawing dangle designs a go – they look complex, but, as I show in the book, they only take a few simple steps. They also suit my rather intuitive way of designing, drawing, creating. However, they also work for those who like to plan things out first.

‘J’ Monograms

©Angela Porter 2018

What a troublesome letter J is! Well, as far as creating a monogram. Early sketches showed me that if I add too much fanciness outside of the letter, the letter gets lost in the embellishments! So, here are a few that I’m vaguely pleased with.

I used Daler Rowney Marker Paper to draw these letters on, with a mixture of black pens. I used Copic Markers to colour some of the letters. Others I used to experiment with Tombow Dual brush pens and a blender pen. Chameleon Color Tones pencils were used on a couple more.

The Copics work really well on the marker paper – no surprises there!

The Tombows tend to cause the pen I use to draw the designs with – Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens – to smear. I keep forgetting the Tombows do that. So, I tried drawing a J with the Tombow Dual Brush pen and then add the lines and patterns after it had dried. That worked. But white space needs to be created outside of the letter, and again, if I got too intricate, entangled, ornate with the embellishments I would’ve lost the letter. Or perhaps not if it was only the letter that was coloured in.

I was surprised at how easily colour from the Chameleon Color Tones coloured pencils laid down on the marker paper. Surprised because I’d forgotten how nice it is to colour on the marker paper! I did need a good layer of padding paper beneath the 70g/m² or 48lb marker paper.

I foresee similar problems with the letters I, L, and S. Not sure about the other letters I’ve not tried this kind of decorating with yet. Time will show!

What I can see here is that the style of embellishment I’ve used, while not always successful, such as the heart and arrow one (where did that idea come from? Sheesh!), it is different to the previous letters I’ve played around with. That is all down to the shape of the letter and the edges I have to play around with, while keeping clarity of the letter too.

What to do today? Well, I do have the 2019 template to colour for the colour explosion over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group set to run through New Year’s Day. I’m also aware that I haven’t done a cutely whimsical cat monogram dangle design for a few weeks. I also have three templates to colour for ‘Entangled Forests’ so that book can be put to rest ready for publication, before I start on the next one.

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!