Hidden letter?

Hidden letter? ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Hidden letter? ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I spent some time drawing this design yesterday (around 4 hours) and didn’t finish it. This morning I woke up wondering if I could tuck a letter away in the design, making it part of the design rather than putting the design around the letter, kind of.

So, I looked at the small-ish space I had left to the right of the design and managed to, rather clumsily, tuck a capital A in amongst the design.

The A is a bit more obvious than I’d wanted, but I worked with what I’d already done to see how it could work, or how I’d mess it up and learn from it.

Yes, I know, another A. There are letters of the alphabet I’ve never either done as a monogram or used in a design of some kind.

I quite like the idea of adding letters as part of the design, either as one occurrence of the letter or by creating a motif of some kind that contains the letter which can then be repeated as part of the overall design.

My mind is ticking over on this one…I definitely need at least one more, if not several more, cuppas before I get my head around my own idea!

I’m positive that this idea is not likely to be unique in the realms of creativity, but it is a new idea for me. Now all I have to do is to follow through with it and see where it leads.

The original drawing is approx 6″ x 6″ (15.5cm x 15.5cm) in size. I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei 04, Unball Unipin 0.1 and Pentel Sign pens to draw the design on Daler Rowney Simply… Sketch extra white paper. The paper isn’t as smooth as I usually like and it tends to ‘grab’ pencil lines, even in soft 2B, but it did the job.

Digitally all I did was to clean up the image and create a transparent background and then add a coloured, textured watercolour paper as a background to the drawing before adding my watermarks.

I do want to do some shading on this drawing, but I also have hankering to draw a mandala. Which will win out with me?

I definitely need another big cuppa!

Abstract Floral Design – Coloured

Abstract Floral Design ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Abstract Floral Design ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

This morning, I thought I’d start my day by colouring in yesterday’s shaded, abstract floral design. And this is the result.

I didn’t remove the shading, but added simple gradient colours above it so that the shading would add to the depth and dimension.

Although this image, thanks to whatever WordPress does to the colour of images when uploaded, doesn’t show this, it actually works really well.

Yes, I know. It’s taken me a couple or three years to get around to working out I can underlay shadows and used colour over the top to add depth and dimension. However, I’ve said it before, I learn tricks at my own pace and when they are relevant to me or when I’m ready to try them out.

I may try this design again, but with more vintage-y colours. Maybe. It’s all learning for me that’s for sure!

The design was drawn with Tombow Fudenosuke and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens. Shading and colour was added digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Studio.

Abstract Floral Design

Abstract Floral Design 4 May 2019 ©Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Abstract Floral Design 4 May 2019 ©Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I started drawing this one fairly late last night and completed it just now. The tools I used were a soft Fudenosuke pen by Tombow, a 0.4 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen on white mixed media paper from Claire Fontaine.

I then scanned the drawing into the Surface Studio and used Autodesk Pro and a Surface Pen to clean up the image and then add a few details and some shading to it.

The original drawing is approx. 5″ x 6″ in size.

I’m quite pleased with this one as it’s not my usual ‘lets see how much space we can fill with line and pattern’ kind of drawing. The design has a kind of leaf shape to it in outline, and I’ve let white space exist in the design, which is really unusual for me.

Working in monotone is also unusual for me, but the grey shading certainly adds depth and dimension to the design, brings it to life.

I also have some brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro that I can use to mimic graphite pencil shading, which I did here.

I started with the flower motif in the middle and let the design flow out from that point. Of course my design motifs had to include foliage, seedpods and some abstract/geometrical patterns too. Oh and some fungi/mushrooms too. And orbs/spheres.

I really like my circular arches of a pattern inspired by Early Celtic/La Tene art. The shading really helped to define this pattern.

I’m going to make this one available for purchase from my RedBubble shop.

Still emotionally exhausted…

I slept so much yesterday and last night. I’m still emotionally exhausted after my trip out on Thursday. I’m still finding it hard to believe how much something so simple exhausted me so much in terms of emotion particularly. I didn’t think I was any more anxious than usual, or stressed than usual. Seems I was oblivious to my own body.

I do feel a bit better today, but I could just curl up and sleep again now and I’ve only been awake for 4 hours.

I won’t go to sleep this afternoon though. I’m going to keep myself awake somehow. Maybe with art. Maybe with some books I bought on Thursday. Maybe with crochet. Maybe with all of them, but not at the same time!

Even though I’m exhausted I do feel quite content within myself. However, even though it’s a lovely sunny day, if rather windy, here in Welsh Wales, I don’t think I’ll venture out into the realms of peopledom. It’s another Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK so the world tends to be more people-y than usual. I think that could overwhelm me again and I’m better off just remaining where I feel safe and calm.

The more aware I am of my emotions and my self, the more aware I am of how much CPTSD has affected me, of how it limits my life, and of how much work I still have to do. Mind you, that self awareness is showing me as well the progress I have made and how I make decisions based around self care too. Like today, knowing the world is too people-y and somethings can be left until the world is a little less people-y.

Entangled Monograms – C, D and E

Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Arty things

Another lovely day or so spent hand lettering and drawing the etntangled designs around the monograms.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on 15cm x 15cm pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

The Tombow Fudenosuke pens are giving me a much thicker line than I’d usually use, along with variable line width too. I must admit I rather like the bolder lines as they really define the designs. What do you think about my use of bolder line?

I have scanned these, and yesterday’s A and B monograms, so I can add colour digitally, should I choose to do so. At the moment I’m really just enjoying the graphic quality of the black and white line art.

Therapy day

Today is EMDR therapy day for me. My appointment is mid-afternoon and it’s been almost a fortnight since my last one as there’s been a Bank Holiday in between.

I must say that I’ve had quite a contented fortnight. The last session was rather disturbing and distressing and though I was absolutely exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically after it for the rest of the day and part of the next, I think I found my balance much quicker than I expected.

I’ve had my moments, hours, mind you. Often when I’m tired and need a nap. So, I take a nap if I can. That’s one of the fab things about being a self-employed/freelancing artist/illustrator/author. It’s a lot easier to do self-care things when self-care is needed. If I need a nap, I can often take a nap. If I need a day or three to recover from EMDR I can take that time, or at least break the time up so I have chunks of self-care in amongst the work I need to do to fulfil contracts.

I really am grateful for this flexibility, a flexibility that is in sharp contrast with the very structured, timetabled, hamster-wheel existence of my life as a teacher.

Flexibility and freedom – a double edged sword

It’s really difficult for me to make full use of the flexibility and freedom I have. I often have an urge to go out somewhere, but I can never decide on where to go, or when to go, or whether I should even bother going as really, what do I want to go there for. Telling myself it’s to sketch, draw, photograph, gain inspiration, for the experience, because I like to walk when I do go and walk, because being in nature is good for my emotional and mental wellbeing, or just because I CAN just doesn’t cut it with the problems that arise from the CPTSD, especially anxiety and social anxiety that forms part of the experience of being a survivor of trauma.

Sometimes I manage to sneak up on myself and surprise myself and get out and about and visit somewhere either familiar or new to me.

More often than not the inner critic manages to talk me out of it.

I think I need to make a list of places close to me, and a bit further away, that I’d like to visit. A list that contains both familiar and unfamiliar places.

Familiar places are less stressful for me to visit on my own. Knowing my way around, knowing where I can enjoy lunch or tea, knowing where I can park my car and knowing I can find my way back to the car, and so on and so forth makes it a much easier experience for me.

Going somewhere unfamiliar increases stress for me as simple things like going into an unfamiliar cafe for some tea or lunch causes me huge anxiety when I’m by myself. The worry about not being able to find my way back to my car is another added source of anxiety too. Even going into unfamiliar shops, cathedrals, museums and so on provokes anxiety in me.

It’s that old fear from being a bullied, abused child that rises up where I worry if I’ll get hurtful comments from people, if I’ll make a fool of myself in some way and people will laugh, if they’ll pass comment about my choice of food or tea.

None of these things have happened to me as an adult, yet the anxiety that lurks within me rises up and tells me again and again that these things may happen. The voice of my anxiety, of my inner critic, can paralyse me or cause me to flee back home without even getting out of my car, that’s if I even manage to drive to where I’d like to go.

If I have company I’m really brave. I’m often the first to enter a cafe or similar and ask for a table and so on. I’m the one who will bravely explore a new cathedral or museum or place quite eagerly.

On my own though, the inner critic is way too strong as I feel vulnerable. As vulnerable as I did when I was a child and all the way through my adult life.

I can overcome this vulnerability, the anxiety, if there is a purpose to my trip, such as giving an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I do it because I don’t want to let others down (as well as because I believe in the mission of Time to Change Wales).

Part of my anxiety is that I never, or rarely, ask anyone to go out with me (not go out in a romantic sense, just go out as in a jolly day out visiting somewhere of mutual interest and enjoying pleasant company). The fear of rejection is still too huge. I’m also very much aware that people I’d call friends and family are busy with their own family and work and so on, and I never, ever, want to become a burden to anyone.

That’s something that I learned early in my life – not to bother anyone with my needs or problems or issues. It’s something as an adult I’ve not gotten over yet.

I also am aware that there are trips I need to make solo. I like to sit and draw and write in places I visit. I can lose myself in this for a long time, I can take as much time as I need to look at . If I’m with someone I don’t want to spoil their day by indulging myself in such an activity. If I’m by myself I don’t have to worry about them not enjoying themselves as much as they could, so I tend to put my needs completely to one side to make sure they’re happy.

Being a people pleaser is part of the CPTSD. It’s what I did to try to gain approval of people who would never approve of anything I did or said or how I looked. Rejection, ridicule, being put down was par for the course no matter what I did. That didn’t stop me trying to please others, to make sure they were happy as if they were happy then perhaps I’d have an easier time of it and wouldn’t be pushed away yet again.

CPTSD sure messes a person up.

I know that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety who are able to do these simple, everyday, taken for granted things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea. They’re able to overcome that anxiety and don’t buy into it’s messages.

I’ve not learned to overcome it or have disempowered the inner critic enough that I can do these simple everyday things, well not yet. I think the critic has a way to go to be disempowered first.

Still, there are days when I’ll be able to sneak up on myself and head out and actually visit places, sketchbook and visual BuJo in my bag, and take that time and will wonder at how I don’t do things like that more often as it’s really not that bad.

I hope those days will eventually outweigh the days where the inner critic wins out.

Until that days comes I just need to be kind to myself and not beat myself up about giving in to the inner critic once again and remind myself a day will soon come where through sneakery or just disempowering the inner critic enough that I can go out.

Bee in your bonnet Porter?

Bee in your bonnet Porter? ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Bee in your bonnet Porter? ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

All done and coloured now, but o,h, WordPress, why do you change the colours on my images?

The colours are a lot more vibrant in my non-uploaded file. But I’m sure you get the idea.

Anyways, I drew the image with Tombow Fudenosuke pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. After scanning the drawing, I used my favourite digital tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio – to add colour and texture (and watermarks) to the image.

The original drawing was a little less that A4 (US letter-ish) in size.

I’m quite happy with this. I’m also really happy I’ve managed to incorporate some dangle designs into my art. Something I’m going to continue to do now. I think they work really well with hand lettered banners and probably really well with arches too. Hmm, perhaps dangling from the edges of large fungi too… I know I’ll work it out!

Fancy trying your hand at dangle designs? Well, I have a tutorial book that takes you through monogram and dangle designs. It’s called A Dangle A Day.

Dangle Design – Bee in your bonnet Porter?

Bee in your bonnet Porter? Dangle Design WIP © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Bee in your bonnet Porter? Dangle Design WIP © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yup, I still have a bee, or several, in my bonnet about copyright infringement. However, I thought the bees needed a garden to fly around in and do what bees do best! Better they’re out pollinating and making honey than rattling around inside my bonnet that’s for sure.

So, I drew them a garden to live in and hung my bonnet in a dangle design I’ve incorporated into the design, along with a bit of hand lettering.

I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol board using Tombow Fudenosuke pens, and a pencil from time to time.

When I was happy with the drawing, I scanned it into the ‘puter and started to add colour.

As you can see, this is very much a work in progress and I may very well change the colours in places as work continues. Yet again, the colours look very different in WordPress than they do on my ‘puter. What’s going on WordPress???

Friday is Dangle Day. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, I take you step by step through drawing charming, cute, whimsical dangle designs and monograms. The designs aren’t as complex as this one, though the dangles in this design are simple enough themselves. Dangles are fun to draw and a great way to add embellishment to all kinds of projects – greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks, BuJo (Bullet Journal) pages and spreads, journals, planners, diaries, and anything else you could possibly think of using them! They really are simple to draw, one step at a time, and it’s colour that brings them to life for sure!

Entangled Fantastic Fungi – coloured

Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I took some time to finish colouring my ‘Entangled Fantastic Fungi’ drawing from the other day.

I’ve said it before and, no doubt, I’ll say it again: colour brings my drawings to life. It also takes me a lot, lot longer to colour the artwork than it does to draw it! I think it would’ve been quicker with traditional media, such as Chameleon marker pens. However, I like using digital tools for coloring and I use opportunities like this to explore the different settings and various brushes so that I can add to my range of techniques I like to use and the effects I can get.

It’s a slow process for me, and it can be both enjoyable, satisfying and rather frustrating! However, I think I’m making some progress in finding my way through the plethora of options available and gaining some understanding of what they do and how to make them work the way I’d like them to work for me.

I also am enjoying drawing on paper with these Tombow Fudenosuke pens. Using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add colour to my drawings is me having the best of both words for sure!

There’s also the addition of a background texture, which, I think, makes all the difference. The pale grey tone of the background helps to tone down the brighter colours in the image, enhancing that kind of vintage kind of vibe I was going for.

Of course, it goes without saying that I used my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio to colour the image. Being able to use the pen on the screen, just like pen or brush or pencil on paper, is fantastic! I’m finally getting to grips with making use of the pressure sensitivity of the pen and exploring ways in which I can use it, as well as setting up brushes to suit my needs.

When I think back to when I bought my Surface Book, my aim was to draw templates for coloring books digitally so I didn’t have to scan in paper. It was also to make it easier to clean up the images. I had no intention of colouring the images digitally.

I think I’ve come a fair distance since those early days. I’m still surprised at how the ability to create digital art by using a Surface Pen on the screen of the Surface Studio as if the screen was paper, has opened doors to creative expression for me.