Just because – Autumnal Dangle design mail art

Just because - Autumn dangle design greeting card © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Just because – Autumnal Dangle Design mail art © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Making coloured backgrounds.

Yesterday evening I had a pleasant hour or so using Distress Oxide and Distress inks to make some backgrounds for future card projects.

I used a soft rubber Brayer roller to add distress oxides to a small Gelli Plate. I then spritzed the Gelli plate with water containing either pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls before lifting the print with some Claire Fontaine Mixed Media paper. The water in the spray reacts with the inks to give an oxidised look. The Perfect Pearls in the spray add some subtle shimmer to the finished background.

Once the Distress Oxide background layers were dry, I used a rectangular die to cut a section from them.

To create backgrounds with Distress Inks, I used a mini foam blending tool to cover the card with colour. I then sprayed the card with some water containing pearl, copper or gold Perfect Pearls. Again, the water reacts with the Distress Inks, but this time creating small watermarks. The Perfect Pearls again add shimmer.

Making the card.

I chose a background coloured with Wild Honey, Tea Dye, Old Linen and Walnut Stain Distress Inks which were then spritzed with pearl Perfect Pearls infused water.

I wanted to create a dangle design card. From experience, I know that drawing on backgrounds with added Perfect pearls that my fine-liner Uniball Unipin pens can become clogged by the tiny flakes of mica that comprise Perfect Pearls.

So, I tried using a Uniball Vision Elite rollerball pen. The ink in it is supposed to be water-resistant, tamper-proof, fade-proof. It’s also very black, which suits me just fine.

 I was surprised at how well the pen wrote on the background – not just because of the Perfect Pearls and Distress Ink, but also because the mixed media paper is lightly textured. 

Once I’d completed the design, I used a needle=tip Pentel Energel Liquid Ink Gel pen to add smaller details.

While the plain black line on the coloured background looked OK, I thought it needed some colour to help lift it from the background.

I launched myself into using Copic markers, using somewhat darker colours than I usually would. That meant it wasn’t until I was adding some colour to the ribbon banner that I discovered that the Copic reacts with the inks in the pens and smears them. I was so disappointed in myself for not checking the pens were Copic safe. Oh well, you live and learn!

Rather than start again, I carried on with the card. I wanted to add some clear embossing powder to help the colours of the Copic markers stand out even more. So, I used a Versamark pen to colour over the designs, and then I sprinkled on the clear Wow Embossing Powder. I used a heat tool to melt the Embossing powder and achieve a glossy, dimensional finish on the dangle design.

The final step was to adhere the dangle design to a card blank, after adding some gold dots with a Uniball Signo glitter gel pen.

Fancy having a go at drawing your own dangle designs and not sure where to start? Well, you could start with my book “A Dangle A Day” where I lead you through the process. I have over 100 designs in the book where I take you step by step through drawing them. I have also included ideas for where you can use them including as cards, bookmarks, in BuJos, journals, scrapbooks and more.

Making the envelope.

I used the pre-made envelope that came with the card blank. I decided to keep the envelope white and add a border using some of the motifs from the dangle design.

I did use the Uniball Vision Elite gel pen and Pentel needlepoint pen to draw the design. This time, I coloured the design with some Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. 

The low quality of the paper envelope wasn’t conducive to really amazing colouring, but it worked well enough.

Reflecting on the card and envelope.

I could’ve kicked myself for not testing the pens to see if they were Copic friendly. I don’t think I could send this card to anyone as it just isn’t up to scratch. I need to remember this in future projects.

Also, the Versamark pen smeared the ink a little too, but nowhere as much as the Copics did.

I used much darker Copic colours than I usually would without thinking that heat embossing them would intensify the colours even more. The colours aren’t as dark as in the photo, but they are still darker than I would like.

The coloured pencils colouring worked much better and perhaps I would’ve been better off using them on the card panel. Again, something to remember for the future.

I also noticed that the anti-static powder I used before using the Versamark and embossing powder has either removed or covered the Perfect pearls. I used the anti-static powder so prevent the embossing powder sticking to places it didn’t belong. This is always a possibility, especially when using Distress Inks to colour the background.

In hindsight, I may have been better drawing, colouring and heat embossing the design before colouring the background. However, I do like to have pre-coloured backgrounds to use for arty projects.

So, Angela, how are you? 

I’m OK, still tired from a busy few days at the weekend and start of the week. I also have a flare-up of an ovarian cyst which is rather painful and achy. I’m feeling content and optimistic otherwise, though still tired even though I slept well last night. The exhaustion that comes with interacting with people, therapy and not enough me-time can linger for a good while — the joys of having CPTSD and being an introvert.

Yesterday, I was fatigued, and the flare-up ramped up in intensity as the day progressed. I wasn’t in the right place to create art or focus on work. I needed to practice self-care.

I chose to do some crochet after hearing about Crochyay, the online presence of a young woman called Olivia who makes flowers and leaves them with a little message tag for people to find and keep – random acts of kindness. She uses crochet to help manage her anxiety and depression as well.

I thought it was a beautiful idea and I thought flowers or little amigurumi hearts or similar would be lovely to make. Small, quick to finish projects that I feel I could manage. I’ve lost the oompf to do larger crochet projects such as shawls and blankets, but some little ones would be lovely to do. 

I do find crochet and other crafts quite soothing and calming. I also feel I’m doing something, and they can stop me from just sleeping my day away. Little projects like flowers are fab for me when the thought of anything bigger fills me with procrastination and disinterest. Also, I find it much more motivating to do projects for other people than for myself, even if I don’t know those people.

So I managed to make quite a few flowers yesterday. I now need to make leaves and assemble them into little posies. Then, there are tags to make.

I’m also looking forward to making the tags as I can draw and decorate them too! So, little projects in their own right.

Finally, I’ll need to overcome my self-consciousness and anxiety about leaving them for people to find them.

Sending Love – A Dangle Design

Sending Love - A Dangle Design ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Sending Love – A Dangle Design ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

For today’s whimsical and cute dangle design, I used one of the designs from my tutorial book “A Dangle A Day”, altered the hand lettered sentiment and changed the colour scheme.

I used just five colour schemes in the design itself – blues, yellow-orange, pinks, peachy-orange and yellow-greens. I used a blue and green from the design to create the background colour gradient.

By using the same colour gradients throughout the design it brings the design together.

I added a simple drop shadow to the whole design to give it a little dimension. I could have added drop shadows to the lettering and the flowers in the rectangular charm, but I chose to keep it quite simple today.

I think this would make a lovely note card or greetings card. I also think, perhaps with a different sentiment, make a lovely page for a BuJo, journal, diary, planner, and it would be lovely as part of the design of a scrapbook page.

How would you use a design like this?

I drew, handlettered and coloured the design digitally using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio as if I was working with pens on paper. My preferred art software is Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

So Angela, how are you today?

I’m content with that background level of anxiety. I feel motivated to work even though I’m really tired again. This time it was from a late night conversation with a friend in need. I can nap later if I need to. The tiredness is actually giving me a headache.

My Nikita Gill books of poetry arrived yesterday and I spent some time reading one, “Wild Embers” from cover to cover.

I cried at some poems as they really touched something inside me, when she describes in words things I’m only beginning to recognise within me.

With other poems it was like a light bulb came on as understanding was ignited within me.

Yet others highlighted the difference between how girls and women are viewed to boys and men, and treated differently, and brought up to believe different things about themselves.

You can tell in her writing she has survived some serious trauma; she writes not just from her heart and soul, but from experience.

I can recommend her work to anyone who has experienced abuse, trauma and who, like me, struggles to describe what is emerging from the Pandora’s box of the past as the healing progresses.

It helps to show I am not alone. It helps to show other survivors of abuse that they are not alone.

I felt alone as I had no one to turn to when I needed someone most. I withdrew within myself, isolating myself, being lonely even when surrounded by a loud, extrovert-filled family. Desperate to join in, to be part of it, but scared to be noticed as that left me open to being the one who was made fun of, blamed for anything and everything. It was horrible to be ignored too when I’d spoken; that happened often. I never learned to speak up for myself, to ask for help, to say what I needed. I suffered long in silence.

I make no apologies for speaking up now. For talking about what happened to me, not in any great detail as I don’t have that myself.

I make no apologies for trying to raise awareness about the damage that emotional neglect does, how worthless being ignored and uncared for made me feel, and has made and does make others feel. How it grinds a person down day after day after day…

I make no apologies for doing what I can to help others to not minimise the effect these things have had on them. To stop telling themselves, like I did, that I was weak, an attention seeker, a whiner, a whinger, a liar when I was in need of help or support.

Someone made me believe that was what I was as children are not born believing that of themselves.

I make no apologies for writing about these things if it helps people understand that someone made them believe these things about themselves and they can unlearn them and replace them with more positive beliefs.

A thought just came to me then. As I teacher I focused on teaching students with additional learning needs. My first focus was to build their self-esteem and self-belief, always. I was shocked at how little so many of them thought of themselves and I found that incredibly sad.

I could see that in them and I could see how I helped them believe in themselves more, one tiny step at a time.

I can see now how I knew I too felt the same way about myself but believed myself too damaged to be healed or not worth thinking better of myself.

Now, with the help of EMDR, I am changing those beliefs about myself little by little.

That inner critic is mostly silent these days, I think. I still suspect it is still creating a very quiet susurrus deep in the depths of my conscious mind. However, it’s malignant murmuration becomes louder when I’m overly tired, emotionally drained, or my anxiety is increased by some trigger.

However, I have to say it’s power over me seems to have diminished.

That’s not to say I’m healed enough yet. I still have those negative beliefs about myself – ugly, unloveable, self-loathing of myself and my body – and of course there’s the inability to feel safe a lot of the time, sometimes even in my own home.

Of course there may be other things that arise during EMDR.

However I do think I have made a lot of progress over the years. Slow and steady for sure, but progress all the same.

Anyway, back to Nikita Gill.

I can recommend her work to those who are friends, partners, family members of those who have been abused to help to understand what someone is going through.

I can recommend her work to all, for her words are thought provoking in a gentle but descriptive manner.

I think I may be lending this book to my therapist…that’s how valuable I think it is.

Dangle Day Friday!

May Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019
May Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019

It’s Friday so it’s dangle day! Today I’ve chosen to share with you my May dangle design from my book ‘A Dangle A Day

I’ve used the line-art design and just recoloured it. Different colours give a different ‘feel’ to the dangle design!

The design itself is made up of simple, repeating motifs added in chains of charms. Simple, cute, charming, whimsical and pretty too, even if I say so myself.

This would be lovely as the monthly cover page in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, journal, diary.

A different sentiment could be used in the banner to make it a perfect greeting card or note card.

One of the dangles would look rather cute as a bookmark; it’s easy to lengthen the designs.

Yesterday

I took a little trip out on my own yesterday. It’s one of my goals as I progress along my healing journey from CPTSD to get out and about more. I chose to go somewhere familiar to me, the little town of Glastonbury in Somerset.

I was able to wander around shops, but when it came for lunch I totally balked at going into any cafe at all. Issues surrounding my body size rose up and I just couldn’t go into them.

So I went home.

The whole trip exhausted me. More of an emotional exhaustion though from being brave and keeping it together and interacting with people in shops.

When I got home I had something to eat, which then resulted in an upset stomach/digestive system.

I then went to bed and slept.

I’m still exhausted today.

But I did it. I went somewhere a bit further afield (a round trip of nearly 180 miles is a little further afield to me!) by myself.

I’m surprised at how much the trip has exhausted me given I went somewhere I know, that is familiar, and I used to feel quite comfortable there.

All the same, it’s highlighted some issues I have with how I view myself.

Don’t get my wrong, I am overweight, but my mind seems to think I’m the size of a small elephant and I won’t fit anywhere. I have no idea of my body size other than the size of clothes I wear, which tend to be larger than I need as I think I’m larger than I am.

Is this body dysmorphia? I don’t know.

So, when a cafe or shop is busy I tend to walk away fearing there’ll be nowhere I can fit into, as well as me being overwhelmed in crowds and crowded places.

The complex layers of how CPTSD affects my daily life and activities a lot of people take for granted. It also shows some more of the barriers I need to overcome in order to finally live the kind of life I’d like to, one that isn’t quite as limited by CPTSD as it has been through most of my life.

Experiments in foiling

Foiling experiments © Angela Porter 2019
Foiling experiments © Angela Porter 2019

Hot foiling

I’ve had some fun today with thermal foiling. I’ve been waiting for an Amazon Basics laminator to arrive, which was the one that seemed to be the most recommended out of simple laminators. I’ve had the foil for quite a while.

For thermal foiling, the images need to be printed with a laser printer. The laminator then heats up the laser toner which becomes sticky and the foil sticks to it as you run the layers through the laminator. A quick cool down, peel the foil away and the black lines are left with foil covering them!

I played around with adding the foil first then adding colour, and coloring first before foiling. I also tried out alcohol markers, coloured pencils and Tombow Dual Brush markers both before and after foiling. They all worked well either way, though the alcohol markers do colour the foil, so for alcohol markers it may be best to colour first.

I then had to try them out on images and I chose to use two of my cute kittie designs. I coloured them with Copic markers before foiling. The one of the left has been foiled with gold, the one on the right with silver.

I mounted the designs on 4″ x 4″ square kraft card card blanks. To be honest, I could’ve done with printing these out a bit bigger as the lines were very bitty as they were so thin. Something I have to keep in mind when printing out future work. I think I’m going to have to design them to the size they’ll be printed at to make sure the lines are as thick as I’d like them.

I’m not a photographer. No matter what advice I’m given and follow I still don’t manage to get a good image. The gold shows up well and there are hints of silver visible on the right hand one, but I think you’ll get the idea.

I’m rather pleased with them and the sparkly, shininess keeps my inner raven quite happy.

I also now have a new tool in my creative tool box, one that I will use fairly often I think.

Emotional and mental wellbeing…

For the first time in ages it seems I feel awake and not needing to go back to bed for a nap in the afternoon. The emotional exhaustion of the recent EMDR, therapy sessions and Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talks is beginning to wear off. Mind you, that may change tomorrow as I have EMDR then rather than today just for this week. All the same, it’s nice to feel content and quite creative.

I’ve started a little book that I’ve titled ‘When it’s dark, look for stars’. It’s an A6 (UK size) sketchbook, and inside I am going to use Distress inks and other media to colour the pages and then add all shiny, metallic hand lettering and images and patterns with quotes and helpful words of advice, reminders for me on my darker days that I am not what the inner critic wants me to believe I am. Of course, my cute, foiled kitty and raven with rainbow and stars is definitely going to make it into the book.

I’m open to suggestions of what I could add to my little book, be it quotes, or kind words, or ideas for self-care. I’d also like to know if you’d like to see glimpses of it from time to time.

New coloring template in the facebook group

A new month means a new coloring template is available for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This month, I’ve designed a mandala with some of the motifs I’ve been using in my more abstract works lately.

If you fancy printing and coloring a mandala designed by myself, pop over to the group, join and you’ll find the new template and quite a few others there available exclusively to members. Terms and conditions apply.

If you do join in, I’d love to see your finished coloration!

April Dangle Design

April Dangle Design by Angela Porter 2019
April Dangle Design by Angela Porter 2019

I had a lovely time this morning looking at Arts and Crafts Movement, Rennie Mackintosh and Art Nouveau designs. I’ve always love these styles of art with their organic lines and stylised motifs and it’s certainly influenced my style of art in some little way.

I got inspired as I looked at these styles and decided to use them as a start for my April BuJo page design, which you can see above.

The had lettering is a little heavy handed where the squares are concerned, but over all I’m fairly happy with it.

There’s definitely a touch of the Rennie Mackintosh’s there with the organic motifs and lines contrasted with the graphic squares and diamonds.

I chose warm and sunny yellows with light, fresh greens as they are so dominant in nature this early on in Spring.

A quick sketch on Rhodia Dot Grid paper followed by a scan and I inked it using some of my brushes in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Of course I wielded my Microsoft Surface Pen with some happiness on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio.

A simple but, I think, and elegant design. One which would look fab for any month in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, diary, journal or even in a scrapbook. Of course it would make a lovely greetings or note card too. I’m sure there are many more instances of where this design would work beautifully.

Want to know more about creating your own dangle designs? My tutorial book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is now published.

Thinking of you – a dangle design card

© Angela Porter 2019

This little card and envelope took me around 3 hours to make. I had to remember how to do various things and find my supplies to do them with!

My first task was to make the sentiment banner. I had the idea for this one after someone asked me for recommendations of good books for learning hand lettering as they’re not at all happy with their handwriting.

Hand lettering and handwriting are not the same thing. Hand lettering is something you unconsciously do. Hand lettering is the conscious and deliberate drawing of letters, one by one. Practice, like everything else you want to learn and become good enough at, is important. I suggested that they try printing the sentiments out on their computer or using words cut out of books or magazines or stickers or stamps and ink pads used by card makers until they’re comfortable with their own lettering style.

That led me to thinking that rather than writing the sentiment directly onto the paper that I’m going to draw the dangle design on, what about if I hand lettered it on paper again and again until I’m happy with it and then cut that version out. I could then layer it onto coloured card to make a border, or onto the paper or or or…

So, that’s what I wanted to use here. A variation on what I’ve done in previous cards. I cut two trips of mixed media paper, one around 1cm wide, the other around 0.7cm wide.

On the narrow strip I wrote my sentiment. I did this confidently as I knew if I got it wrong I could always write it again – I’d not ruin my dangle design in any way. I then trimmed the strip close to the start and end of the sentiment.

Next, I coloured the wider strip of paper with victorian velvet Distress Ink. I trimmed one piece so it was just a little longer than the sentiment. Then, I cut two rectangles from the coloured strip. I cut triangular notches into one end of each of the rectangles. I used the sponge applicator to make sure the edges of the coloured pieces, including inside the notches, and the sentiment strip coloured. By doing this, there’s a darker edge to the pieces and this defines them against the background. The final step in making the banner was to glue the pieces together as shown in the photo.

I cut two pieces of mixed media paper for the front of the card. The smaller one I made a little narrower than the sentiment banner; I wanted the ribbon to hang over the edge a little. I used a pencil to mark where I wanted the banner to sit on the card. I then used a pencil to mark out the centre of the card so I could position my dangle centrally.

Above where the ribbon would sit I wanted to place an arrangement of pot plants – succulents and a cacti. Below I wanted a fairly simple dangle, but one that had elements that appeared in the arrangement of pot plants. I drew these with a 05 Uniball Unipin Pen.

I then wanted to colour the two pieces of mixed media paper before I coloured the designs in.

For the larger one I used Peacock Feathers, Bundled Sage, Weathered Wood and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks to colour the whole of the paper panel. I edged this panel with Faded Denim Distress Ink. Then, I lightly sprayed the panel with water so that I’d get some faded watermarks as a texture in the colour.

For the upper panel, I used a very light hand to add the same Distress Inks to the paper, but in a much paler shade. I also edged this panel with the Faded Denim Distress Ink. I realised it hadn’t erased the pencil guidelines before I added the Distress Ink so when I went to erase them they wouldn’t fully erase. I’d forgotten that I had to do that! Still, it adds a bit to the distressed feel of the cards, that and the damage marks that were on the larger panel too.

To colour the dangle design I used Mitsubishi Uni coloured pencils. I used a fairly limited palette across the design.

The last two steps before assembling the card were add dots of gold ink and some shiny adhesive crystal gems.

To assemble the card I used glue to adhere the lower panel directly to the card. I then used foam squares to adhere the dangle design panel to the lower panel and the sentiment ribbon to the dangle design panel. This card has quite a bit of dimension to it.

My final job was to decorate the envelope. I decided to draw some pot plants and some of the daisies along the bottom. I added some butterflies to the left as the area above the pot plant seemed empty, unbalance. I haven’t coloured the envelope in as I’m in two minds whether to or not. Also, it would be nice to edge the envelope with the Faded Jeans Distress ink too, maybe even colouring the envelope with the same Distress Inks as the card. There’s also the back flap of the envelope that would benefit from a little potted succulent drawing I think.

Distress Inks are water-reactive, so if I do this, once the envelope is addressed a light application of Micro Glaze would seal the colour in so it wouldn’t be damaged in the mail.

I’m actually quite pleased with this card. It’s got me thinking about how to do more of this kind of stuff – card making the ‘Angela’ way!

If you give making cards like this a go, I’d love to see what you create! Happy art-ing, lettering and crafting!

Lots of ideas for dangle designs are shown in my book
‘A Dangle A Day’.

‘Amazing’ – Hand Lettering

© Angela Porter 2019

My morning warm up art session today was this little bit of hand lettering. I had a completely different idea in mind when I started this off but, as often happens, the creative energy flowed in a different direction.

I had wanted to do a monogram, perhaps with a dangle or maybe one set into a pattern border as a drop capital to a quote.

As I worked on first the pencil outline of the A, and then inking it in using fine and extra fine fountain pens filled with black ink, the lines that flowed out dictated the form of the letter rather than me consciously trying to force it into what I thought I wanted to create.

I think I’ve over patterned the inner space of the monogram, or not used the right kind of patterns there. However, it’ll do.

I wanted to use some birdwing copper FW Pearlescent ink from Daler-Rowney to add metallic highlights with a dip pen. I soon found out that dip pens and parchment paper that has been coloured with black ink don’t work well together. So, I ended up with the copper highlights at the bottom of the letters that fade up naturally. Adding dots of metallic colour to the monogram was easier on the unworked parchment. Over the black ink dots it wasn’t so easy. I’m also not sure that the ‘string of beads’ in the monogram actually works but I know it’s missing something. I need some time to reflect on this. As I do about adding any more copper highlights to it. I may yet decide to add some dangles to the word.

On the whole, I’m quite happy with how this turned out. I could add ‘You are’ in small letters above the letters. Either way, I think this would make a lovely notecard. I also think it could be used in a bujo, planner, journal, scrapbook or as framed art. I think I need to review the card making and mixed media techniques I once knew and have sidelined to focus on other aspects of art and adapt them to my current needs/ideas.