RSPB Newport – a mandala

Yesterday I took a short trip for a short visit to the RSPB reserve in Newport, Gwent.

With dark, leaden skies with golden sunshine pouring through gaps in the cloud cover the lighting was dramatic; it caused the winter colours to positively glow against the dark blue-grey of the sky.

This mandala is my response to those colours, along with some very stylised motifs from the things I saw – arching branches, dancing golden grasses, fungi and more.

I took photographs as I took a walk around part of the reserve. I also stopped to record my observations, my thoughts, in words in my journal.

I surprised myself…

It was all a bit of a spur of the moment decision to head to the wetlands reserve. I was still feeling headachy and emotionally drained after my Time to Change Wales talk to the police yesterday. I needed to do something to help shift this and to lift my mood and getting out and about is something I do struggle with, hugely. Anxiety about being around people kicks in and I can become almost paralysed with it. However, today I didn’t. Perhaps because the reserve is familiar to me; I have been there a few times before. However, I’ve never really taken much of a walk around it. That has always been a problem for me.

But not today. Today, I walked along some paths that were unfamiliar to me. I didn’t go all that far, though my walk took an hour. I did fear getting lost there, but I kept my eye on some fairly obvious landmarks such as wind turbines, the lighthouse at Nash and the huge powerstation. Being able to see these gave me some confidence that I knew what direction to head in to return to the visitors centre. If I strayed from where I could see at least one of them, I backtracked and took a different route.

Most of the people walking and visiting the reserve smiled and said hello, as did I, and that helped me feel at ease too. That, and the rhythm of walking, the sounds of nature – birdsong, rustling leaves in the breeze – and I took pleasure in moving my body, which is something that is new to me.

It’s also something I need to remember and try to get a walk into my schedule most days, somewhere where there’s nature but also where I feel safe to walk. In the wilds by myself is not a good idea, but somewhere like RSPB Newport, with it’s structured. signposted paths is a good idea. Or the beach…somewhere I’ve not been since July, yet it’s only a 40 minute drive away from me.

I forget all too easily how good it is for my mental health to take a walk where there’s nature, birdsong, and not too many people.

As I walked, I could feel the tension leach from me, down through my feet into the forgiving and loving earth. With each step and each breath I felt the anxiety ease little by little. The headache began to lift as well. By the time my walk was over I felt much better. There were still cobwebs left by the headache, but they were manageable.

When I returned to the visitors centre, I browsed in the shop and finally managed to find a raven pin badge! I also bought a small guide to trees. I also had a nice lunch and a very welcome mug of tea in the cafe there, where I continued to write and reflect in my journal until it was time to return home ahead of the rush hour traffic.

Back to art…

I love the stained glass feel of this design. I did try working with the colours in the style of my latest mandalas, but it just didn’t seem to work out for me. Perhaps I was trying to work a step, or several steps, too far for me to be comfortable with that change.

There’s also something about the black lines that gives a definite form to the mandala and this reminds me of how in winter I can can see the underlying form, the architecture that usually is hidden beneath leaves and flowers.

As is my way, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw and colour this mandala.

I used my photos of my visit to get the colour palette I used. And for me this is an unusual colour palette, but it reflects very much nature’s palette on the day and time that I visited.

There’s a bit more about my visit on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops.

Another cool-toned mandala

© Angela Porter 2019

I’ve spent another quiet, calm and contented few hours drawing this mandala. Admittedly some of the shapes look a bit weird around the edges. However, it’s all about me learning and embedding new skills when it comes to drawing digital art.

Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were my tools for this one.

Some of the areas have patterns in them that remind me of Celtic, La Tene art, or of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells. These are art forms I’ve loved for as long as I remember and I think there are times when those patterns bubble up to the surface of my mind and find their way out through the tip of my pen! It’s nice when that happens and it surprises me!

Another ‘A’ monogram…

©Angela Porter 2018

This is what I’ve spent the last 2 or 3 hours doing – I lose track of time when engrossed in an artsy project.

After the K monogram yesterday I wanted to try my hand at another letter and I just chose my own initial. I really do need to do some different letters though!

For this one I started by drawing the letter in colour using Copic markers on Daler-Rowney Bristol board. I did do a vague sketch of the letter with pencil very lightly which I then erased.

Black lines to define the letter were next, followed by the lines outside of the letter and the sectioning of the spaces inside the letter.

I wanted to finish some of the lines with some interesting shapes, so naturally I defaulted to hearts and beads!

I used some of my favourite geometric and abstract patterns to fill some of the spaces, along with dots and lines.

The penultimate step was to colour in some of the blank spaces, the hearts and beads using Copic markers.

Finally, I used a glass pen and metallic gold ink from Herbin.

I worked with traditional media to do this one, so I could use gold ink, which is something I’ve not quite worked out how to do digitally.

Having said that, my process for creating this monogram is the same whether I work with traditional media or digitally. The only difference is that some of my ‘overspills’ with the lines in the tiny patterns I have to leave here and accept as it being ‘perfectly imperfect. Also, the colours aren’t as bright and vibrant as they would be digitally, but they’ll do!

Yes, I could add a dangle or three to this design, but, again, I’m happy with how it is…for now! I’m just happy exploring hand lettering in a different way to what I’ve been doing.

If anything, this hand lettering is more about shapes and patterns than it is about letters themselves. I know this is a step forward for me in finding my hand lettering style (or one of my styles at least), and I also know that as I become more comfortable with it and don’t have to work quite so hard at it (working hard is thinking about the lines and working out how to add the embellishments so they feel part of the design and not just plonked there for the sake of plonking them there) I’ll work out how to add to them in a sympathetic way.

What letter will I do next? You’ll have to wait and see!

Doodleworlds design 12 November 2018

Angela Porter 12 November 2018

After the emotions surrounding Remembrance Day and all the heart-tugging posts on social media concerning issues around veterans and families and so on, I needed to create something that was a little fun.

I drew the design yesterday and I’ve spent the past 4 hours colouring it using my set of Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops.

Not digital art this time, just some fun doodleworlds style critters and monsters and objects, along with some geometric designs as well as my trademark arches and swirls and spirals.

I love how all my critters are different and yet close together getting along, even if some of them look a bit grumpy, fierce or angry. We all have emotions, a whole range of them from ecstatic, happy to sad, angry, miserable. It’s like a weird kind of family, friendship photo. Even the single kitty to the left of the tower is part of this group, even though it’s keeping its distance.

Sometimes I need that distance from people, even groups of people I care for. I get overwhelmed so easily. I then need some quiet alone time and space to rest, recoup and recharge. I enjoy time with people I care about; the trade off is feeling drained and tired and exhausted afterwards.

It’s the same with overly emotional days. When I need to rest, recoup and recharge sometimes drawing overly whimsical, cute, simple designs with cheesily cute critters and monsters helps to soothe what’s going on inside me.

I really need a bit of that before I head out for EMDR therapy later on today.

C is for … dangle design

Angela Porter C is for 10 Nov 2018

I don’t know what’s occurring with WordPress, but the colours of this particular dangle design aren’t quite so grey and dull. I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks that when I upload an image the colours change. Never used to do that…

Anyways, today’s dangle design was fun to draw and I chose to use a different color palette than is usually for me. It’s not more pastel, it’s more subdued perhaps. I actually quite like it, which has surprised me!

I do tend towards bright colour palettes, bright and vibrant. For me to choose a more subdued one is very unusual, but it’s something I think I may work with more now as I rather like this one.

Also, I’ve chosen just  7 colors that I’ve used tones/shades of – cool grey, cool violet, antique pink, a blue-green, a yellow-green, soft blue-grey and old gold tones.

Again, using just a few base colors rather than a whole host of different colours is not my usual way of working. What I’m beginning to realise about this is that it gives a much more cohesive look to the finished design. With the colours being more subtle, it also gives a much more grown-up even, dare I say it, more sophisticated look to what is a rather simple and whimsical kind of design. It particularly works well with the monogram ‘C’.

In fact, the cute kitty is really the only whimsical element of this design. The others are simple, yes, but not quite so cute and whimsical. However, I wouldn’t remove the kitty-cat as cats are the theme of this series of monogram dangle designs.

I’ve said it before that I really struggle with seeing my art as others see it. I often think my art, like this, is rather childish, simple, unsophisticated, naive with no real artistic value at all.

This is part of how I think of myself and it’s part of my CPTSD. I’m working on it. For me to recognise that I’ve done nice things, things I feel proud of is a step or two forwards. However, there’s that nasty inner critic that does its best to derail any positive thoughts I may have about myself or the things I do.

Anyways, onto the nitty gritty of how I created this dangle design.

The steps I took were:

  1. sketched out the design on dot grid paper
  2. scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
  3. used a technical pen ‘brush’ to ink in the design
  4. worked out the color palette I wanted to use
  5. coloured the design, in this case using gradient fills for speed
  6. added shadows to the design
  7. created a drop shadow
  8. created a coloured background
  9. added texture to both the design and background

I sketched the design out last night, and it took me between 2 and 3 hours to complete the steps above as this is a relatively small design.

If you’d like to learn how to create your own dangle designs, then my upcoming book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start. You can pre-order it so it’s arrives on it’s release date in January 2019.

Inktober 2018 Day 15 Weak

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 15 Weak

Another day in Inktober and another hand lettered and illustrated quote.

My hand lettering really does need work/practice!

I just had to include a rude little monster tucked away in the intricate pattern around the quote.

I drew this on dot grid paper using Faber Castell Broadline and Fineline pens. I then scanned it in, removed the dot grid and created a transparent background in GiMP. I then used Autodesk Sketchbook to add a colour background and my watermark.

The drawing took a couple of pleasurable hours to do; it is smaller than my previous ones,being a round 17cm x 17cm in size (the overspills make it awkward to measure!

The design reminds me of the work I used to do before I became so immersed in coloring book design. I know this creeps out from time to time, and when I get a chance to do it I really enjoy drawing this kind of detail.

One thing I’d do, perhaps, if I were to go back and do this again I would definitely pay more attention to the hand lettering and I’d add some shadows to the line art to add some more depth/dimension to the design.

 

 

Inktober 2018 Day 14 ‘Clock’ WIP and a letter to intellectual property thieves

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 14 Clock WIPIt took me a couple or three hours to draw this design using Faber Castell pens on paper. Then I scanned it in to the ‘puter, gave it a transparent background so I could colour it digitally. After several hours work this is as far as I’ve got!

I may get back to it later on or in a day or three…we’ll see!

The yeuchy coloured background is only temporary; trying to protect my work, don’tcha know.

A rant about intellectual property theft…

Yesterday I discovered that someone has stolen work from a published coloring book of mine (Entangled Dragonflies) and republished it as their own! Not only that, they’d also done the same with other authors from the Creative Haven series of books from Dover Publications Inc. I’ve reported it along to my editors.

So, you can understand why I’d want to try my best to protect my work. There are some very unscrupulous people out there with very low to no moral standards. They obviously only think of themselves not of others, such selfish people that they are. They should be ashamed of themselves, however I doubt they ever feel shame for anything they steal.

I don’t want to let them get to me, so I’ll still show bits and bobs of my work at a low resolution with watermarks to try to protect it, as well as coloured backgrounds if nothing else.

I do know, however, that some will stop at nothing to steal if it’s something they want to steal.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’m ‘talking’ to those who understand, that just because something is shared on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free for anyone to copy or use or re-sell in any form they wish. Just because I show you my work doesn’t mean I give up my rights to my work – I most definitely do not!

All my work is mine thanks to intellectual property rights and I will never relinquish those rights just because I show work here, on deviantART, on facebook, on Instagram, and on twitter.

I share my work because I get a lot of pleasure from creating it and I’d like to think people get some pleasure in seeing it.

Obviously, there’s a small number who only get pleasure from stealing other people’s work to profit from themselves. It’s no different to breaking into someone’s home and stealing their property – the thieves profit while the owners miss out.

If any such thieves do happen to read this, consider this. How would you feel if someone broke into your home and stole your treasured belongings for their own ends? Would you be upset? Would you see anything wrong in it?

I bet you would.

Whenever you are stealing from the internet for your own gain it is exactly the same as breaking into someone’s home and stealing from them.

I suspect you intellectual property thieves would only care about yourselves, however. I don’t think you thieves have any empathy for anyone else.

You’re not committing a victimless crime, you’re not stealing from big business, you’re stealing from the little people like myself and profiting from me, my talents, my skills, skills I’ve worked long and hard at to develop, and you just take advantage of that, of my good nature that I share things on the internet.

And worse, you steal from published books, that are covered by copyright law too, and republish them as if it’s your own work! This is illegal, it is breaking the law. You are stealing from myself and from other artists too.

You are horrible, horrible people – the intellectual property thieves that is, not you lovely people who support my work by buying my books and writing nice things and saying you like to see what I create.

I won’t let the small numbers of truly horrible people spoil it for other people that’s for sure. However, I want them to know a little of what I think of them – and I’m keeping it very, very polite. Trust me, I can swear worse than a pirate!

Back to Inktober…

So, to go back to Inktober Day 14 which has the prompt ‘clock’ And what I can say is that hopefully time is up for some of you unscrupulous, barefaced intellectual property thieves!

For the rest of the lovely world of people who support us artists/illustrators, how do you like to spend your time?