I really needed to do something creative today to sooth my mind, emotions and soul.
I tried digital art and I just couldn’t settle to it, so I thought a spot of traditional pen and paper drawing in an entangled or zentangle style might just fit the bill.
So, I cut some Claire Fontaine mixed media paper into 4″ x 4″ ’tiles’ and used some Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw the lineart.
I worked intuitively, not really thinking about what I was doing, just trying to lose myself in the flow so I could find my inner contentment and some peace.
I did scan my drawing in and digitally added a background and shading to the drawing, which really helps to lift it and bring it to life. If you’d like to see the black and white version, then pay a visit to my Instagram account – @angela_porter_illustrator.
Instagram is really irking me at the moment. I can no longer upload images or videos from my PC, only from my phone. I really loathe using the silly little keyboard on a phone to add the blurb that needs to go with the image. I may either reduce my posting to Instagram, or give up on Instagram completely.
Anyway, drawing in this style is something I’ve done for a long time. The familiarity of the process, patterns and motifs is a comfort to my troubled emotions and mind. It has helped to settle me down somewhat, though I’m still exhausted after a poor night’s sleep.
Yesterday evening, I took a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens to a 6″ x 6″ piece of Strathmore vellum surface Bristol Board. I ended up with a black and white entangled drawing. This morning, I scanned the image in and added a kraft paper background and then some subtle shading and highlights in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
After Inktober and my focus on digital art, it was nice to draw traditionally for a change. My mood and energy levels were such that I needed to slip back into the familiar, comforting entangled style of art to soothe my emotions once again.
This drawing worked out OK. However, I don’t feel it flows at all well, though that does reflect yesterday’s mood and mindset.
The part I really like is the rectangle towards the bottom left. I’m also fond of the arcs to the right. Actually, I like all the design elements, I’m just not happy with how they’ve been lumped together. Maybe I’m just being overly self-critical here.
It’s a sunny Sunday morning in the Valleys of South Wales. I think it’s going to be a quietly artsy day, with a trip out for some essential groceries in a short while I think.
This morning has been getting the day 15 of Inktober 2019 drawings done, but also catching up on those I didn’t get done yesterday.
I’ve gone, yet again, for a sketchbook style montage; focusing on line and pattern is something I enjoy. I’ve even managed to create a stylised motif from the cap of Lactarius resimus.
As before, I drew the mushrooms and tangle patterns on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen. After I’d scanned the page, I increased the contrast to remove the dot grid.
I drew and coloured the cat skull digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I just copied my illustration and made it greyscale for the smaller drawing. I thought purple would be a fun way to colour the skull in; cats are my favourite animal and purple is my favourite colour.
I’ve also included a little more hand lettering on this page than in the past. I know my hand lettering needs regular practice, and I do tend to neglect it. I’m using Inktober 2019 prompts from three Instagrammers:
Animal skulls from @book_polygamist
Mushrooms from @nyan_sun
Tangle patterns from @havepen_willdraw
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
Today I’m feeling tired and have a rather tender digestive system. I had a really upset stomach yesterday afternoon and through the night, which disturbed my sleep.
Yesterday I was really upbeat, ebullient even. However, that drifted away as I drove home, my head full of the thoughts that I’ll soon be finishing therapy. Today, I feel content, a bit weepy, but the dull grey, dampness of the weather is having its effect. I really do need to get one of the SAD therapy lamps to help me on gloomy days.
I had therapy yesterday, but no EMDR. Instead, I talked about my trip to Llandudno last week and how proud I was of myself for walking in a strange town and going out for a meal by myself.
I also needed to talk about the flash of anger that rose up in me when I saw my narcissistic mother at a family thing on Friday. My therapist was pleased when I told her I felt anger; that is a perfectly healthy response to someone who has abused and neglected you. That I didn’t express that anger in a negative manner, such as screaming, shouting, abusiveness, was also a healthy thing to do.
My therapist was also pleased that I was self-aware enough to recognise this. We had a conversation about how far I had come since I started seeing her over six years ago.
Then, I talked about how I thought it would soon be time for me to end therapy, for now. I got all emotional and tearful about that. I still am as I type it.
I’m working on one trauma in EMDR at the moment, so I’d like to finish that. Also, a couple more have come to mind that need processing. Still, it won’t be long until I leave therapy.
First, I need to complete processing the trauma I’ve been working on, and there are another two that I need to process. But shortly I will be leaving therapy feeling I am good enough for now.
I need to continue with the positive steps made in being out and about by myself with some confidence and not much in the way of fear/anxiety, particularly when I am at home. I am, however, going to plan a short trip away over one or two nights in November, most probably to West Wales. I first need to finish my contracts and commissions.
I need to remember that I can always return to Linda should I have problems in the future. I don’t know what my life is going to bring me and what interactions with people there will be that may bring up a trauma response. Linda will always be there for me to go back to help process the traumas.
Yesterday was a quiet yet busy arty day. I worked on some projects, but by the evening, I had a hankering for ‘comfort art’ to soothe my fragile emotions. I’d seen a similar list on facebook and thought it would be nice to do one of my own. Naturally, I just had to add some embellishment in the form of my style of drawing. The drawing then needed some colour. So, I started to add colour.
After typing out the list using Affinity Publisher and printing it out, I used a 08 Uniball Unipin pen to add the drawing. Next, I scanned the design in and then started to add colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using my trusty Surface Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.
My lines are a little less than perfect in the drawing. I’ve noticed a few tiny smudges and some places where the lines have overrun each other a little. I’ve left them as they are, this time.
I thought it might be a good idea to make the colouring a little less than perfect too; so I added a background texture.
About my art and my emotional state.
I seem to have started a lot of projects and not finished them of late. I’m not quite sure why that is. I know I’ve had a really tough time of it emotionally speaking over the last couple of weeks. I think that has a lot to do with it.
I have managed to settle down to get work done for a commission. The main artwork is now done, it’s just doing all the other stuff to go with it. Today isn’t the best day simply because I’ll soon have to sort myself out to go off to EMDR therapy; that’s likely to be emotionally distressing as there’s been a confluence of events in my life that have all triggered emotional reactions. I’ve also not had that much time to let the emotional waves calm. There have also been changes that need to become familiar too.
Today is the first time in a few days I’ve felt anything like settled. Yet I’m not settled fully. I keep having waves of fear followed by tears rising up for no apparent reason.
I think I know what the fear is about. The way I think and feel about a part of my life is changing. It had started to change before the experience, but now it’s really settling in. A yearning in me to ‘belong’, to have that sense of companionship, has been awakened once again. I’ve been given a taster session of what it’s like. So, I’m grieving the lack of that in my life, and fearful I won’t find it going forward. Kindred spirits are few and far between.
This is all part of the journey towards releasing trauma and healing from cPTSD. It’s also about replacing old, unhealthy outlooks with more positive and healthier ones. Grief is involved; even if the old beliefs are harmful, they have been a part of my life, and it’s still a loss. But go they must so something healthier can replace them.
Change is never easy, but it is necessary; for growth, for healing, for a better life.
Yesterday, I had an interesting day. I did manage to get these two illustrations done in between listening to a friend in need and taking care of a very upset tummy along with quite painful cramps.
I used 5″ x 7″ pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol board along with some Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs. This time, I didn’t add any grey shading. I will scan then print if I decide to colour them with traditional media.
The drawings turned out well, I think. I chose the size of paper for a reason, which I’m not about to divulge! It’s just an idea rattling around my noggin.
It’s Monday, so that means it’s EMDR therapy day.
I know on a Monday that my day can be broken up with a 3 hour or so trip to Neath and back for EMDR.
Today, I’m feeling more like I did last Monday before I received some post that threw me a curveball. I am tired as rather painful tummy cramps woke me from time to time through the night. I’m still getting them now, but a couple of Anadin Extra has taken the edge off them. I must leave early enough to pick up some more painkillers on my way to therapy.
I’ve had some flashbacks this week to events I thought I’d put to bed via EMDR. It seems that these events have several facets to them. Each of these facets relates to a negative belief I hold about myself, so each will need to be processed separately.
I’ve been trying to keep a record of the insights I gain from these flashbacks, and also any other negative beliefs that crop up from them. However, they often happen when I don’t have my BuJo to hand, and by the time I do, they’ve evaporated from my mind.
Hmm. Not really evaporated, the flashbacks have just been automatically shut away in their box once again.
I’ve learned not to try to second-guess what is going to happen in therapy each week. Whatever I have thought may happen rarely if ever happens. So I try to go with an open mind unless something has cropped up in the week that needs discussing.
The line art for this particular entangled drawing is now done and I’ve started to add colour and texture.
The magic of colour is to bring the design to life, to really accentuate the layers by adding depth and dimension. It’s also very much a personal expression of the colours I like and how I like to put them together.
I finished drawing the design with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol board earlier this morning. After scanning the drawing into the ‘puter, I edited the image and cleaned up smudges before starting to add colour. My tools for this are my usual trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I feel a little inspired to start another drawing in this particular series of inspirational words along with entangled art. As well as leaving some white space. I can now see the value of white space in my art. It helps to define various areas of the design. I also like the way the design seems to float above the background too – another bit of magic.
I still like to create areas of dense pattern, but I’m seeing the value of balancing them with either white space or areas of simpler pattern.
I know that the use of colour will help to separate out the different motifs and patterns within those denser areas.
And how are you feeling today, Angela?
I’m actually not too bad today, so far at least. I’m feeling calm, a tad tired, quiet but quite content. I’m actually quite happy with my artwork and not doubting myself with this particular design as I was yesterday. That’s an improvement on the past few days for sure.
I seem to be rising up from the trough of the tsunami that resulted from some emotional triggers that has overwhelmed me during the past two weeks or so (or maybe even my whole life – though that could be a very complex image of many, many tsunami, storm waves, freak waves that have resulted in CPTSD … but lets keep it simple for now!).
No need to rush climbing that wave though; give it time for some of the energy it carries to dissipate so it shrinks in size and the journey up will be a little easier and a lot more stable I think.
So, being gentle to myself is what I’m trying to say with that rather muddled metaphor.
Gentle means self care, accepting that where I am now is good enough, and not to put so much pressure on myself to do things that I’d like to do but perhaps am not quite capable of at the moment due to my proximity to the trough of the ebbing tsunami.
Today I think that means art, working on a lovely shawl I’ve been crocheting (which is in ombre shades of pink from a delicate pink to a deep cerise) and I’m awaiting the delivery of some bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones which will be great for guided meditations, music and audiobooks – both at home and away from home.
I’ve been working on this one over the past couple of days, when I’ve felt up to it.
I’m fairly pleased with it, though I’m not sure I should’ve added the upside down mushrooms. I guess if they really don’t work with fresh eyes then I can always remove them using some digital wizardry.
I wanted to use the words ‘The magic of colour’ as a nod towards my coloring books and the people who bring my drawings to life by adding colour; they really do work some magic!
As lovely as the black and white line drawings are, even with shadows added, it is colour that really brings them to life for sure.
But there’s another kind of magic that goes on when people lose themselves in coloring or creating, and that’s the magic of relaxing and giving the brain a break from thinking.
I get that when I draw or colour.
My challenge to myself in this one is again to leave some white space.
The drawing and hand lettering has been done with Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board (A4 in size, roughly US letter size).
There’s more to be done with this drawing yet; I particularly want to incorporate some of the patterns and textures I’ve observed and recorded during my visits to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and Kilpeck Church near Hereford.
How am I feeling today?
I’m flat. Tired. Lacking oompf. Part of me is content enough but part of me is sad. It’s weird, but that’s how it feels.
I’m still experiencing the ripples/waves from the tsunamis of therapy and the person trying to tell me I don’t need therapy last Sunday. I really don’t want to leave my home today.
If that’s what I need to do to look after myself, then I need to accept it’s ok to stay at home.
I am tired as well as I had an evening out with some friends – a pub meal and chitter chatter until nearly midnight. Even though it was with a small group of people and it was a nice evening I’m absolutely drained today.
So, to take care of my emotions and mental health I need that quiet time again. I may play my flute, crochet, draw, read. I may also nap later on as I’m so tired. I’ll see. Napping may make me be up until the wee small hours.
So that’s how I am this day. A weird mixture of contentedness and sadness. This healing journey from CPTSD is full of weird twists and turns, ups and downs, but on the whole it’s definitely moving forwards and upwards. EMDR is really my panacea for CPTSD.
I have, finally, finished this particular drawing. I managed to keep to my challenge of leaving some white space in the design. I did let the design spill over the pencil guidelines I’d drawn for the size of artwork. I then digitally trimmed it within those lines before applying the black and white borders. I do like to define the space within which my drawings and designs reside, that’s for sure. It’s like a window into my imagination, my mind, my intuitive creativity, how all the little things I have observed and imagine just blend and meld into a crazily layered, intricately pattern and yet flowing design that is always quite pretty.
You can’t have too much pretty patterns in this world I think.
I think it’s too detailed and fussy as a coloring template, though I may add some colour to it at some point in time. Before I think about doing that, though, I have an idea for another drawing with some hand lettering on it.
The drawing is a little less than A4 in size (US letter). It has been drawn with Tombow Fudenosuke and Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.
My mental and emotional health
Monday I spent mostly in tears after the busy week and the emotional upsets of Sunday. In therapy we just talked about what happened and how I was feeling and thinking about myself and that I need to be a lot kinder to and caring of myself. It was also suggested I need to be a lot more accepting of where I am on my healing journey and not beat myself up for not being able to get out and about much by myself, even when I may want to.
I came home and slept until 2am, then went back to sleep a couple of hours later and slept through until mid morning yesterday, which was then followed by a very quiet day at home crocheting and drawing before yet another nap in the afternoon.
I slept for many hours last night too, and I’m still feeling exhausted. With exhaustion I am emotionally fragile and vulnerable too.
So, much of today will be spent quietly. I do have to head up to Hereford this evening, however. I’m debating whether to go a little early so I can spend a little time at Kilpeck church – my favourite church in the whole wide world. A tiny two celled Romanesque church, almost untouched by time. I’ll see how I feel as the day progresses and whether I manage to find a little oompf. After all, the church has been there for nearly one thousand years, I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere soon!
It’s been a funny kind of day today. I’ve been quietly busy with art, as well as tidying up my home and dyson-ing and so on. My sister and niece are visiting soon for a ‘chip night’, which essentially involves them picking up some chips from a local fish and chip shop, coming to mine to eat and chat and catch up on life for a couple of hours.
In between I’ve managed to draw this little design, and it is little being approx 15cm x15cm (approx 6″ x 6″). Drawn using Unipin and Tombow Fudenosuke pens on bristol board. I then added the shading digitally. I may go on to add some colour at a later time.