Entangled Monograms

Entangled Monograms © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Monograms © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

One of the things that is really nice about being between contracts is the opportunity to create art just for the fun of creating art and not having to stay within the limits of the contract. Not that drawing to fulfil contracts isn’t fun, it is. It’s just that I have to work within the remit of the contract.

Yesterday evening and this morning I’ve been having a contented time creating some entangled monograms. I’ve cut some Winsor and Newton Bristol Board down to approx 15cm x 15cm (approx 5.75″ x 5.75″).

I penciled in some guidelines for the edges of the artwork and for the position of the monogram.

First job was to hand letter the monogram. I did start with pencil guidelines for each letter, then used a hard Tombow Fudenosuke pen to ink them in.

Then, the real fun begins, which is the entangling of the space around the monogram. I used the Fudenosuke pen along with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Uniball Unipin 0.2 and 0.1 pens.

All done in plain black and white, with just the weight and concentration of lines adding depth and dimension to the finished design.

I do want to add colour to these at some point. I love pure black and white artwork, but colour can bring them to life as well. Digital colouring is my favourite way of adding colour these days, but I may print copies out on to marker friendly paper and then use Chameleon Duotones and Color Tops to add colour. I’ll see how I feel about that.

As is my wont, I had no preconceptions of how the entangling would unfold. I just let it flow. Some of my favourite motifs and patterns have been used. I did refer to my visual BuJo for ideas/inspiration from time to time too.

Visual BuJo

Yes, a visual BuJo (bullet journal). Or, rather, it’s a collection of motifs and patterns that are being organised using ideas from the Bullet Journal system of keeping a journal. It works for me. I have a way to help me find continuations of collections, or to start a new one, and not worry about a collection being on consecutive pages.

My visual BuJo is an A5 sized, dot grid notebook from Claire Fontaine. It’s a soft back one so isn’t quite as weighty as Leuchtturms and the like. It is also a little less bulky in size, which helps when I want to travel light on a day out.

Mind you, when fill this present visual BuJo I may use a Leuchtturm for my next one. We’ll see…

It is also something that encourages me to seek out new patterns and motifs to add to it, as if I didn’t have enough already! Doing this is a good way to just practice my drawing skills and observation skills, as well as analysing a motif or pattern, breaking it down into simple shapes and steps to draw a stylised version.

I do tend to favour more stylised motifs and patterns in my art, that’s for sure.

So, I now no longer feel the need to try new ideas out for keeping my reference material, constantly redrawing them again and again. The visual BuJo is working for me for sure.

When I’m having a tough time emotionally/mentally with my CPTSD and/or EMDR it can be soothing, comforting for me to use the familiar, and of course I can still do that. I just don’t need to spend a lot of time drawing and redrawing and redrawing again the same things in my search for a perfect record keeping system for patterns and motifs.

The BuJo inspired system may not be perfect, but it works for me.

One other positive that has come from me using a BuJo is that I’ve had to learn to let mistakes go and just leave them in the notebook. The mistakes are what I need to make in order to understand how to draw a pattern or motif. Sometimes, though, a new pattern or motif arises from the mistakes.

Something else I’m starting to do is to make notes alongside the patterns with where to start, the order in which to draw the parts of the pattern or motif, and ideas for varying it.

Entangled Landscape

Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

About the art.

Yesterday I took a quiet day at home, apart from a quick trip out to do a little shopping for vittles. I lost myself in drawing and this image is the result.

It took me around 10 hours to complete, using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 0.4 pen along with a couple of 0.1 and 0.2 Uniball Unipin pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

The drawing harks back in time where my love of Romanesque and Gothic arches and architecture showed in amongst entangled, rambling organic motifs.

However, I think the passage of time, increase in skill and/or refining of technique shows through. Perhaps even a bit more polish to the design.

Although drawn in black and white, I’ve added a background colour gradient and texture digitally (along with the rather over the top watermarks).

Talking of watermarks…

I had a response from Teespring.com concerning my copyright infringement complaint against ‘Dragonfly Lovers’ on facebook.

The agreed with me and have removed the offending listing.

I am most grateful for their speed and professionalism in dealing with this.

It may be a drop in the ocean, but if we all took care of just one drop at a time we’d definitely reduce the number of copyright infringements out there.

My mental and emotional wellbeing

It’s been over a week since my last EMDR session. In the UK we’ve had a bank holiday weekend, so no therapy this week.

Last weeks session was really draining emotionally. I expected it’s effects to linger long beyond Monday. However, although I was still a bit tired on Tuesday I’ve mostly been quite content with that gentle smile both on my lips and in my heart.

That doesn’t mean to say I’ve not had my moments, ‘cos I have.

However, the drama of stolen artwork didn’t affect me as much as it would’ve in the past. I did what I could about it. I spoke up rather than letting it slide. It also has given me a little bit of a mission as I go forward – to raise awareness of how to spot an ethical company that supports artists by properly licencing work and properly crediting the artists they work with. Compare this with an unethical company that doesn’t support artists, doesn’t even mention who the artists are, and is only in it to make money for themselves.

Copyright infringement is rife. The myth that things on the internet are copyright free and in the public domain has to be dispelled.

Back to the point. I’m doing ok in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Entangled garden

Entangled Garden ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Garden ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Drawn with a Tombow Fudenosuke (hard) pen on A4 11¾” x 8¼” Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

I worked on this one over three days, both to get used to working with the Fudenosuke pen but also for some self-soothing self-care.

It does need some colour and I think I may try a more vintage/distressed/grungy color palette with it, once I get round to adding color.

At the moment, my focus is on colouring the sample colored templates for my latest book for Dover Publications Creative Haven Series –Entangled Christmas.

I’m feeling more content today and less exhausted too, which is a good thing after this weeks rather intense EMDR session.

Entangled landscape

Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Landscape © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I’ve really not been myself the past few days. With a couple of busy days this week, the emotional fallout from EMDR on Tuesday finally caught up with me as I slowed down Thursday afternoon. I’m so tired, and my mood isn’t the brightest to say the least.

It’s always a sign that even when I’m tired I can usually draw and create, but not much this week. I haven’t been able to find the inspiration to draw, nor have I found the interest or energy.

Today, around a meeting, I managed to draw this.

It’s a throwback to the more familiar art of earlier days. It has given me a chance to use some new motifs, as well as some favourite ones that crop up often.

The process of drawing was soothing, and I did my very best not to be too judgemental, though I did want to throw it out and restart several times as I wasn’t at all happy with what was coming out of the nib of my fountain pens or Uniball Unipins.

I switched to the Uniballs as the fountain pen ink was smudging lightly. I’ve fixed that, mostly, by digital wizardry. I also added the Distress Ink background digitally.

I know my inspiration and energy to draw will return, I’m just not feeling at all myself at the moment.

I do have a new self-care activity, which is sitting in/on the bed, crocheting shawls and listening to audiobooks – currently working my way through the Harry Potter series.

The rhythmic nature of crocheting is soothing. The familiarity of the Harry Potter story is also soothing. Being upstairs makes me feel safe, secure and it’s also comforting.

The memory being worked on in EMDR certainly has stirred some stuff up. I’ve had some very upsetting insights into how I’ve viewed myself. Releasing the trauma associated with this particular memory will be accompanied by a better view of myself. I may not fully believe it, but if I can believe a little of it then that is good enough for now.

I have to believe that with each memory and its associated traumatic experiences that are processed via EMDR I’ll believe the healthier, more positive statements about myself more and more.

These are some quotes I’ve found recently that are helpful to me in understanding me, helping me through this.

Trauma creates changes you don’t chose. Healing is about creating change that you do choose.

What happened to you was not your fault. The struggles you have today, like your cPTSD symptoms, are a normal response to abnormal events. So, please be kind to yourself.

The poison leaves bit by bit, not all at once. Be patient. You are healing.

Whiling away the time…

Whiling Away the Time (c) Angela Porter 2019
Whiling Away the Time (c) Angela Porter 2019

Yesterday turned out to be a different day than I expected.

The anti-stigma talks I was booked in to do didn’t happen. No one knew about them. So, I drove to some services not far away for a wee, tea, something to nibble and time out to relax and draw.

Then, I wended my way to Neath for lunch in forty-six, a cafe in Queen Street that I love for it’s quirkiness. I finished the drawing over lunch, and the result is above. I used various Pitt Artists pens from Faber-Castell, grey Uniball Unipin pens, and some coloured pencils. I wanted to work in monochrome, but I also wanted to experiment with scanning a monochrome drawing in and adding colour to it digitally. I tried that last night, but my mood plummeted and well, I abandoned the idea for now.

EMDR therapy followed lunch and then a drive back home.

I thought the therapy was quite gentle this week, though there was lots and lots going on in my body. We haven’t quite finished processing the memory I’m working on at the moment. Maybe next week will see it finished. I felt tired and a bit spaced out when I left EMDR, but positive and hopeful on the way home.

However, when I got home, after preparing a vegetable stew and putting it on to cook, my emotions crashed in on me.

I was so disheartened with myself, my art, my life. I felt so sad, so tearful. I was so tired too. Emotionally tired, mentally tired.

I didn’t know why I was bothering to do art, to draw coloring books, to write words, to speak up about mental health and my journey to achieve some measure of healing from CPTSD. I felt so lonely, so alone. I didn’t believe my own story, that I was making everything up as an excuse for being overweight, for being a failure, for being useless at everything I do.

I’ve not felt this disheartened for many weeks, time. The suddenness surprised me. No warning. No gradual decline that I could pick up on and work towards halting it.

I ended up going to bed early to escape these thoughts and feelings.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit better but with a horrible, horrible headache behind my eyes. I feel the pressure to complete the book I’m working on before the end of this month, but I’m not sure I’m in the right place to continue with it.

I suspect EMDR has shaken some stuff loose… and I need to give it time and space to be processed and released. I’ll have to see how I go with drawing later on, when the headache tablets kick in, to see if I can do anything today.

I need to tell myself I have time to complete the requisite number of illustrations, plus a couple extra so choices can be made. That it may be better to take a day to find my balance again.

Entangled Art – Transition

Transition © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Transition © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yesterday I had some fun drawing some postcard sized pieces of Entangled art. Especially fun as I stumbled across a book I’d bought some years ago and had forgotten about. The book is “Zibu – The power of angelic symbology” by Debbie Zylstra Almstedt.

As it says, the book contains loads of symbols with different meanings and I think that’s what drew me to the book in the first place. It was nice to stumble upon it and it seemed to be a moment of synchronicity as I was thinking about what I could put on the postcards, so this was perfect!

Transition was the first symbol I turned to, particularly symbolic for me as I’m going through a transition via my CPTSD healing journey. And in the book, the author suggests aquamarine and green are colours that go with this particular symbol, so that’s the choice of my colour scheme.

I drew the design on an A6 sized piece of Bristol Board using Sheaffer and Pilot medium point pens. After scanning the design in I coloured it digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio.

I found both the drawing and colouring rather peaceful processes, the colouring made more so as I wanted to stick to the green and aquamarine colour scheme, though I did sneak in some greyish blue and greenish yellow.

It won’t be long before I head off to Neath for my weekly EMDR session. The day is gloriously sunny and is due to be rather warm for a late winter day. I’ve a window or two open to let the fresh but cool air into my home. This weather certainly does lift my spirits somewhat. I plan to go early so I can have a walk around before my appointment later this afternoon, as well as a leisurely lunch with some journaling and drawing too.

Entangled Quote

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I stumbled across this quote from Albert Einstein yesterday. It sums up how I feel about my art and how I create art. I work very intuitively, generally. I choose one place to start, with one motif and I just let everything else flow from that point. If I am thinking about what I’m doing, I’m not aware of those thoughts. In this way, drawing is, for me, a rather mindful activity where I can lose myself in the flow.

My art tends to go wrong if I over-think or try to over-plan it, as I’ve found out recently as I did the first sketches for the coloring book I’m working on.

For this drawing, I printed out the quote and borders on an A4 sheet of Bristol Board. I then used various sizes of Uniball Unipin pens to draw the designs in. If you’re interested, I started at the top left corner of the quote box and it is from this point that the rest of the design flowed out from, sort of.

I’m actually quite pleased with this one. I actually like use of thicker lines to delineate the individual motifs and to give a more structured, layered feel.

I also dug into my visual reference libraries to revisit patterns and motifs I’ve not used in a while, as well as using some of my most favourite ones.

I like the stark, graphic nature of the pure black and white, but I may very well add colour to this one in a way similar to yesterday’s quote. I haven’t finished colouring that one yet, but it is something I will return to later today, though I may not finish it today.

Entangled Quote

©Angela Porter 2019

I’ve worked on this design over the past three days. I wanted to do another version of this particular quote in my more characteristic pen and ink, intricate, entangled style of art.

I used various pens to draw this on recycled copy paper (I know, but it’s preserved for posterity as a digital file now). The quote and the boundary lines were printed out on a laser printer. I could have hand lettered it, but I wanted a typewritten look for the quote.

I did add colour and texture to the background using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio, but the drawing was all done traditionally with various black pens.

This is so characteristic of my work from quite a few years ago, before I worked on colouring books. I think last week’s stresses and strains – EMDR, Time to Talk Day – had me wanting to escape into the familiar, the comforting, the easy (for me at least) which is why I defaulted to this style of art.

I do have to push myself out of this very comfortable art zone to work on templates for my next coloring book, one which could have an added bit of stress for me concerning its theme. I’m determined to do it though!

It’s taken me until today to fully recover from all of last week’s emotionally tiring events, just in time for my weekly EMDR session! So, I plan to get some drawings done for the book this morning before I head to Neath in what looks like it’s going to be a sunny late winter day. I also really need to get a brisk walk in nature in today. My fragile state has had me remaining in the safety of my home or car. Today, I feel the need to move my body a bit more.

Monograms M and G

Yesterday was a day where I was out of sorts for some unspecified reason. Drawing little, intricate bits of art was the only thing that helped to soothe me and calm me. Along with comfort eating, which was not good way to cope.

I get days like this. I have no idea what triggered this response. It may have been a visit to my accountant on Tuesday and the tax bill to pay – I have absolutely nothing to worry about with either, but dealing with finances is a trigger for the anxiety and depression that are part of my cPTSD.

I know I was on edge about the meeting, even though I knew there would be nothing to worry about. The anxiety had been gradually growing through the previous few days. This anxiety provoked the warning signs of an incipient migraine/stress headache on Tuesday morning. Luckily I caught it in time with painkillers so that it didn’t develop into a full blown migraine and after the meeting I was left tired but feeling more at ease.

Yesterday, the anxiety ramped up again as I went to get the paperwork and bank card to make the payments. So, yesterday I needed to manage my anxiety and tiny, intricate drawings were what was needed.

Today, I know I have to do these things, and I will. I don’t have the anxiety I had about them yesterday. I think yesterday was just too close to a few days of spiralling anxiety as accounts day approached closer and closer.

cPTSD can make doing the simple things in life far more difficult to do. I do get things done, though I do have to be kind to myself at times, making sure I have plenty of time before the deadline.

I used fountain pens on white paper to draw the designs. The M is on paper that is around 4″ x 4″, the G is a little narrower than 4″ for some reason.

After scanning them in, I did a bit of digital wizardry to fill the letters with a gold foil texture, just to see what it would look like, and they look OK to me. I’m not too keen on the black line around the G though. I do like the contrast of the golden letters and the black and white designs around them.

Today, I have to colour the cover for my next book for Dover Publications Creative Haven series. And keep warm and safe. I woke up to a lovely sunrise with a frosty world – everything was covered with white. I know the temperature was down to -3ºC last night as I came home around 10:30 pm, and it would only have got colder as the skies were clear and starry. It’s beginning to go now, but clouds have covered the sky.

The frost is beginning to disappear now, but clouds have covered the blue skies. Snow is forecast for a bit later on today. I like to see snow. I like the way the world falls silent in heavy snow as it seems to muffle the usual background noise of modern times. I’m wise enough to know that for me to go out in snow is never a wise idea; I tend to slip and slide and fall and hurt myself. So, as I have nothing pressing that requires me to leave home, I’ll be staying safe and warm indoors! Once the cover is coloured, my attention will go to February’s templates for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans Facebook group. Someone there has asked for some simpler templates like my dangle designs, so I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

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.