‘I can do this’ WIP and a few words about my mental/emotional health.

'I can do this' WIP 15 May 2019 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
‘I can do this’ WIP 15 May 2019 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

EMDR therapy yesterday, and the aftermath.

This morning all I want to do is stay in bed. I’ve had to get up though; I’m looking after a stand for Time to Change Wales at the Engineering Department in Swansea University later today. All part of World Mental Health Awareness Week, you know.

I’m absolutely shattered. Drained. Emotionally whacked out. Emotionally fragile. So tired. So very, very tired.

I want to curl up in bed and either draw or read or crochet or just watch faff on YouTube or sleep.

However, I won’t let anyone down and I will wend my way to Swansea to take care of the stand for a while today.

Yesterday’s EMDR session focused on the content of my blog post yesterday about my own body image and how I think and feel about myself. I had a particularly distressing time of it, so much so my therapist said ‘enough for today, I’m bringing this session to an end’ when we’d barely started the EMDR part of it.

The lump in my throat that was stopping me breathing, talking was painful, as was the literal pain in my heart. I get a lot of somatic responses during EMDR. Often quite painful, but bearable in order to release the stored trauma.

Yesterday, though, the pain was almost unbearable, probably unbearable.

Leaving the session, though, after some work on grounding and spending time in my safe place I felt ok.

When I got home though, I just wanted to curl up in bed as I was exhausted. And that exhaustion intensified through the evening.

Along with that I got a seriously upset stomach, which can happen after EMDR where I quite literally am expelling the faeces of my life after expelling some of the emotional and mental trauma during EMDR.

I had a really poor nights sleep even though I was shattered.

My tummy/digestive system is still tender and unsettled this morning.

All this occurred as a result of one memory I have as a toddler.

So, I’m fair reeling from it all and so sad about so much. So, so much.

I know this is all part of the process to release and heal the traumas I’ve had that have led to CPTSD. I know it won’t last for ever now and these feelings will pass in the hours and days that follow.

I know a day of self-soothing, self-care would be ideal, but I have a commitment to Time to Change Wales today and I don’t break commitments lightly. Indeed, it may do me some good as it looks like a sunny day and out and about in the sunshine does help my mood for sure.

‘I Can Do This’ WIP

I started this one late last night when I was tired but couldn’t settle down at all. I did a bit more when I woke this morning.

I hand lettered (not very well) the words ‘I can do this’ to remind myself that I can do this work in EMDR, that I can release trauma and face things that I’ve avoided much of my life, or not told hardly anyone about how I feel about myself, my body, always trying to put a brave face on things.

It’s tiring to wear that brave face and I’m not sure I can today, I’m already way too exhausted. Time to let the mask down again perhaps.

Anyways, the WIP has the hand lettering on it as a message to me that I am capable of doing the work in EMDR, but also as a message to any one of you who may read my words that each and every one of you is also capable of doing what you need to do to find mental and emotional well-being, a well-being that is at least good enough.

I’m drawing this on A4 (approx US letter size) bristol board using a mixture of Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei and Uniball Unipin pens. Unusually for myself I’m actually pencilling in the basic outlines of shapes! How strange…

However, that pencilling in the scaffolding for my drawing may be symbolic that I also need some scaffolding and support in terms of my mental and emotional well-being at this time.

I have no idea how this will turn out yet – both the art and the EMDR – but I will persevere as and when I have the energy and time to do so. I don’t know if I’ll pack it up to take with me to the event today or whether I’ll take my crochet. Either drawing or crochet does help soothe me.

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!

May – entangled hand lettering

May ©Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
May ©Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

BuJo Cover for May

This morning, I’ve spent a pleasant four hours or so drawing this A5 design for the month of May.

It combines some hand lettering along with my signature style of entangled art. I’ve included plenty of floral motifs as here in the Northern Hemisphere the world is filled with flowers, especially on the trees.

Of course I’ve included more abstract motifs that are inspired by seedpods and patterns found in nature and architecture and so on.

I drew the design on white Bristol Board by Winsor and Newton. My pens of choice today were Tombow Fudenosuke, Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and 0.1 Unball Unipin. Also, I’ve used some digital wizardry to add coloured paper as the background, along with my watermarks.

This would be lovely in a BuJo I think. I think it would be lovely in a planner, a journal or diary.

It’s perfect for colouring, as long as you’d be happy to colour across sections that have fine lines in them.

I think if I was more confident with metallic inks and either dip nib pens or fine brushes I’d’ve liked to do the lettering in metallic gold or copper. Of course, I could’ve done the lettering, scanned, laser printed it and then added the patterns around the lettering. I didn’t think of that until now though! Duh!

I’m fairly happy with adding ‘auras’ around the lettering to separate it from the entangled design around/below it.

I’m not sure I’m happy with the design spilling out over the edge as it has done; it doesn’t feel balanced to me, but other than that I’m quite happy with the design. Of course I could edit the image to even up the edges, but it is what it is for now.

Post EMDR

EMDR was quite gentle yesterday but lots of body work occurring. During EMDR stored trauma is released through pains and other sensations in the body. Yesterday I had eyes that hurt, part of my head, my throat, my thumbs and wrists. I had a lot of pain where I broke my leg when I was six. Lots of prickling as well as electric shocks in various parts of my body.

I actually felt quite upbeat, if a little tired, when I left the session. But by late evening I was really tired and feeling a bit teary and lonely.

I’m tired today. I didn’t sleep too well last night. I had hoped to go out for the day today, but I really wanted to stay home and draw and I think I’ll be back in bed before too much longer. I really am tired.

One thing that I was asked about, without me mentioning it first, was what I was going to do about getting out and about a bit more! I’m sure my therapist must read my blog. Just joking, I know she doesn’t!

I need to make a list of places I’d like to visit. Familiar places to revisit to ease me back into getting out and about by myself. Then ones not so familiar that could involve some time away from home too.

I will be going out later this week. I have something to do this evening and tomorrow, however. Another reason I am having a quiet day today. I’m not just tired; I know that I’m also emotionally fragile still.

I am determined to heal as much as I can from the CPTSD and to do the things I’d like to do that the inner critic sabotages way too often.

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.

Monogram R

©Angela Porter 2018

I started work on these early this morning – around 7am. And I’ve finished for now – it’s around 9am. I’ll return to them later today or tomorrow as I have a lil trip out for lunch with a friend.

Some different kinds of styles appearing in this little bunch!

The big R at the top is mostly done – it just needs some colour I think. It’s also similar in style to the previous monograms, starting with the yellow K did a couple of days ago. It’s been drawn with 08 Unipin and 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens. Green metallic embellishments have been added with a metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

The R at the bottom, with the thick lines, was drawn using a Tombow Fude brush pen. Not easy to control the thickness of lines, so I used a Uniball Unipin pen to tidy up the lines and add the bits on the end. Not sure how I’m going to progress with this one.

The two in the middle row have been drawn with the Unipin and Sensei pens.

The R to the right was drawn with a Uniball Unipin brush pen, which is a bit easier to control the line thickness than the Tombow Fude pen. I did neaten up the lines and ad more using the Unipin and Sensei pens.

The bigger the letter, the more space for embellishments – the paper size is A4 (approx 8″ x 10.5″) in size and it’s white and very smooth Daler-Rowney Bristol Board. The smoothness of the paper makes it so easy to draw smooth, even lines on it. It won’t take water colours or watercolour washes, but markers and coloured pencils work fine on it. Tombow Dual Brush pens and similar tend to cause the paper to pill. Of course, I can always use a scanned image to colour them digitally.

Yes, I could also add dangles to each monogram. However the purpose of this exercise is to practice my hand lettering, particularly in this rather ornate and embellished style. Dangles can be added in the future.

I cover drawing monogram dangle designs in my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, which is due to be published in just over a week! Exciting!

Some L monograms

©Angela Porter 2018

Three variations on a theme! All hand lettered and hand drawn on Daler-Rowney Bristol board (A4 in size).

For each I used black 08 Uniball Unipin and 04 Sakura Pigma Sensei pens. Here’s the other media I used for each monogram:

  • Top – Copic markers, Herbin Copper ink with a glass pen.
  • Bottom left – Copic Markers for the base colour, Chameleon color tone pencils for added depth of colour, gold metallic Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
  • Bottom right – Chameleon color tone pencils for the colour and a silver Uniball Signo pen for the metallic highlights.

It’s taken me around 5 hours or so to complete the set of three. I’m still feeling my way with this style of hand lettering.

For the monograms coloured with Copic markers I started by drawing the letter with the Copic markers and then added the black line work before adding the metallic highlights and Chameleon pencil shadows. I love having a solid shape to embellish with line, pattern and metallics. However, white space is only possible by adding lines outside of the main shape. Which is fine. I could add white space inside the letters either by leaving some in the design before coloring, or using white ink to cover up the copic colours. These two letters look a lot more solid and heavy.

For the L coloured with the Chameleon pencils I drew the black line work first. The advantage of this is that I can leave white space within the letter. this gives a bit of a lighter, airier feel to the letter, which is helped with the less dense colour of the Chameleon coloured pencils.

I’m not sure if I like the metallic petals in the top monogram; the ink spilled over the black lines and I tried to add them back in to define the petals but it just seemed to sink beneath the metallic pigments.

Also, the glass pen with copper ink that I used to add the metallic highlights to the top monogram was a lot finer than the Sakura gelly roll so it was easy for me to add tiny patterns and shapes. The Uniball Signo silver pen gave a much finer line than the Sakura Gelly Roll so it was easier to add highlights to the bottom left monogram, but I knew I’d not be able to get as much fine details or patterning with it as with the glass pen.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the finished results. I’ve learned that I’d like to leave white space in my monograms when I’m hand lettering them in this way. Maybe if I want to use Copics in future I should use a pale colour to draw the shape of the letter and then use darker tones to add dimension and depth to the design, allowing the lighter colour to act a bit more like white space. Of course, I can always draw the design with black lines first and then add the colour. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

I’m not sure which is my favourite. I rather like the one on the bottom right. As it’s smaller in size I’ve not quite managed to go over the top with the embellishment. I like the white space within the letter. I also like the more subtle colours I’ve used.

I think I’ll take my attention to a different letter now, another I’ve not done a monogram for before, well not outside of my soon to be released book ‘A Dangle A Day‘. Of course, the monograms in the book are all dangle designs too. It would be easy enough to add dangles to these designs for sure, well it would be if I’d left enough space for them!

However, my reason for doing these monograms is to add to my repertoire of hand lettering styles. These may not be entirely unique in the realms of hand lettering, but I do want to work with them and find my own way through this to something that people can look at and say ‘that’s Angela Porter’s work that is’ in the same way they do when they’re familiar with my coloring books and my style of drawing there.

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!