Practice makes progress – a Dangle Design

Angela Porter Dangle Design 23 March 2018

I’ve just completed this dangle design, which features a very appropriate message.

Learning to recognise when something is good enough has been a hard lesson for me, but bit by bit I’m getting there.  The ‘practice makes perfect’ adage puts a lot of pressure on a person, so I much prefer the use of the word ‘progress’ instead of perfect.

No one has ever picked up a pen or pencil or other tool for the first time ever and created a perfectly wonderful piece of art. It takes time, patience, and, above all else, practice.

Mistakes are made along the way, or I prefer to call them ‘happy accidents’ or ‘creative opportunities’.  They allow me to reflect on what I have done, to learn, and to improve or extend myself as a result.  Sometimes, the happy accidents teach me something I never would’ve come up with, a surprisingly pleasing result which becomes part of my artistic vocabulary. Sometimes, they result in me changing what the artwork was meant to be into what it needs to be.

To be flexible and not too invested in a definite artistic outcome, is another lesson that imperfections, happy accidents, or creative opportunities have taught me. Learning to go with the flow and work with what happens instead of fighting it and trying to force it into what I wanted it to be, which often then results in a horrible mess of a work.

I’m happy with this ‘dangle’.  If I drew it again, there are bits I’d change. If I were to colour it again, there’s bits I’d change. However, it’ll do as it is.

I sketched the design on dot grid paper, scanned it and then drew it digitally using my Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface.

Next, I printed it out on watercolour paper and used some Tombow Dual Brush Pens to colour it.  I didn’t use many colours at all; the blender brush helped me to achieve colour gradients.

I did use some Copic Multiliner SP pens to add some more details to the printed image and coloured image; I regret the stippling on the centre pot, but it’ll do. I’ll remember next time to use the little lines for added shading!

My book, A Dangle A Day, due out in September 2018 and available for pre-order now, will show you how, step by step, you can create similar dangle designs.

Repeating patterns, my first experiment

Pattern 18 coloured v01 watermarked

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about and looking at how to make repeating patterns.

I’ve tried the old fashioned way of working on paper and cutting the paper and so on, and not found the results at all satisfactory.

I’ve had a bit of a go in Adobe Illustrator, but I find Illustrator so confusing and frustrating to use.  There seems to be a total disconnect between my brain and the software architecture of Illustrator, and other similar pieces of software.

A day or two ago I found a little app in the Microsoft Store called Amaziograph that lets me create repeating patterns in sheet form, which is great if I want a sheet of black and white repeating, entangled line art, but not what I want if I want a coloured repeating pattern.  Oh, the app is a lot of fun to mess around with for sure and no doubt I will use it to generate patterns.

Looking around at software today, a lot of it either works in Illustrator or is prohibitively expensive given that I just want to have a play, see what I can come up with and see if it’s something that I’d like to spend more time with.  Where they offer free trials, I know they’re not going to be a long enough trial for me to get to grips with Illustrator and the software/plugins, so I’d not be able to make my mind up.

So, on a wander around the corners of Google, I found a lovely little program called Repper. It had an online trial version that I could play with quite happily, and I decided to purchase it afterwards.

In Repper, you open your own artwork and use parts of it to create repeating patterns.  The pattern above is an example of that, kind of.

What I did was to take one of my coloured mandala patterns and use that to create a pattern that was pleasing to me.  Actually, I had many, many patterns that were pleasing to me, and I saved them as tiles that would form a repeating pattern.  With some, I saved them as a surface pattern, where the tiles were already repeated.

What is nice is that the program lets me set both the size and quality of the tile or surface image.

Next, I put the  tile I particularly liked into GiMP (GNU image Manipulation Program, open source software) to copy the black lines and create a new, uncoloured tile with a transparent background.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro was my next destination so that I could colour the tile as I liked.  Not so easy where the edges of the tiles will meet  and to have no edges showing up.

The tile is partly finished in terms of colour, but I wanted to see how it would look tiled.  Go, back to GiMP I went and the above was the result!

My head now hurts a little after this, which means I need more tea, LOTS more tea and a bit of a break.

I absolutely love that I can take my artwork and use it to create more interesting designs and patterns with.  It’s absolutely fascinating, very easy to get lost in it all.

Definitely a very nice way to spend a few hours on a chilly and very rainy afternoon!  My Surface Book and Surface Pen have had a good workout in the process too!

WIP Wednesday on Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group

christmas2017_01_AngelaPorterColoured1

Wednesdays are WIP Days over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Today, as part of my December/Advent gifts, I created this Christmas themed mandala for them to colour in.

If you’d like to colour this one in, then pop over to the facebook group, join and download and print the template for your own personal use – no selling, sharing and so on, either uncoloured or coloured!  Don’t forget, the group members, and myself, love to see how you bring the template to life with colour!

I used my Microsoft Surface pen to draw the mandala on my Microsoft Surface book in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.  I then used the same tools to colour the mandala.

Doodleworlds, December facebook group challenge

snowflake Angela Porter 2017 coloured1

Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group challenge for December

This month, the challenge for the members of the facebook group Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans is a little different.  I’ve set them a challenge to use limited palettes of winter or Christmas or holiday colours to colour in any template they wish and to share their results.  I’m hoping for lots of sparkle and shine!

The image above is my offering today for the group, the template I created exclusively for them, so if you’d like to get it and colour it, head over to Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans and sign up.  You’ll be sure to get a warm welcome there!

I drew the design on my Microsoft Surface Book using my Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.  I used the same tools to colour the image.

#createdonsurface  #AutodeskSketchbook

Doodleworlds

Just a reminder that the Doodleworlds colouring book is available via my Etsy shop, called Artwyrd, and on Amazon.co.uk, other European Amazon sites, but not on Amazon.com yet.

Playing with colour

Angela Porter 29 August 2017Angela Porter 29 August 2018 A

I’ve been quiet around ‘tinternet for a couple of weeks – problems with my mood, instead of starting many new things I’ve been spending time organising a reference collection of my favourite patterns and designs of things like fungi and buildings and creatures and so on and its very much a work in progress!  The process of going through the familiar and organising them is comforting to me …

I have done some new drawings for the Eerie project for Dover – not many left to do for the book, then the hard work is deciding which two I would like to colour in the most, always a problem.

Plans are afoot for a change in my online presence too … more as that happens!

The above images show one artwork I started last night and finished this morning.  Most probably about 8 or 10 hours of work.  Distress Oxides, Cosmic Shimmer watercolours and a Sakura Glaze pen were used. When light strikes the artwork at just the right angle, the metallics and iridescents bring the artwork to life; it’s like it lights up all by itself.  A joyful feeling for sure as I look at it.

It was nice to work with colour and the more traditional media rather than digital art, though, yet again, I noticed how drawing with the Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface Book are having an effect on my work on paper.

One thing I did enjoy was adding the sparkle and shimmer to the artwork, something I’ve not found out how to do digitally (or even if you can!).

So, I now have satisfied a need in me to work with colour and pen and I can turn my attention back to the illustrations for the Eerie book, and on to other things after that is done.

For today, I head off soon for counselling/EMDR, and to have my acrylic nails removed once again as they really do get in the way of me typing, art-ing, using my phone…and no doubt I’ll do some drawing while I have a late lunch between nail removing and counselling.

Mandalas, Mia Chambers and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro musings

Mandala B1_Small_AngelaPorter_15May2016Mandala B2_small_AngelaPorter_15May2017

This morning, I’ve drawn the two mandalas above.  I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book to do this.

I’m gradually exploring the features of Sketchbook Pro, and the more I use it, the more I like it, though making the transition from paper to digital drawing isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  This is mainly because I find it hard to work at a detail level that doesn’t require a magnifying glass to see the detail or to add colour – particularly important when I’m doing work for colouring books.

This is partly because of the ability to zoom in so much on the artwork, and partly due to the screen size on my Surface Book being a little smaller than A4.

I have considered getting a Surface Studio, but that’s on hold until I’m sure I really want to go down the digital drawing route.  Having such a big screen is an alluring prospect, being able to work on the paper size at it’s actual size…but I’m still thinking about it.  Maybe when I find out my tax bill for the previous financial year I’ll make my mind up.

Now, these aren’t the first mandalas I’ve drawn using Sketchbook Pro.  In the past three or four days I’ve some some small ones (approx 3″x3″) to print out, colour and mount on blank greeting cards to be sold to raise money for Mia Chambers, Rainbow Warrior Princess to get her to America for experimental cancer treatment not available in the UK.

What I’ve always found tedious as well as a tad challenging mathematically, is setting out the angles and so on for a symmetrical mandala.  Sketchbook pro makes that easy for sure, as well as saving on the time in creating symmetry.

I’m still struggling with the idea that I may be ‘cheating’ by doing this.  However, I can logically accept that the tools available in Sketchbook Pro allow me to focus on my creativity far more.  Also, the ability to zoom in means I can add details and so on I couldn’t do easily when working on paper.

I have used mandala templates I’ve drawn on paper and scanned in Sketchbook pro to draw mandalas, as well as using sketched out designs so I can neaten up the sketch and add details (it saves erasing pencil lines and the mess and wrinkled paper and smudged in that can result).  I don’t really need to mention how easy it is to undo mistakes.

Certainly, the symmetry option makes creating these mandalas a lot quicker, and because I don’t strive for total perfection in the hand-drawn lines or added patterns, then even though the mandalas are drawn in a digital environment, they still have that feeling of being drawn by hand, which makes me happy – they’re still ‘perfectly imperfect’!

Of course, I’ve not really got to grips with colouring the designs in Sketchbook Pro, so printing them out and adding colour using a chosen medium is still my favoured way of working.  Also, I can add things like metallic highlights and sparkly gems to the mandalas, plenty of which appears on the cards I’ve made as well as the mandalas I’ve framed in order to raise money for little Mia.