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

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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.

Mixed media cards – shells and fish

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Over the past few days I’ve been drawing shells, flowers, fish and fungi and sorting them out to be digi-stamps, work all done on my Microsoft Surface Book.  Some have been printed, coloured using my Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops pens, cut out and mounted on mixed media backgrounds.  The photos above show the fruits of my labours.

Apart from the Chameleon markers, the media I have used are:

  • Distress and Distress Oxide inks
  • Iridescent and metallic paints from Liquitex and Pebeo.
  • Perfect pearls sprays
  • Stencils
  • Stamps
  • Black Archival Ink
  • Inktense pencils
  • 3D Crystal Lacquer
  • Alchemy Wax

I think that’s the complete list of media.  I used mixed media paper for the backgrounds, and the paper was cut out using rectangular dies.  Behind the backgrounds, I used silver mirriboard as a mat.

I’m quite pleased with them.  No so sure about the kraft card bases (which are 5¾” x 4″ in size), but they were what I had.

Now, all I have to do is work out a price for them and pop them into my Etsy shop, though I think I will have to take better photos for that!

Colorist app update

Doodleworlds1

I was pleased to be told by Shelly and Kelly at Faction Apps that there’s been an update to the Colorist app.  That means I had to have another play!

The image above is one from my first book for the Colorist app – Doodle Worlds.  Many areas have been filled in using the original pencil tool, which is great as it allows for overlaying of colours as well as being pressure sensitive if your device allows for that (my Microsoft Surface Book certainly does!).

It took me a while to get used to how the pencil works in the app, but that’s not a problem as either the undo or eraser tools allow you to completely remove anything you’re not happy with.  (The eraser is also useful for removing colour to create a highlight!).

Bucket Tool

One of the new tools is a bucket-fill, which is great for filling areas with flat, solid colour.  I used this tool for the pink monster.  The pencil tool can then be used to add shading/highlights over the base colour.

A useful tool is the bucket tool as it allows for quickly filling areas with a solid colour, even teeny-tiny areas thanks to the ability to zoom in on the image! This saves some time and effort, which can then be spent on carefully adding the shading and highlights to the area.

Marker Tool

This is my favourite addition to the tool box in the Colorist app!  I love the solid colour it lays down. The colours aren’t transparent, however, so blending isn’t yet possible with them ( perhaps that’ll appear in a future update of the app).  Markers (especially Chameleon pens) are my favourite way of adding colour to drawings like this on paper, so I look forward to this tool being developed more in the future (fingers crossed and maybe a bit of pleading from me!).

What I love most about this tool is that I can draw and doodle and add texture and pattern to the image with the solid lines that I prefer in my art. I did this with ease on the flower next to the orange and white stripey twisty thing.

The wide range of colours available in the colour palette mean that highlights and shadows can be achieved, so long as a subtle blend from one colour to another isn’t required.  However, I’ve just thought that a clever use of the pencil tool may allow this to happen.  I’ll have to try that out!

Eyedropper tool

I didn’t make any use of this tool, but I’m likely to in the future as it means that you can easily select a colour you’ve previously used in the image being coloured without going to the palette and ttrying to remember just which shade of, say, blue it was you used.

Sketching in the Colorist App

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The ability to sketch within the app, and save the drawings too, is the fab new feature.  I really like this, especially with the marker pen tool.

Usually, I use Autodesk Sketchbook  for drawing on my Surface book.  One of the weird things about drawing on the Surface with the pen is that there always seems to be some wobble in the line, even if the line drawn is smooth.  Autodesk has a smoothing tool, which in the Pro version you can set to a level that suits the art  you are doing at the time.

Although the Sketch function in Colorist doesn’t have the smoothing tool (yet?) it works just as well as Sketchbook for the kind of doodly, abstract, whimsical art I do.  The image above is a drawing I did in Colorist last night, it took an hour or so to achieve.

I enjoyed using this function, though not being able to rotate the digi-paper meant it was a tad awkward for me to draw certain things.  However, Colorist isn’t designed as a  dedicated drawing/art app, but I do wonder if a ‘pro’ version could be developed where a small fee is paid for such a functionality. The latest updates certainly suggest to me that there’s a possibility that this could be a direction the app could take in the future.

My verdict

I really like the updates, especially the marker and the sketch function. Congratulations to all at Faction Apps!

The suggestions I’ve made above for extending the additions in the future are not criticisms of the great updates made, but they would take this app beyond that of being just a colouring app, so I’m well aware they may not happen.

However, I do believe this app could evolve from being a colouring app into something more…