Monday mood

©Angela Porter

Another day on lock-down, and I started the day by colouring a Strathmore Bristol Board tile with Distress Inks, then drawing. You can see the result above, sorry for the poor photo.

The random generated tangle pattern for today is ‘BB‘, and it’s the wavy set of blocks across the middle of the design. The rest of the design is made up from some of my favourite patterns and motifs, as well as a few dangle designs.

The overall design doesn’t feel as if it flows. That may be a reflection of my emotional state, which is a mixture of anxiety, fear, being overwhelmed and exhausted.

So, self-care is in order. So that’s doing things that won’t frustrate me, or that won’t having me feel that whatever I do is rubbish.

Inktober 2019 – Day 6

Gecko skull and Stinkhorn

Inktober 2019 Day 6 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another day, another Inktober drawing – this time a gecko skull along with stinkhorn fungi.

No colouring, no shading, just pen work this time.

I love the skull and the leaves and spirals around it. I’m not so fussed on my fungi. The only thing I would change about the skull is the pattern around the eyeballs; the chequerboard and dots is just a tad too heavy handed.

I’m starting to struggle adding the fungi to the skulls; my drawings are all becoming more than a bit ‘samey’.

Digital art using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.

I’m using Inktober 2019 prompt lists from @book_polygamist and @nyan_sun on Instagram.

Inktober 2019 – Day 4

Turtle skull and Xerocomus

Inktober 2019 Day 4 - Turtle Skull and Xerocomus © Angela Porter 2019
Inktober 2019 Day 4 – Turtle Skull and Xerocomus © Angela Porter 2019

Digitally drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.

Again, the symmetry is pleasing to me; however, I think I’ve gone over the top with areas of pattern on this skull! I seem to have a thing going on with fungi growing out of the top of the skull. I did add some seaweed and sea shells beneath the skull, as a nod to the oceanic origins of the turtle.

Hmm, maybe I’ll redraw this one with some dangle designs later today; after all, it is dangle day!

Inktober 2019 – Day 01 – Chameleon Skull and Amanita

©Angela Porter 2019

Inktober 2019

After hunting around Instagram for alternative prompt lists, I decided to go with two and combine them. I chose the Animal Skulls prompts from @book_polygamist and Mushrooms list from @nyan_sun.

So, the drawing above shows a chameleon skull combined with Amanita, along with some other design elements. Today’s official prompt from Jake Parker’s Inktober 2019 list is ‘ring’. I can make that fit in too – a ring of fairy toadstools, the ring of the eye-socket in the skull.

The black line work was done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I then used an 8B pencil with a blending stump to clumsily add some shading. Then, after scanning the image in, I added colour digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

It’s been a very, very long time since I did any drawing like this. My usual style is rather whimsical, cute and simplified to create a stylised form.

While this drawing isn’t realistic, it is more so than I usually do. Having said that, I have added some simplified design elements in the form of leaves and berries and the repeating pattern of arches to give a floor for the skull to rest on.

I found it interesting to add the more realistic skull with the less realistic Amanita and stylised leaves and berries.

It took me over three hours to create this drawing; I’m not sure I can spend that amount of time everyday given the work I need to do in the coming weeks. I shall see though how it goes.

So, Angela, how are you feeling?

I’m OK. I don’t feel as tired as I have lately and there’s also a contented feeling inside me. There’s also a frisson of excitement about turning my attention to work – something that has been a bit lacking over the past month or so.

I did get an early night along with a good night’s sleep last night, which always helps. The sun has just broken through the clouds, albeit briefly, and even a little sunshine helps to boost my mood too. I hope there’ll be more periods of sunshine to help my mood after the past days of heavy rain and even heavier grey skies, although we did have a break from it on Sunday with some bright sunshine in the day.

It’s only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve recognised how much the weather can affect my mood.

EMDR yesterday was puzzling, confusing and upsetting too. However, I came away not as exhausted as I usually do. Indeed, I was able to focus on art in the evening – I did most of the drawing of the chameleon skull with amanita.

My therapist and I did have a conversation about how I found it so hard to go into a cafe for lunch after my Time to Change Wales talk last week. She suggested that in future I take something with me to eat just in case I can’t go into a cafe – that way I can still take care of my physical needs and emotional needs without being hard on myself, calling myself weak and a failure for not doing such a simple thing as going to a familiar cafe for lunch.

Still have progress to make on that goal of mine, but some progress on recognising how I feel about myself not being able to do it at the moment has been made. So it’s not all bad.

So long September

October Coloring Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group
© Angela Porter

October-eve

Can you believe that September is nearly over? I swear that the older I get the faster time seems to go.

Anyway, a new month on the horizon means a new colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. There just has to be a Hallowe’en theme for October’s page, and you can see a sneak peek of it above. I couldn’t resist colouring some of it in as a way of trying out some new digital brushes and some ideas too.

I put some of my favourite All Hallows’ Eve motifs into the drawing, including a raven, skulls, fungi and a vampire cat! I always enjoy drawing stuff to do with Hallowe’en; it’s my favourite time of year because I don’t have any past traumas associated with it.

If you’d like to colour this template, pop over to the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group and become a member; each month I do one drawing exclusively for group members (terms and conditions of use and sharing apply).

About the art

I used a combination of fountain pens and fine-line pens to draw the design on dot grid paper. I then scanned the drawing in and cleaned up smudges and smears digitally.

Then, I set about adding colour digitally using my usual tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I also added a background and surface texture that I had purchased via Creative Market.

I am really quite pleased with how the colour is bringing the illustration to life, especially the skull in a jar. I hope to be able to continue to add colour as the month progresses, though I do know I have quite a bit of work to do and focus on.

To Inktober or not Inktober, that is the question.

Last year, I really enjoyed taking part in Inktober. Inktober has become a really popular social media event where artists and creatives use a daily prompt to draw (or create) something based on that prompt and share it on social media.

There is an official prompt list, but people do create alternative lists and I may look at some of them as there may be variations that might be less time intensive than last years’ was!

I shall see what I find and go from there I think.

So, Angela, how are you today?

Tired. However, I’m am quite content, my mood is good enough today. I do have EMDR later on, and I often feel ‘flat’ before my therapy session. I think my unconscious mind starts to bring stuff up in preparation for EMDR.

I know that the likelihood of me being exhausted later is rather high, so I’m not planning to do loads of stuff later on. Self care will be the order of the late afternoon and evening.

Hello July!

July 2019 Colouring Template for members of the Angela Porter Illustrator's Coloring Book Fans facebook group ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com
July 2019 Colouring Template for members of the Angela Porter Illustrator’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com

Can you believe it? Half of 2019 has passed to history. Time has flown by.

With the start of July I also have an exclusive coloring template available free to members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This is my way of saying thank you to those who follow my work, particularly the colouring books I have created.

If you’d like to download and colour, you need to be a member of the group and agree to follow the T’s & C’s.

I’m looking forward to seeing what members of the group will do with this one! I love to see the different colour schemes and media that they use to bring the drawing to life with the magic of colour.

To create this template, I started with a sketch on square gridded paper. It was a very basic sketch with just outline shapes, lines and so on. I then scanned it into the Surface Studio and completed this drawing using my Surface Pen along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I had to include some of my favourite design elements – butterflies, stars, flowers, fungi, seed pods, arches and geometric patterns.

It was fun to draw, even the sketch was as I love to use a Koh-i-Noor Magic pencil to do the sketching with, one that has quite different colours in the lead so that I get a fair rainbow of colours.

I’m warming to sketching things out before drawing them in ink (either traditional ink/pens or digital) to give me a skeleton I can put flesh on in terms of details and patterns.

So Angela Porter, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling contented. My stomach/digestive system is back to normal. All just in time for today’s EMDR session this afternoon.

That’s all I have to say about that today. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow post EMDR.

Entangled Monograms – C, D and E

Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Arty things

Another lovely day or so spent hand lettering and drawing the etntangled designs around the monograms.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on 15cm x 15cm pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

The Tombow Fudenosuke pens are giving me a much thicker line than I’d usually use, along with variable line width too. I must admit I rather like the bolder lines as they really define the designs. What do you think about my use of bolder line?

I have scanned these, and yesterday’s A and B monograms, so I can add colour digitally, should I choose to do so. At the moment I’m really just enjoying the graphic quality of the black and white line art.

Therapy day

Today is EMDR therapy day for me. My appointment is mid-afternoon and it’s been almost a fortnight since my last one as there’s been a Bank Holiday in between.

I must say that I’ve had quite a contented fortnight. The last session was rather disturbing and distressing and though I was absolutely exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically after it for the rest of the day and part of the next, I think I found my balance much quicker than I expected.

I’ve had my moments, hours, mind you. Often when I’m tired and need a nap. So, I take a nap if I can. That’s one of the fab things about being a self-employed/freelancing artist/illustrator/author. It’s a lot easier to do self-care things when self-care is needed. If I need a nap, I can often take a nap. If I need a day or three to recover from EMDR I can take that time, or at least break the time up so I have chunks of self-care in amongst the work I need to do to fulfil contracts.

I really am grateful for this flexibility, a flexibility that is in sharp contrast with the very structured, timetabled, hamster-wheel existence of my life as a teacher.

Flexibility and freedom – a double edged sword

It’s really difficult for me to make full use of the flexibility and freedom I have. I often have an urge to go out somewhere, but I can never decide on where to go, or when to go, or whether I should even bother going as really, what do I want to go there for. Telling myself it’s to sketch, draw, photograph, gain inspiration, for the experience, because I like to walk when I do go and walk, because being in nature is good for my emotional and mental wellbeing, or just because I CAN just doesn’t cut it with the problems that arise from the CPTSD, especially anxiety and social anxiety that forms part of the experience of being a survivor of trauma.

Sometimes I manage to sneak up on myself and surprise myself and get out and about and visit somewhere either familiar or new to me.

More often than not the inner critic manages to talk me out of it.

I think I need to make a list of places close to me, and a bit further away, that I’d like to visit. A list that contains both familiar and unfamiliar places.

Familiar places are less stressful for me to visit on my own. Knowing my way around, knowing where I can enjoy lunch or tea, knowing where I can park my car and knowing I can find my way back to the car, and so on and so forth makes it a much easier experience for me.

Going somewhere unfamiliar increases stress for me as simple things like going into an unfamiliar cafe for some tea or lunch causes me huge anxiety when I’m by myself. The worry about not being able to find my way back to my car is another added source of anxiety too. Even going into unfamiliar shops, cathedrals, museums and so on provokes anxiety in me.

It’s that old fear from being a bullied, abused child that rises up where I worry if I’ll get hurtful comments from people, if I’ll make a fool of myself in some way and people will laugh, if they’ll pass comment about my choice of food or tea.

None of these things have happened to me as an adult, yet the anxiety that lurks within me rises up and tells me again and again that these things may happen. The voice of my anxiety, of my inner critic, can paralyse me or cause me to flee back home without even getting out of my car, that’s if I even manage to drive to where I’d like to go.

If I have company I’m really brave. I’m often the first to enter a cafe or similar and ask for a table and so on. I’m the one who will bravely explore a new cathedral or museum or place quite eagerly.

On my own though, the inner critic is way too strong as I feel vulnerable. As vulnerable as I did when I was a child and all the way through my adult life.

I can overcome this vulnerability, the anxiety, if there is a purpose to my trip, such as giving an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I do it because I don’t want to let others down (as well as because I believe in the mission of Time to Change Wales).

Part of my anxiety is that I never, or rarely, ask anyone to go out with me (not go out in a romantic sense, just go out as in a jolly day out visiting somewhere of mutual interest and enjoying pleasant company). The fear of rejection is still too huge. I’m also very much aware that people I’d call friends and family are busy with their own family and work and so on, and I never, ever, want to become a burden to anyone.

That’s something that I learned early in my life – not to bother anyone with my needs or problems or issues. It’s something as an adult I’ve not gotten over yet.

I also am aware that there are trips I need to make solo. I like to sit and draw and write in places I visit. I can lose myself in this for a long time, I can take as much time as I need to look at . If I’m with someone I don’t want to spoil their day by indulging myself in such an activity. If I’m by myself I don’t have to worry about them not enjoying themselves as much as they could, so I tend to put my needs completely to one side to make sure they’re happy.

Being a people pleaser is part of the CPTSD. It’s what I did to try to gain approval of people who would never approve of anything I did or said or how I looked. Rejection, ridicule, being put down was par for the course no matter what I did. That didn’t stop me trying to please others, to make sure they were happy as if they were happy then perhaps I’d have an easier time of it and wouldn’t be pushed away yet again.

CPTSD sure messes a person up.

I know that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety who are able to do these simple, everyday, taken for granted things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea. They’re able to overcome that anxiety and don’t buy into it’s messages.

I’ve not learned to overcome it or have disempowered the inner critic enough that I can do these simple everyday things, well not yet. I think the critic has a way to go to be disempowered first.

Still, there are days when I’ll be able to sneak up on myself and head out and actually visit places, sketchbook and visual BuJo in my bag, and take that time and will wonder at how I don’t do things like that more often as it’s really not that bad.

I hope those days will eventually outweigh the days where the inner critic wins out.

Until that days comes I just need to be kind to myself and not beat myself up about giving in to the inner critic once again and remind myself a day will soon come where through sneakery or just disempowering the inner critic enough that I can go out.

Bee in your bonnet Porter?

Bee in your bonnet Porter? ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Bee in your bonnet Porter? ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

All done and coloured now, but o,h, WordPress, why do you change the colours on my images?

The colours are a lot more vibrant in my non-uploaded file. But I’m sure you get the idea.

Anyways, I drew the image with Tombow Fudenosuke pens on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. After scanning the drawing, I used my favourite digital tools – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio – to add colour and texture (and watermarks) to the image.

The original drawing was a little less that A4 (US letter-ish) in size.

I’m quite happy with this. I’m also really happy I’ve managed to incorporate some dangle designs into my art. Something I’m going to continue to do now. I think they work really well with hand lettered banners and probably really well with arches too. Hmm, perhaps dangling from the edges of large fungi too… I know I’ll work it out!

Fancy trying your hand at dangle designs? Well, I have a tutorial book that takes you through monogram and dangle designs. It’s called A Dangle A Day.

Dangle Design – Bee in your bonnet Porter?

Bee in your bonnet Porter? Dangle Design WIP © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Bee in your bonnet Porter? Dangle Design WIP © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yup, I still have a bee, or several, in my bonnet about copyright infringement. However, I thought the bees needed a garden to fly around in and do what bees do best! Better they’re out pollinating and making honey than rattling around inside my bonnet that’s for sure.

So, I drew them a garden to live in and hung my bonnet in a dangle design I’ve incorporated into the design, along with a bit of hand lettering.

I drew the design on Winsor and Newton Bristol board using Tombow Fudenosuke pens, and a pencil from time to time.

When I was happy with the drawing, I scanned it into the ‘puter and started to add colour.

As you can see, this is very much a work in progress and I may very well change the colours in places as work continues. Yet again, the colours look very different in WordPress than they do on my ‘puter. What’s going on WordPress???

Friday is Dangle Day. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, I take you step by step through drawing charming, cute, whimsical dangle designs and monograms. The designs aren’t as complex as this one, though the dangles in this design are simple enough themselves. Dangles are fun to draw and a great way to add embellishment to all kinds of projects – greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks, BuJo (Bullet Journal) pages and spreads, journals, planners, diaries, and anything else you could possibly think of using them! They really are simple to draw, one step at a time, and it’s colour that brings them to life for sure!

Entangled Fantastic Fungi – coloured

Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Fantastic Fungi © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Yesterday, I took some time to finish colouring my ‘Entangled Fantastic Fungi’ drawing from the other day.

I’ve said it before and, no doubt, I’ll say it again: colour brings my drawings to life. It also takes me a lot, lot longer to colour the artwork than it does to draw it! I think it would’ve been quicker with traditional media, such as Chameleon marker pens. However, I like using digital tools for coloring and I use opportunities like this to explore the different settings and various brushes so that I can add to my range of techniques I like to use and the effects I can get.

It’s a slow process for me, and it can be both enjoyable, satisfying and rather frustrating! However, I think I’m making some progress in finding my way through the plethora of options available and gaining some understanding of what they do and how to make them work the way I’d like them to work for me.

I also am enjoying drawing on paper with these Tombow Fudenosuke pens. Using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to add colour to my drawings is me having the best of both words for sure!

There’s also the addition of a background texture, which, I think, makes all the difference. The pale grey tone of the background helps to tone down the brighter colours in the image, enhancing that kind of vintage kind of vibe I was going for.

Of course, it goes without saying that I used my Microsoft Surface Pen and Surface Studio to colour the image. Being able to use the pen on the screen, just like pen or brush or pencil on paper, is fantastic! I’m finally getting to grips with making use of the pressure sensitivity of the pen and exploring ways in which I can use it, as well as setting up brushes to suit my needs.

When I think back to when I bought my Surface Book, my aim was to draw templates for coloring books digitally so I didn’t have to scan in paper. It was also to make it easier to clean up the images. I had no intention of colouring the images digitally.

I think I’ve come a fair distance since those early days. I’m still surprised at how the ability to create digital art by using a Surface Pen on the screen of the Surface Studio as if the screen was paper, has opened doors to creative expression for me.