So, after breakfast and time to come around, I decided to have a bit of muck about with Affinity Designer – a vector graphics program that’s an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to see how text can be added to a line or shape. It wasn’t that difficult, once I’d looked at the instructions. It’s harder to get it looking nice and well done. I used a quote from Terry Pratchett, and though it’s not exactly elegant or even well done, I thought I’d use it as the basis for adding some patterns around.
Today, I decided to use a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and to make patterns with lines of varying width. Right at the end of my drawing (and recording) session, I realised I could have ‘ink’ flow from some of the letters to break up the white edge of the quote.
This really was just me trying out the text thing and playing with line and pattern. And chatting.
Last week, I said I’d do a template a week during the Covid-19 crisis to help people take some time out of worrying and fretting to relax with coloring.
If you’d like to grab the template, just pop along to the group, join, and it’s completely free! All I ask is you follow the terms and conditions of use.
The Fudenosuke pen has a flexible brush nib so I can produce lines of varying thickness. This isn’t something I do often for coloring templates. However, I do like the effect that I get. It’s so easy to give an illusion of depth and dimension.
Of course the template has a white background, but the version I’m sharing has a blueish-grey background which helps the colours to glow against it.
The design is typically my ‘entangled’ style. Abstract but with stylised motifs from nature and architecture and more.
So, how are you doing Angela?
I’m OK. The sun is shining. I have windows open to let some fresh air into the home, but they’re upstairs windows so no one can get within six feet of them! I also live in a very quiet, small, dead-end street (cul-de-sac if you want to be posh) so there’s very little foot fall here.
Reports are that people aren’t heeding the instructions to stay home here in the UK. That makes me fearful that the NHS will soon be overwhelmed by their selfishness and thoughtlessness.
The situation is surreal and feels unreal to people who’ve not had Covid-19 touch them personally – someone developing the disease, being hospitalised, or, sadly, dying. I hope that’s the reason that they’re playing russian roulette with everyone else’s health and well-being. I hope they don’t think that it’s a hoax, or that they’re invulnerable because of whatever reason they think they are.
Sadly, these people are helping to spread the virus. There’s sound reasons to follow the advice, instructions, orders to stay home.
Anyway… I’ve not yet had a text, email or snail-mail to tell me I’m counted as ‘vulnerable’ and will need to ‘shield’ for at least twelve weeks. I don’t know if I shall get one, but it will be in the next day or two if I do. Even if I don’t get one, I’m staying at home, as frustrating as it is on gloriously sunny spring days like this one here in the Welsh Valleys.
This is a drawing I did late last night as I settled down to sleep. It feels quite disjointed in places, which was how my mind felt in it’s state of tiredness. Even though I was tired, I wasn’t ready to sleep.
I thought I’d work with it, adding a background and colour to it. I wonder if adding colour will resolve the disjointed areas as it breathes life into the design.
I’ve only taken a short time this morning to ad some colour. I do have to do other things today. The colour certainly helps to lift it from the background, as well as adding dimension to the design.
I’ve chosen fairly dusky, dusty, pastel colours which seem to glow against the darker background. The pinks remind me of faded Victorian velvets.
I drew the design traditionally, using a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. The flexible nib of the fudenosuke pen results in lines of varying thicknesses, and a drawing that reminds me of linocuts or woodcuts.
After scanning the drawing, I removed the dot grids and cleaned up the drawing digitally before adding a background.
I felt this needed quote to go with it, and this one spoke to me today. For the typography, I used Affinity Publisher. The rest of the digital work is being done in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, using a Surface Pen and Surface Studio from Microsoft.
My art is always ‘pretty’, it’s how I express myself artistically. Some of my inspiration for patterns and motifs comes from things that other smay not consider ‘pretty’, such as rust, run down old industrial machines, ruined buildings.
My art does, I think, speak of who I am. It shows what I’m interested in, what patterns, motifs, shapes, textures, colours, and so on that I find aesthetically pleasing. It also shows, to those who look and think a bit deeper, what things interest me, from prehistoric art to Romanesque architecture to La Tene and Celtic art to Illuminated Manuscripts to flora, foliage, fungi, and lichen to fossils and shells to nature in general, and more besides.
I work very intuitively. It’s when I think too hard about what I want to do that things go to wrack and ruin.
By letting my intuition flow, then drawings have a way of coming together in a way that expresses how I’m feeling and what is fascinating me or soothing me at that time.
This drawing is an example of how my feelings come out. It’s only now I can recognise how disjointed I was feeling within myself last night, how I was out of sorts. I think that’s why the art jars with me today as that feeling has now passed by, like clouds in the wind. It’s a drawing that shows the weather my emotions were experiencing yesterday, weather that just happened and has no real source for it.
Friday means it’s time for another dangle design, this time a ‘thank you’ card and coordinating envelope.
In previous weeks I’ve had some fun adding patterns to small blocks of colour. So, I thought I’d run with that idea and turn one into a simple dangle design. The steps I used were the same for the card and envelope.
The card is an A6 card and I cut a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol paper to 5″ x 3.5″ for the card topper. The envelope came with the card blank so is A6 in size too.
I started by drawing a square of colour using the BL3 (Sky Blue) Chameleon Color Tone pen – no gradient, just pure colour.
Then, I added a gradient of BL6 (Royal Blue) over the base colour. I added pure blender to the Royal blue bullet nib using the mixing chamber. I didn’t use the Color Tops to add Royal Blue to the tip of the Sky Blue pen as I wanted a more subtle colour gradient.
Next, I used a Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw around the block twice. Then, I added a filler pattern of spirals to the colour block. On the card I used a gold Uniball Signo sparkle gel pen. On the envelope I used the fudenosuke pen.
Now the colour block was decorated I turned my attention to the dangle.I decided to draw one dangle as I thought the design would look too crowded if I ad more. Sometimes, less really is more!
After drawing a faint pencil guide-line, I used a combination of beads, daisy-like flowers and a heart for the dangle. I wanted to keep it nice and simple.
Then it was time to add colour to the outline and design elements. I used the Chameleon Colour tops to add very simple colours. I didn’t do any gradients as the designs were so small. Instead I coloured them in the lightest colour, added a touch of darker colour where I wanted shadow and blended that out with the lighter colour.
I decided to hand letter ‘Thank you’ on the card using a soft nib Fudenosuke pen. I also added some tiny daisies to some of the loops and swirls to tie the hand lettering in with the dangle design.
I then mounted the card ‘topper’ on the card blank and added some gold glitter gel dots around the designs. I also added a gold line around the card topper.
Before I post the card, I’ll use some Micro Glaze from Ranger on the envelope to protect the Tombow pen from water damage.
Reflecting on the project…
Overall, I’m quite pleased with this. In hindsight I wish I’d used the Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw the spiral pattern on the card. I think it’s a cute, simple and versatile design.
It would make lovely stationery, such as note paper or note cards, along with coordinating envelopes. There are lots of ways the design could be used in BuJos, Planners, Journals, Scrapbooks, and Art Journals. The vertical nature of the design means it would make a lovely bookmark.
How would you use this design? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment!
If you have a go at drawing and using this design then please share your finished products with me – I’d love to see how people use dangle designs!
If you want to learn more about drawing dangle designs then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start. There’s over 120 designs for you to use as they are or for inspiration for your own designs.
Nearly every Friday I publish a new dangle design on my blog for more inspiration.
Hello to November, and farewell Inktober. My blog post today looks a bit bare compared to my Inktober creations. However, I have neglected my dangle designs during October, so now’s the time to get back on track with them
Today, I’ve created a simple and elegant dangle design with an autumn colour scheme that could be used in so many different ways. I’ve also put together a step by step set of instructions how you too can create this design (and hoping that it’s not so simple that I come across as patronising).
This is my first time posting a set of instructions – post a comment to let me know what you think of them and if you’d like to see more of them in the future.
I’ve put the dangle design on one side of a slip of paper that would make a perfect compliment slip or a note to slip in with a gift, or just as a short letter to a friend. It would also be perfect for a coordinating piece of envelope art!
This dangle design would be absolutely charming as an embellishment in a BuJo, planner, scrapbook or art journal. It would also make a darling bookmark.
It would be easy to turn this design into a greeting card as well.
So many possible uses for such a simple design.
I do hope that you will give drawing dangles a go – no matter whether you think you’re good at drawing or not! This design is made out of just simple shapes; it’s the colour that brings it to life and masks all kinds of imperfections.
If you’d like more ideas for dangle designs, then please take a look at my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ – it’s filled with examples of dangle designs with step by step instructions and helpful and encouraging words of advice.
One step at a time to a dangle design.
Step 1 Draw a square in the top left corner of a piece of paper. I used a piece of paper measuring approx 8.25″ x 3.5″. I used a Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen to draw the box, and outline it. I deliberately made the squares less than perfect to give that human touch as well as a uniquely ‘me’ way of drawing boxes. The Fudenosuke pen allows me to draw lines of variable width quite easily, which adds to the charm of the box. The ink in the pen is also alcohol marker friendly. Letting your drawings be less than perfect is what makes them uniquely yours.
Step 2 I used Chameleon marker pens (BR3 “Cinnamon” and YO3 “Warm Sunset”) to colour the inner box. Autumn is definitely here in the UK, and the combination of these colours reminded me of the leaves. However, you could use any colour combination you like and any medium you prefer to use. Chameleon pens make it so easy to create a colour gradient – I prefer them to other alcohol marker pens, even Copics.
Step 3 I added a simple leaf pattern to the coloured box using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen.
Step 4 Add the dangle! For this dangle I used the same kind of leaves as in the box for a consistent design. I added some round beads as ‘spacers’. Finally, I added my ‘symbol’ to the end of the dangle. Also, I did draw a faint pencil line with a ruler to help me keep my dangle hanging straight, more or less!
Step 5 I coloured the beads and leaves in using the same colours of Chameleon Markers. I then decided I needed to add some shimmer and shine; I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to colour in the border of the box and to add some dot highlights here and there. The Chameleons caused the Sakura Pigma Micron ink to smear a little – I always forget that happens! I should’ve used the Tombow pen again. Oh well, you live and learn, eventually!
This Nicola Lyons quote is another that resonated with me and brought some tears to my eyes and echoes of pain to my heart too. I just had to make it pretty – Angela style of course.
I used a script font and printed the quote out in a square format. I added the illustration around it using a combination of Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I kept to a small number of repeating motifs in this design. I can now see that I may go back and add some texture and pattern to the leaves, berries and some flowers that are quite bare to help to bring them to add depth and dimension.
I scanned the drawing in, cleaned it up digitally and then added a background to it rather than colour the elements in. I may return to colouring the design in, but I think I’ll use colours that are reminiscent of linocut artworks – flat colour and letting the lines add the shadow and texture, depth and dimension to the image.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m tired. I got to sleep early enough but I woke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 5am. I’d set my alarm for 7:30am as I have to be in Llandridnod Wells before 11am to give an anti-stigma talk on behalf of Time to Change Wales.
I expect that I’ll be drained after the talk – I usually am. So self-care will be important later on in the day. I need lots of tea before I leave – I have less than an hour to sort myself out.
Warning – the following may contain triggers.
The quote above relates to me being a ‘people-pleaser’, which is one way that CPTSD presents in me.
From as early as I can remember, I tried to do and be what would make others around me like me or love me, even if it meant doing things that made me feel horrible. It’s a pattern of behaviour that carried on through my life.
It never worked though; other people would get what they wanted and in return I would not get what I was hoping for or was told I would get. I’ve been left believing that I am unlovable and unlikable and not good-enough. There’s a good helping of shame around all this too, along with a lot of grief for what never was and never could be.
Nowadays, I’m more aware of my emotional, physical and mental needs now, thanks to EMDR therapy. However, I can still default to this ‘people-pleaser’ setting when I’m anxious or emotionally vulnerable.
It took a lot of work in various forms of counselling, self-reflection and EMDR for me to recognise that I have been a people-pleaser. Once aware of this tendency I could start to change my behaviour. I don’t know how successful I’ve been. One coping strategy I have is that I don’t let people get close to me, yet I yearn for meaningful, deep connection with like-minded souls, kindred spirits.
It’s a conundrum and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve it other than by valuing myself in a healthy way, being able to put up healthy boundaries, and being able to say ‘no’ if I’m uncomfortable about something or it would cause me difficulties.
I don’t know who said these words, but they resonated with me when I stumbled upon them. Not only did they resonate, but they also brought tears to my eyes and my heart too. I have words for one of my goals for recovery from cPTSD. This is why I had to do something with the quote in my own inimitable style.
So, I took the words and chose a pretty font for them, arranged them as I wished and then printed them out onto acid-free paper. I trimmed the paper to approx 21cm x 21cm and added some pencil guidelines for space around the quote and the edge of the paper.
Next, I used Tombow Fudenosuke and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens to draw a design. I stuck to just a few motifs that I repeated to fill the space. I also let the design elements to spill over the pencil margins here and there to give a more organic feel to the artwork.
Finally, after erasing the pencil lines, I scanned the drawing in, increased the contrast a little to remove most of the remaining pencil marks. I then added a grungy, colourful, autumnal background.
I’m pleased with this one. I really like the way the Fudenosuke pens work for me now. I love the variation of line and the bolder line that I have used. I also think that using just a few design elements and repeating them to fill the space results in a more cohesive design.
I think I could have left a bit more space around the quote; however, it is good enough.
So, Angela, how are you feeling today?
And for me to say something is good enough is a sign that I am recovering from a bad day yesterday. I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile and vulnerable, but I’m able to see that my art is good enough.
Yesterday, nothing I did was good enough. I lost faith in my crochet, my digital art, my drawing. Nothing seemed to work out, and I really was doubting my abilities.
EMDR therapy for my cPTSD was rather distressing and left me exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted to begin with. Monday I wore my protective mask as I had to go somewhere where I’d be with people I didn’t know, doing something I was really anxious about, and I didn’t know the place I was going to. I was exhausted after keeping my mask on for just four or so hours.
How on earth did I find the energy to keep the mask up for all those years?
One good thing has come from this experience – I can see how exhausting it is to keep up a mask for even a short time. I wonder how on earth I managed it for most of my life!
Anyway, after EMDR, I was more exhausted and came home and slept. In the evening, I thought I needed to be creative. It all led to me being hard and overly critical of myself. Little comments made to me just made it worse, even though the comments weren’t negative, my emotionally vulnerable and exhausted state twisted them that way.
Even though I was emotionally vulnerable and caught up in a storm of thoughts and feelings, I was still aware of this contentedness inside me, but I just couldn’t anchor myself fully to it. I was a little bit adrift in the turbulent waters of my emotions and thoughts.
I should know by now that I need to choose what activities I do carefully at times like this. Last night, I didn’t do that. However, I eventually got back to sleep, and I woke this morning feeling more content.
There’s not quite the sunshine within present today; there are still some emotional clouds covering it up. However, I know that they will not persist and will move along as I practice self-soothing and self-care and do creative activities that won’t push me too much and won’t engage the inner critics.
I’m still drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I am in a better place today. I think my drawing above shows that too.
I woke this morning and had a fancy to make a card along with a coordinating envelope. I’m going to be sending these to someone, so I didn’t want to show the whole design, so a sneak peek it is. I don’t think it gives much away about the mail art. I hope it doesn’t spoil the surprise for the recipient.
I used a pre-made card blank and envelope. The card is nearly 8½” x 4¼” in size and is plain white.
I cut a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board to 3½” x 7½”. I added some score lines ⅛” in from each edge and let them overlap to form little squares at the corners. To do this I used a score board and bone folder. I’ve never done this before, but it actually adds a nice touch. It also gives me an even border to work within, which is always useful.
My next step was to add colour to the top layer and the envelope. I decided to do some ink blending with Distress Inks. Here’s a list of the colours I used:
Once I was happy with the colour gradient, I broke out my Uniball Unpin pens and started to draw the design. As I had a coloured background, I made use of lines and patterns to add texture and dimension.
When I was happy with the design, it was missing something. It needed some colour or shading. I decided to add some colour with Copic markers, being mindful of using colours that would work harmoniously with the background.
My final step was to add some dots of gold glitter to add some ‘bling’ to the card.
My attention then turned to the envelope.
First, I added some pencil lines to help me keep my hand lettering level and neat. I then used a black Tombow Fudenosuke pen to brush letter the recipient’s name. I then used a grey Tombow Fudenosuke pen to add shadow to the letters.
I then used a Uniball Unipin 08 pen to add the address. For this, I used simple capital letters for the hand-lettering.
My next task was to draw the design on the envelope. I used some elements from the card for this, plus a couple of extra ones. I also added texture and shadow with lines.
My final task, after I’d written my name and address on the back of the envelope, was to seal the envelope art with a thin layer of Distress Micro Glaze, carefully avoiding the area where stamps will be affixed. The Micro Glaze creates a waterproof layer so the Distress and Tombow inks shouldn’t run if they get wet.
Once the recipient has the card, I’ll post a full image of the mail art, carefully obscuring their information.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m ok today. I’m a tad tired, but I don’t seem as emotionally fragile as I have been. There’s still a bit of ‘flatness’ or ‘heaviness’ inside me, but the contentedness is of equal or greater intensity.
Today I need a quiet day at home; the last week or so has been crazy busy with either emotional upsets occurring or commitments I have to keep. The next commitment I have is on Thursday evening, so I’m going to make the most of the time I have to myself. Creating mail art was one activity in self-soothing.
I doubted that I would find this more settled state any time soon. That it’s appeared today is a real bonus. How long it stays for I don’t know as I know what is in my diary.
I’m not going to worry about that, well not much. I’m going to enjoy the contentedness and Use my quiet time to soothe my still fragile emotions.
Yes, I feel mostly content, but I also know that it won’t take much to provoke me to tears and some emotional distress.
One thing we talked about in therapy on Monday was the need for me to protect myself in situations where I’m emotionally vulnerable. I’ve had a lot of time interacting with people over the past few days. I now need time to relax, breathe, re-energise.
I enjoy being with people, but it also drains me. That’s one of the consequences of being an introvert. When I’m socially exhausted, it makes me more emotionally vulnerable than I usually am. So, I need time to recover from this.
I will recover. Nowadays, I always do given enough self-care and self-soothing time.
I also am self-aware enough to know that to start important projects is not a good idea at this time. It becomes all too easy for me to find fault with everything I do and for me to end up spiralling downwards into a mood where I am harsh to myself.
It is still hard to be kind to myself on days like this. There’s a nagging voice that I should be doing this or doing that and not indulging myself in activities that help me to heal. Other inner critics join in, telling me I’m worthless, useless, a failure, unloveable then join in, sensing the vulnerability in me. So, I’m learning to ignore that voice, even if I still feel a little guilty. As I feel better, refreshed and re-energised and more emotionally resilient, the inner critics become inaudible once again.
So, as hard as it is to accept that I need to be kind and to spend today doing what will help me heal, this is precisely what I am going to do. And that starts with me writing a letter to accompany the mail art. I also want to create some designs that I can print to colour and use to create greeting cards.
I’ve started colouring “Inspiration”, the drawing I completed yesterday.
The drawing was done with a Tombow Fudenosuke and a Lamy medium fountain pen on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I’m colouring it digitally using my favourite trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
So far, I’ve spent 3 hours colouring, so it’s going to take me a while longer to complete.
To be honest, it would be a lot quicker to colour using Chameleon markers or other traditional media. Weird, when computers make doing other tasks so much quicker and easier.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy adding colour. I mean, I could do that a lot quicker if I chose to use gradient fills. However, this time I wanted to add colour as if I was using traditional media, being able to follow the shapes of the design more closely, having more control over where I add shadows and highlights.
So, I’ll take the time over this one, like I do with many of my artworks.
So, how are you today Angela?
EMDR yesterday was a little different. We didn’t do any EMDR but we worked with my inner child on helping her to heal from past traumas.
I felt silly and daft initially. I didn’t have a clue what I was being asked to do, but my therapist guided me through the process, and eventually I relaxed a little and tried.
I was surprised. Emotional too. It’s not something that I’m comfortable sharing other than in general.
After EMDR I spent sometime in a Starbucks drinking tea, eating a piece of chocolate truffle cake and drawing. Partly this was to wait out the rush hour, mostly it was to give myself a treat after sticking with a therapy session that seemed silly and turned out to be an emotional, insightful and helpful process.
So, the healing journey from CPTSD continues, taking an unexpected turn.
Yesterday, as the sun came out as the day waned my mood brightened a little from just about content to a little more on the happy side. Today I’m a bit tired after a broken night’s sleep with weird dreams but I’m quite content.
My morning task, afore heading out for my EMDR session later, was to finish this drawing.
I used a combination of a Tombow Fudenosuke pen along with a medium nib Lamy fountain pen on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board, A4 in size, to draw this design and add the hand lettering.
The white space really helps to break up the intricate details; helps to separate out the sections and gives the eyes and brain a bit of a rest from it.
I will add colour to this in the fullness of time, most probably digitally.
So, how are you today Angela?
I’m content. Not quite as smiley happy as yesterday, but content. Calm too, or relatively so. There’s a low level background noise of anxiety there.
I do wonder if the weather affects my moods more than I thought it did. Yesterday was both sunny and rainy – rather heavy spells of rain. The sun and driving in the sun was lovely and helped to lift my spirits somewhat.
Today there’s no sun. Just grey clouds and there’s been rain. I’m not quite as tickettyboo as yesterday.
I think I may need to add a weather tracker to my BuJo alongside my mood tracker to see if there is a correlation.
I have my EMDR session in a couple of hours time. I have no idea how that will affect me at this point in time, nor what memory we’ll work on. I won’t dwell or ruminate on it for now. Just get myself sorted to make the hour-long journey to Neath in a little while. Yes, I think that’s best for now.