Mail Art

Mail Art ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Yet again I woke with my mind swimming with an idea I wanted to try out. I’d had a problem when I was trying to add colour to drawings I’d done on distress ink backgrounds. Whether I used water and a brush or a Tombow Blender pen, the pigment from the Sakura Micron and Uniball Unipin pens bled, and I really wasn’t happy with that.

I spent some time yesterday trying different pens out, with no luck in finding any that didn’t smear/bleed. So, I put this to one side until I had a chance to think about it.

I slept on it and woke with an idea to try.

Why not use the Tombow blender to draw the basic shapes of my design in colour and then add black lines afterwards. Seed pods seem to be my default design when I’m experimenting, but I’m fine with that.

So that’s what I did. And this card is the result.

As I was starting to add the black lines to the design I thought I’d made a horrible mistake, had a bad idea. However, as I added more and more detail, I realised it would work out, and I think it did.

I added some gold to the seeds in the seed pod with a glitter gel pen. I also splattered some gold watercolour paint over the design.

The envelope is really simple; three seed pods, black line art with golden seeds.

Not a unique artistic approach, but it is something that has never worked for me before.

It’s not a dissimilar approach I take to my digital art, where I start with the basic shapes and then add shading and detail. I do use line art as a guide for my design, and that is an approach I can apply to traditional art in that I may need to pencil in the design, then colour, then add the line art.

Who would’ve thought it – working digitally is helping me develop my traditional art methods and skills.

Quote about therapy

Artwork © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Trigger Warning – the following words contain some references to my past mental and emotional ill health.

I’ve begun to realise that I am as recovered from CPTSD as I’m going to be for now. So, yesterday, I made the decision, after lots of thought, that it was time to leave a month or so until my next session. The longest I’ve been without therapy is three weeks. This time it will be five weeks. It’s a test for me to see if I am as resilient as I think I am. Still, there’s also that little bit of a safety net that if I have issues I know, I’ll have a therapy session to sort out what to do next.

I know that in the future, as life experiences trigger some CPTSD reaction in me, I may need some more EMDR sessions to help me resolve the issues. Leaving therapy, for now, is necessary, but not without the possibility of returning as I need to.

How did I know I’d reached that point? Well, I recovered well from my hiccough, emotionally and mentally, over Christmas and New Year. Surprising well, actually. Even my therapist said that!

Nothing new has come up that needs to be processed it seems. I’ve had the feeling I’ve been groping around for issues to work on in therapy for a long while. Maybe I was ready a while ago but wasn’t quite prepared to leave that safety net of that one person who has always been there to listen, question me and help me to understand and heal myself. I feel I am ready to cut loose now, but suddenly, but gradually.

The soft inner smile, feeling of contentment and ease is present most days. I also have a feeling of what I can only describe as hope and optimism.
These feelings are my touchstones, the way I want to feel most of my days of the remainder of my life.

It still saddens me that it’s taken me until I’m 56 years old to discover them, to heal enough of the traumas of the past to allow them to be fully present nearly every day. I lived my life believing the way I thought and felt was ‘normal’ and that everyone was like this.

It took an emotional and mental breakdown to get me to accept that I was in a severe amount of emotional and mental pain and to seek the help I needed to heal that pain. EMDR has been that help, that therapy has allowed me to heal those wounds.

Sometimes things happen, and my emotions can overshadow the contentment and smile. However, I can still feel those touchstones, reminders that the emotional storm will pass and the smile will shine out once again. This emotional weather has happened a few times since I first discovered my touchstones, but the weather has always passed. Sometimes with the help of therapy, but more often by itself, given self-soothing, self-care and self-reflection.

I am so grateful to have had such a skilled therapist. Still, it’s now time for me to find new ways to engage with like-minded people, not in huge groups, as that would really cause problems for my introverted nature.

I’ve been having EMDR therapy for nearly five and a half years. It seems a long time, yet it’s not that long, really. A lot of commitment and work has been needed, but I’m reaping the rewards of my efforts.

The quote epitomises the way I feel about therapy now. In my darkest days, when I started EMDR. Linda, my therapist, has been that one person who has consistently been there to accompany me on this journey of healing and recovery from CPTSD. She has helped me discover that part of me that wants to experience life my own way, that part which is content, gently smiling, resilient, optimistic, more accepting of myself, kinder to myself, and much more I can’t yet put into words.

I’m not perfect; no one is. However, I’m as emotionally and mentally well as I’m going to be without living life. Only the ups and downs of life will reveal triggers for the remaining CPTSD. Some may never be revealed and not be an issue. Others I may be able to deal with myself, some I may need help from EMDR to process them and heal that still wounded part of myself.

It’s actually quite exciting. All I need to do is to transform that feeling of excitement and optimism into action such as a couple of nights away by myself and finding groups to join where there are like-minded people to begin with.

Seedpod Landscapes – Art and Card Making

I had a lovely time this morning making the card on the left. Before I started drawing, I added a moon or planet to the background. It really adds something to the card, I think. Something like this is needed on the card to the right I think. However, as I’ve assembled the card it’s not going to be easy to alter!

How I made the cards.

I used Distress Inks and a mini-foam blending tool to colour the backgrounds. I used a circle of paper as a mask for the moon/planet in the left-hand card. To create the land, I used a torn piece of paper to mask off part of the card.

Once I was pleased with the backgrounds, I sprayed the image with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry.

The next step was to draw the designs. I used black and grey Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell.

Metallic/iridescent highlights were added; I used Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints and a fine brush.

The final steps were to adhere the top layer to a black mat, and then this to the card base. Finally, I edged the mat and the top layer with a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen.

I have made coordinating envelopes for each card.

My thoughts on the cards.

I think you can tell that the card on the left is the second made. I can see how I’ve learned from the first card. I do like them both.

I would, if I could, add a moon/planet to the right hand card. It would fill that space rather nicely and give a more magical, mystical, ethereal feel to the landscape.

As to the left hand card, I wish I hadn’t done the pods all in black; they appear a tad ‘flat’. In hindsight, I could have used just black outlines and then filled the pod with a colour gradient before adding the metallic highlights.

I also am glad I didn’t try to add a spine to each leaf as I did on the right hand card. However, a highlight at the top of each leaf, suggesting the moon/planet light is reflecting from them.

Oh the whole, however, I am pleased with these cards. They are a new style of working for me. leaving open space is never easy for me, but I’ve managed it with these cards.

Would you like some happy mail?

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

I had a lovely time this morning making the card on the left. Before I started drawing, I added a moon or planet to the background. It really adds something to the card, I think. Something like this is needed on the card to the right, I guess. However, as I’ve assembled the card, it’s not going to be easy to alter!

How I made the cards.

I used Distress Inks and a mini-foam blending tool to colour the backgrounds. I used a circle of paper as a mask for the moon/planet in the left-hand card. To create the land, I used a torn piece of paper to mask off part of the card.

Once I was pleased with the backgrounds, I sprayed the image with a mixture of Perfect Pearls and water and let it dry.

The next step was to draw the designs. I used black and grey Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell.

Metallic/iridescent highlights were added; I used Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints and a fine brush.

The final steps were to adhere the top layer to a black mat and then this to the card base. Finally, I edged the mat and the top layer with a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen.

I have made coordinating envelopes for each card.

My thoughts on the cards.

I think you can tell that the card on the left is the second made. I can see how I’ve learned from the first card. I do like both cards, though.

I would, if I could, add a moon/planet to the right-hand card. It would fill that space rather nicely and give a more magical, mystical, ethereal feel to the landscape.

As to the left-hand card, I wish I hadn’t done the pods all in black; they appear a tad ‘flat’. In hindsight, I could have used just black outlines and then filled the pod with a colour gradient before adding the metallic highlights.

I also am glad I didn’t try to add a spine to each leaf as I did on the right-hand card. However, a highlight at the top of each leaf, suggesting the moon/planet light is reflecting from them.

Oh the whole, however, I am pleased with these cards. They are a new style of working for me. Leaving open space is never easy for me, but I’ve managed it with these cards.

Would you like some happy mail?

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

I’ve already got some recipients in mind for these cards. However, if you’d like some happy mail then send me a message.

Noel – Entangled Design

©Angela Porter, Artwyrd.com

I always have fun when drawing and creating, including this design. In it I’ve combined some of my entangled design elements along with winter/Christmas doodles. 

To start, I hand lettered ‘Noel’ using a guide for the shape of the lettering I wanted. Then, I printed it out so I could add the black and white line art using a 0.8 Uniball Unipin pen.

Once that was done, the finished lineart was scanned back into the Microsoft Surface Studio, a transparent background created and some smudges cleaned up. 

Finally, I could colour it. Today, I chose to use the color gradient tools, which does make the job of colouring a bit quicker, but it also results in a rather ‘shiny’ look too. Or perhaps that’s simply due to the colours I choose for the gradients.

I had fun adding the glowing stars and sparkles to this one, though I’m not sure I’ve got that right.A nice way to spend the morning and early afternoon as the weather has been wet and very windy at times here. 

Doodleworlds design 12 November 2018

Angela Porter 12 November 2018

After the emotions surrounding Remembrance Day and all the heart-tugging posts on social media concerning issues around veterans and families and so on, I needed to create something that was a little fun.

I drew the design yesterday and I’ve spent the past 4 hours colouring it using my set of Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops.

Not digital art this time, just some fun doodleworlds style critters and monsters and objects, along with some geometric designs as well as my trademark arches and swirls and spirals.

I love how all my critters are different and yet close together getting along, even if some of them look a bit grumpy, fierce or angry. We all have emotions, a whole range of them from ecstatic, happy to sad, angry, miserable. It’s like a weird kind of family, friendship photo. Even the single kitty to the left of the tower is part of this group, even though it’s keeping its distance.

Sometimes I need that distance from people, even groups of people I care for. I get overwhelmed so easily. I then need some quiet alone time and space to rest, recoup and recharge. I enjoy time with people I care about; the trade off is feeling drained and tired and exhausted afterwards.

It’s the same with overly emotional days. When I need to rest, recoup and recharge sometimes drawing overly whimsical, cute, simple designs with cheesily cute critters and monsters helps to soothe what’s going on inside me.

I really need a bit of that before I head out for EMDR therapy later on today.

C is for … dangle design

Angela Porter C is for 10 Nov 2018

I don’t know what’s occurring with WordPress, but the colours of this particular dangle design aren’t quite so grey and dull. I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks that when I upload an image the colours change. Never used to do that…

Anyways, today’s dangle design was fun to draw and I chose to use a different color palette than is usually for me. It’s not more pastel, it’s more subdued perhaps. I actually quite like it, which has surprised me!

I do tend towards bright colour palettes, bright and vibrant. For me to choose a more subdued one is very unusual, but it’s something I think I may work with more now as I rather like this one.

Also, I’ve chosen just  7 colors that I’ve used tones/shades of – cool grey, cool violet, antique pink, a blue-green, a yellow-green, soft blue-grey and old gold tones.

Again, using just a few base colors rather than a whole host of different colours is not my usual way of working. What I’m beginning to realise about this is that it gives a much more cohesive look to the finished design. With the colours being more subtle, it also gives a much more grown-up even, dare I say it, more sophisticated look to what is a rather simple and whimsical kind of design. It particularly works well with the monogram ‘C’.

In fact, the cute kitty is really the only whimsical element of this design. The others are simple, yes, but not quite so cute and whimsical. However, I wouldn’t remove the kitty-cat as cats are the theme of this series of monogram dangle designs.

I’ve said it before that I really struggle with seeing my art as others see it. I often think my art, like this, is rather childish, simple, unsophisticated, naive with no real artistic value at all.

This is part of how I think of myself and it’s part of my CPTSD. I’m working on it. For me to recognise that I’ve done nice things, things I feel proud of is a step or two forwards. However, there’s that nasty inner critic that does its best to derail any positive thoughts I may have about myself or the things I do.

Anyways, onto the nitty gritty of how I created this dangle design.

The steps I took were:

  1. sketched out the design on dot grid paper
  2. scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
  3. used a technical pen ‘brush’ to ink in the design
  4. worked out the color palette I wanted to use
  5. coloured the design, in this case using gradient fills for speed
  6. added shadows to the design
  7. created a drop shadow
  8. created a coloured background
  9. added texture to both the design and background

I sketched the design out last night, and it took me between 2 and 3 hours to complete the steps above as this is a relatively small design.

If you’d like to learn how to create your own dangle designs, then my upcoming book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start. You can pre-order it so it’s arrives on it’s release date in January 2019.

B is for … a dangle design

Angela Porter 7 Nov 2018 B is for

B is for birthday balloons, birthday cupcakes, birthday gifts…baking … beads …beautiful cats, beautiful flowers…bullet journal (BuJo)…

It’s Friday and it’s taken me a couple or three days to get this monogram dangle design finished, mainly because yesterday was another jolly jaunty day with Liz (more of that on my other blog – Curious Stops and Tea Shops – when I get to write it, that is).

Today’s dangle design features some cute kitties, as is the theme of my current series of monogram dangle designs.

I started by sketching out my ideas in pencil on dot grid paper then scanning it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. The next step was digitally inking in and adjusting the design. Finally, colour and texture was added to the design before adding my watermarks. My digital tools were my trusty Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

I like the design, not so sure about the colour choices though. I also got a bit heavy handed with the added textures in some places.

After I’ve got my other tasks done today, I think I may print this design out and colour it with my Chameleon markers and see the difference. It looks like we’re going to have some heavy rain and some strong winds here today, so cwtching up indoors with some nice arty stuff to do could be the way to spend some of the day.

Friday means it’s #dangleday. My tutorial book about designing dangles, called ‘A Dangle A Day’ is available to preorder. In it I take you step by step through simple hand lettering, monogram dangle designs, and other kinds of dangle designs, showing how you too can draw and design your own. There’s lots and lots of examples in the book as well as suggestions of how to use them as greeting cards, notecards, bookmarks and framed pictures, as well as in BuJos, planners, diaries, scrapbooks…how to use them is limited only by your creativity!

 

Inktober 2018 Day 27 ‘Thunder’ revisited

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 27 Thunder small

Much happier with my Thunder Kitty!

Re-drawn and coloured digitally. I used my usual digital tools – Microsoft’s Surface Pen and Surface Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Thunder Kitty had to be ginger! I couldn’t resist some rainbow stars and raindrops either, as well as adding to the dangles on the original sketch.

Nice way to spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon after having had a sleep – I really was exhausted after the stress for me surrounding the craft corner at the coffee morning, doing the craft morning and an evening with people, as lovely as all the people were.

The introvert me likes spending time with arty crafty projects.

Inktober 2018 Day 28 ‘Gift’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 28 Gift small

Day 28 of the Inktober challenge and I’ve done another kitty dangle design, with a rather surprised looking kitty in a gift box with a party hat on.

How cute would this be as a greetings card for the human of a kitty?

I sketched the design in pencil on dot grid paper then scanned it into my Surface Studio. I then drew the design using a pen brush and the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. After drawing, I added colour and texture as well as a bit of a drop shadow.

This image makes me smile just a bit. It was a nice thing to do this morning. I’m tired today.

Yesterday, I was absolutely shattered after the Hallowe’en Coffee Morning and being in charge of the craft corner. The little monsters (read little darlings dressed up in their Hallowe’en finery) kept me nicely busy and they seemed to have a lot of fun making pumpkins on glow sticks and paper pumpkins and other things. I had a lot of fun too.

At the end of the morning, it was lovely to have some help to clear up; thankfully my plans on using glue dots and double sided sticky tape and paper fasteners and staples rather than glue sticks helped greatly with this. As did the washable marker pens and the like.

I came home and had some lunch and then slept. On waking I had time to have more tea, shower and get ready to pop out in the evening.

As lovely as my couple of hours out were, I was glad to get home. It was really chilly last night here in South Wales. The cold got into me even in my short journeys; I chilled right off in the morning too. So, today my hands and feet are a tad achy and stiff with arthritis.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pen on the Surface Studio certainly helps my finger joints – so little pressure is needed. The pen is a tad weighty, but it’s rather well balanced so I can cope. On days like today I could do with a slightly thicker barrel, so I need to find some grippy things that I could slide on my pen for days like this.

I do want to work on my sketch of the viking kitty that I did for yesterdays’ Inktober prompt. I need a quiet day of self-care today. Not only was yesterday a busy one for me in terms of interacting with people it was also the end of British Summer Time and the clocks went back by an hour some time during the night. This means we got an extra hour of sleep, in theory. In practice I slept the same amount of time! The change in the clocks will cause confusion for a while I think.

I am an introvert, though people seem to assume I’m an extrovert. I learned at a young age that I had to be loud and seemingly outward going like my very loud brothers to have even a chance of being noticed or listened to (that didn’t happen often). I have a fairly extrovert mask I wear when out and about and with people, until I get to know them and then the introvert can relax and come out. I like people, but I also recognise that I need alone time to recharge my batteries. Being with people both lifts me and drains me. So, today is a day for some quiet time, before I have to head out this evening for a couple of hours to be with people again.

 

Inktober 2018 Day 24 ‘Chop’ and Day 25 ‘Prickly’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 24 Chop and Day 25 Prickly watermarked

Catching up time today for Inktober 2018!

Yesterday I was shattered both from the trip to Worcester the day before and by giving and anti-stigma talk for Time To Change Wales. The talk left me very emotionally exhausted and I was good for nothing the rest of the day.

This morning when I thought of the prompt for yesterday – Chop – I just had this vision of a cute Viking kitten with a big axe (the chop!). It seemed quite natural I should turn that little image into a bit of a dangle design. I tried to draw a round shield beneath the Viking kittie, not sure that’s worked out at all. I like the way the ears poking out of the helmet have ended up looking like horns with some protection around the ears!

In keeping with the theme, I did a prickly looking-cat along with a bunch of cacti. Again another dangle design.

I drew these, with some rough pencil sketchlines, on Clairefaintaine Graf it dotgrid paper using Uniball Unipin pens.

I’ve not cleaned the images up or removed the dot grid. I’ve just left them black and white line art.

Of course, these are quite simple dangle designs in terms of the dangles used. If you’d like to learn more about dangle designs and get loads of ideas on how to draw your own and designs and dangles and charms you can use, you’ll find my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ most helpful. It’s available for preorder and is due out early in 2019.

I know that colour would bring them to life; maybe I’ll do that later on.

It’s not often I get ideas for funny cats to draw. Or funny critters and so on – ones that relate to a particular theme like these. They’re actually fun to draw, give me a smile. and perhaps it’s something I can work on developing as time goes on.

I think everyone knows I love cats and I still miss my companion of over 16 years – the white purrfurrball called Cuffs. I’m not ready to let another pusscat into my life for many reasons, but I do donate the money I would’ve spent on Cuffs’ food, kitty-litter, medication and regular vets bills to the Cats Protection League so that I help other kitties to be looked after until they find their forever homes. It’s the best I can do at this time.

Dear goodness, I’m crying about that now. I’m still emotionally tired out after yesterday and so today is likely to be a day of some self-care.

Bullet Journals

Earlier this week, I had Ryder Carroll’s book ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ –  delivered to my Kindle on it’s release day. I’ve spent some time reading it and have found it a really interesting read so far, not just about bullet journalling.

As I’d started a new bullet journal at the weekend, I thought I’d try out some things, particularly the daily log and the system of symbols used for notes, events and tasks. It all finally makes sense to me, well the daily logs do and seem to be something that will be useful.

I’ve also worked out that dividing pages for the daily logs up into pretty sections and so on isn’t going to work well for me if I use a bullet journal as it’s meant to be used by me. The sections limit the space available for daily notes etc – Some days I need to jot down a lot, other days not so much.

I’m certainly still going to pretty up the Monthly logs and the future log for sure, as well as any collections I create. But the daily logs are going to be far more basic, though I suspect colour will become involved at some point!

I finally get the idea of ‘threading’ after seeing examples in the book.

I certainly can recommend this book (it’s available in other formats) – not just for people wanting to learn about bullet journalling for the first time, but for more seasoned/experience bullet journallers.

I can also see my viking kittie being redrawn in my bullet journal as a cute page I can look at to make me smile. The same for any other cute kitties I have – and I do have a few drawn already! Mind you, they’d be quite nice printed out, coloured and used as markers/inserts in the BuJo too. But I’d like them as greetings cards and notes cards.

Ooooh… I need to make some notes about these ideas in my BuJo!