Christmas Dangle Design

©Angela Porter
Design from ‘A Dangle A Day’, authored and illustrated by Angela Porter

It’s Friday so it’s #dangleday. Today, I wanted to share a Christmas Dangle with you from my book ‘A Dangle A Day’. In the book I show how this design was drawn, step by step.

When I created this design, I first drew it in pencil on dot grid paper. The next step for me was to scan it in to the computer and then re-draw it step-by-step, saving each step as I went. For the book, the final step was to colour the design and then write the instructions to go with the images. My tools for this were a Microsoft Surface Book, a Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

I wanted to include as many Christmas-themed charms to create the dangles as I could and still keep the design balanced. I also kept the length of the dangles uneven. The waviness in the ends of the dangles echoes the waviness of the fairy lights above the hand lettered word ‘Christmas’.

What I did this morning was to print the black and white line art design on an A4 sheet of paper. Then I used Chameleon Duo Tones and Color Tops markers to colour it in.

These pens make it easy to create gradations of colour, such as on the hand lettering. These gradations add ‘dimension’ to the charms and dangles. I keep the darker shades to the left and bottom of the designs so that there’s a consistency across the whole image. I also used a pale grey marker to add drop shadows to the left and bottom of the design elements; again this helps to add dimension to the design.

Finally, I added some highlights with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I also added some sparkles around the fairy lights and individual stars with a gold glitter Uniball Signo gel pen. After all, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some sparkle!

Used individually with a monogram or Christmassy image the dangles would make lovely book marks. Printed at A5 in size, the design would make a fabulous BuJo page for the big day itself. It would also make a lovely design for greetings cards or note cards.

Of course, it would be easy to change the word at the top to, perhaps, Winter or Yule and use fewer dangles to suit the length of the word. Personally, I like to use an odd number of dangles wherever possible – it gives a more balanced design.

Christmas comes early to the Porter household!

My advance copy arrived this morning!

Oooh! Excitement!

A knock at the door, a Fed-Ex delivery driver asking me for a signature before handing over a parcel. I saw it was from Lydia at Quarto so knew it would be a copy of ‘A Dangle A Day’. So excited to open the package and see the book in a solid, tangible form.

A Dangle A Day is due for release on 8 January 2019.

I’ve seen the pdf versions of the book as it was put together before going to print. But, it’s never, ever the same as having that book in my hands.

Even more so today as this is my first book with words and art done by myself. I trust it won’t be the last.

About the book

I had a lot of fun creating this book. I’m so excited about helping others to create their own dangle designs and to gain confidence that they, too, can create lovely designs for use in all kinds of ways – BuJo pages and spreads, greetings cards, note cards, framed pictures, scrapbooks, planners, journals, bookmarks, place cards, and more.

I’ve done my best to show you how to create monograms and dangle designs in easy steps both visually and with some supporting words.

Suggestions about how to approach hand lettering is scattered throughout the step by step instructions for the dangle designs.

Examples of dangle designs in use in bullet journals and more are included – with all their imperfections. Remember, work created by each of us will be perfectly imperfect. It’s those imperfections that make it uniquely ‘you’.

There’s lots and lots of examples of designs and dangles and charms that you can use as they are or as inspiration for other designs. There are designs for all seasons and many, many different events throughout the year.

I’ve included suggestions for color palettes, media to use.

A short primer for bullet journals is included; I’m no expert on bullet journaling but I do make use of one and find it very useful not just in organising my tasks for the day but in recording ideas, reflections, memories and more. 

This has put a big smile on my face this morning, and that smile will continue for a long while. I never thought I’d write and illustrate an art tutorial book. I’d thought I’d like to, but didn’t have the confidence to think it would be so. 

Why I chose to use digital tools

I made great use of my Microsoft Surface Book and Microsoft Surface Studio along with a Microsoft Surface Pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to draw many of the designs. Working digitally made editing designs, breaking the design process down into simple steps so easy. 

I used to think, as many do, that digital art is simpler, easier than traditional forms of art.

It’s not.

The skill set required is different. I wanted my digital drawing and coloring to look like I’d done it with traditional media.

Digital drawing is no easier than drawing on paper.

What is easier is correcting mistakes, smudges and removing pencil lines. It removes the frustration I experience in scanning images in and spending a lot of time cleaning the image up for the publishers. Scanning can be a frustration for me too, which would’ve been worse if I’d had to scan in step after step after step. And having to re-draw if I’d missed a step out, or re-scan would’ve driven me nuts.

What I didn’t want was artwork that looked too perfect, too inhuman. I wanted digital drawings that looked like I’d drawn them on paper. So, I worked hard to set up pen ‘brushes’ that would mimic how my favoured drawing pens would look when drawn on paper.

Also, I rarely used any line smoothing tools for any of the work so it has that slightly ‘wobbly’ line appearance that my pen and ink linework has. I also kept the design elements, called charms, imperfect just as they would be if I’d drawn them with pen on paper.

In fact, each and every design started out as either a pen or pen drawing on paper which was scanned in so I could re-create it, step by step, digitally, saving a file for each step to the computer.

There were plenty of revisions/edits required and colour changes. Again, working digitally make this a less onerous task than if I’d had to do everything with pen and ink on paper, scanning in each step all the while worrying I hadn’t missed a step as I got engrossed in the process of drawing.

Working digitally did not make the drawing any easier or simpler, what it did was allow me a different way to draw the steps.

Coloring the designs digitally was no quicker than with traditional media, in fact it took me longer! I learned a lot about this process by doing this book, and I think it was the book that allowed me to become more comfortable with digital art and how to make it look like I’d drawn with pen on paper, in my own style.

Of course, I can print out the line art and colour it with any media I choose. I also can redraw any using traditional media. And of course, adjusting the size is so easy. 

December Dangle Design for BuJo

It’s Friday, so that means it’s #dangleday! As it’s the last day of November it seems appropriate that I design a dangle design that would look fantastic as the monthly title page for a BuJO, journal, planner or just a fun design to color and frame or, printed out smaller, used on a greetings card.

As usual these days, I sketched the design out on dot grid paper and then scanned it in. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and a technical drawing pen ‘brush’ to ink the design, as well as make adjustments to the design.

The final steps were to add a background colour and watermark it for sharing on the internet.

Naturally, I used my Microsoft Surface Pen along with my Microsoft Surface Studio to do the digital drawing. I think I’m going to print this design out so it will fit in my BuJo and colour it with traditional media.

I’m going to make this available as a coloring template in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. So, if you’d like to download and print the template, pop along to the group and join in!

This is quite a complex dangle design to look at, but it’s not that complex to create. In my book ‘A Dangle A Day’, released on 8 January 2019, I take you step by step through the process with loads and loads of examples of monograms and dangle designs for all seasons and all occasions, along with ideas of how to use them. There’s also a fair number of tips and encouraging words within the book.

If you do download, print and colour this design, I’d love to see how you’ve coloured and used it! You can find me on twitter, Instagram and facebook.

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 27 ‘Thunder’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 27 Thunder

A very quick one today. No finesse, No refining. Just Thor the thunder kittie…

Why very quick? I have a busy day. Soon to head to shower to dash out to run a craft corner at a Hallowe’en Coffee morning. I’m really nervous about it and scared that what I’ve chosen to do in terms of crafts won’t be good enough.  I’ve most probably bought way too much in the way of materials and so on..but I hope it will be good enough.

Then it’ll be home for a bit before heading out this evening to do a talk.

I’m also feeling really tired – that’s down to the stress involved in the craft corner. I’ve not done anything like this since I was a teacher and that was over 3 years ago now. As well as worrying about  not being good enough, I’m worrying about being overwhelmed, finding it all too noisy, having too many demands made on me by too many kids or adults at the same time.

I want to do this. It’s for a good cause. But I also worry that I may have volunteered too quickly without thinking through things taking into account my introvert nature and the CPTSD.

I suspect this afternoon will involve a long, long nap.

Anyways, I drew a Kitty Thor as it was just what popped into my head when I saw the prompt ‘Thunder’. It’s following on in the theme of whimsical kitties. It’s also a bit of a dangle design with an Angela ‘take’ on the design of Thor’s hammer, with another nestling behind the kitty sparking madly!

I did sketch quickly in pencil and inked in with a Faber-Castell broadpen.

You can still see the dot grid!

Inktober 2018 Day 18 ‘Bottle’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 18 Bottle

Not just one bottle, but several!

This was a fun one to draw – Faber-Castell Broad pen on paper. Scanned in to the Surface Studio to clean it up and print it out so I could colour it using Chameleon Color Tone and Color Tops marker pens.

I added some highlights with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I’m a bit later than usual posting the Inktober image today. I had quite a few errands to run today, including a slightly worrying recall to the opticians for photographs or my eyes, even though I only had them done around 4 weeks ago. It wasn’t pictures of my retina and optic nerve the optician wanted – it was images of the front of my eyes due to me having a wobbling blood vessel in one.

I had planned on popping into the opticians as I’d managed to drop one pair of distance glasses on a tarmac floor and had chipped the lenses (which I’d had for less than a week!) and so needed to have replacement lenses. That was the easy part…

They had trouble getting the camera to work to take pictures of the front of my eyes, so I have to have the process done on Saturday when I pick up my glasses with the new lenses in as the optician will have set the camera up. If it still won’t work, she’ll inspect my eyes with a ‘slit test’ I think it was.

I’ve never had such thorough eye tests/examinations before. I’m well impressed! And it’s with Specsavers! I’ve never had an optician comment on my differently pigmented eyes before either – one eye is mostly a light brownish-green with a small wedge of brown, the other is about half brown and the rest the same light brownish-green  as t’other eye.

Someone I met a long time ago described me as having ‘mutant eyes’ and asked if he could use them for a character in a sci-fi book he was writing. I didn’t have a problem with that!

Oh, they have no effect on my vision at all. It’s just a different level of pigmentation that has been, as far as I know, always there.

I also found out this time that my optic nerves are tilted a bit more upwards than is usual but it doesn’t affect my vision, just something noted of curiosity.

Perhaps this is why there’s an eyeball or two appearing in my latest drawings!

Anyways, my eyesight functions very well, apart from the need for glasses as I’ve aged. I’m sure the wobbling blood vessel isn’t anything to worry about either.

I’ve also ordered some beaded ‘chains’ to attach to my glasses so they don’t fall off my nose when I’m looking down again!

So, an unexpectedly extended visit to the opticians along with some shopping in the local town put me all out of sync today, but if nothing else I got my Inktober challenge of the day done!

Inktober 2018 Day 17 ‘Swollen’

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 17 Swollen coloured

The first thing that popped into my weird head when I read the prompt ‘swollen’ was a puffer fish! I know … weird is the right word.

So, I had to draw one of my entangled drawings incorporating a puffer fish, lots of coral reef and sea inspired images, and a few cute monsters and critters – including a white cat and a pink badger (don’t ask!).

It took a couple of hours to draw the outline using a Faber-Castell broadpen on Rhodia dot grid paper.

I scanned the drawing into GiMP, removed the dot grid and created a transparent background.

The final step, which has taken around 4 hours, is to digitally colour the image.

It’s certainly bright and colourful, though if it wasn’t an Inktober challenge I’d want to go back and add some added textures and shadows to the image. But it’ll do for now as it is.

I also would like to add some patterns in black pen to some of the more ‘flat’ areas of the design, such as the bodies of the sea anemones.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio to colour the image.

#created on surface #autodesksketchbookpro #inktober #inktober2018