Thursday, October 29, 2015

Inktober 26 Through 28

Here are my scribbles for #Inktober, numbers 26, 27 and 28.

The first of this groups is a study of a pumpkin which really was an experiment in some new colored inks I bought on clearance.  I'm using Yatsumoto Splash Ink (you can find it on amazon here), which are specially formulated colored inks which come with a mixing chart and recipes for mixing just about any color you can imagine.  I'd never used them before.  I mixed up an orange and a purple and gave them a whirl, just to find out how they'd dilute with water, how they'd mix on the page and how they'd differ from watercolor.

I only mixed a tiny bit of each color, but I really liked them, particularly how they layered over each other and had a bit of translucence.   I resisted the urge to go over it with black ink lines, but since I did it in ink, I figured it counted for Inktober!

The next two pieces build on a different kind of scribbling I've been doing this month.  To counterbalance the precise outline sorts of drawings I've done for Inktober, I've also done some loose, abstract experiments with watercolors.

I've been scribbling--just making marks on paper, pouring paints, layering with water, testing various effects.  Just learning, learning, what the paints will do.

Every now and then I look down and see something emerging from the shapes.  So for my next two Inktober pieces, I went ahead and drew with dip pen on top of the watercolors, just to see what would come out.

The first is a close-up of some fall leaves.

Lots of those everywhere around my home right now.  In terms of the watercolor, I love how the blue ran and bloomed in the background.  Once it dried, I put in the other colors, wet and thick and tipped the paper so they would run.  Then I followed the lines and shadows  in the dried version to pull out the leaves.

The next one is a little more abstract.   I soaked the paper and then took little bits of color I had left on my palette.  I laid it into one edge with a brush, then tipped the paper around so it would flow.  Then I let it dry.

When I looked at the page, all I could see was this thinking man and the doorway behind him.  So, I just used a little ink to bring him out.

Looking for shapes in abstract, almost happenstance, color blobs is a little like looking for shapes in the clouds.  The associative, imaginative nature of it feels wonderfully freeing.  And even though the painted shapes don't move like clouds do, changing the angle of the paper reveals new shapes in much the same way.

There's something meditative about it all.

Only a few more drawings to go in Inktober!  I wonder what I will draw next?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Inktober 22 Through 25

I'm entering the final days of #Inktober.  I was thinking the other day that I'd be sad to see it go, when I reminded myself that I can keep drawing with just ink as long as I want!

Yay for sketchbooks and art!

Scribble #22 was a heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be when I said to myself, "hey, why not try drawing a chip clip?"  But I confess to feeling pride in this sketch.  I paid super close attention to the highlights on the plastic and I think that helped me capture the shape so it didn't just get lost in the single color.

And here's another example of the spiritual benefits of sketching:  I really was impressed with the chip clip's design.  I still am.  I have a bunch of these things around the house, but seriously, I had never looked at one up close and person to see how it worked.  I'm amazed that people figure this stuff out.  I don't have that kind of brain.

After the chip clip, drawing some quick portraits seemed easy!  Scribble #23 depicts some of my artist friends.

Some of my artist friends at an ink blot.  I was using a new dip pen and some new slick paper.  And I had more than one blot throughout the day.

The next day, for scribble #24, I used the same ink pen and ink on the same thin slick paper, but I wet the whole thing down with clear water first.  I just wanted to see what would happen, you know?

Frankly, what happened was kind of cool.  I had very little control over which way the ink actually went, what blotted and where.  But it made a fun, energetic picture of the woods behind my house.

For Inktober special #25, I decided to try drawing a short comic.  It depicts a colleague who occasionally comes to the Open Studio I'm a part of.  And am always so grateful for.  

You actually read it top to bottom, left to right, though it works both ways.

Anyhow, she was discouraged about some of her sketching attempts and actually said these things.  

Happily, though the comic ends there the story does not!  She brought her concerns to the table and met with tons of encouragement and empathy and shared stories!  Then we threw some basic art supplies at her, with some non-scary drawing ideas, and before we split for the day, she had completed a lovely abstract, her first watercolor, and had experienced a waterbrush pen for the first time.

This is why you come to a table.  This is a sort of communion, a feeding of each other.

I'm pleased with the comic, which I did in dip pen and got all kinds of blots all over because it captured an important moment for her as an artist that turned out better than it might have.

We must encourage each other all the time.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inktober 19 Through 21

My adventures continue during the #Inktober challenge.

I arrived early for a meeting the other day.  That sort of thing used to annoy me as wasted time.  Or I'd spend it looking at Facebook.  But, since I started sketching in early 2014, I look forward to such moments.  What can I draw, what can I draw?  Only in the last few months have I been able to render a car that looks like a car.  And in just a few minutes too!

I returned to practicing some more comics for #20, though. This poor witch's broom is shaking uncontrollably.  Why?  I have no idea!  Could be she is shaking it.  Perhaps it is shaking her.  Maybe it is afraid of her, or afraid of the tree behind her.  Was the broom made from the wood of the tree?  Is that why the tree seems to be reaching toward it?  Don't know.  One of the fun things about drawing characters from imagination is the stories that you can make up about them later.

Drawing #21 is another comic, of course, but this one is inspired by a person I know and very much admire.  It only sort of looks like her, but I drew it quickly while attending a meeting she was leading.  And no!  I wasn't scribbling comics because I was bored!  This is my way of note-taking, actually (I love Sketchnoting, and if you want to learn more about that you can find it here).

I would love to be able to draw comics versions of people I know.  Maybe that's the next thing for me to play with, during or after Inktober!

It's a fun twist to sketching from life, paying attention, and capturing what's happening in life!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Inktober 15 Through 18

Continuing along the #Inktober journey...  drawing only with ink.

After doing so many scribbles with only ink, suddenly I got the urge to draw comics again.  I haven't done any comics, not really, in about two years.  Since before I started keeping a sketchbook.  I wondered if I'd be any better at it, having done nearly 1000 scribbles based on observation in the last two years.

This kid  is the first person who came out.  I have no idea who he (or she?) is, or why the call to "wait."  Perhaps this is a character in need of a story?

At about the same time a friend handed me Kate Beaton's latest book, Step Aside, Pops!  (You can see her work online here.)  I love her style, so I decided to copy some of her characters as a sort of mentoring session.   Just to warm my comics muscles back up some.

The next day I spent some more time copying her characters.  I have pages and pages of them, but I'm only going to share one spread here.  What you see below is one page of me copying from Beaton (on the right) and then a page (which I taped in from loose scrap paper) of me drawing some of my own characters based on Beaton's style.

Just like the kid with the pumpkin at the top of this post, I don't know who any of these middle aged gentlemen are.  Characters waiting for a story, maybe?  Maybe one of them is the person the kid is telling to "wait"? I don't know.

But I rather liked the goateed man in the top middle, so my next ink drawing worked more on him.

I don't know what he is attempting to explain.  Or to whom.  But that just showed up as I drew him.  So, fine.

I am a little surprised that the inktober game of doing 31 ink drawing in a month suddenly became a renewal of my interest in drawing comics (instead of sketching from life) but that's okay.  I'm going to keep letting whatever happens happen, and see where I am at the end of the month!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Inktober 12 through 14

And here are the next installments in #Inktober 2015!

In these drawings, I continued to scribble my way through some new things.

First up, I drew from a photo (with permission) which appeared on a friend's Facebook page of her donkey.  I used several different black ink pens for this one, just to see what I'd think of the combination of line and shade.

The wonky perspective of the photo intrigued me.  I know lots of people prefer drawing from life--as do I, most of the time.  But I was grateful for the still image to capture the perspective so I could really have a good long look at it, as I drew it.

Isn't it funny how angles of sight make things look so very different?  No wonder four witnesses to the same event never give the same story!

Scribble #13 also came from a photo, which I took in my back yard last winter.  I started with my Noodler's Ahab flex pen, but it suddenly fell apart in my hands (that was messy--but I saved the drawing!).  I'm not sure what happened with the pen.  I've used it reliably for a long time.  But nothing broke and I put it back together, refilled it, and continued on.

For the red, I just grabbed the closest red pen I could find, which was some sort of gel pen.

In the last month or so I've done several detailed drawings of trees and their bark, so in this sketch, I intentionally devoted my time to capturing the bird's patterns as accurately as possible.  I only scribbled in the major line patterns on the tree.

And finally for this post, Inktober #14, a pinecone, done with an inexpensive but fun green Pilot Varsity fountain pen.

So, here's a weird thing:  I find pine cones nearly impossible to scribble.

I can do slow detailed fairly accurate sketches about almost anything.  But not pine cones.  And it's not that the pine cone drawing isn't "good"--I don't really care about that.  Most of my scribbles don't look a whole lot like the thing I'm scribbling.

No.  It's just that I seem to dislike using pine cones as models.

When I draw a pine cone, I get bored really fast.  Really fast.  And then I stop looking and start making stuff up.  I don't do that with almost anything else I draw.  But I do it every time I draw a pine cone.

I wonder why that is?

Anyhow, Inktober continues to be lots of fun.  I'm trying new tools.  I'm using new subjects.  I'm seeing and thinking about new things.

I am also reminded, amid all the bad news coming from the media all the time, that life really is cool and fun and spectacular.  I mean, life on this planet includes this donkey, this bird, and this pine cone!  My gosh!  Amazing!!

And that's the point of scribbling with spirit!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Inktober 8 through 11

Keeping up my #Inktober scribbles!

First is a sketch of a spiky gourd-like thing that a friend of mine has on her table for decoration.  Actually she has a good dozen of these baseball-sized green seed pods.  I asked her what they were.  She said the guy who sold them to her simply called them "hedgehogs."  So if anyone knows what they are, we'd be glad to hear!

I set myself two challenges with this drawing.  The first was to use a pen I bought a while ago and never used:  a pen with two tips in two colors, one black and one a midtone gray.   So using that was easy enough, though I need to think more about better ways to use that gray.  More practice needed!

The second challenge with this drawing was to scribble the whole thing using only lines that followed the shapes of the parts, and no outlines.  I have to share, I'm pretty proud of pulling that off.  You can see the overall shape of this thing, but I didn't draw any outer edges!  In fact, I think the drawing turned out better that way.  I'm not sure such a complex overlapping thing with so many spiky parts would have turned out at all if I'd try to draw edges.  Anyhow, it was an interesting experiment which I'm going to try again soon.

Next up, a funky perspective drawing I did of my nephew while he checked out his recent texts.  I again used the new dual tip black and gray pen.  He was a good sport, not moving at all while I captured him in these quick scribbles.  

The challenge for me here, aside from simply trying to capture a human being, was moving fast, because I didn't want to inconvenience him!  I find it hard to draw people who are posing.  I feel so responsible for not making them feel badly with whatever scribbly thing comes out of my pen.  I much prefer drawing strangers in public!  Needless to say, this doesn't look anything like my nephew, but I really liked many parts of it!  And paying attention to hands and shadows!  My goodness, how hard such common things are to draw!

Inktober scribble #10 is a super quickie based on fast gesture sketches of ducks and seagulls hanging out in the grass of a local park.  I did this with a #33 brush pen (Kuretake?).  It came out more cartoon-y than I anticipated.  But, dang, if it doesn't catch my happy mood about the whole thing.  I really did enjoy watching them watching me, to see if I'd brought them any food.  The one duck's stare continued unabated.  Evidence, I think, of him living in perpetual hope.  The gull got bored with me pretty quickly and returned to self-care.

And finally, for today's post, anyhow,  Inktober #11 depicts a little magical realism.  It is my left foot in my favorite running shoes (I actually ran in these shoes, during a brief period of insanity about two years ago).  I used a Namiki Vanishing Point pen filled with Noodler's Saguaro Wine ink.  This color captures the color of the shoe perfectly, but I decided to use it for the whole drawing anyhow.  Well, except for the magical bubble accents in a green.  I used a Pilot Varsity fountain pen for that.

I can't quite explain where the magical bubbles came from.  Probably some sort of "Glinda the Good Witch" imagery buried deep in my  brain.  As I thought about how much I loved those shoes, the notion just popped into my head to try to represent their magical powers, and this is what came out.

I did have fun trying to work out how to represent all the dark tones and textures with one color and different hatching.

Little games or challenges like Inktober are such great creativity starters.  Short, focused, intense exercises with "rules" that limit you keep you motivated and challenged and stretch your creativity to find new ways to innovate inside of the rules of the game.  

Inktober rocks!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Inktober 5 through 7

Here are my #Inktober drawings numbers 5, 6, and 7.

A portrait of part of a tree.

Super interesting spatter effect.

Next, a pot, with a smidgeon of colored ink.

I forgot the black ink I used wasn't waterproof and so got some smudging.

Finally, a guy and a galaxy.

I pulled out a dual tip black and gray pen and a sepia pen for this one.

I look forward to more experiments with ink.  It is pushing me--I felt a pretty strong desire to pull out the watercolors and make these look more like my "usual" scribbling work.  But I'm resisting, at least for a bit!  In particular, working with the pens and fewer colors is making me pay attention to light and dark tones more carefully.  And the direction of shapes, which I need to follow with contour lines.

A "game" like Inktober does stretch your creativity.  The more confined the rules are, the more you have to be creative to work within them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Inktober 2 Through 4

Here my #Inktober scribbles, numbers 2, 3, and 4.

A person named Joe.

A backlit selfie with my dog Nik.

A squash.

In the squash picture I graduated from just using a pen, a tool with which I'm pretty familiar, to brush and dilution.  I know, basic stuff for people who work in pen and ink, but I've never done it.

Yesterday I went into my stash of art supplies and dug out a bunch of pens and inks which I haven't used in a long time.  If I'm going to do 31 ink drawings in 31 days, I figure it's a good time to try out some of the ink-y supplies, right?

I'm looking forward to more drawings in ink and the new challenges in seeing and scribbling this challenge will bring!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Inktober Begins

I'm going to try to complete #Inktober this month.  So I'll be putting drawings up here.

You can learn more about it here and give it a try!

The basics:  31 drawings in 31 days.  In ink.

So here is day one.

I doubt I will do all portraits.  But lately I've been drawing people from photos in magazines, so maybe I'll keep up with the people for a while.

It does make me look at them much more closely!