When I was growing up I read a multitude of children’s and young adult books with great illustrations. I continue to find something very appealing about that particular combination of story and imagery. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about interpreting the suggested themes for Inktober is how illustrative the finished drawings feel to me. Though they don’t exist in the context of a story I can see them as such. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part. I only noticed it in hindsight. I suppose everything we do is influenced (in ways too numerous to count or even clearly remember) by all that we’ve been exposed to.
The techniques used here are traditional drawing approaches. You can see some crosshatching, scumbling, and stippling. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as using a “good” or “bad” mark (social or political symbols excluded) whilst drawing as long as the marks are applied in a way that effectively reaches the desired conclusion.
Here are three more scans from my 2018 Inktober series. I kept the preliminary pencil work to a minimum attempting to use it specifically for defining overall sections or linear elements rather than detailing. That worked fine for organic material like plants but when it came to anatomy…not so much. That wasn’t a big deal in this context. As an exercise in exploring techniques it’s more interesting figuring out what can be done with the tools at hand rather than meeting a specific aesthetic.
A number of years ago I worked for a giftware company bulk painting folk art items for retail. It was piece work so the more pieces you painted the more money you made. It wasn’t particularly challenging for technique. The pieces had to be simple so they could be mass produced but I did pick up some nifty tricks (floating, double loading, tole patterning) that are fun to revisit every once in awhile. I’m crafty keen about Christmas. I make my own fresh evergreen planters, decorative wreaths, and ornaments.
Ornament creation is a great activity to incorporate some of those folk techniques. I usually use whatever things I have lying around. I work with low viscosity (craft/folk art) paint and I don’t finish varnish. The two ornaments hanging from the lights on either side of the fireplace were made with some old plywood odds and ends. The figures are intended to look as if they’re parachuting down into Christmas.
They’re probably not what you would traditionally think of as ornaments because they’re quite large.
Here’s a closer look at the Jester in a Box whilst hung to provide a better idea of the scale.
I used metallic string to join the two pieces in a fun way.
These ornaments have much more detail than any of the bulk work I did whilst painting giftware.
Looking at the back it’s easier to see just how rough the scrap plywood is (I only sanded the cut sides) but I like that for these pieces. It’s an approach that falls into that homespun handmade feel that I associate with Christmas.
Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. I didn’t make the whole 30 days but an attempt was made. I chose to use an 8 inch by 5.5 inch sketchbook. The sketches were completed using Staedler pigment liners and a Pigma brush pen. I’m still on my first brush pen and I’m enjoying the opportunity to make a broader variety of marks in comparison to the finer tipped pigment liners.
I’ve been experimenting with my printer scanning function trying to create digital copies that are true to the originals. I’m not entirely there yet. All three of these images were scanned using document scan settings (two in B&W and one in colour) instead of photo scan settings. You can see a marked difference in how the printer records the information. The document settings result in less “noise” so the whites are a truer white (not so much a textured grey). There is some loss of mid-tones using the B&W document copy settings. The colour document copy settings accentuate the brush pen marks making them appear more distinct than in the original piece but the colours are closer to that original. I did add watercolour to the third sketch so I don’t know if it truly follows the Inktober parameters. The composition wasn’t going to work without it and I didn’t have any coloured pens.