This image was rendered with the #2 Pigma archival ink brush pen and Staedtler pigment 0.1 and 0.05 liners. The drawing is 5.5 inches by 8 inches. This is the second of three owl pieces I completed. If you’re an owl expert (not saying there’s any around these parts but they’re out there somewhere) you may have noticed that this isn’t exactly a faithful rendering. I was interested in attempting to convey something more immediate (or even whimsical) that I associate with those momentary glimpses we so very rarely catch of owls or larger birds in general.
This piece started with a drawing based on a turtle photo I found online. The turtle felt a little lonely sitting all by itself in the middle of the white page so I placed it “under water”. The plants aren’t referenced from anywhere other than vague memories of water plants I’ve seen prior. I utilized a compact composition to create a natural frame whilst allowing some of the drawing to break that framing element. It’s a characteristic I associate with movement and I like the organic atmosphere it engenders.
The Inktober prompts for these were “Whale” and “Flowing”. The vagueness of the terms allowed for any kind of interpretation. I utilised different marking techniques for each of these images but the designs follow a similar footprint. The eye is drawn from the upper left corner into the page and down for both. The downward movement is emphasised through the descending verticals of the “whale tails” in the upper drawing. For the lower drawing the downward movement is created through the use of elongated “ribbons” that serve to direct the gaze. Even though the imagery and marks chosen are different they find a common ground in the compositional movement.
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.
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.