This crow study was completed in my small (5 1/2 by 8 in) sketchbook. Rather than using a pigment (ink) pen this image was rendered with a brush, Speedball Super Pigmented Acrylic Ink, and acrylic paint. Using a brush with the acrylic ink allows for the opportunity to make a variety of marks without changing tools. The super black ink is highly opaque when undiluted but I also used it as a wash here to create different tones. I opted to work from dark to light and layered acrylic paint on top of the ink to flesh out the image.
This watercolour sketch is based on a photograph I took a couple of summers ago. An enormous toad would come out after dark and sit on the back patio. He was a bit of a stoic chunky bumpy blob who couldn’t be bothered to move even as I took a couple of flash photos. I started the sketch by keeping a light hand layering in the background and basic shape. When those sections were dry I added a bit more character using the accent of darker markings.
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.
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.
Sticky, humid, and bug filled days worked as a bit of encouragement to spend more time inside over the summer. This sketchbook selection was sourced from a photograph I took in the spring several years ago. It’s pretty common around here to find Dutchman’s breeches spreading out on the woodland floor pushing aside last year’s fallen leaves. The underlying drawing was created using a Staedler pigment liner and a Pigma Graphic ink pen. I used acrylic paint to finish the piece. Because I was working inside I was able to do a couple of scans of the work in progress.
The Pearce Park is just up the road from where I live and it affords a limited access (the area is a bit unstable because of erosion) to the bluffs along the Lake Erie shoreline. The first sketch below was done last autumn and depicts the view from the outlook path over the cliffs. I was looking at the sketch a couple of days ago and in hindsight found it a little “flat” so I added some colour. The second drawing is a rendering of crown imperials that are growing in the garden at the side of my house. Crown imperials bloom around the same time as trilliums so it’s usually a solid sign that spring (thankfully) has definitely arrived.