I’m doing Inktober! I’ve been hearing about Inktober for several years now, watching my friends post their ink drawings on their social media, but didn’t know what it was about. This year I looked it up and decided to do it, though I didn’t get started until October 2nd because I was travelling to VCON, a science-fiction/fantasy convention in Vancouver.
Inktober was started by an artist named Jake Parker, who wanted to improve his inking skills by drawing with ink every day for a month. The idea spread, and now artists all over the world are doing it. Here’s his webpage about it. He’s also got a great you-tube channel, and I’ve kind of been binge-watching his videos. Usually he draws something, which is fascinating to watch, and kind of soothing, too; while he’s drawing on the video, he talks about art business, art philosophy, techniques — all kinds of things.
Anyway! The idea of Inktober is to practice inking skills, and I’ve challenged myself to do my Inktober drawings with inking tools that are not my perfect comfort zone. My usual easy go-to pens are Pigma Microns, but I want more practice with the brush, brush-pen, and dip-pen, so I’ll be using those (and maybe some other things) instead. I’m also planning on trying out some different ideas for composition, like using more solid blacks. So far I’ve mostly been using the brush pen, which is like a cartridge pen with a brush tip instead of a pen nib. It makes everything from big juicy sweeping lines to the tiniest detail. The practice has been doing me good; before, I liked it, but now I’m in love with it!
As I said, the first day of October I was in transit to a convention, and spent the evening setting up my table and getting my art show panel squared away before collapsing gratefully into bed (that hotel had the biggest, fluffiest pillows I’ve ever slept on!). The next day, I heard some people talking about Inktober, and decided that I would do it too. I was planning on demonstrating art-making at the table anyway — they like you to do that in artist’s alley — and I had lots of inking stuff. I have a project of doing animal characters in costume which I’m calling Time Travellers, in anticipation of creating a comic called The Great Time and Space Expedition. So I decided to start with one of those. I asked a fellow artist’s alley person to give me an animal and a time period, and she said rabbits (turns out she raises them, and she told me all about this one very fierce lady bunny) and Vikings. So that’s what I drew for my first Inktober drawing! I didn’t have a scanner along, so used my iPhone to capture the moment.
Later on I coloured her, using watercolour. I found this very soothing, as there wasn’t a lot of traffic on Friday, and the day flew by while I was engaged in making this.
The next day, October 3rd, I was talking with the artist at the next table, and said I was having trouble deciding what to draw — I was in both a dragon and a cat mood (there were lots of both at the convention!). She said, “Why not make a cat-dragon?” — and so I did!
I’m not sure why I made the puddly things at the bottom; it started out to be a shadow, but then looked like melting ice. I decided to take another run at this creature later.
On October 4th, I went to a very entertaining and informative panel about the evolution of dragons, and the fellow who was giving it showed us a picture of a medieval Welsh wyvern, which is a kind of chicken-shaped dragon. The face looked kind of like a bear or dog, and it had bird’s wings instead of the usual bat-shaped ones. It had a look of horror on its face, and what was it looking at? A naked man! Apparently that is what wyverns are the most scared of in the whole world! Anyway, I thought the poor frightened beastie was rather appealing, and decided to draw my own version. He turned out rather cute and cuddly!
On October 5th, I was finishing up a big digital colouring project (which I hope to be able to post about soon), so I needed to make something simple and quick. It was nice to get away from the computer and draw on real paper! The subject of imps came up in conversation, and so I drew an inktober imp — with a seasonal veggie.
On October 6, I had to count an ink drawing that I’d done for the digital project — probably the least exciting of all the inktober drawings, but representative of what I’ve been doing the last few months.
October 7 — The same day as I coloured Wendell Wyvern, I went to a meeting of Kraken Komiks, a new group for Victoria area comics creators we’ve started. One of the things we do is comic jams; I took part in three different pages. The idea of a comic jam is that one person starts a page by drawing one panel, and then it’s passed on to the next person, who takes the story where they think it should go, and so on until the comic is finished. Sometimes they go in some very strange directions! This drawing is the first on the page, and I always like to leave it really open for people to play with the plot.
October 8 — I got ambitious, and decided to try spotting some blacks, which is something that I’ve always found difficult. I didn’t want to get too elaborate with the first one, so kept it simple.
October 9 — I decided to have another go at the cat-dragon, and work on making it a possibility for my colouring book-to-be. I decided to take the melting-ice thing that was happening in the first try, and really go for it. I had a lot of fun making the icebergs (after I looked up pictures of them on the internet — I’ve never actually seen one).
October 10 — It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and the beginning of advance voting for the federal election. So between going out to vote and beginning the pumpkin pies, I found myself short of time again. I decided another little elfin character would be fun, and this little apple sprite appeared on the paper!
Do you see a colouring book theme developing here? I do! I’m now thinking these little guys will be a mini-colouring book which I can give out instead of that horrid cheap chocolate on Halloween.
October 11 — I spent all day cooking! But had just enough time to do this recap of the Missing Button Fairy, which I originally drew as a tiny sketch card.
It’s now past midnight, and I’m excited to see what inky adventure the new day will bring. Inktober is really getting me jazzed up about my pen-and-ink roots — it’s a whole different way of thinking, black and white, no grey tones or colour, at least for the initial drawing. It’s not a requirement of inktober that the drawing be only ink (in fact it’s pretty loose, if you clicked the link at the beginning of this post and read about it), and many people use coloured inks and colour their ink drawing to completion as I have some of these. Still, I think it’s good for me to work on getting the bones of the drawing solidly drawn in black, striving for an elegance of line and the economy of communication that working in only two tones requires. So far, it’s a very enjoyable journey, and one I will continue even after the month ends.