Happy Inktober!

Once again, folks, it’s time to indulge ourselves in an ocean of ink. I participated for the first time last year in Inktober, which is a month-long challenge started by Jake Parker to make art in ink, and to help artists “develop positive drawing habits”. The idea is to pick an area in your drawing that you want to improve, or a project you want to complete, or an idea you want to expand, and work steadily throughout the month to achieve their goal.

Last year I was kind of all over the place; I did draw, in ink, every day, but I was trying out lots of different ideas and techniques. I guess you could say I was exploring the land of ink. You can see my posts about it here, and my Facebook page has an album devoted to my complete Inktober drawings for last year.

In February, I participated in the Opus Daily Practice challenge, and ended up making a little book from the results called “Practice”. You can see all the pages from that on the Facebook album I made for that challenge.

So here I am, in the throes of the final, intense work—the last few excruciating, tense days—of finishing a book. What on earth am I doing starting a challenge at this time? Well, I may be a bit mad, but there are several reasons. One: Inktober, like the tide, waits for no one (although I did start a day late last year)! Two, I’ve got another one of those little Moleskine Japanese Albums that’s been begging me to fill it, and it has just the right number of pages. Three, when I get to the end of a big project, I sometimes feel adrift, and don’t go into the studio for days or even weeks; kind of a postpartum blues for artists. I think overlapping this challenge will help me keep the creative drive going.

I’ve long been thinking of doing an album of animals, since I have an extensive collection of little animal models, mostly from Wild Safari, which I started collecting for my drawing classes to use as models rather than photographs, in order to learn to work from 3-dimensional objects. They’re so beautiful that I’ve gotten kind of hooked on them. So I decided that this Inktober that would be my project, and that I would select my animal models using the Inktober prompt words.

Well! today the word was “fast”, and wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t buy the cheetah model last time I was at Michaels (my main source, every time I have a coupon). So I looked up “world’s fastest animal” (I love the internet) and discovered that the cheetah is only the world’s fasted mammal! I didn’t actually have a model of a Peregrine Falcon, either, but Google Images came through with a great many photos.

Inktober 2016 1.jpg

I started the drawing in terra-cotta Col-erase pencil, then inked it. The drawing is small, 3.5 x 5.5 inches.

When I work from internet photos, I try to use several of them as reference for my drawing, so that I’m not exactly copying any of them. Looking at many different sides of an animal gives you a good idea of what bits you can move around to get the pose you want, and still keep it realistic. Since I was going for simplifying here, I mainly used one photo from Pinterest, but changed the feet a bit and made it a lot more cartoony. I could have gotten caught up for hours in the beautiful feather markings, but made myself just convey the essential idea: Fast. I’ll probably add some more colour when I decide on the colour scheme for the book as a whole, but will leave it at this for now.

Doubtless my drawings will be getting more detailed as I go (and as I have more time) but the important thing to me is that I’ve made a start. I’m also going to commit to posting these every day here, to get my blogging back on track. How’s that for multi-tasking?

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