Inktober Week 1: where’s my pencil?

Recently I stumbled across Inktober: an invitation to all artists to create 1 ink piece per day during the month of October. It’s a great challenge and for me a way to get just a little bit more confident. I prefer straight up grey pencils to just about anything else if you give me the choice. They’re versatile, i feel in control, I can back up and reinterpret, and it’s pretty darn forgiving. Sketching in pencil is my safety zone as an artist, I’ve been working on it ever since I could hold a pencil in my little infant hands.

Ink feels different. I love working with ink, particularly pens. I have a steady stream of Sakura Pigma Micron pens on me ever since I first started using them to label specimens at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology. Ink gives a nicely defined line and bold contrast that feels really satisfying to me, BUT it’s hard to make that commitment!

I love the ability to hem and haw in pencil, and pen just doesn’t play nicely that way.  Normally in my work I will fuss at my art in pencil THEN commit to pen only once I’m really sure. This is fun and all, but sometimes in my frustration and erasing can actually get into damaging the paper and just making a muddy mess. I’m trying to take this drawing a day thing as a prompt to loosen up a little and not have such a death grip on what I want to see on the paper. Let’s look at week 1!

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Octopuses are a natural choice for me. Hardly any need for pencils here, and I actually used a brush with ink. This is maximum “well, I might mess this up completely!” anxiety.

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I love drawing my little monster guys doing whatever it is that might be going on in my head, possible or not.

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I love bats, though i normally draw far more China-inspired critters than this. Instead I was looking at photos of very adorable big eared bats from the UK. 

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I love skulls, and a bottle of Noodler’s brown ink I have, though I always feel reluctant to bust it out. I worry about being clumsy and spilling it while I’m working, but that’s what this month is about. While I was at it, I took my tiny spalding fountian pen to get in that turquoise. I love the color combination.

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I made a painting years ago of cuttlefish drinking beer. I ‘ve never returned to the subject, but I really enjoy it, so I figured playing with a cephalopod with multiple bottles was worth a go. Definitely feeling this out for a larger piece.

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I keep coming back to skulls. Maybe because we all have them? Maybe because it’s what’s under the surface? I don’t really know. They’re fun though.

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I hate to break it to you, but drawing people often feels like twisting my arm. I don’t normally want to do it. I don’t feel comfortable with it, and most of the time I feel like it’s not very interesting. But then I am out and about and see someone looking fabulous or being amazing and I just want to put it down on paper. I seriously wish I opted to swap out the marker for a finer pen while working on this one earlier in the process. Oh, and I still don’t like drawing people.

My favorite is definitely the Socktopus, but that makes sense since it was the one I had the most time to work on, and a more defined work surface. The rest of these were all started or completed on the road while out and about.

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