My 3 years of Inktober – Part 2


Process from photo to sketch to ink

I started with a photo, created a pencil sketch, then refined the sketch in ink.

A look into the 2017 Process

Jake’s 2017 prompts came out a week before October 1st. I added them to my trello board and started thinking.

First, I had to decide on a theme. I enjoyed learning about the bird subjects for my 2016 drawings. It was fun to share the things I learned in the Instagram captions and I knew that I’d want to continue that. The bird theme was a blast, but I wanted a little more variety. I went with marine life so that I would have a wider range of plants and animals to choose from. The marine life theme was a bit close to what I’d done with my Pier 9 series so I tried to stay away from specific subjects I’d already done.

Next, I had to think about what type of drawing I wanted to do. I decided on larger sketches. I limited my materials to a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen to focus more on line work. Any grays in my drawing would need to come from hatching. To keep me from being precious about my drawings, I decided to do them all on newsprint. It’s cheap. I don’t have to worry about wasting paper if a drawing doesn’t turn out.

Newsprint, brush pen, pencil, and eraser on a desk.

My Inktober drawing tools: newsprint, brush pen, pencil, and kneaded eraser.

Once I decided on the style I was going for and what inking tools I wanted to use, I paired marine life with the prompts. For some it was a clear choice. For others, I listed several options to decide between as the month played out. In a those cases when I had no idea what to use, I turned to Wikipedia. It was so fun learning about all the amazing creatures that live in our seas

I scoured Google Images looking for the right photo to draw. My requirements were:

  1. The organism must be alive and in its natural habitat. No catch-of-the-day photos!
  2. The photo must include a credit to the photographer.

It’s very important to me to give credit where credit is due when I draw from a photo that’s not my own. I used Google’s Reverse Image Lookup to track down bylines. If I couldn’t find the photographer’s name, I didn’t use the photo.

I attached a photo to each of the cards in my Trello list. Trello makes it easy to drag and drop photos onto cards. It’s a great tool for this kind of project. I tried to stay a week ahead. I’d spend a few hours each Sunday fleshing out cards with photos and details.

Screenshot of my Trello board and Google Images

My digital tools: Trello on the left for tracking each day’s prompts and ideas. Google Images on the right for finding source images.

The final step was to draw. I tried to limit my sketches to 20-40 total minutes. The timeframe covered both the pencil drawing and the inking. I found working within time constraints to be very helpful. During past drawing-a-day projects, I found myself spending three hours on one drawing. It’s not sustainable! Limiting my time ensured something would get done.

When the final drawing was ready, I photographed it and posted it to Instagram. My captions included a fact about the organism as it related to the prompt and a credit to the photographer. Aside from the drawing, the facts are my favorite part. I learned so much about sea life.

Once up on Instagram, I browsed the #inktober2017 hashtag to see what other artists were up to. To my surprise, there were hundreds of other artists doing nature science series, too! It was great to see their approach and the variety of styles. Some were dramatic and very stylized. Some were more like illustrations out of a victorian field guide. One artist did entirely freshwater mussels. Wow!

There’s more to the story of course. In Part 1 I gave a bit of background on my previous Inktober experiences. In Part 3 I’ll take a look at what I’ve learned so far and where this experiment will take me in 2018.

What does the future hold? Masterpeices? Inkblots? Blank pages?!
Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!

Updates on Upcoming Shows and Sales!

I have work in the upcoming TINY show at STUDIO Gallery

I’m proud to announce I will be exhibiting work at the “Tiny” group show at STUDIO Gallery! The exhibit runs November 10th – December 23rd, 2017. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, November 12th from 1-6pm. The show features all local artists with works of art under 7×7” and on sale for under $500. I hope to see you there!

I have prints for sale at The Great Highway Gallery

I have two signed, limited-edition prints for sale at The Great Highway Gallery. The prints are of of the Sierra Valley and the Bolinas lagoon. The gallery also has prints from several local artists for sale. Stop by and check them out!  

My Etsy Store is up!

I have select originals and prints up on my Etsy Store with more work on the way for 2018.

Let’s keep in touch!

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