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Inktober 2021

So here we are in the middle of October, and for some artists, myself included, that means Inktober. The idea behind this is to encourage artists to exercise/explore/improve their ink skills for an entire month. I had dabbled a little in previous years, but last year was the first time I made it all the way through and had a lot of fun doing it. It is surprisingly grueling to keep up! But it is also a good creative exercise and fun to see what other artists come up with when looking at the same prompt.


Although not the primary point of this post, I should mention that there is controversy about the whole commercial venture that Inktober has become in that there are accusations of plagiarism against the fellow who copyrighted and monetized it. There is a good rundown of it here: https://www.palomar.edu/telescope/2020/09/29/the-entire-inktober-controversy/#:~:text=He%20decided%20to%20protect%20his%20property%20by%20choosing,still%20participated%20in%20the%20event%20that%20same%20year.


I've been posting my finished sketches on Instagram and Facebook, but I thought maybe someone might be interested in how I go about getting there, so here I will try documenting what I do for today's prompt: 'loop'. This topic is kind of tough because it's kind of devoid of any clear potential 'story' direction, but I often like these the most because I'm forced to abandon or reinterpret my default tendancies.


Here's my initial sketch. My idea is to do a highway interchange. That's kind of loopy right? And there is a bit of a 'sim city' vibe to views like this that might be kind of fun. I've been doing these rough sketches digitally on my Surface Pro (because paper/sketchbooks are precious) using either Sketchable or Sketchbook - both are free apps. Both have an excellent pencil-feel, and it is of course handy to be able to undo or transform or flip things, etc.



Now that I've established what I want to do, I can quickly redraw it in my sketchbook with pencil. This goes much faster once one knows where one is going! No undo though! Sometimes I find myself unconsciously reaching for the back button or trying to rotate the image with my fingers. The pencil sketch is done my Shinola sketchbook which is 7.5"x9.25" or somewhere thereabouts with an HB pencil which is good for rough sketching.


Of course I forgot to photograph the pencil sketch, so here's the final. 🙄


As you can see in this poorly cropped image, I had to adjust the concept to fit onto my page; I also added some humorous details to add interest...at least for me! This was not as fun to draw in real life because it's extremely geometric and therefore more care is required in the execution. Also the details were super small and it was challenging to get accurate marks with the brush pen. And unlike on the computer, there is no zoom to get closer!


For these I've been using Pentel brush pens with water soluble ink though I haven't bothered watering down the ink for greys. One can make a good variety of marks - super thin, thick, and drybrush. It can however be a little unpredictable when squeezing new ink into the brush.


And there you have it! I'll probably look at tomorrow's prompt tonight so I can give it a think.



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