I'm not going to lie, I nearly came a cropper less than two weeks into INKtober. Draw something every day for a month? What can possibly go wrong? That was before I caught the worst cold in the history of mankind.
Of all the months in all the years, someone (many thanks and kind regards to you) saw fit to gift me their virus at a time where I quite crucially needed to be on the ball. Eat, sleep, draw, repeat. Yet, as this blog's title suggests, I've made some encouraging progress with my inking over the last 14 days, despite the goo.
As Week 2 began, I continued to use Cass Art's hot pressed watercolour paper in combination with Pentel's Pocket Brush and Derwent's Graphik Line Maker range. I worked on simplifying my mark-making, being careful to avoid cross-hatching, and spent a while considering more carefully the form I wanted to convey. By Day 12 I was starting to feel pretty grotty and actually fell a day behind.
Fittingly, I chose to sketch with a green pencil that day, reflecting the state of my health perfectly.
At the beginning of Week 3 I picked myself up, gave myself a good talking to and started working with Copic markers on Strathmore toned grey paper. This is one of my favourite papers which I've used for a couple of years. The shade of grey is just right for providing a suitable midtone, allowing you to focus on the lights and darks. Also, despite being quite a thin paper, it holds up surprisingly well to several layers of ink.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, I've admired many comic book artists' ability to work with markers and although I have a substantial collection, including Copic markers and the Letraset Promarker range, I've never plucked up the courage to use them properly. I've dabbled - mostly unsuccessfully - so in the cupboard they have stayed. Until now. I saw INKtober as the perfect opportunity to give them a proper whirl and so, for Week 3, I focussed on creating greyscale portraits with white highlights. In just 7 days, I feel I've accomplished so much but still have an awful lot to learn.
I'll be drawing a few scary characters as we approach Halloween so if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment and come back soon to see how the rest of my INKtober adventure pans out! I'll also have some news on the 2016 Sketchbook.
I'm a pencil guy (pretty obvious, right?) but I've *always* been captivated by the look of ink. It's bold, vibrant, expressive, reminds me of childhood comics but... it's SO permanent. Make a mistake and you'd better start over or get creative at covering your mistakes!
I briefly flirted with the idea of participating in Jake Parker's INKtober in 2015 but a much needed holiday quashed my plans so I made a mental note (and set a reminder in my phone) to take part in 2016.
So here I am, 7 days in to INKtober 2016 and it's going surprisingly well. I'll admit, day 1 was a bit shaky and I started to doubt myself almost immediately. Had I bitten off more than I could chew? Somehow, I managed 60 days in a row back in 2014 when I was drawing a sketch card every day so my artistic endurance wasn't really the issue, it was my unfamiliarity with ink.
I quietly follow, and am inspired by on a daily basis, many prominent inky artists across social media - Marc Laming, Adam Hughes, and Will Terry to name but a few. Their processes fascinate me and because they all share work-in-progress (WIP) shots, it makes it a teensy bit easier to figure out how they do it.
To give myself a fighting chance, I've decided to work at A6 size, roughly 4" x 6". Any bigger than that and I'd get too bogged down in capturing all the detail. Following a recommendation from Holly Exley on Twitter, I plumped for Cass Art's 140lb, hot pressed, watercolour paper which is sturdy but has a smoother finish, taking ink really well without buckling or bleed.
Pen-wise, I'm using a Pentel Pocket Brush. I've tried using it a couple of times in the past but been a little concerned my unsteady hand would result in a wildly wobbly line but with a little practice, I've found it easy to use and the brush tip allows for fantastic line variation with only a small change in pressure. Alongside that, I'm using a set of Derwent Graphik Line Makers which are wonderful to work with. Tip size ranges from 0.8-0.05 and they feel great. Plus a Copic Multiliner and Letraset ProMarker.
If you want to see all my INKtober pieces, follow my Instagram where I'm posting daily.