A Quiet Day

I think I’m so used to there being emergencies at work that actually having a quiet day is both a novelty and slightly unnerving. That’s not to say that it was without incident: this is a frontline customer service after all; but the most stressful moments came in discussions about fines, damaged books, and stock management decisions. No one did anything dangerous, people were generally kind, and I even managed some small kindnesses and made some people smile.

Now, if only I could train customers returning their books to put their books on the returns trolley properly rather than stacked like this. It bugs me.

So, all in all, a satisfying day. I’ve even found the time to start assembling a colouring book for lady s from free graphics online and some simple designs of my own – yes, simple, and that’s more of a challenge than I expected to strive for simplicity rather than detail in my lineart. It demands rather more precision of planning and design than my more organic pieces, so it’s an interesting exercise.

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Inktober Fifteen and Sixteen

Okay, now we’re halfway through the month, and there’s a nice body of work to look back over. I’ve started assembling a mosaic gallery of pieces from this year to match last year’s gallery, and these can be viewed through the menu links above.

Day Fifteen’s prompt is Legend and what better than a Dark Knight who is so fixed in our cultural legends that I don’t even need to draw a full figure or the logo on his chest. It’s a reminder that superheroes are the myths of our modern day – Odysseus or Jason, Helen or Heracles, Zeus or Athena – all were as known to people as Batman, Spider-Man, Magneto, Deadpool, The Flash or Billy Butcher. You can argue with reasonable certainty that the same principles and vital energy are evoked in the new myths as with the old.

And then we have Day Sixteen, which prompts depictions of the word ‘Wild’. Animal from The Muppets just jumped up, grabbed the pens, and demanded to be given first shot at the title. Who am I to get in the way of such energy? As a work colleague commented on social media: “could be any of us after a trying day”

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Back to work

Lingering as the joys of the cold/bug/whatever the hell this thing has been, I’m well enough to now be climbing the walls, and get angry about being sick of being sick. So as it’s extremely unlikely I’m contagious, I went back to work today.

It all went reasonably well. Things were done, emails read, problems resolved, and nice things done for people where appropriate.

I suppose I’d better go back in the morning and do some more of it so the money goblins will pay me things that I can use to brighten the lives of me and mine.

Oh, and I think my taste buds are starting to work again..!

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Inktober Thirteen and Fourteen

I think I’m getting over the bug that flattened me last week, but I’ve definitely enjoyed having an extra day at the beginning of the week where I don’t work where I can feel a bit more human in comfort before diving straight back to work. These next two have been a bit more fun, if only because I haven’t been uncomfortable while making them.

Day Thirteen is Ash – and while I could have gone with cigarettes, or a bonfire, I wanted to do something a bit more dynamic and challenging – hence a phoenix arising from a jar of ashes. I wanted to capture an explosive moment of creation and formation, rekindling life from what seemed dead and gone. The phoenix is an image that I work with quite a lot, and that has a lot of resonance with me in terms of the new leases of life I get when recovering from dips in physical or mental health. As this last week’s bug has had me feeling quite down over how long it has been, a resurgent image felt needed. Its not the most detailed line work – I think I spent more time on the ash and its trails – but it feels like one of those split-second moments of things being in flux with lots of movement. No doubt, like some of the others in this sequence, it’s something I’ll return to as imagery in my doodles.

Im really proud of Day Fourteen – Overgrown – as its another of those concepts that came easily, and I really like how I executed it in the time allotted. The broken statue overgrown in vines and moss feels like something that belongs in a fairytale, or perhaps a gothic romance, as a pointer to tragedy in the past and the passing of time. It was done, like all the others here in 0.1 and 0.5 light and dark grey ink fine liners, and the border with a 0.3 black just to outline. I’m just really happy with how its worked out.

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Inktober Eleven and Twelve

We’re getting close to the halfway mark, which is a nice distraction from how this bug just isn’t quitting. Today’s late posting is brought to you by exhaustion, frequent trips to the loo, and as much lemsip as I can handle.

Day Eleven was a fun and simple one: Snow. The snowman was an obvious choice, and gave me a chance to practice footsteps and disturbed snow, as well as twigs and coal. The carrot was also harder to draw well than expected. Just a fun little picture with no additional meanings inserted.

Perhaps inevitably I had to go with a pun as part of today’s prompt: Dragon. In this case a dragon in drag. Perhaps the biggest challenge was working out the lipstick placement to show the snout shape. I’ll probably do more in this vein as I’m critiquing it hard even as I look at it now – but I’ve kept to my half hour and no prep approach.

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International Coming Out Day

It really shouldn’t need to be a thing – and coming straight after Bisexual Awareness Month/Week/Day it may feel superfluous to some – but the sad thing is that around the world people live in fear of not being accepted for simply being themselves and loving the people they love. I’m incredibly lucky and privileged to be who I am where and when I am – there are many who are not.

Is there a political side to this? Given the assaults on LGBTQIA+ rights where so much progression has been made in recent years in some places? Where there are whole swathes around the world where being who I am carries a death sentence? Where people are imprisoned and tortured? Where every week brings news of people assaulted in the streets? You’re damn right there is. This is why visibility and representation of the normality of my and others’ lives is so vital.

So as I’ve made no secret of being who I am (I mention it on all my social media profiles, for example) – today is just a matter of continuing to be visible. It may not be an urgency for me, but if it helps someone? Then that is a good thing.

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Inktober Nine and Ten

Everything hurts, my sinuses are convinced they’re on fire, and I’m officially fed up with whatever this bug is. But the artwork is a good distraction, so here we go…

Day Nine brings us Swing. I considered a child’s swing but went for something inspired by Poe instead – recalling The Pit and The Pendulum, which enthralled me when I was probably far too young to be raiding relatives’ bookcases while on holiday. Maybe it’s just being ill that makes the thought of ever-approaching death so appealing right now

Day Ten has the prompt of Pattern. My initial thought was something like a leopard or a tiger, but I didn’t have the energy to look for references. As a result you have a creepy alien/robot made up of repeating patterns instead. It looked a lot cooler in my head, but I was trying something different, so yay.

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