Inktober: The Final Push

I made a minor mistake not bringing my sketchpad with me, but I’ve persevered through and managed to get the last stretch done. Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of working to prompts each year, but I’m going to enjoy not having to draw for a few days – especially as we’re in the road and there’s a wedding to attend.

Given the fun and games I’ve had with my back this week, perhaps I should have drawn that, but a couple of plasters seemed to evoke the prompt of Injured more precisely. I’ve never drawn plasters before for some reason, so not bad for a first try.

Day Thirty prompted us with Catch and I enjoyed this simple representation of a fishing line that may or may not have something on the end of it. I particularly had fun with the riverbank and bushes in the background for some reason.

And at last, the final image for the month: Ripe. As we’re visiting my parents and cheeseboards are a regular feature of meals, it seemed entirely appropriate to represent the lovely Cambazola we had yesterday evening. For those unfamiliar with that cheese, it’s a mixture of Camembert and Gorgonzola that combines creaminess with the sharpness of blue cheese. One of my favourites after a good stilton…

Anxiety Day

We’re up and around the Cleveleys/Cumbria region at the moment, and while we had a great time exploring the amazing bookshop in Carnforth, my brain has not been cooperating today.

It was bad enough we had to make our excuses after lunch with my parents to go back to the hotel to collapse, shower, and attempt self-care.

That said, if you do get a chance to see this place then do – 14 rooms of new and second hand books, plus general gifts – and wonderfully friendly staff. I found a couple of little things, and we did some Christmas shopping into the bargain.

I’m brighter now, but do feel like I’ve cast a pall on the day. Sigh. At least I’m up to date with Inktober, and will post the final three tomorrow.

Inktober Twenty-Seven and Twenty-Eight

We were travelling most of yesterday so I was too tired to draw anything yesterday, let alone upload and post it. Today, everything hurts, and the traditional seaside air lassitude has me groggier than the groggy thing of your choice, but I have at least done yesterday’s picture so I can post these two images up

Day 27: coat – I’ll make no apologies for a pretty literalist approach to this one. I could have done something cute with coatings or animals, but cloth and semi-normal clothing is something I still feel I need to practice, so I did this. It’s not perfect, but it is recognisably a coat and is done in a mix of grey fineliner pens.

I forgot to pack my big sketchpad so we’re back to the small notebook that I used for most of last year’s images. The prompt is Ride – so I wanted to do something with a bit of implied motion to it. As winter approaches, what better than a snowman enjoying a ride in a sled? Go on, tell me he’s not enjoying himself!

Things Lady M Says: Why Am I Mathing?

So I’m curled up this morning, listening to the lack of school-run traffic as it’s the start of half-term and the sleeping Lady M is on her side, and for lack of a better word, cuddling her ample bosom.

Then she stirs, opens her eyes and says “Pi r squared..? Why am I mathing? Literally why have I woken with a head full of maths equations?”

I suggested she’d realised she was cuddling something and started working out the size of what she was embracing in her sleep. This led to the telling of an anecdote from her childhood about how her maths teachers had always been exasperated that she could handle expressing algebraic and geometric answers and ratios rationalising fractions and yet have a blind spot actually dealing with fractions.

I suggested that this was something of a recurring theme – getting the hang of complicated things but stumbling on the simpler building blocks: like negotiating through complex contracts but forgetting how large a door was so she broke her toe trying to walk through a wall.

The conversation may have deteriorated from there into a tickling competition…


It’s Diwali, and fireworks are in the skies around us, celebrating the Festival of Light. A small gathering with sparklers and fountains was held on the main green outside, and the pictures in our local social media look lovely.

In the meantime I’m twitching and nervy, trying not to cringe in response to the sounds all around, while my body seems intent in remembering old injuries. This is a hard week every year, and it will pass.

I love the visuals of light in the dark, celebrating life and new growth. It’s a healthier celebration than the remembrance and symbolic destruction of a group of attempted murderers, but the memories still cling hard. This year is at least better than last year, partly from just being so stressed at work I’ve barely time for my own traumas.

But each explosion tonight reminds me of the sounds in the skies above the terrified boy in an alley being used and that’s why I’m at home with curtains closed, and not really wanting to be…anything right now.

New cosplay

I’m not going to any conventions at the moment due to money and general exhaustion, so I’m cheering myself by peeking on social media at what my friends and acquaintances in cosplay circles are up to this weekend at MCM and other events. There are so many talented people out there and it’s so good to see their love of our shared hobby manifesting in such a glorious profusion of colourful costumes and memories they’re making.

Inspired by that and the time of year, I turned to some elements I bought earlier in the year that have been languishing in the bottom of drawers to begin assembling a version of Michael Myers from the Halloween films. For the most part the mask needed the most attention – and I’ve been weathering it with inks and some general battering to help make its features easier to photograph. The boiler suit turned out to fit pretty much perfectly, but had dreadful press studs that fell apart, so Lady M has volunteered to replace them.

Halloween is just round the corner

So now my big debate is whether to do a film-accurate silent brute, or to subvert it. Some of the messing about I did this morning has already suggested versions with a more… hippy feel… complete with rose-tinted spectacles, and possibly a long wig, hoodie over the boiler suit and some tie-dye silliness. I’ll let you know…

Inktober Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six

Day two of being on leave, and I’m just enjoying having a staycation for a couple of days – and it’s just as well as it’s allowing me to get all the sleep out the way that my body is craving. Oh, and do some drawing

Day 25’s prompt is ‘Tasty’ – and while I made Lady M groan by saying I’d draw her but be unable to do her justice, I settled instead on attempting a chocolate-coated strawberry, complete with a pot it’s just been freshly dipped in. It’s fun, but another reminder that I really do need to practice drawing real things. It’s recognisable as a strawberry, but it could be much, much better.

The prompt for day 26 is “Dark” – so inspired by lady s’ love of the TV show Hannibal I went for a representation of the titular character as the Chesapeake Ripper vision used as a recurring motif in the show. I enjoyed this piece, spending my time in layers of greys to produce it.

Soppy Moment

I change the backgrounds on my phone on an occasional rotation of things I’ve downloaded, taken as a picture myself, or from photos taken at conventions. At the moment, my phone wallpaper looks like this:

My amazing partners

It is, of course, Lady M as Anne Bonny and lady s as Max from Black Sails. It’s a fun reminder of our group cosplay at MCM and a lovely shot of them both. Seeing them just puts a soppy smile on my face.

I am very lucky to have them in my life.

Inktober Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

We’re nearly into the final week of Inktober, and I’m about to have a few days off so finding time to draw as inspiration strikes should be a bit easier. Well, that’s the theory

Day Twenty Three gave us Ancient as a prompt, and while I initially toyed with doing a wider Stonehenge/Avebury landscape I settled instead on focusing on a classic trilithon to practice rendering a set of stone surfaces and a bit of perspective. I’m really happy with how this one turned out, layering successively darker greys and some fine black lines for outlines.

I struggled a bit with “Dizzy” and originally drew a full-length pirouetting figure before making horrible mistakes with feet and leg proportions. So I started again with a head and shoulders shot. I only realised as I took the photo that I’d drawn a blonde to lean into the “dizzy blonde” stereotype.

I’m not as keen on this second image as I am on yesterday’s, but it’s also about of an apples and pears comparison. Onward!


I do sometimes get tired of being professionally discrete. This may come as a surprise to longtime readers who gave witnessed the occasional outspoken rant, but I’m always careful to be circumspect about personal or professional details.

I got my knuckles rapped today for doing a thing for and with good intentions and motivations, but being less than diplomatic in how I went about it. A good result has come from it, but I have upset some people. I have made my professional mea culpas, accepted the admonishment and invitation to have a think about what I did, and identified what I should consider next time.

Oh well, no good deed ever went unpunished and all that.