Inktober 2019 Days 1 and 2

It’s that time of year where my doodles and scratchings become a bit more purposeful. Inktober has a series of prompts, but is open to any interpretation or variance along the way. The key is to produce something every day and just have fun.

Some days will be easier than others, and some pictures will be more complex than others, certainly if last year is anything to go by. My interpretation of the challenge is to do it by the seat of my pants – ie no forward planning, and one done each day.

Prompt One is ‘Ring’, which led immediately to consideration of all things circular and circulating. I did this with two pens: a light grey fineliner at 0.5mm and a black fineliner at 0.3mm.

I wanted to create a spinning vortex, some kind of rotating storm, which prompted the lightning discharges, but the doodling eye then wanted to surround it. Whether this was a generator or a boundary I’m still not sure. Looking at it now, I’m minded of a fisheye camera view of a city below.

Prompt Two is ‘Mindless’ – and my head went wandering all over the place before settling on a monster. I love creating grotesques, and the thought of making something literally mindless sparked this beastie.

It’s inspired by any number of zombie and demon creatures from films and other media, with a particular nod to the feral demons in the Constantine movie.

A truncated and vacant brainpan fills the brief for mindless, and then it was just a matter of building the anatomy into something that looks both in the realm of the possible and at the same time predatory and wrong.

The decision to throw a pen on a string in front of it came at the last moment to balance the picture and have it as something for the creature to be reaching for.

There’s a lot of sparks on some of the online forums about what constitutes the “right” way to do this challenge – and the creator of the challenge has just told people to do what they want with whatever they want because it’s all a bit of fun. The pen therefore is a bit of a tongue in cheek reference to that, with the creature shaking and twitching as to whether to grasp it.

So there’s day one and two done.

Daily Prompt: Michaelangelo’s YOU

Thought I’d have a go at this – today’s prompt is:

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing, or event from the last month of your life into the glistening marble of immortality. What’s the statue and what makes it so significant?

This is surprisingly difficult to pin down – although I like making a noise and a fuss as much as the next blogger, I’m actually at heart insecure enough to be very wary of praise and adulation. I like it, but I always feel like there’s another shoe about to drop, with an unspoken ‘but’ in the sentence. It could be a consequence of growing up in the era of Dick Emery, or a side effect of being at boarding school, where every moment can feel as if you are under scrutiny and social assassination can be a consideration if you let it.

But I digress…

This is about something significant from the last month, rather than about me, so that forces me to approach this from a very different angle. The statue created by my personal sculptor to memorialise the last month would have to be of a stack of books, to reflect the children’s reading group and work at the library that has brought such a complex mix of exhaustion, joy, relief, angst, fear and laughter into my life. On paper, working in a library is not a complex role, and yet by dint of being that peculiar role of shepherd between the public and the thoughts of others there is a respect offered by many people that I am sometimes amazed by.

For example my wife, the Lady M, has a complicated and high pressure job working for a huge multinational organisation that has widespread recognition in most homes. She manages vendors, working on contracts that have values that look like telephone numbers, and yet she is consistently introduced to people with the extra information that her husband is a writer and librarian. These people are instantly envious and start asking all sorts of questions. Perhaps there’s a name recognition to the role, or that so many people have grown up knowing librarians as such a key role in their education – whether that is in a school or in the community.

So my life has revolved this last year around books – and with this month having thrown all manner of curveballs and moments of sublime joy and humour in with the frustration of working with, well let’s say with challenging individuals… it just has to be a pile of books, ready to share with children, distribute to reading groups, recommend to students, or shelve ready for the next set of customers…