Frontline Quiet

I ended up running one of my libraries solo this afternoon as the person scheduled to be there was taken ill. It was quite gentle really, and in some ways reassuring that I haven’t quite lost my grip on the nitty gritty of customer service work.

It was good to be able to just talk to customers and be a simple friendly soul as a contrast to the plate-spinning expert I often have to be these days. It didn’t stop me processing recruitment paperwork and sorting out meeting with some potential partner organisations, but it was almost a spa day, returning to the basics like that. It was almost a shame how quickly closing time rolled round.

True to form, as you might expect, there may have been some doodling between phonecalls, customers, and bouts of shelvng:

I’ve left them to bemuse the staff due there in the morning.

Halfway through Inktober already?

I’m taking part in Inktober again this year, so my Instagram and Facebook accounts have been peppered with different styles of doodles and sketches the last couple of weeks.

Unlike last year, I’m actually following the official prompts – forcing a little discipline and lateral thinking in my interpretations rather than just letting the pen go mad as I usually do.

I’m also not just working in black ink. I’ve been introducing coloured inks as well on some of them – mostly for contrast, but occasionally as an integral part of the picture. I’m trying new things.

Some of it I’m very happy with, and some of it I can take or leave. The latter category are ones that I’ll likely come back to at a later date if I haven’t immediately done so.

I think I’ll talk about a couple at a time, at least around my thought processes – if only because it then gives me something to focus on in my posts here.

The first one – poisonous – was done while on the train down to see Lady S on one of my Mondays off. I’m trying to do each picture on the actual day rather than get bogged down in overthinking in the planning process.

I knew I didn’t want to go with snakes (venomous) or bottles of poison as it seemed too obvious. Then I thought about bullying, which is a personal bugbear that I try to always challenge, and remembered the concept of poison pen letters – largely supplanted by cyber-bullying these days.

Despite the train’s motion as I sped between Waterloo and Portsmouth, I whipped a fountain pen and typically unpleasant missive into shape on the page of the notebook in my pocket and away we started on Inktober.

The second image – tranquil – was easier to conceptualise but felt more of a change from my usual hyper-detailed grotesques. A clearing in a wood, with a fairy ring if mushrooms seemed just the ticket, with a nod to my usual fantasy leanings.

While it isn’t as clean a set of lines as my usual style, I quite like the light and dark balance and sense of perspective in this one. It’s definitely a step away from my comfort zone, which feels somewhat ironic given the subject.

Other options I considered included a lake, a mountain view, and an open book.

More posts to follow; watch this space