Maps and Pens and Rock and Roll

My current methods of zoning out and calming down continue to mostly be drawing and making maps. I bought a book of gridded paper off Amazon recently, and have started filling pages with designs that I may never end up using, but that are still an outlet that allow me to work out the story of their use and history.

The sketchbook also continues to grow full of designs, and I’m posting things mostly to Instagram as I go to share with the world. I’m very much enjoying the wider availability of pigment ink and fine pens for the more consistent finishes they offer.

Some of them I’ve started adapting using the map building sites and software so versions of some of these locations may appear, but then again maybe not – that’ll depend on which way the stories go.

Digging Up The Archives

I’m focusing on being positive this week, what with the anniversary and my brain’s attempts to continue to sabotage me. For the most part this has manifested in new writing, new items going up in the shop (180 odd designs and rising as of time of writing), and going through old backups to find the graphics that time forgot.

Oh, there are so, so, many. I forgot how prolific I was when I was ill back in the early to mid 2000s. Some of the archives have aged very badly, others look amazing, and others are currently inspiring new works as a revisit.

Its interesting to see how I’ve progressed in some areas, and what looks familiar even now. More than anything else it has got me wanting to spend more time pushing to rediscover digital art techniques.

So there’s a positive thing.

Doodles and Sketchpads

I finally got round to updating this year’s Inktober gallery under the Art pages, and after a few days rest the drawing bug has returned, so some of the more coherent doodles will continue to appear here

This one has been gradually growing in my new sketchbook, mixing block structures with finer lines reminiscent of magnetic force lines. I hadn’t had any image in mind when I started, and the larger fragmenting piece only developed into something resembling a heart when I saw the resemblance and wanted to fill the page.

The finer lines started as more practice at the style, again with the intention of just filling the page, until it felt like any more would spoil it somehow.

There wasn’t any conscious design element to this, but I’ll be interested to hear what it says or suggests to people.

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…

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!

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.

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!

Inktober Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

These were a couple of fun prompts these last couple days – well, I say fun, but what I really mean is that the inspiration and execution came relatively easily, even if again I was trying different things to make them happen.

Being an avid gamer for many years, the prompt of Treasure immediately suggested a great big chest of it. I wanted to create the impression of a great big mound of it without actually drawing every single element of it, and I think I managed to imply several rises and falls of piles of coins. As with many of this month’s prompts it’s a subject I’ve never tried before.

Today’s prompt was simply Ghost, so I challenged myself to draw the most ethereal sight I could, to let the mind’s eye assemble a picture from the bare suggestions. Many descriptions from people who talk about seeing ghosts talk of vapours or shimmers or movement in the corner of the eye, so it was that kind of representation I was going for rather than a floating sheet, or a clear-lined transparency. This again was a very different style of drawing, and one I think I’ll come back to.

Inktober Nineteen and Twenty

I’ve got a bit out of sync with my days, so I’ll do another of these tomorrow to get up-to-date. Today has been a day off, so I’ve been relaxing with a box set on TV and sketchpads around me (ok, and a modicum of housework too)

Day Nineteen: Sling – I think calling a catapult a slingshot and therefore a valid use for the word just about scrapes above the bottom of the barrel. I could have shown someone injured or in a playground, but an Angry Birds-style picture allowed me some practice with drawing clothing, some mud squelch, and some humour. I’m particularly proud of the trousers and the mud around the shoes.

Day Twenty One: Tread – I didn’t feel like doing anything particularly dynamic as I was quite tired (pun noted but not intended), so I modelled this on the tread on the bottom of a pair of my trainers (sneakers for those in the US). It’s simple, but it’s practice from a still life, which is an area of weakness for me.

Inktober Seventeen and Eighteen

I was too tired to post anything yesterday as it ended up being quite a draining day at work – on the other hand I’m now sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee while my neurons wake up properly so it’s all swings and roundabouts

Day Seventeen brought us Ornament as a prompt, and there were so many ways I could take this. In the end I opted to do an earring based on a design I saw on a customer. The longest time was spent trying to do an accurate earlobe – and in the end I used Lady M as a model while she sat on the sofa next to me.

Day Eighteen’s word was Misfit. I considered doing something with jigsaw pieces, or those shapes toys we give toddlers to improve their spatial awareness while they bash them about. In the end I went with the black sheep in the herd that stands out as looking so different, but really isn’t at heart any different from anyone else. A metaphor for family life? Yeah, a bit ham-handed, I’ll give you that, but it’s a simple visual that appeals.