Inktober Five and Six

I think it was at this point in the month that I looked at the prompts and my urge to draw monsters came to the fore.

Anyone who’s been keeping half an eye on my Instagram feed knows I regularly create otherworldly creatures as a form of stress relief and use pretty much any random piece of scrap paper around me to do so. This includes memos, minutes for meetings, post-it notes, and routing slips.

Having resisted the urge to draw a chicken for the #roasted prompt, I felt that actually drawing a chicken was too simple. Perhaps a reference to courage and it’s lack in an individual was a more fun direction to go while still giving me a chance to draw something with big teeth and claws.

This is actually my second attempt at the picture. The first was from a head-on view of the person running away, with a large claw and monstrous face in the background. It… just didn’t work as a composition.

So I went for a more cartoon-like figure skedaddling away from something outrageously huge, allowing me to get a better sense of enormous scale in quite a small drawing space.

Day Six brought a prompt that immediately felt related – drool – and is a not even subtly Giger-esque beastie with the prerequisite mouthful of drool. I drew it in gel-ink while waiting in the reception of an eye clinic while Lady M was being seen by an optician.

The elderly couple next to me very politely shuffled away as it formed pretty much in one long unbroken sequence in the page. I suspect I had the slightly manic look of the classic dabbler in Things That Man Is Not Meant To Know while scribbling away on this.

It was great fun..!

Inktober Three and Four

In some ways having Inktober now is proving useful for my mental health and sense of purpose as it’s not a good time of year. I usually find it harder to write and communicate with people, and my sketches and doodles are usually filled with spikes and sharp edges

Having a month of artistic prompts necessitating curves and lateral thinking is therefore helping my brain flow into different methods of expression and composition.

Day three’s prompt – roasted – allowed me to take a more humourous vein than the first two days. I could have gone with images of meals, or animals in the oven. Then I thought of comedy roasts, and from there to cartoon practical jokes of things blowing up in faces and lightly scorching the victim.

Between that and my general love of the fantasy genre, and Dungeons & Dragons, I started musing on all the lowly goblins that have ever been depicted as rampaging into an area as a menacing mob, only to be robustly scattered by wizards casting large fireballs or startlingly bright lights at them.

Hence my moderately exasperated goblin with soot across his features, and smoke rising from his clothing, venting about his lot in life…

This led seamlessly into day four – spell – which I hardly had to think about at all. I could have just done a magic circle, or a spellbook, but I wanted a bit more of a dynamic picture as well as something iconic.

An open moor under dark clouds seemed a good setting for mystery and magic – after all it worked for Shakespeare – but with only a small notebook to work in it was going to have to be a view from a distance to impart any sense of scale.

As for the spell itself, well normally standing on the top of the moor with your hand in the air might get you a more shocking experience than anticipated, so I had to subvert that to show the power of the wizard. Rather than him getting struck by lightning, he would be the one striking the clouds and setting off what looks to be a mighty storm.

There’s nothing to say of course that the wizard won’t get zapped in turn if he stays up on that ridge. Learning does not necessarily guarantee wisdom.

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