My background in watercolor painting delayed the fascination with pens and inks, which has emerged dramatically this month in my sideways efforts to draw along with others participating in the Inktober challenges.
In another set of portraits here I am practicing techniques with a range of materials, exaggerating sometimes, refining others. All the subjects/muses are shared freely on the Museum app (Sktchy) where you can also find online workshops. The above muse was offered by Mad lab Studio. Must have been a wig, and what a chizzeled face with great shadow shapes! – the necessary ingredient for portrait work.
When you start with a picture like this one was of Nic Rez, it practically paints itself. My favorite – the light bouncing off the lashes.
Nathan Mussig reminded me of my Norwegian and Scottish forebears!
Inspired by a long time favorite portrait artist of mine, Roz Stendahl, I put my pencil aside and went right in with the pocket brush pen and the blackest of inks! What I sacrificed in accuracy I gained back in enjoyment and expression. Good to remind myself, after all, it’s more important to me to make a picture that speaks with authority and some kind of humanity than one that gets all the features in the right place. How easy that is to forget. I told myself to keep going with the direct-to-brush-pen technique, but I must have either chickened out yet again or forgotten. . .
. . .because when I got back to portrait-ing a few days later, I did a careful pencil drawing of this fellow Chris Jones, and decided to practice using the Sailor Fude fountain pen, which many of my urban sketch friends use so masterfully and I have found difficult to maneuver at best. I embraced my clutziness with the pen, but the real discovery here was the strange framing of black lines around the face and the zipper bizarreness. It looks almost like a mask on a stick, so you do a double take. Gotta try that with another portrait some time. . .if I remember.
This is actually the first time I’ve participated in Inktober. It’s a 30 day drawing challenge and every day there’s a different word to serve as a prompt for the art.
Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.
I have all kinds of ink pens – fountain pens, dip pens, felt tip pens, brush pens, technical pens, bamboo pens, etc. etc. which I’ve used and collected over the years. Add to that inks of all kinds and colors. So experimentation was high on my list of reasons to participate in this challenge.
And then my son Andrew Cornelis, who is staying with us now, wanted to do it with me. So now dinnertime is when we show off our efforts, and I will be sharing them here as well. Mine are all portraits done from the Sktchy app archive photos and portrait challenge, and his are fresh from his prodigious imagination.
We’ve spent a great many days of late trying to avoid excessive heat and smoke from the fires. So my son Andrew (alias Drew or Droob) and I headed out to Doran Beach in Bodega Bay mid week. The sky was hazy but the air smelled cleaned and it was strangely still on the beach. Even the birds on the bay side were immobile on the beach. We put up the umbrella even though the sun couldn’t quite make it through the haze.
And then we got out our sketchbooks. Drew is one of those people who draws from memory and imagination. It just flows off his pen unimpeded. Creatures of all kinds that come from a fertile imagination that tells visual stories of the most unimaginable and yet somehow recognizable sorts.
So I asked him to give me a prompt and I would try. He said no, that would be cheating (or something like that). So I offered what I thought might help me to get started on a creature. . .a Ralph Steadman style splatter beginning.
So that’s what we did, using my credit card sized watercolor palette and the water brush I’d brought to start splattering. And he was totally game. This is what he did in approximately 6 minutes.
(I thought it looked more like a worm, but he said it was a tongue.)
And here’s mine.
I think I must have been feeling a bit out of my element and it came out in the tipsy drawing.
Well, I told Drew he should do the Inktober challenge with me. You know, the annual 30-day- October-do-an-ink-drawing-a-day challenge. And he agreed! So I’ll be posting both of ours here. And maybe you’d like to join us!