After the disaster that was week three, my enthusiasm for Inktober was, at best, at the bottom of a deep pit. The first drawing of the week started to throw dirt on it so as to make sure it was dead, but then, my enthusiasm, in true Will Smith fashion, gritted it's teeth, said "Aw Hell naw" and clawed it's way back to the surface. Which is to say, tortured simile aside, that I generally felt positive about this week's work.
Inktober or Artober?
I'm mostly following Inktober through Instagram and have seen some absolutely fantastic art come forth. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of artists are using media aside from ink - pencils, watercolour, charcoal, whatever. This is the pedant in me, but it seems that maybe there should be a generic Artober? If one of the goals is to improve inking skills, using pen and ink would seem to be a prerequisite. That being said, the other goal of Inktober is to grow and improve as an artist, and develop good habits - perhaps that's the more important point, regardless of medium.
To each their own, I suppose. But for me - just inking, even if it is digital.
Avert your eyes, children. This week started off really poorly. As much as I disliked last week's drawings, they are masterpieces compared to this stain. Originally, I was going to do a homage to Lupin The Third'sFujiko Mine, but I can't sully the name of one of the few good anime out there by associating it with my crap drawing. Ugh.
Red Sonja chopping some hapless mook's head off - this is where things started to turn around, as all things do. My usually shakey confidence was shaken (not stirred) from my streak of failures, but I was (and am) generally happy with the way this turned out.
I love Nextwave. I suppose I could have gone Mr. Fantastic, Elongated Man, or Plastic Man (or something non-comic book related) for "stretch", but Nextwave doesn't get enough love, so Machine Man punching the Captain. Part of me thinks I should have done this at a more dynamic angle, but there is something very Wes Anderson, matter-of-fact about the composition that I like. Also:
I am but a single consumer, but: Hey, Marvel Studios. I'm rapidly losing interest. I skipped Ant-Man & the Wasp. I'm probably skipping Captain Marvel (and BTW, Captain Marvel is Billy Batson - not Mar-Vell, not Monica Rambeu 1, not Carol Davners). Give me a Nextwave movie? I'm all in with a bag of chips. Mini-rant over.
I have drawn more Batman related stuff in the last couple of weeks than I have since I was a kid. To be fair, Bats is fun to draw, and can have a nice, minimalist design. Originally, I was going to go with the Margot Robbie version of Harley, but ultimately went with Amanda Conner's design, which works a lot easier in black and white.
Fourteen drawings down. One more to go.
1 Yes, complaining about the Captain Marvel naming debacle while simultaneously professing my love of Nextwave, Monica included, is weird, but... shut up. You're not the boss of me.
Well, that certainly was a week of Inktober. Now, to the tune of "Everything Is Awesome" from The Lego Movie:
Everything Is Awful!
This week sucked. Really sucked. There is not a single drawing that I liked. Nothing turned out well. If you read the post about Inktober, week 2, I wrote about the idea that most artists only get about twenty-five percent of what's in their head onto the canvas. This week, I think I'm batting one hundred, at best. Ugh.
Let's make excuses!
Screw the prompt list! Yeah - what a piece of shit. That's the ticket.... It's certainly not my fault! It's not like I was off my game, didn't spend enough time working on each piece, couldn't focus, and suffered from a minor case of artist's block.
If I had to choose, I suppose this would be my favourite of the week, but favourite in the sense of "bullet to the back of the head, devoured by fire ants, or burned at the stake": sure, bullet to the back of the head is the least painful, but you're still dead. My main issues here are the face and movement. I really don't like the face at all, and the figure seems to be stiff and posed - there's no energy there at all. On the positive side, the actual design of the genie, the smoke and the bottle are okay, but doesn't make up for the shortcomings. Strike two.
Inktober week two is in the can, and, honestly, I'm a little surprised I haven't bailed yet. Go me. I guess.
Things I've learned so far
I'm getting faster, I think, which was one of my goals. That being said, I've gone from sloth to sloth with a Monster Energy Drink. Baby steps.
Muscle memory is strong: despite my desire to avoid using undo, at this point the undo gesture has become an almost unconcious action - I really need to be aware of what I'm going (which sounds odd, but...) when working on a piece. I've slipped up a lot, but trying to avoid relying on undo has made me be not as sloppy when working.
I need to push myself farther outside of my comfort zone: all the drawings I've done so far have been very figure-based, and very human figure-based at that. So... unless I run out of time and / or ideas (which has happened more often than I care to admit), I'm going to try a landscape, still-life, or whatever. Not totally confident that this will happen.
If anything could be considered a cult-classic in DC, it's James Robinson's 90s run of Starman. Vastly underrated character. But I digress - I'm generally happy how this turned out. That damned star with the speed lines turned out to the most time intensive thing about the drawing.
I'm pretty shocked at how well "flowing" turned out. One of the few things I got out of my unversity art courses was something said by one of the instructors: If you can get even twenty-five percent of what you can see in your head on to the canvas, that's a success. So I'd say this is about a fourty percent-er. Might be due for a redraw and expansion in the future.
Yeah... I know I could have just drawn a whale. Yet somehow this Dark Knight parody popped out. The thing which makes this one memorable for me is that I couldn't decide what to do so I started the drawing pretty late, so I went to bed way too late.
This is another one that turned out pretty solid. I was going to add rain to the picture, but I'm trying to do things "right" for Inktober, so that ruled out using a blend layer. Ultimately, it would have taken too long for me do make it look half way decent, that was nixed for the moment.
The first week of Inktober is finished. A quick recap of my first attempts and some thoughts.
"What are your disciplines?"
Tony Zhou's fantastic series Every Frame A Painting did an episode on legendary animator Chuck Jones. One of the things discussed was that Jones was well-known for things he didn't do - his disciplines, the challenges and restrictions you set for yourself. While Jones was speaking of his animation and storytelling process as a whole, he does say that it's a vital factor in drawing. And given that digital inking can make you lazy (creating art digitally is very forgiving), I decided that I'd set a couple of limitations to try and push myself a little:
Two layers only - a pencil layer and an ink layer.
No undo. Eraser? Sure - but no undo.
I justified number two to myself by remembering that when I was still doing traditional art, inking involved a lot of white ink, gelly rolls, and white out. And physically having to erase lines and areas does create a very different feeling, a tension, that gives the lines more importance. When I erase something, I am very conciously aware that I made a mistake and need to correct it. Just tapping undo saps all of that way - since things can re-done so easily, there is much less of a emphasis on being accurate.
My first thought was to do serene landscape, but then I remembered a hate drawing landscapes. So a monk meditating, while a little boring, would be a lot more fun do draw. The drawing is also one of the most fantasical things I've ever done: it would be impossible to meditate with a kitty clawing it's way up your back. I'm relatively satisfied with this, although if I had to do it again, probably use some lighter lines.
I hate this. There are so many things wrong with it (the least of which is the incongruity of the focal point). I might do a re-draw later as I like the concept, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
I was stumped throughout most of the day. Drooling? Seriously? I considered drawing a xenomorph, but that seemed way too obvious. Sleeping person, mouth open? Homer thinking of doughnuts? As the day was coming to a close, I paniced, drew the Hulk roaring (I mean, he's yelling all the time - there has to be some moisture coming out of his mouth), and called it a day. I actually think this came out okay. I hadn't really drawn Dr. Banner since I was in elementary school and it was fun.
Inktober2018 is rolling around in a couple of days, and I'm finally getting off my ass to try and do it, or at least the half-marathon version (i.e. once every other day). If the day job wasn't so draining, physically and emotionally, I might have tried to do the daily challenge, but even I'm not so delusional to think that it would be possible. Plus, given that I've always been pretty slow doing my art - let's just say I'm giving it the college try, but I suspect I'll be tapping out at some point. Positivity.
Why didn't I do Inktober 2017?
I was going to actually try it last year, but the Jake Parker controversy happened 1 and I backed away. I wasn't pissed off like a lot of people, but I also figured if I wasn't getting the full experience, probably shouldn't do it. Mr. Parker's point was that digital was not the optimal way to to the challenge. Although I work completely digitally today, I agree with Parker that working only digitally does tend to encourage bad habits, at least in me. But given the goals of Inktober, I should have done it, because
Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.
Post it on any social media account you want or just post it on your refrigerator. The point is to share your art with someone. :)
All the "Can I work digitally?" stuff was kind of beside the point. And frankly, no one from the FBI is going to drop by to make sure you're using a Copic marker and not a Cintiq or iPad. It's about pushing yourself and your art to improve. Seems like a noble goal.
And if anyone is still sore about the digital debacle, the FAQ specifically mentions that you can do it traditionally or digitally. So... everybody's happy! Or at least as happy as people can be on the internet.
1 If you don't know about the controversy, I envy you. But if you're really curious, just google it - there has been a lot written about it. Way too much, IMHO.