For the forth year in a row I am participating in Inktober over on Instagram. I didn't buy any special supplies for this just pulled out a few tools that I would like to work with for the month. I am using Hahnemuhle Nostalgie Sketchbook for all of my daily #inktober drawings, but also using ink as my main tool of the month outside of that sketchbook. To get really comfortable using ink I think using it as often as possible is key. I started with the official prompt list, a first for me, but am jumping around with whatever moves me to create day to day. It is nice to have those prompts as a creative backup and as an extra challenge. Who else is joining the Inktober party this year? I would love to hear your plans for it as well as your experience so far.
Taking a break from this blog. Watch my Tumblr Daily Sketchbook and Instagram for current activity. They are both linked on the top navigation bar.
As an American living abroad I am resisting the impulse to be filled with anxiety today. Instead I am focusing on work and checking of a number of tasks during the day so I can go to bed early tonight and miss the endless nail biting speculation. My Etsy store reopening is delayed until I get prints sorted. In the meantime I will be offering original artworks up on Instagram at super reasonable prices. They would make fabulous gifts and the sale of them would help me purchase a new printer and scanner.
Over on Instagram I am hosting a contest to win a postcard that I sketched in Lisbon. Comment here with a place you would love to visit for a chance to win and head over to Instagram for a second chance to win. I will pick a winner June 8th.
Learning how to be a regular blogger is hard for me. While I believe it is worth doing, as a visual person I often struggle with the format. Instagram on the other hand is easy for me to love. Sharing my words with an audience isn't so easy, but sharing pictures with few or no words needed is almost too easy. Thanks for following me on Instagram, if you haven't already you are missing out on a bunch of cool stuff over there!
At the end of 2014 I decided that I needed to take on some sort of big year long sketch challenge. But with an international move looming and tons of change coming I didn't know exactly what type of challenge was going to work for a full year. I really liked the idea of focusing on ink and watercolor and setting a time limit but instead I simply promised myself that I would create in my sketchbook 365 days of the year and leave it at that. I am glad I started out easy on myself because early in the move I got sick and stayed sick for over three weeks. I was able to fill pages in my sketchbook during those weeks, but just barely with real struggle. Temporary housing limited space and supplies and that also limited what I made. But the boat shipment did come and after six long weeks in a new country in temporary digs we moved into our new home and my art studio was one of the first rooms I unpacked. With that everything changed. I was able to spread out and create and my creativity and energy flowed as a result. I would reward myself for unpacking rooms by giving myself uninterrupted time in my art studio. And now here I am finding myself doing 30 minute ink and watercolor paintings in my sketchbook everyday.
Did you plan any challenges for the new year? What are they and how are they going?
After fixing my pen I got a lot of drawings done and am now nearly finished with my Doodle Book. It is a satisfying book to thumb through because I have been working on it slowly but steadily for months now and the book actually dates back a few years and has some old sketches from back then in it as well. They are so bad! Such bad drawings. I get discouraged drawing easily and often, especially when I look at all the talent and success on Instagram. But all I need to do is look at myself and know that I will get there. I have already come so far. The art on Instagram is super inspiring and I am so glad to be following all these talented artists. But I can't let intimidation rule. Keep going. Keep working hard and I will get where I need to go.
Want to improve your drawing? Don't know when to draw or what to draw? How about taking on the 75 Day Drawing Challenge? Started by watercolor artist and sketchbook keeper Brenda Swenson it has grown and developed into a popular artistic challenge for many people to customize. The only rules that stay constant are the 75 day length and using ink or another permanent line. I made the challenge my own with ink and doing blind contour drawings. A blind contour drawing is a drawing where you focus mostly on the outline, don't lift your pen as you draw and don't look away from your subject (so you don't look at your paper) while you are drawing. Do this for 75 days in a row (more or less) at a fairly consistent time for maximum effectiveness. I find the morning while I drink my coffee to be a good time for this activity. It can take as little as 5 minutes, but some people go all out and spend twenty minutes or longer on their drawings. I am content treating this as a warmup activity and spending rarely more than ten minutes on my drawing. I have also started journaling in the pages and including the date and weather forecast in the margins. Sometimes I fill in the drawings with details and sometimes I add bits of color. But they all start with a blind contour line that I mark the start with dot and an S and the finish with a dot and an F to keep me honest.
It was a hard challenge for me to start but once I got going I noticed a change in my drawing and easily continued. Until around day 35 when I realized I had been doing this challenge for over a month and wasn't even halfway done. I am not used to drawing challenges that last longer than a month. But I made it through that bumpy period and now here I am almost at day sixty and with well over 100 blind contour drawings under my belt and I am looking at ways to keep this habit going after 75 days and after my sketchbook is full. I'll probably just start a new sketchbook with simple graph paper and save the next Moleskine from my clearance stockpile for something else.
Collagraph crazy over here. Why didn't I explore this medium more before? It's so much fun and so inexpensive and low commitment compared to woodblock printmaking. I'm having a lot of fun making cardboard plates to print with and then drawing on the prints after they have had a chance to dry.
Allowing myself to be inspired by everyday objects and everyday beauty I just need to keep my eyes open to see it whenever it happens. Sometimes in the most random of circumstances. Seeing an interesting color palette of deep blue, yellow and purple in a few hair elastics found on my floor. They were probably in my two year old daughter's hair until she ripped them out and left them for me to find later. Thank you toddler!
So far I have done fake gelatin printing twice in the week that I have been back from Haystack. I wasn't thrilled with anything I made in the print lab at Haystack so I vowed to print at home. And the reusable Gelli plates and water based inks help make that possible. I can do print sketches on cheap printer paper and play around. Very freeing allowing me to experiment. During naptime or after the kids go to bed all I need is at least 20 minutes and I can make something. Right now my hands are a little green but I was able to print with very little time investment on a whim. Priceless. Totally worth the green hands.