comics, inktober

A Post-Inktober Update: Mid-January 2020

Hello folks! You may remember that I decided to take on Inktober, the month-long draw-with-actual-ink-on-actual-paper challenge last year. I managed to complete it, doing something every day. At the conclusion, I wondered how long I can keep on going with drawing at a regular clip.

The answer: For quite a bit!

I’ve been using that same li’l Rhodia notebook to draw something mostly every day. November started off pretty strong, but towards the end of the month, I started to slack a little bit. That’s okay, I told myself I could. I wasn’t going to aim for 100% completion of a daily comic, just the best I could do. December was a bit spotty, busy with a lot of different things. But I’ve drawn mostly every day so far in January. As such, that Rhodia notebook is almost full!

It has been fun. And one of the big things I enjoy with this project is the opportunity to mix things up a bit:

New tools. I pretty much locked into the whole technical pens a la Micron for drawing in the late ’90’s. It worked, they were inexpensive and easy to carry. But I’ve been wanting to get out of my comfort zone for awhile. So I decided to delve more into brushes.* I’ve often heard that brushes were the “right” way to ink, but I lacked the patience. So I got a decent brush pen, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Yeah, yeah, I know: brush dipped into ink is more “pure”, but who cares. I wanted something more portable. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but it’s been fun. I also found a half-way decent inexpensive fountain pen, the model sold by MUJI. Pretty much all the other cheap pens I’ve used don’t have great ink flow, nor do they allow you to vary line width. The MUJI does it!

MUJI fountain pen (left) and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Do it all “on paper”, except accept imperfections. The one tool that I got used to over the past 15 years is digital post-production. Before, I would need to fix the art with Wite Out or get creative. But with Photoshop I could clean up art, fix errors, and fill in areas of black easily. Going into this daily art project I didn’t want to use Photoshop as a crutch. So, all details and blacks were drawn on paper. And if I messed up, I messed up.

Color. All the color in my art over the past 15 years was done via post-production (Photoshop.) But I wanted to experiment with color in a more direct, on-the-paper way. This meant new tools. I discovered Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens. They have a wide selection of colors, go on via brush, are water-soluble, and inexpensive. Over the past few months I worked up a basic collection of these color brushes. And because they are water-based, I can use a water brush to blend colors if I want.

So I’ll keep on keeping on with this daily art thing. I’ve got more small sketchbooks waiting for when I fill up the Rhodia. I like working small, since it makes it easy do this on the fly. A small sketchbook also means it’s easy to slip it into a bike bag and take it on a bike tour. And while my basic kit has ballooned since Inktober, I can whittle it down to the basics if I need to: mechanical pencil, brush pen, fountain pen, and maybe another tech pen.

I still need to delve into the world of watercolor, though. The kit and watercolor sketchbook lie in wait…

Oh yeah! I haven’t posted much of the art here on the blog, so you can look in my flickr sets for more:

Follow me either on flickr or Instagram to see the art as it happens. If there’s interest here, I’ll post here. Just let me know.

*I have used brush pens before, but they were pretty much for filling black spaces, not for drawing.

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