You’re probably familiar with the Inktober challenge? Every October, artists from all over the world take on this drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. In 2019 I decided to participated, and the theme which came to mind was Space. I had recently found a wonderful book from the eighties, with lots of interesting space images… the mix of complex machines, astronauts and celestial objects is just so appealing to the imagination!
Ready for take off! The materials I used were black indian ink (diluted with some water), nib pen, no.12 water colour brush and an A5 size Stillman & Birn sketchbook (Zeta series). This paper is really nice and thick, so there’s almost no bleeding of ink through the pages. However, the next time I would choose the Beta series (or another water color sketchbook) which probably absorbs the ink better, when painting a large surface like black sky.
My goal for Inktober was getting to know the material ink better… I already loved the black line quality of ink, but hadn’t experimented much further with ink.
The first week was all about getting to know complex space machines, with their strange details, antennas and other accessories. For me that’s often the first step in a new project: drawing by reference, and getting to know the subject.
Week 2 was launched by E.T, the Extra Terrestrial… the start of imaging some space characters, and their fictional modes of transportation. Really fun to do!
Week 3… aliens need to live somewhere, don’t they? And do they go to college?
And then the final week… this was the week to combine things and just draw whatever came to mind. The alien space crafts were still flying around, which can lead to a traffic jam – on busy days that is.
Also aliens need to stay fit – just like humans- at Planet Fitness.
After some last drawings by reference, the final page was reserved for the school photographer, to preserve those nice memories!
How I look back on Inktober? It was really fun to do, and drawing every day with ink really helped to get to know the material better! For example the fact that you can only continue to darker tones, and not go back to lighter tones… a big difference with for example acrylic paint or gouache. Making one-coloured images is also formative for art skills in colour, because light/dark contrast and composition are key elements in any illustration. Thinking of joining Inktober this year? Try selecting a personal subject of interest, like I did, which is real helpful to stay focused. The ideas for the 31 drawings came quite naturally, evolving from more realistic to fantasy subjects.
Since Inktober I’ve continued in the same style: selecting one subject and one material, for a fresh new sketchbook! And of course it’s also okay to mix materials 😉 Check out my Instagram account if you’d like to see more work in progress, and thanks for taking the time to read this blog!