Well, the first ten days of Inktober have come and gone. I thought it would be nice to share a bit about each stage throughout the month, especially since I’ve never done a thirty-day art challenge before.
Since I was new to this whole adventure, I decided to follow the provided word prompts for each day. While in some ways it might have been easier to do my own thing, I wanted to accept the challenge of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and not just doing faces all month (my typical preference in art). 😉
Day One was “Swift.” Since I’m writing fairy tale retellings and love fantasy creatures, I decided to draw a Pegasus for this challenge. After all, I’d imagine they’re pretty swift animals with their horse bodies and strong wings. For this picture, I tried hard to accurately capture the anatomy of the horse body. I used swan wings as models for the Pegasus’ wings. Even using a sample picture, I still messed up on the front wing, mostly because I got impatient during the inking stage. 😉 I normally don’t apply a ton of ink shading in my drawings. I prefer to use the coloring process instead. But since this was “Inktober,” I really wanted to challenge myself to use the ink pens for my shading. I also wanted to try brush pens for the first time. Here’s the one I purchased specifically for the month (thank you, Michael’s 40% off coupons). 😉
I also used a set of my Copic outlining pens I already owned for the rest of my inking work, and I purchased an inexpensive sketchpad to use for the month.
The brush pen definitely took some getting used to. You’ll notice my lines are quite thick on my Pegasus. I also forgot that Copic markers (which I used for the gray background) sometimes bleed, so I had to trace over the lines a second time to cover that up, making the pen even thicker. Even worse, I forgot to put some paper behind the first page of the sketch pad, so the gray Copic marker bled through to the next page, presenting me with an even bigger challenge for the next day. I couldn’t skip a page, because there were exactly enough pages for the month. What could I do?
Day Two’s theme was “Divided.” I started sketching a couple in a face-off who unexpectedly became Mr. Darcy and Lizzy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As I did my initial rough sketch (shown above), I had my doubts that it would turn out because of all of the marker. I wondered if I could turn it into some sort of antiqued look or something. 😉 But as I worked and layered and added ink, it really started coming together, until it turned out more wonderfully than I could have hoped.
I learned from some of my mistakes from the previous day, too. I left a slight bit of white around the characters so the Copics wouldn’t bleed through. I took my time on my inking so the details would turn out the way I wanted. And I remembered to put paper down before I used the Copic markers for the background…almost. There were only a few small marks on the next page this time. 😉 Now if I could just go back and redo Mr. Darcy’s odd shoulder placement…
Day Three was “Poison.” I really wanted to stretch myself with this theme and not do the obvious choice, portraying literal poison. As I shared on Instagram, I kept thinking about the “poisonous” effect our words can have on others, and of the references to the damage the tongue can do in James chapter three. As I drew, more and more ideas came to me. I colored the main character in gray tones because of the way harmful words from others can drain us of life and confidence. And I gave the poisonous words cruel, talon-like fingers, because the words others use hold us in their vicious grasp until we begin to believe the lies and labels that others give us.
While this wasn’t my strongest piece from a skill standpoint, I was happy with the way it turned out and the message it conveyed. And after two days of using only gray tones and ink, it was nice to have a sketch in full color.
Day Four, “Underwater,” was the perfect chance to utilize my love of mermaids. I decided to make my mermaid a curvy girl, since so many of them in art, literature, and movies are stick thin or have “perfect” bodies according to the world’s standards. It was fun attempting to make her an average-sized merwoman. I found several reference photos online of plus-sized models photographed underwater in fancy dresses for inspiration. I also loved playing with the colors and shading to give her skin, hair, and fins the appearance of being underwater. In addition to that, this was the first day I felt confident with the brush pen. Not for the whole picture, but at least for part of it. Her face turned out just the way I wanted it to. Her arms and hair gave me a little tracing trouble, but I was still encouraged that I was starting to get the feel of using the softer brush tip of the brush pen.
Day Five was “Long.” As a Disney fan, I decided it would be fun to portray one of my favorite Disney princesses, Rapunzel, with her long, golden hair. Sigh. If only it had turned out the way I envisioned.
I actually had a pretty good start with my pencil sketch:
Not bad, right? (You’ll notice I was still getting the hang of remembering that paper between pages. At least only a few skin colors bled through.)
When I started outlining in pen, it all went south. I moved her eyebrows down, but should have stuck with my gut and kept them where they were. Her wide-eyed, innocent look became a little more crazy-caffinated-looking instead. When I started coloring, I went way too dark on her cheeks and had to add more layers of skin color than I’d originally planned, making her skin tone way too dark. This affected the rest of her color palette, which was super disappointing. And Pascal ended up looking grumpy because of the way I shaded his eyelids.
The one thing that I did like about this picture was Rapunzel’s hair. It turned out just right. Oh, well. Inktober is supposed to be about learning and improving your craft, and I certainly learned a lot from this one. 😉 Keep the cheek color subtle, don’t second guess your pencil lines, and easy on the eyelid shading.
One of my online readers suggested that Pascal was mad because Rapunzel drank all of the coffee. I’m going with that explanation. 😉
Day Six’s theme was “Sword,” and once again, I wanted to be a little more creative in my interpretation. I also wanted to get my poor girl from Day Three out of her fix. So, I gave her the same escape that I have found in my life. I can only destroy the poison of damaging words and lies by clinging to my identity in Christ and focusing on His truth. I am loved, cherished, wanted, and more. Again, this wasn’t my most technically challenging picture, but I’m proud of it just the same.
Day Seven was “Shy.” After going for a deeper theme the day before, I decided to do something lighter this time around. And the theme gave me the perfect opportunity to draw my favorite My Little Pony character, sweet Fluttershy. It was really fun playing around with my Copic markers and finding just the right colors for her. I decided to trace her in Sharpies instead of ink pen (which may or may not go against the theme of the month, but oh well). This made her look even closer to the way she appears in the show. I’m so happy with the colors and the whole thing, although I kind of wish I’d kept the background completely white.
Day Eight, “Crooked,” stumped me for a while, until I thought of my oldest daughter and her braces. I decided to do a girl with crooked teeth and braces, still smiling, and still beautiful. Because I’d done nearly all my characters in lighter skin before this, I chose lovely warm, dark tones for her skin. I was super happy with this one.
By this time, my sketchpad was getting pretty full, and it was getting harder and harder to take a picture of just the drawing without the surroundings. Because of the angle I chose to take the picture without any edges, I ended up messing up the proportions a bit, and making her a little more cartoonish.
This is what her proportions look like in reality.
But it was another learning moment. From here on out, I decided I’d take pictures of the drawings while they were laying flat, and I’d crop them the best I could afterwards.
Day Nine, “Screech,” was a tough day for art. I was super busy all day and didn’t have much time for drawing. Since my idea for the day’s theme was pretty simple, I thought I’d keep the style simple, too. Back in high school, I developed my own line of cartoon characters. I used them for doodling, handmade greeting cards, school posters, and more. I even did a coloring book for my friends for Christmas one year. I thought it would be fun to go back to this older, simpler style for the day, and I used a gel pen for my inking, similar to the pens I often used in high school. It was a fun walk down memory lane.
Day Ten was “Gigantic.” This was another theme that I didn’t have a clear vision for at first. I didn’t want to do a giant. That seemed too obvious. I started sketching on some scratch paper, thinking maybe I could do a unicorn with a fairy or something. But then I decided I wanted to save the unicorn idea for a later day. Before I abandoned the idea completely, I thought of doing a unicorn with a “gigantic” dragon. Then I realized that a dragon with a human would give an even bigger contrast. And that’s when Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George and its endearing characters came to my mind. I knew right then that I had to draw Shardas and Creel.
Guys, this has to be, hands down, my favorite Inktober sketch so far. Not only did it turn out almost exactly the way I envisioned it, but it also turned out the way I pictured the characters when I read the book. I had an extra hour or so to work on this sketch, so I really took my time with the inking and shading. Already, I can see a huge difference in my brush pen use. My lines are smoother and more confident. I’m finally getting the hang of the amount of pressure I need to use, and the way I need to hold the pen. Plus, dragons are just plain awesome, so they make any picture better.
Today is Day Eleven, “Run,” and is the first day I haven’t gotten a picture up in time. Between taking care of our cat, Pumpkin, who just got fixed yesterday, and coming down with a slight cold, I haven’t been able to use my time today the way I’d hoped. But that’s okay, too. I’ll just pick up where I left off tomorrow…and hopefully complete two pictures in one day. 😉
Overall, the experience so far has been fun and challenging, and it has already stretched me as an artist. I’m looking forward to the rest of the month and the thought that in twenty one more days, I’ll have a sketchpad full of drawings.
One of the things that has made this month even more special is that my two youngest daughters, ages eleven and nine, have done Inktober with me. It’s been so amazing to see their excitement each day in coming up with a picture to go with the theme. Their talents are growing and blossoming with each sketch. I’m especially impressed my Middle Gal’s creativity and use of color and shading, and by Little Gal’s fun interpretations and perseverance through the process, even when some of her ideas haven’t worked out the way she planned. I can’t wait to see where they go with their art.
Here are their pictures from the month:
“Swift” by Middle Gal (Little Gal missed this day)
“Divided” by Middle Gal
“Divided” by Little Gal
“Poison” by Middle Gal
“Poison” by Little Gal
“Underwater” by Middle Gal
“Underwater” by Little Gal
“Long” by Middle Gal
“Long” by Little Gal
“Sword” by Middle Gal
“Sword” by Little Gal
“Shy” by Middle Gal
“Shy” by Little Gal
“Crooked” by Middle Gal
“Crooked” by Little Gal
“Screech” by Middle Gal (Nobody on Instagram or Facebook guessed this, but can you guys name the Disney film this is from?)
“Screech” by Little Gal
“Gigantic” by Middle Gal
“Gigantic” by Little Gal
Next week, I’ll be back with the next batch of sketches and another “behind the scenes” look at the process. 🙂
If you’d like to know more about Inktober, you can check out the official website HERE.
For inspiring videos by Inktober’s founder, Jake Parker, check out his YouTube channel HERE. (I’ve watched several of these while doing my sketches this month.)
If you’d like to see my Pinterest board of photos and inspiration for my Inktober sketches, check that out HERE. (More will be added as the month progresses.)
And if you’d like to keep track of our daily Inktober progress, you can follow me on Instagram HERE.
Have a wonderful, artsy month, everyone! May you be inspired to create your own beauty around you. 🙂
~Hannah, Amateur Artist Addicted to Copics