Well I hadn’t planned on participating in Inktober this year, but then on the second, I decided I would after all, but with no pressure this year. No attempt at a narrative which I haven’t time to work out properly.
The pressure to craft un-flawed images is precisely what keeps me from drawing half the time, and also keeps me from experimentation and play, so I’m abolishing pressure! There’s plenty of that at work with deadlines as it is. Here are my first five drawings for this year.
I see from my last post that the entire month of September went by without a peep from me here on ol’ bloggy. That makes me sad, and I miss writing.
The only thing I miss, really, about being a sole proprietor is the bags of time I used to have. Time to allow things to percolate in my mind; to wander for hours in the late afternoon, on foot or on my bicycle. To put hours of time into this and other non-essential but satisfying pursuits, like my calendar projects.
There can be a paucity of time or energy (often both) that goes along with a full-time job into which one is invested and interested. Choosing how and where to spend those valued assets can be difficult.
I bought a new refillable brush pen last night; it takes cartridges of permanent ink like a fountain pen. I did this drawing to take it for a test drive, and I kinda love how it turned out, after some pushing and pulling.
I paired it with a white paint pen and a dash of red ball point, for drama. In the background I was catching up on some episodes of Pose, so fashion, attitude, gender fluidity were influencers— not to mention Madonna’s take on that buzzword a la mode.
When I watch something like Blue Planet II, practically every frame of the incredible footage begs to be drawn or painted, so I spent several hours last night sketching some of the beasties— and consequently missing many of the others. Next time I can draw some of the ones I missed this time around.
Last week I did the same thing while watching (re-watching) Civilizations. Some sketched interpretations of ancient art came from that session.
New Year’s Eve: the borderlands of the year; symbol of hope, renewal, revelry. To some, the biggest party of the year. To others, just a day like all the others. I reckon my take on it falls somewhere in between. It’s nice to mark it, to be in the company of others, but not the sort of event I buy new clothes for, (Although, to be honest, I rarely buy new clothes for anything in particular.)
So it was I found myself at my local around 10pm. I braved the dismal rain for two whole blocks to meet up with TL after her shift at the restaurant. She went home before the changing of the guard, but I stayed.
I’d spent the day working on updating my art website, and along the way I realized I’ve not done any drawings in two years with my trusted old ball-point with the ink that smears so wonderfully—so I armed myself thusly before heading out, hoping to fill the last few pages of my sketchbook at the close of the year.
The simplicity of working with a single pen is good for bar drawings. You must work fast, as people may walk away or re-orient at any moment, The setting is dim, so details are hard to pin down anyway. These are aspects of bar drawing that I really enjoy. No time for thinking— just keep grabbing what information you can.
The type of decision-making apparent in these sketches differs from my more thoughtfully-approached drawings. I learn so much from doing them, despite that they never look finished or beautiful.
And now, it’s time to begin a new Moleskine, the first of 2019. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!
Here is a scan of an initial proof of my line-etching of the witch-boy. This is the result of scratching my drawing into a waxy coating over the copper plate, called a hard ground. After coating the plate, you can transfer your (reversed) image onto the surface to guide you as you make your lines into the coating with a scribe tool..
Once you’ve finished, the plate is ready to go into the ferric-chloride acid bath. The places where you’ve scribed into the hard ground coating will be eaten away by the acid, thereby “etching” the lines into the copper plate.
Meet the witch-boy. He surfaced toward the end of my Inktober series for this year. I did a couple more sketches of him after the first, intrigued.
A few weeks ago I began studying intaglio again, and decided I’d like to do an etching of this guy, but that initial sketch needed some work, it was very rough. Below are four different studies I worked on my iPad of the witch-boy in various different wooded settings.
Above is the first study. I like the composition of the snow and path, but after some thought I decided that these slender trees are not quite what I had in mind; they lack mystery. So I moved one to another.
Here are some beefier trees which I can easily imagine being toned with a combination of line etch and aquatint (a way of introducing continuous tone shades to a print) I like this one! But I kept going.
Here is the cleaned-up inked version of the house. Next is time to trace it and then transfer the revered version of this to the plate, below:
Here is the tracing paper after transferring the image. As you can see, I replaced the original trees. I used a white charcoal pencil on the tracing paper to show up on the dark surface of the ‘wax’ ground into witch I’ll scratch the drawing. (I’m hoping the pre-made transfer paper I ordered will leave crisper lines, as this is fuzzy.)
After finishing the transfer to copper, I realized that I left all of my etching tools at the studio! So, I guess I’ll be working on that portion at class. I’ll try to take some decent photos of the line work in progress. You’ll see how impossibly fine the lines can be compared to pen or pencil. Stay tuned!
Tuesday I went to my first class in over 7 years— returning to the art of copperplate etching (intaglio). I’ve a small plate ready to work on before my next class on Tuesday. This is the wee sketch I did for it today.
It needs finessing, and then I’ll transfer it in reverse to my plate. I may change those trees to pines, and add some snow. We’ll see. I want to keep it fairly simple, but use this to re-familiarize with the studio and processes after such a long hiatus. Gotta wake up the muscle memory.
After I’ve got into a bit of a groove, I’ll embark on something more complex. I really want to design images with the various techniques in my mind from the start. Work to the medium’s strengths, not just mimic ink drawings or some such. More to come here as I progress!