How convenient that Inktober should end on a Tuesday, so I can write about it on a Wednesday. Now that’s timing, October. Inktober, if you don’t know, is a designated time for artist to try and draw one picture a day, using only ink. Now, some people followed the official prompt, but I did not. And that’s because, as I said way back on October 1, I does what I wants. I had a prompt of my own, anyway: comic characters. But more specifically, lesser known comic characters. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily apply to all of them (I really wanted to draw the ninja turtles, OK?) But I thought that if I was able to get wider recognition to characters and books, more people might read them. And, in the end, someone would finally be able to talk to me about all of my semi obscure reading. Can’t a guy dream?
Anyway, I had a lot of fun doing Inktober. This was my first year, and to be honest, I wasn’t even planning on doing it until the first day of October. I sat down and said, “I really want to draw Buddy Bradley.” As I had just that weekend seen Peter Bagge. So I sat down and drew him. Once I put it on Instagram, I knew that it was off I went. There is some pressure there; once you start, you feel obligated to keep going, every single day. And I did it. Every day I set aside time to draw something. I made a list of characters and picked whoever I felt like drawing that day, and I drew. You might think that drawing once a day is easy, but it is not. When you factor in a job, life, and other actual comics stuff that I have to do, I knew I had to carve out that time at the beginning of the day, or it wouldn’t happen. So, if nothing, Inktober helped me stay disciplined for a whole month. That’s pretty good for me.
Now that we’re half way done with this blog, let me tell you some things I learned. This month let me experiment with a variety of drawing tools and let me say drawing with a brush pen is hard. There’s a lot of control needed in order to get the correct line weight. A lot of my earlier drawings suffered from this because, honestly, I was using a Pentel brush pen that I just bought like a week before October. I also got to try a Copic marker and some Copic brush pens. Since I work digital most of the time, this was a period of discovery. I even used a sharpie to draw some of them, and those were a couple of my best, I thought. I guess I need a little more structure than that wild brush gives me, although the Copic brush pens worked better for me. This all sounds pretty technical now that I look at it, but let’s just say that there’s a lot of things to draw with, and I’m just sort of OK with some of them.
You know what else I learned? Space. Or, I should say, that I have no spatial awareness outside of a comic panel. There were quite a few times I went to draw something, started with the head, and got to the bottom of the page at about the shins of a character. But I had planned to draw the whole body. Boy was that frustrating. Especially because I wanted to get practice drawing different body parts because, spoiler alert, some things are really, really hard. I mean HANDS, I’m sick of drawing hands!
Buy you know what? I got to draw a lot of things I never had before. When I drew Marshall Law, that was the first time I worked with a character clad in so much leather, chains, and skulls. And you know what? I’m OK with how that one looks. And I don’t know that I’ve done many group shots before, so I really enjoyed working on the TMNT and the Lumberjanes. Talk about spacial awareness, I paid EXTRA attention then. Drawing different hats, weapons, and poses, just to name a few, was really beneficial. I feel like, while drawing so much, my digital line work became cleaner too. So I guess there is something to this whole practice thing.
Simply relying on ink, on black and white, is a hard thing. You have to know what you’re doing, and what you aim to convey. But I think it helped me learn a lot this year, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Maybe by then, I’ll be better and people will finally love me. I said a man can dream, didn’t I?!