Inktober Day 3: BULKY

BULKY, with dip pen

In Bolivia, there are porters who carry these immense loads up and down the packed streets (and mountainside of La Paz) all day.

I tried this 2 ways: first with my trusty dip pen, and then with copic markers for some midtones. While I like applying the midtones, I still like the hatching, and if I’m honest, ink-staining and paper scratching character of the dip pen better. I’m going to keep experimenting through this Inktober to find that balance I really enjoy.

BULKY, with copic markers

Inktober Day 2: WHISP

WHISP drawn with dip pen

For this prompt I drew the first thing that came to mind; that annoying whisp of hair that’s always falling in your face when you read. I tried inking it 2 ways, with dip pen and with ink wash.

WHISP drawn with ink wash and brush pen

There are aspects of each drawing that I like. I just have to learn to combine them into one good image.

WHISP rough sketch

Inktober is here!

Inktober Prompt: FISH

When I was little, I remember going fishing with my dad. The best surprise, other than when I actually caught my first fish, was opening the cooler filled with goodies that my mom always packed for us, complete with a thermos of hot chocolate.

I’m feeling rusty with my inking skills. I tried a brush with ink wash to make a midtone, but I think I’m going to stick with my favorite through this challenge – a dip pen and bottle of ink.

September SVS Contest

Ok, this month I was a little distracted when it came to the September SVS Contest. The prompt was:

Today was the day, she just KNEW it. Today, Ellie would finally snap a photo of an ink fairy.

While it’s not really that creative in terms of composition or concept, it did give me a warmup for Inktober.

Dragonfly, SVS August Contest

After practicing a bit with watercolor this month, I decided to test myself with another Society of Visual Storytellers ( monthly contest. The prompt for this August was DRAGONFLY. I tried several ideas and multiple thumbnails before settling on 3 dragonflies escaping a wide-mouth bass.

For inspiration with the watercolor, I looked to Beatrix Potter and her illustrations of Jeremy Fisher. Her color and her mix of linework and brushwork to show water is gorgeous!

I’m getting closer! At the pace I’m going it’s more like an eternal creep than a forward motion, but I’ll take it.

Yellow-Billed Magpie and the start of watercolor practice

Yellow-Billed Magpie, 4×6 Watercolor on paper

So I think it’s pretty obvious looking back over my blog that I have inconsistency issues with at least my posting schedule. Yet another 2020 goal forgotten due to COVID-19. Nevertheless I feel like the eternal creep toward better skills in art is making progress. At least now I’m working in color again!

A bit of background. I have virtually no skill in watercolor, save a class I took the summer I was 12 and several books I have lread. I feel infinitely more at home with oils where I can cover over my many mistakes.

That being said, I am starting to realize that thinking of painting lights to darks requires a lot more pre-painting thought and therefore planning ahead (not my strong point). No offense to the many fantastic watercolor artists out there, but it feels like I’m thinking backwards when I consider lighter values first. Yet even at this early stage I can see a continuation of such thinking helping my overall process in art no matter what medium I am using. My kids have forced me to acknowledge that I’m growing my brain as a muscle by using watercolor and therefore the uncomfortable feeling that I get, not unlike their discomfort in doing algebra problems or converting fractions to decimals, is completely just a side effect of the use of weak muscles. Darn it! Didn’t expect that to come back at me so soon.

30 Faces in 30 Days – #1

I recently signed up for a class on Sktchy about drawing 30 Faces in 30 Days. My goal is to practice with my nib pen, and get more comfortable with drawing faces. The good part is that Sktchy gives you 30 photos, so all you have to focus on is drawing. This is my first one.

January Inktober52 Stories

This post is a bit delayed, but here are the Inktober52 prompts for January and the illustrations I managed to get done for them.


For the first one, I didn’t really think up a story beyond the sequence of a bird lifting off into FLIGHT.


Then came SHADOW, and I learned how to design a composition that would tell a story using ink wash and crosshatching. The story was taken from my daughter, defending her turf from the shadowy dragon rather than being intimidated by it.


I think BRICK is one of my better overall compositions. I’m really proud of how the bricks turned out. This one is something that crosses my mind when I watch squirrels scale the brick wall near our house, while the rabbits are stuck watching them from below.

In SNAKE, I think I managed to take things a step further. I had story, composition, and wash all working well together. I just wanted a bit more crosshatching in the design. I had a question put to me of, what if a snake wanted a new way of getting around and wanted legs?

All in all, a good start to 2020!

Inktober52 “SHADOW”


For this Inktober weekly prompt of SHADOW, I channeled ideas from my daughter. She is obsessed with asking if monsters are asleep every time I put her to bed. She isn’t afraid of the monsters per se, she actually finds them funny. But she needs to know that they aren’t awake and playing without her every night. I think, if she did find them a threat, she would be like the girl in my illustration and poised ready to defend her turf. #Inktober52 #Inktober52shadow

New Year, New Goals, More Art and a BIG High Five!

2019 is over. My goals did not materialize the way I wanted them to. The main reason is the fact that art and illustration are not “my main gig”, and juggling around everything else in my life gets hectic if not chaotic at times. But in all fairness, I did complete 2 goals of 2019 – I improved my inking ability through Inktober and daily drawing, and I drew over 100 bears.

For 2020, I would like consistency to be my main focus – consistency of drawing practice (time), consistency of drawing ability (skill), and consistency of posting online. I’ve also got a goal of learning to draw the human figure.

Since drawing over 100 bears got me to be more comfortable with fur, with inking, and with drawing the basic shape of a bear, I’ve decided to draw 100 of each – hands, heads and figures this year. Here are the first 5 hands. They are clunky and awkward, but they are a start in understanding the hand as a form. I’m starting by working my way through Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis. Let the improvement begin!