For the third consecutive year, I’m participating in Jake Parker’s annual initiative to encourage people to draw daily in ink for the month of October. During my first year, I gave it a try without any theme or goal beyond making the daily sketches (you can see them all in this Flickr album). Last year I started out with the theme of making my own coloring book – simple line drawings with a black brush pen. But I had also hoped that the challenge would encourage me to try some sketches from imagination – something I rarely do. At some point during the month, my cartoon character Weather Bunny evolved spontaneously from some imaginative doodles I had been trying – and she continues to report on the weather occasionally to this day. (See my sketches from InkTober 2016.) I’m pleased that InkTober helped push me in a new direction.
A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about what I wanted to do for InkTober this year. My first impulse was to reach for my two great drawing loves – fountain pen and brush pen – especially since my focus this year on colored and graphite pencils has caused me to use ink less lately, and I’ve missed it. But then I remembered that the impetus for Parker’s initiative in the first place was to encourage people to challenge themselves – and falling back on comfortable, beloved tools might allow me to be too lazy.
Just lately I’ve been watching the work of Richard Johnson reporting on Hurricane Maria’s aftermath in Puerto Rico. Former Washington Post news illustrator Johnson has long been one of my urban sketching heroes, and he is famous for using nothing but a lowly ballpoint pen for most of his drawings from the trenches (literally). So for InkTober this year, I decided I’m going to challenge myself to work in ballpoint. I’ve used it now and then, but ballpoint hasn’t grabbed me as a sketching medium of choice. One of the interesting things about ballpoint ink, however, is that values can be built up gradually in much the same way as graphite. So I’ll be practicing skills similar to those I’m using in my graphite drawing class, even though it’s a very different medium. Ballpoint is also an ideal medium for practicing my very rusty hatching skills, which I haven’t worked on much since my pen and ink class.
Tell me what you’re doing for #InkTober2017!