inktober Day 4

Today’s prompt is scallop. I thought about doing some sort of design but I decided to take my mussels “inches” and make them into a larger 4×6 sketch and used scallops instead. OK, so it is a little macabre with the scallops crying over the ones that were cooked. I am not trying to make a statement or anything, my warped sense of humor was going a little in the “Far Side” direction.

If you are not familiar with the “Far Side” cartoons by Gary Larson, they were genius and took everyday things and turned them into humor, like cows, dogs and cats. Some of my favorites are the cows standing around on hind legs and smoking, one yells “car” and they all go back to grazing and doing regular cow things. There’s a frog that sticks his tongue to an airplane flying over and gets lifted in the air, but two of my favorites are the ones about dogs and cats and what they hear. These two are priceless. You need to read the dog one first to really appreciate the one for cats. It’s so true.

There’s also so the cartoon of the kid going to a mentally gifted school and trying to push the door that clearly says “pull.” Something we have all done at one time or another so the humor hits home. Gary had sooooo many cartoons. My coworkers and I used to stand in a bookstore at lunch time and cry over his books. We used to have everyone in the store laughing. We had one coworker who we would drag to the store when he came into the city so we could share the cartoons with him. Yeah, I think we actually bought him a copy, LOL.

Laughter truly is the best medicine and the best way to bring people together. Now that I think about it, we never complained about anything, we’d just go do something that made us laugh. That’s a good memory for me.

Inktober Day 4 - Scallop Pen and Ink drawing of a steaming bowl of scallops on a checkered tablecloth.  There are scallop shells crying in front of the bowl because the others were cooked.
Inktober Day 4 – Scallop

Inktober Day 3

Good morning everyone! Today’s prompt is “bat.” Since it is October, I thought bat the animal would be better than a baseball bat. Although baseball still does run for another week or so. I am a Phillies fan so I hope we make it to the wild card game, at least. My husband is a Yankees fan so of course they clinched (eyes rolling). It’s not too bad with baseball and football in our house. I’m an Eagles fan (4-0) and he’s a Jets fan (notice I didn’t put the standings for the Jets), so the Eagles and Bucs are his back up teams. We have a saying in our house, well I do, that the Jets are the kiss of death for any player’s career. I said if I was a kid in the draft and the Jets picked me, I’d stay in school and wait for the next year. So there is a bunch of good natured busting of chops here in the house.

However, hubby is a RANGERs fan. Blech ptooie!!!!!!! I am a Flyers fan so we don’t discuss hockey unless I am gloating when the Rangers lose. I went to a Rangers/Blackhawks game once with hubby and was rooting for the Blackhawks. He goes with my daughter now when they are in Tampa.

For those of you who asked, we are on the East Coast of Florida, below the path that Ian took. We got a lot of wind (60+ gusts) and rain, but we fared well. Unfortunately, the West Coast not so well. I really feel bad for the Ft Myers region folks. Although Florida has hurricane building codes, there are many old Floridian structures that are being wiped out by these storms. It’s really sad to see them being wiped out and sad for the people who lived in them or conducted their businesses in them who have to rebuild. Yeah, they can rebuild, but it doesn’t have the same charm or memories, and when it floods, not even concrete is invincible. Our thoughts and prayers goes out to them.

Inktober Day 3 "Bat" - pen and ink drawing of a bat in a sketchbook using a black Uniball Vision pen and  a Cambio brush pen with grey ink, also in the photo.  Sketchbook was made by Innovative Journal
Inktober Day 3 – Bat

Inktober Day 2

For Day 2 of Inktober, I am sure that I am not the only one that used a mouse for today’s prompt, “scurry.” Whenever many of us hear the word scurry, we think of mice scooting across the floor. Which usually leads to someone screaming and if you have a cat, mayhem.

I played around with sketching mice for this one and settled on what I chose as my final idea. It was fun drawing mice although they aren’t something I normally pay attention to, unless the cat brought one into the house. My mom used to tell us entertaining stories about field mice when she and my dad were living in California. The mice used to come out of the fire place and duke it out. Now there’s an image, boxing mice. (Trying to figure out what they were doing in the fireplace?)

I was trying to find the post I saw this morning from Jake Parker, the artist that started Inktober. It tells about why he started Inktober (to help artists improve their drawing skills was one reason, and the important one I forgot to mention yesterday) and the ideas behind the challenge. I guess I will have to add the link tomorrow if I come across it again.

Adding my thoughts on ink, as an outdoor sketcher’s point of view, many artists, like myself, draw directly in ink because you want to get what is in front of you on paper as quickly as possible. When you are drawing on location, you don’t have much time if you are drawing something that will change, like people or animals. Or a delivery truck….When one parks in front of what you were originally drawing. Using pencil slows you down because no matter how hard you try not to, pencil enables you to erase marks, and the temptation to erase is too irresistible, inevitably bringing out the perfectionist/procrastinator in us and the subject long gone before scratched on the page with nothing to show for your time. Ink is there, ready to go (unless you forgot to refill your Lamy Safari) and although maybe not the most perfect of sketches, your recorded information in its raw form, has the subject captured on the page.

The other nice thing about ink drawing, all you need is paper and a pen and you can sketch anywhere.

pen and ink mouse sitting up on its high legs, wavy tail Inktober Day 2 "Scurry"
Come on Kitty, BRING IT.

Inktober 2022

It’s October….again….and that must mean it’s Inktober! The month where thousands of artists post mostly inky art to the internet and social media. Inktober started as a challenge for illustrators to take a break from creating digital art, by getting back to their inky roots and inky fingers or other traditional media. Going back to traditional media helps with the creative flow and inspiration. Choosing ink makes the challenge harder because you can’t erase ink when you make a mistake. There’s no “undo” button with ink, so it forces you to think on your feet and deal with what is in front of you.

Inktober has grown over the years and many copycat challenges have sprung up along with it until October is one hot mess of art on the internet. The Official Inktober Prompt List can be found on Instagram at @Inktober, the official Inktober account. If you aren’t into ink, there’s so many other lists out there to choose from like Mabs Drawlloween @mabgraves on Instagram. Mabs does a lot of her art in pencil so she prefers a drawing challenge instead of an Inky Challenge. All you have to do is search for October Art Challenges and you will find a lot of ideas.

Today’s Inktober prompt is “Gargoyle.” Looking at my gargoyle, whose name is “Larry,” I see a vague resemblance to one of the family’s grand dogs. Sorry Charlie, you’re a gargoyle model. (Charlie is a pit bull mix who’s at the mercy of one very bossy cat and a hissy kitty. Two for the price of one.)

Larry is just hanging out. The rest of his kind are usually attached as downspouts on the sides of structures, like Notre Dame Cathedral, or other Churches and buildings. Gargoyles were originally used as gutters to move rain water away from structures to keep mortar and other materials from eroding away. Larry found himself a nice perch in the park and if he stays still, people think he’s a statue. Except for the drool that occasionally comes out his mouth…..those french fries cooking on the food trucks in the park smell so good……

Pen and ink sketch of a gargoyle perched on a column. Inktober 2022 Day 1
Inktober 2022 Day 1 – Gargoyle

Inchies Day 11

One more day of Inchies! I can’t say that this hasn’t been fun because it was a lot of fun. I like experimenting with tiny art. Today’s prompt is “interwoven” and I went in a bit of a different direction. We went swimming very early this morning and there was lightning out over the Atlantic. We debated the wisdom of our swim but we could see the storm clouds being shredded by the wind, slowly breaking up the top of the storm. The storm hovered offshore before being pushed out to sea.

This morning’s clouds inspired these Inchies;

It also inspired a bit of…writing…I usually make time in the morning to squeeze in a little creative writing. It helps my overall creativity.

2x2 inch square of watercolors in Indigo, Ultramarine Blue, yellow and pink....abstract pieces of an early morning storm, white gel pen illustrating the lightning
2 x 2 Inch squares of abstract storm clouds


In the distance, lightning flashes 

a spider web of electricity 

bolts down and across the sky

“It’s going offshore, right?”

“Will we be able to swim this morning?”

The sun is still considering its rising

But has to compete with the storm

Looming menacingly 

Slate blue thunderclouds

Adorned with puffs of light gray

An angry Poseidon reflected 

In the face of the storm

Thunder grumbles and rolls

“Should we get out of the pool?”

“But it looks like it’s going away

See, the top of the storm is melting away”

“Not yet!” says Poseidon

Stirring the sea with even more dark clouds

The winds challenge the sea god

Continuing to blow off the tops of his storm

Poseidon’s face is gone

Blown away along with the clouds

On the dancing taunting winds

gleefully shearing the clouds in the storm 

More lightning protests behind the clouds 

Slowly being pushed away 

But not without 

More clouds stacking and building

Poseidon shaking his fist at the winds

“I’ll get you next time” as the clouds and storm 

Get blown out to sea

Inchies Day 10

This is Day 10 of the Inchie Challenge with two days to go. Today’s prompt is “eclipse.” When I first saw the prompt. I thought of a bunch of little partially covered moons, but I also thought of a “man in the moon” concept and the “man” bemused that his light was being blocked by the sun.

I played with both concepts to see how they would look. The nice thing about working small is you aren’t using up a lot of art supplies to experiment and play and you can see quickly if something isn’t working. I did a second man (boy?) in the moon because the first one wasn’t as crisp and clear as I would have liked it to be. I added the dark background, stars and some “satellites.”

2x2 inch square art...Moon faces with the light slowly being taken away to eclipse the face of the moon, which looks like a boy/man.  Also two 2x2 squares of moon rocks
Moon Eclipse Inchies and moon rocks

As I was working, and being a horse lover, the term “eclipse” made me think of the name of the British racehorse, “Eclipse” who’s descendants are still on the thoroughbred tracks all over the world even today. The American Eclipse Award commemorates the memory of Eclipse and the awards are given out annually to recognize outstanding achievements such as “American Horse of the Year,” American Champion 3 year old colt, American Champion 3 year old filly, American Champion Steeplechase horse, etc. The award is also given out to the Owner, Breeder, Trainer and Jockey of the Year.

A large amount of race horses today carry Eclipse in their bloodlines.

Tiny sketch of Eclipse the thoroughbred racehorse from the UK.  Pen and Ink drawing with watercolor (burnt umber and Sap green)
Eclipse the thoroughbred horse (UK)

My little Eclipse isn’t meant to be a portrait, just an Inchie. But sometimes drawing whimsy, when you can draw the real thing so well, takes a bit of practice to make him look like a cute illustration and not a breed profile photo, LOL. If you research Eclipse on line, the portraits of Eclipse in the 1700’s look awkward. I don’t think he had a snaky neck but that’s how horses were painted back then. I would love to see better drawings because horses like Eclipse were closer to the foundation stock of the Thoroughbred.

Inchies Day 9

It is Day 9 of the Inchie Challenge and today’s prompt is “innovative.” The term innovative can be interpreted many different ways with illustration. It could be a light bulb over someone’s head, or an exclamation point to show a new idea. I decided to use innovative thinking to create a pattern out of something I usually use as a decorative border, a dash and a circle.

I started on the a 2×2 square with the dashes and circles, creating a pattern which included negative space. This is the square on the top left of the photo. I could have stopped there, but then I did a second one , top right.

Looking at the two, I figured, “OK, I did two. Why not a quad?” Before I knew it, squares 3 and 4 were finished. Then I took my photo. As I looked at the four together, I thought, “Why don’t I just color in the circles?” Filling them in gave the composition a whole new look.

I like how they can hold their own composition alone, and together as a set. This is an idea that is encouraged by Amy Maricle with her Inchies exercises. One Inchie can lead to an entire collection that can standalone as one square or be part of a large collection of squares. Last year I did 8 squares together as a set. I completely forgot about that until the “innovative” prompt. I have three more days of the Inchie Challenge to try a larger grouping.

If you are feeling a little stale in your creative practice, try creating art on separate panels, or breaking up a page in a sketchbook with squares divided like a window and then fill in each one with piece of a subject to look like you are seeing the scene from inside instead of outside. Or you could try adding different parts of the place where you are in each box so that each box has a piece of a location or subject and then the entire page is a compilation of the subject. The beauty of the Inchie Challenge/practice is the way it can clear your mind to inspire new approaches for creating art.

Four 2x2 squares with pen and ink dash and circle patterns.  The 4 squares were created to have individual compositions separately but they are also combined to be part of a larger composition.
Inchie Day 9 Dashes and Circles
Four 2x2 squares with pen and ink dash and circle patterns.  The 4 squares were created to have individual compositions separately but they are also combined to be part of a larger composition. The circles were filled in with this version
Inchies Day 9 with dashes and filled in circles

Inchie Day 8

Today’s prompt is “moth.”

I used my pre prepped cards for the background. The mixtures of blues and greens that worked for the ocean inchies also work for an evening sky. The white gel pen was the perfect choice for the moths. I added a hazy moon on the one piece because that area was already lighter in color which made the moon seem to look like it is peeking from behind some vegetation.

I like how the gel pen seemed to make the moths glow, almost like ghost moths. I tried to play with different angles to show them darting and dancing in the moonlight.

Moths are not a subject I normally draw so this was a fun change of pace. The Inchie Challenge is unlike many other internet challenges because we don’t get advanced notice of the prompt. The prompt comes first thing in the morning. The idea is to be spontaneous with your interpretation of the prompt and not get hung up on accurate representations.

There are only four more days to the Inchie Challenge. I will be sorry when it is over. I really like the size and not being concerned about whether or not they are masterpieces or playful exercises. The best part is just having fun and being loose. I have other prepped papers that I may cut down to Inchie size and just carry them in my handbag for when I want to play when I am out of the studio.

2x2 inch sized art displayed on a cutting mat to show the size.  Colors palette od blues, greens and a white gel pen was used to draw moths over the darker repainted paper.
Moths Inchies Day 8

On another note, John and I found this plant popping up in our garden. It had funny bulb like protrusions like an artichoke. I picked one of the tiny little flowers and I said to Hubby that they looked like they were orchids. After much research, I finally identified the little flower. Much to my happiness and then dismay, I found that it was a Chinese Crown Orchid, also known as EULOPHIA GRAMINEA. Apparently this little orchid has slowly made its way up the Invasive species list here in Florida and it is commonly found in flower beds that have wood mulch. Bingo! Flower bed and wood mulch is where we found several of them. It pained us to have to pull them out but Florida has 5 native species of orchid and that don’t need the competition in already shrinking habitats. The EULOPHIA GRAMINEA has tiny seeds that blow like dust in the wind so it is very prolific and it is recommended that gardeners pull them out and destroy them. I felt really bad for the little plants that were happily blooming in my garden, but I had to do what was best for the native plants. So sad that whoever brought this plant into the country didn’t think of the consequences.
EULOPHIA GRAMINEA aka Chinese Crown Orchid
EULOPHIA GRAMINEA aka Chinese Crown Orchid

It was so pretty, too. It looked like a tiny cattleya orchid.

Inchies Day 7

The prompt for Day 7 is “mussel.” I added tiny eyes to my mussels and then I, uhm, had a little dark fun with wondering how the mussels would feel about being dinner. I kept thinking about the song by Squeeze, “Pulling Mussels (from the shell)” so I thought of a bowl full of streaming mussels and their relatives dismayed over their demise.

It’s almost Halloween. What can I say.

Mussels with little faces done in Ink and ink wash on 2x2 inch paper.   Whimsy humor