Inktober Day 7

Today’s Inktober prompt is “trip.” Now this is a word that could be interpreted in a few different ways. For instance, is someone taking a trip? Can you use luggage? An airplane? A train station? Platform 9 3/4? Animal House road trip? Business trip? The word “trip” then takes on a more vacation or travel sort of reference. If I go that route, how to illustrate that? Again, so many possibilities. Car? RV? Fly? Cruise?

Then, there is the another way “trip’ could be interpreted. A psychedelical ’60’s drug trip? Mmmm, no. That’s way out there. A trip as in FALL? That has some comical possibilities. A character falling flat on their face. Wil E Coyote getting handed another can of Whoop ass? Slipping on the proverbial banana peel? (Has anyone ever slipped on a banana peel? Where did that come from?) So many ways to interpret “trip” as in fall-flat-on-the-face, a mishap of some sort, accidental or premeditative (Picture a diabolical cat tripping their owner or family dog) and so on.

I can’t say I was stumped with this one as opposed to the many possibilities and opportunities for ideas being presented here. This could be a fun word.

I was sitting outside listening to the birds this morning while I did my morning drawing and writing routine. This time of year, the birds come back from their vacation up North. So many of the bird calls that were missing over the summer are being heard again. This led me to thinking about how a trip could be for a migration. Migration = bird = trip. So I got to thinking about birds packing for their migration and I thought of a little bird with an aviator’s hat and goggles, rucksack packed and ready to migrate! Voila! Today’s sketch!

Intober Day 7
Pen and Ink drawing of a little bird with an aviator hat and goggles with a backpack on his back and he's obviously ready to travel. Grey ink added for shading and interest. Also show with Uniball vision and Kuretake Cambrio pens
Inktober Day 7 “trip”

Inktober Day 5

Today’s prompt is “flame.” Since it is October and the month of Halloween, I went back to one of my earlier pieces and redrew it in ink. I have done a cauldron a few times in October and have done them a few different ways. It has also popped up in my Little Witch Series. October is the Season of Witches so it only makes sense to draw some witch related items, like a cauldron to represent today’s prompt, “flame.”

Just a footnote of a sort, I have been sketching all of my ideas in my square Plumchester Sketchbook from Artsnacks first, before transferring the finals to my Innovative Journaling Halloween sketchbook, using the Arches Text Wove Paper. My Halloween Sketchbook is the Pathfinder size. It’s black with skulls woven into the binding and in the pull loop. I wish I had put red or purple leather inside so it would have a Dracula feel to it, but it’s pretty badass the way it is. I love it and it is the perfect size. The Arches Text Wove paper that Arthur likes to use when making his journals is a really nice paper. It has a little tooth and texture, but it performs well with dry or wet media. I have used watercolor, gouache, and acrylic on the paper. I don’t saturate it but it handles light applications very well. These are refills so when I fill one refill, I pull it out and add another. I can make them myself or order the machine stitched ones from Arthur, which come with a nice soft cover.

I originally purchased the IJ Halloween sketchbook (journal) for my Little Witch Series. There are some in there from last year. Just having this journal that screams Halloween is inspiring somehow. I like how the paper has a little “drag” to it so it slows the pen down for more precise drawing. It holds two refills so I guess I should get cracking and put some Little Witch stuff in the other refill.

Inktober Day 5 - "Flame" Pen and Ink cauldron over wood with lots of flames and some concoction brewing and bubbling in it.  Pen and ink with grey wash. Pens shown, Lamy safari, Uniball Vision and Cambio
Inktober Day 5 – Flame
My Refillable Halloween Journal by Innovative Journal

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.



You were the last thing

we wanted

You came to us

on a warm summer evening

Tiny and sick

dark as the night

We took you in

and you grew on us

You thought you were

a chihuahua

You ingratiated yourself

into our hearts

Soft and silky

svelte and lanky

A queen in your own right

Gardening with your company

Birds and mice brought

into the house 

There were those times

we pulled our hair out

You ate almost  

 a whole cake

But we loved you

You went to Florida 

with Erin

a companion and

a friend 

We enjoyed your company

during lockdown

Then one tragic day

you fell ill

No vet could save you

You were only five

We didn’t want you 

to go

But we had to let you

We feel your loss

every day.


The fourth prompt is “witch” and it happens to be one of my favorites. Usually for Inktober, I work on my “Little Witch” series, which started back in 2018 as a desperate need to find ideas for postcards to mail to my mom.

(Mom was placed in Assisted Living back in 2018 for memory care. I mailed her postcards to give her something to look forward to and help her settle in.)

This year I did the “TheyDrawtober’s Cook” list and that’s what I sent my mom this year. I thought the food art would give her some memory triggers. I haven’t seen her since December 2019, thanks to CoVID 19 but occasionally my sister is able to FaceTime with us.

I have to admit it’s been hard to keep up the daily practice. She likes cats and always dressed as a witch for Halloween, so that’s where the idea for the “Little Witch” series came from. I do enjoy doing the “Little Witch” series and Inktober made it fun to use the prompts for the character.

Here is the Little Witch as a pre-schooler….as I mentioned yesterday, I might switch to watercolor; I actually used watercolor and the Arteza brush pens together.



I am still trailing the other October lists for now. As I write this, I have one of the Hallmark channels on TV to help with the holiday transition, even though I don’t want to transition yet. I’d love to wallow some more in post-Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving vibes and enjoy November for November.

It’s hard to transition in the State of “endless” summer. Autumn creeps slowly into my part of Florida. The overnight temps creep downward and daytime temps are around 80, for now. We actually do have autumn here and trees will lose their leaves. It’s very comical. One day the trees have leaves, and the next, they drop them like PJ’s dropped on the floor before a shower.

Today’s prompt is “Haunted.” I am trying to use the Arteza brush pens that I normally use for Inktober, but they aren’t performing very well on the textured Arches paper. I’ll probably switch over to watercolor on the next one.

Monster Self Portrait

This is another sketch in my “skull” sketchbook. I love this refillable journal. It’s black Italian leather and it was made by Innovative Journaling. It comes with two refills of Arches Text Wove paper. The nice thing about this refillable journal is that I can use the paper that comes with it, or make my own refill from paper that I choose. I love the black leather with skull beads. Perfect for my Halloween themed sketches.

Today’s sketch is based on my interpretation of last month’s Drawlloween list. The first day was “Monster Self Portrait” which, I think the intention was to make a monster self portrait of ourselves, but that light bulb came on and I remembered the Norman Rockwell self portrait. I recently did a sketch of Cary Grant and I laughed thinking about Frankenstein painting his self portrait but it looking like Cary.

Now that I look at this, I should have made Cary green, too. It Frankie more flesh toned. I don’t know why Frankie is depicted as green anyway. I like the version from “Penny Dreadful.”

This is just a sketch and hasn’t been polished digitally. But this is where a lot of my ideas start.

Frankie paints his self portrait…”
My Halloween Journal

Happy Labor Day

We are less than a month away from Inktober and that means the return of the Little Witch and her Dragon.

They are taking a vacation at the shore and are enjoying their Labor Day on the beach. Dragons love the sun on their hides. The laughing gulls are wondering if there are any handouts coming. The Little Witch is enjoying her latest issue of Broom Network Magazine where she is picking up decorating ideas, recipes and reading about the new cauldrons and brooms that are coming out this Fall.

Soon, it will be pumpkin and apple picking time!

((This is the raw sketch. There are some things that I would def tweak if I did this digitally but the joys or working with traditional materials are the quirks and happy accidents that make original art…original….))

I used Arches Text Wove paper and didn’t realize that the watermark is on every page of this sketchbook….LOL. At least I know it’s genuine! This paper is a little more textured which makes the pens I use act up a little bit but I am finding ways to work with it. Watercolor would def work better but I have a set color palette for the Little Witch series with Arteza Brush pens.)