This was my 4th InkTober. Last year I did ink wash portraits and I really learned a lot, but I also spend a grotesque amount of time on it. Although I loved doing the ink washes, and the end result, I really didn’t enjoy doing the underdrawings. I was doing them with grids and was spending more time fine tuning them, then I did on the ink washes. It felt like copying, not drawing, which I in essence it is. Using a grid can be great when the likeness have to be spot on, like a family portrait, but for me it became a bad habit I didn’t enjoy and I almost haven’t drawn since December.
So it was time for change; I still wanted to do portraits but without the grid and faster, trying not to be too fussy about likeness;
-Block in in pencil, ink with fountain pen
-No grids, only tool for measuring is my pencil
-Shade with hatching trying to use as few strokes as possible
I quickly switched to finelines because the fountain pen was skipping a lot when drawing on top of the pencil in my very cheap 20x20cm sketchbook. Time wise it was a disaster again this year but I did loose the bad habit using a grid when doing the underdrawings. Blocking in instead of doing a more or less a finished contour drawing as an underdrawing and hatching with as few lines as possible where a limited success. I did get a little faster and the hatching a bit lighter and looser but not much. But all that said, I do like the style with the blue underdrawing and ink that developed over the month.
I just picked up a book about drawing portraits hoping that the method it uses can help me further, but I probably need professional help to fix this so I’ll also start looking for portrait drawing classes with live models.
My usual ramblings/comments to the daily drawings are under the gallery.
Day 1. I thought it would be a good idea to draw more guys. This one was drawn from a random mugshot from the book “Booked”. It’s Scot Weiland and it easy to see that I’m more used to drawing women. Frustration also turned “as few strokes as possible” into quite a lot of lines. Think I’ll stick with one problem at a time and not worry about drawing more guys for now.
Day 2. Sktchy drawing today. Couldn’t make up my mind on how to attack the hatching. Got frustrated and ran out of time so I just left it as a line drawing.
Day 3. Didn’t have a plan when I started hatching so I just kept adding more lines to try to fix the mistakes I made as I went along. Absolutely dit not succeed on the “as few strokes as possible” but I still like the drawing. Sktchy drawing again.
Day 4. It’s way over my bed time and my fountain pen is skipping more then it is drawing so thats it for day 4. Might add the hatching another day.
Words of visdom: Don’t shake an acrylic marker without the cap on. I now have little white dots everywhere… Just one of those days.
Day 5. Half a day late and I still havn’t had time to fix my fountain pen so fineliner today – or rater yesterday. Sktchy again and still don’t have a plan for the hatching so loads of lines.
Day 6. Speed increased a tiny bit today and at times I felt I had a bit of an idea what I was doing with the hatching. Started out using a fountain pen I normally use for writing. It was loaded with normal water soluble ink and it started smearing a bit under my palm. Normally I use waterproof ink and don’t have that problem so I switched to fine liners.
Day 7. I don’t have a lot of time so I’m trying to find references that are “easy” to draw; Closed mouth, smooth skin, ears hidden by hair etc. Thought todays drawing would be very easy.. Not so, it was really hard and took me ages. On the bright side I did use fewer lines when hatching today. Sktchy drawing with fine liners.
Day 8. I use a blue pencil for the underdrawing and don’t bother erasing it – I really like the effect and that you can se a bit of the process. Now I’m finally having some fun experimenting with hatching and portraits. Making loads of mistakes but just try to fix them with more line – and I’m not getting stressed by the mistakes anymore. Fewer lines is the goal though.
Sktchy drawing and mostly fineliners again – had more or less destroyed the paper with too much erasing so the fountain pen was skipping.
Day 9. I was really proud of myself, I did the underdrawing much faster than normal, but then I realised that the eyes where of and started correcting again and again so absolutely no time saved in the end. I was so determined not to lose the tilt of the head that I seem to have tilted it a bit extra. Hatching went a bit crazy.
If I don’t get the drawing time down I wont be able make all the drawings the next 10 days…
Day 10. Was a bit faster doing the underdrawing today but I could happily have spend the whole afternoon improving it. Hatching also vent a bit faster. I need to get used to the thought that it will get ugly before it gets better if I really want to improve my speed.
Day 11. I have no idea what possessed me to take on this drawing on a day where I really wanted to finish quickly. The under drawing actually went fairly fast until I realised that the eyes and nose where off. I must have drawn the eyes 100 times before I realised that it wasn’t only that they where off, they where also way too big. By the time I got to the hatching I was too tired and it went a bit all over the place.
Day 12. One day late, hope to catch up tomorrow – or at least not fall further behind. I even tried to draw this one on public transport. I like a to do urban sketching but trying to draw from the phone screen in a cramped space didn’t work for me. Better done the perfect will be my motto the next while.
Day 13. Still one day behind and barely made it today. My pale blue pencil is not best tool when drawing after dark in rubbish light. I was trying to rush it and for ages she kept looking like a 10 year old. In the end I didn’t care about likeness as long as she did’t look like a child anymore, unfortunately I lost what had made me pick the photo in the first place in the process.
Day 14. On catch up today, 3 done and up to date… but I have a very busy day tomorrow so I’ll fall behind again.
Day 15. I really like this one and I finally managed to cut down on the hatching. I was doing to many straight on “easy” faces. I was picking the “easy” ones to try to save time but I seem to have as much trouble with the “easy” ones as I do with the “hard” ones anyway. Go figure.
Day 16. I was faster the normal with the underdrawing. It didn’t look as good as normal but I managed to fix most of it while inking. It’s blatantly obvious what I have to do to cut down on my drawing time; not do a more or less finished contour drawing as an underdrawing but just block it in to make sure I get things in the right places. I know it, but I alway get stuck refining the pencil drawing.
Day 17. A day late. Still trying to do hatching with fewer lines. I think the lines have to be more confident when there is fewer of them, mine are still insecure. I’m not sure there is enough contrast – I’ll look at it again tomorrow, maybe it needs a quick going over with the brush pen.
Day 18. Still a day behind and still trying to figure out how to hatch with fever lines and still not sure if I’m happy with the contrast. So I guess everything is more or less like yesterday.
Day 19. A day late – again. I was struggling with the underdrawing for a long time. When I started hatching the plan was to only hatch in one direction. Worked fine for a while but suddenly, out of nowhere, there was cross hatching all over the place. My hatching was flowing a bit better today and I do like the end result.
Day 20. Up to date again. Did the underdrawing in about 1/3 of the time I normally take and if I hadn’t gotten lost trying to figure out what to do with all that hair the inking would also have been really fast. It is not as accurate as I would have liked it to be but I really need to work faster if I’m to finish Inktober – so I better get used to it and get the best out of it.
Day 21. It felt like more was going wrong than right. Only noticed the wonky eye after scanning. It’s funny, when the sketchbook is lying flat on the table in front of me it’s not too bad, if I lift it up in front of me becomes clear. Guess the god old advice about having you drawing surface the same angle as you object didn’t come out of the blue.
Day 22. I just couldn’t get the hatching to flow today, felt random.
Day 23. Started this drawing 3 days ago and finally finished it. 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there is not a recommended workflow…
Day 24. Started out fine with only light hatching. Had to catch a train so it got a bit stressed and a few things went haywire. Made the train though :)
Day 25. Those eyes where racing around the page for ages, don’t wan’t to know how much time I ended up using on this one – so much for practicing speed. It seems that I have accidentally turned Ania in to a swimmer in the drawing.
Day 26. All the intensions about drawing faster and using as few hatch lines as possible are now being replaced with an attempt to just finish Inktober. Was out of time and the hair wasn’t dark enough so I also hit this drawing with a grey brush pen.
Day 27. It’s not quite her, but I still like the drawing. Hatching is going a bit faster, not worrying to much about following the shape has helped.
Day 28. Hatching much faster than normal. If I had drawn the hair like I normally do I’d be drawing hair all night so I tried adding tone with a neutral grey copic’s to save time – Think cold grey might have worked better.
Day 29. Almost there :) Much lighter hatching than most of the other drawings. I’m really happy with the eyes – and they draw the attention away from all the bits I’m not so happy about.
Day 30. Last Sktchy drawing for this Inktober – drawing something different the last day. I used some cold grey Promarkers in the hair but they seemed to dissolve some of the ink – probably from the Pentel pocket brush. Maybe it wasn’t completely dry or I remember wrongly about it been “maker safe”. Also had a classical Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment when I thought I had picked up the 0.05mm pen and started hatching with the 0.5mm pen instead – only realising it after 3 lines…
Day 31. Made it! The last drawing is of my son. I drew him and he drew me and my wife got both of them framed for her office :-)