q. i. f.?

Ink

Interruptions in the general pattern of not-drawing have come with some increasing frequency for me lately. Not with great frequency; just a slight uptick. Back in December, I said I was going to start posting sketches in the sketch section without mention here in primary posts, and just about everything I’ve managed in the drawing way since then is there. Most of it’s pretty haphazard stuff.

I haven’t had much time for the comics artists on YouTube in the same period, this better-part-of-a-year; but on the other hand I have developed something of a habit of ‘following’ comics artists on Twitter. I’m also picking up a handful of comics a month, now, at the corner comics store which must be passed on my walks down & back to the Trader Joe. (This would be bad if it weren’t that I just don’t like most of the comic books I pick up. I like being a supporter of my local shop, but it’s work sometimes to find anything I’m willing to read, let alone pay for, among the monthlies.) So the comics are a regular part of my media diet, in short — not to say a heavy part.

There is much to be said about this that I’m not going to let myself get into in the present post. It remains true, suffice it to say, that comics art is highly accessible and works to keep the juices flowing for me.

It also remains true that keeping the juices flowing is having tangible effect in renewed ability to draw. I haven’t really figured out what to do with this. There is no ready transition to simply drawing for a living. That means being free and being motivated to draw all the time, conditions not met in my life. And I have no clear sense that I ought to be drawing for a living even if there were a ready transition. That this recovery and/or new discovery of capacity belongs in (pardon!) the picture somewhere as I find my way in this new period of working life seems plain enough, but a definite aim to focus it by way of has yet to emerge.

Anyway, here’s an interruption in the general pattern of not-drawing notable enough to warrant its own post. Sometime last year, I got a cheap marker/brush-pen set with the thought of playing at comics-style inking. I dabbled very briefly, saw no immediate satisfying result, and set it aside. Now, you can guess that I’ve continued to have it in mind — that regular diet of comics art and all. But every time I think of picking up the pen, I think better of it. Other things I should be doing. Until yesterday evening, that is.

inked head

What has to be said about this fun little thing is that it isn’t quite what I was trying to do. I had a something much sketchier in mind, more cartoon-ape-like à la Mignola, which seemed like — don’t know why, except that it was late and I was winding down mentally from RCIA group — something to hazard while I waited for my machine to run a backup. I did a very quick, indefinite pencil and took up the brush. As anyone experienced with ink or paint will know, though, it takes comfort with the medium to get what you want with fewer marks or with loose handling. This sketch is a welter of lines & fussy touches not because I know what I’m doing with the brush but because I don’t. (Some of the more interesting details are definitely accidents, as will again surprise no experienced inker.) Still, it was pleasure, not at all pain, to do. It tells me with a degree of precision where I am along this weird path of progress in skill (if not what to do with it). I’m going to call it my Inktober participation, though it doesn’t qualify, and I guess for that matter it’s a nice 47th birthday gift to myself, a few days late, sort of a surprise.

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