October came to an end and so did Inktober, but more of that story later. As we here in the Northern Hemisphere sink into Autumn, with a fleeting burst of colour, my thoughts turn to how I am going to get through these dark and long weeks. It is a time of opportunity. Where there is less distraction. More time to concentrate. For me though, I struggle with the lack of light, and this tends to slow me down. However, I have some ideas for projects that will keep me going through the winter.
It feels like the planet is breathing out. As we must do too. A time to regroup and repair. A time to reconsider. I am very much a spring person. The joy of the wakening time ahead. But that mustn’t stop me from enjoying the time during the autumn and winter. I can find joy in many things outside of the four walls.
As I alluded to earlier Inktober 2023 came to an end and so did I. I reached a point where I wasn’t enjoying it. I hadn’t realised a couple of things that would lead to me ultimately not completing it.
The first one was that I was making double the amount of work for myself. Along with my daily doodle and then taking on two more bits of work was maybe just a bit unrealistic. I hadn’t done it before as I didn’t do Inktober last year. I just was concentrating on my visual journal and knew that I shouldn’t have any distractions whilst I got into the swing of doing it. It had only been six months and I was still thinking that I might be knocked off course if something new and shiny came along.
A second reason for not making it to the end was a lot to do with my perception of what I was going to see on the paper and what actually came out! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret having taken part in the way I did, as it taught me about the limitations of the pens and my limitations. What I didn’t know when I was happily standing at the till buying the pens, was that they were waterproof! One thing I had thought that I would do was to treat the drawings much like the doodles. It very quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to be the case. No washing the ink out into greyscales. Giving shadow and tone. But I kept on going.
Another factor was the size of the pad. I hadn’t realised how cramped it was and I was going to be, using that A6 sketchbook. I’m not sure how much difference a bigger one would have made but it did feel as though I would have been able to add more life to the drawing.
So what did I learn? Well, that I should be more prepared. Have less expectations. Experiment beforehand. Get the right tools. But more importantly, have fun. I now have a year to play around with it. I can get the water brushes that I was recommended and I want to take some of my previous efforts in past Challenges and work those up into drawings.
But for me, the most important part of doing Inktober is to have fun with the unfolding story. When I begin I don’t know what the ending will be. And that’s the joy. I have worked out a bit of a formula now which takes some of the pressure off. However, I definitely want to do next year’s attempt fully in ink.
I have two projects that I want to work on. The first one has been in the back of my mind since I did the Linocut course well over a year ago now. I am trying to improve my focus and discipline, in that I took the course on a wave of enthusiasm. Life events chipped away at that initial bound. However, I am now pushing myself back to the point of attempting again.
I am trying to come up with the theme I want to start with. I thought about using my doodles, but on the whole, they don’t translate well. It’s also really difficult to not be influenced by what one sees. I know that there is no originality now and that there are just the angles and facets the individual carves out.
The second is to try out something wood-related. My initial thought was to try and carve out some handles for the Lino tools. Seemingly an easy thing to do if you have the right tools, i.e. a lathe. But as I don’t have anything like that it would have to be hand-hewn. I have always been fascinated with the use of wood in so many parts of life. Predominately in Furniture but there are so many other areas that until the coming of molten metal it was relied on. Again this is something that needs some research and acquisition of required tooling. Watch this space.
What I have watched, listened to, come or across.
I know it’s not really purely art, but I came across a channel on YouTube last week that nudged me down a mind map of creating some experiences and maybe artworks from travelling to other places. I have long thought about doing this and seeing these images stirred up some thoughts and feelings long forgotten. Apart from the fact it was in the middle of summer, and based around Hereford, it gave me a nudge. I remember a particularly happy week there staying with my Grandmother. I guess I was about maybe 13-14 and it was a real adventure. We were stuck on a train at our local station and then returned similarly unescorted. But I digress.
Also on this topic, I can’t help but mention this guy as the videography is art, and the storytelling. They have different reasons for their stories but they transmit the artistry so well
I have also been watching lots of Wild Camping videos. They kind of go hand in hand. Adding to the desire to experience some adventure.
The idea of travelling to somewhere new is exciting and having a means to support one’s self doing it also appeals. However, this is probably not the best type of project to take on as we descend into winter. But I am making plans for Spring next year!
So therefore I need to find more internal ideas. Or at least scale down the ambition., to a point where I can try things out locally.
If nothing else, failing at Inktober has brought about a whole new energy to try out and experiment with other mediums. So all in all, from my perspective it’s actually been a win. Certainly, I wouldn’t have thought about other things if I had not pushed myself to do inktober in the way that I did. I’m looking forward to the next six months for the first time in a long time!
Until the next time…