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Inktober 2019 – the last 16 drawings

Day 16: WILD

Here are the rest of my Inktober drawings for 2019.

Day 17: ORNAMENT. Lack of time & scanner meant this was a quickie

During the month, though I never seemed to have much time for contemplation, I was repeatedly asking myself, where is the essence of what I do? How can I connect with that mysterious flow of creativity, when things seem to just come together, almost by themselves, without me having to think too deeply – let the rhythm flow.

Day 18: MISFIT. Drawn while watching a BBC4 documentary on Eric Clapton. Maybe it had an influence!

That is the goal of all our art of course, and one of the attractions of Inktober. Another reason why I didn’t want to prepare anything in advance, it’s all about responding to the prompts in a short space of time. Immediacy is paramount.

Day 19: SLING. Another late one, drawn in the morning before I had to rush out, time was very short – but I’ve had some lovely comments on this one!

Ironically, it was often the most last minute drawings, squeezed in before going out, or racing the last minutes before midnight, that produced the most satisfactory drawings. Why does it always seem to be the case that the more pressure is on, the better the result (within reason)? Sometimes the more time I have to do something, the more consciously I mull over things, the more laboured it becomes, the flow of creativity becomes a dribble.

Day 20: TREAD. This might have been a reflection on the pressure of the day!

I don’t like the way things ebb and flow with my brain. I like deadlines, I work best with a bit of time pressure, so long as it’s not too much and prevents me spending enough time or energy on the drawing. When the balance is right on some days I’m on a roll, then something knocks me of my inspiration perch and I’m working like a slug for the next day or two. I don’t like the way I can’t control this.

Catching up again with a first edition for Day 21: TREASURE. The end of a tough week, and an unashamed self-portrait. Nothing pleases me more than rooting around in old book shops for hidden illustrated gems. Mister Beardy pointed out I drew the second N in antiquarian the wrong way around – I could fix that digitally, but decided to share again here in raw form, mistake and all!

 But we’re not robots, the fact that creative energy is a bit of an untamed beast that refuses to be switched on – or off – at will is all part of the humanity of drawing. I wish I could pin down the algorithm that results in making good art. What programme do we need to follow? Drink this! Eat that! Do X, add Y, squared, and result = Zzzzzzzz……. Formulas rarely work when it comes to the mental process of making pictures.

Ghost Writer, for Day 22: GHOST. Back up to speed at last – this was a lot of fun to draw.

Getting enough rest though certainly makes a difference. And getting out the house every day! I was definitely enjoying myself a great deal at this point in the month.

Day 23: ANCIENT This turned out to be a bit of a tribute to one of my ‘ancient’ illustration heroes Arthur Rackham (I’ve been a lifelong fan & collector of his work). I was enjoying the fun, and allowed the love to flow, though it didn’t start out with that intention!

Continuing a fairy tale theme for Day 24: DIZZY. Not the first time the best laid plans have been scuppered by weather. 

There was more time pressure towards the end of the month as builders began demolishing my downstairs fittings, and I slipped into being a day late with posts again, but by this point the end goal was in sight, so onwards steadily….

Day 25: TASTY. Another roaringly busy day today, barely time for a quick inky feast before bed. But at least I got my scanner working again!

Day 26: DARK – Busy times again, so another drawn late, disentangling from the day!

Day 27: COAT. Still catching up!

Day 28: RIDE. At last, back up to speed. No more catnapping!

Day 29: INJURED. A change of tone for this drawing, and a difficult subject to approach without appearing glib, after all I’m drawing from my studio in comfortable Norwich, with no experience of war. But when I think of the pain suffered by the people and cities of Syria, and continue to endure, it puts our imagined injuries into sharp perspective.

Day 30: CATCH the Wind! A seasonal theme on the eve of Halloween

Final Day 31! RIPE old age.

So it was done! Inktober was so much fun this year, despite a couple of tough periods during the month, with computer/scanner breakdowns, volunteer commitments, and building work on my house. But got there in the end, and on time!

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