InkTober 2018 – Done!

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
-Draw fast
-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.

Continue reading “InkTober 2018 – Done!”

The Storm P. Museum

I’ve drawn very little since december. I really need to get back drawing daily again!

So today I had a great Creative Friday; First I vent to the Stom P. Museum – a fantastic place for some InkTober inspiration. Afterwards I sat at a café across the street and drew the museum. It was amazing weather and I realised how much I missed sitting outside drawing with a good cup of coffee.

Mirror portraits

I was a bit shell shocked after InkTober but I wanted a project to wrap up what I had learned during InkTober. Thanks to some great photos on Sktchy I came up with this idea about a series of mirrored portraits in blue and orange to see how far I could push it.

The orange colour was a bit tricky. I tried several inks but could not find any orange that could go dark enough to match the tones of Schmincke’s turquoise blue Aero Color. In the galley at the bottom is an example where I was trying out one of Goldens fluid acrylics (transparent Pyrrole Orange). Although the result wasn’t too bad, getting there was an absolut nightmare – these fluid acrylics does not behave like acrylic inks.

By the end I gave up just using a single colour and ended up using mixtures of two Aero Colors, Cadmium Orange hue and Burnt Sienna. You can see my mixing chart and the progression of my test drawing below.


I am really happy with the result of the finished drawings, going from never drawing faces to this in a year has been a fantastic journey. I love working with the brush and ink washes.

One thing I have not enjoyed since I started on the ink washes, is how I ended up doing the underdrawings. I have used a grid and spend an idiotic amount of time finetuning it until I got I right. I feels more like copying then drawing – actually it is copying. I need to find a looser/faster and more interesting way of doing this. I will probably still do underdrawing this way form time to time, but only when the likeness have to be absolutely spot on like say a family portrait.

InkTober 2017 – Now with water

I wanted to start experimenting with ink washes for a long time, so I added water to this years InkTober. I had great plans on how to prepare for my 3rd InkTober, but the only thing I actually did was to buy some watercolour paper… But this was my general plan;

1. Pick a Sktchy picture the evening before.
2. Start by warming up with a continuous line drawing in fountain pen.
3. Do an ink wash drawing.
4. If I have another great idea for the daily drawing: Ignore points 1-3.

I also wanted to draw faster and have a fairly portable setup. So I had this great plan about a quick underdrawing in pencil, and then adding 2 light passes of diluted india ink, a slightly darker 3rd pass and adding final details with fountain pen.

So thats what I did… for 5 days…

The number of passes seemed to grow by the day and the drawings were taking longer and longer. To try to save some time I dropped the warm up drawing and started drawing only half of the face, now using diluted water soluble inks form Lamy to add some colour.

I really wanted to rely less on contour line and after day 9 I realised that I had to go cold turkey and loos the fountain pen all together if I wanted improve at this. Soon after I started using diluted acrylic inks instead of dye based fountain pen ink giving me more control on the details. Quite an expensive month as I kept picking up new inks to try new colours.

All the drawings have been done with one brush only; a travel dagger brush, sable/nylon blend from Rosemary & Co.. I got one a while ago after reading about several urban sketcher using it as a “one brush dos all” but I newer really used it. Its my first “good” brush and I’m never going back to “too cheap” nylon brushes again – not that it’s an expensive brush. I’ll be getting one more to use with water colours.

The white highlights in the eyes where an adventure in their own right. Even though the drawings where dry the ink would bleed in to the white. Lamy’s dark lilac ink will happily bleed through 6 layers of Molotow acrylic marker. I tried any brand of white pens I could lay my hands on, opaque acrylic inks, china markers, cheap gouache etc.. In the beginning I fixed it in photoshop but I finally found a working solution; almost undiluted high quality gouache – some of the dark dye based inks might need an extra layer but it’s the best solution I found.

If you are curios about any of the inks I used u can read what ink I used in the comments on Instagram and Sketchy. The paper is 300g/m2 Canson Montval Aquarell and it worked really well.

Time wise this InkTober was a disaster. I spend way to much time on it, especially on the underdrawings and I didn’t really enjoy that part. But I really learned a lot about matching tone, using a brush and I got to explore a lot of new inks (Yes, I am an inkoholic). I also got a new best friend; my travel dagger brush.

One Week 100 People – take two

I somehow ended up in a drawing funk for 2 months. To try to get out of it I did another round of OneWeek100People last week – this time only doing continuous line portraits directly in fountain pen to save time.

100 done, 2 full sketch books in one week!

After the first 75 I was getting slower trying to be more accurate so I started to use a Japanese extra fine fountain pen (much finer than a european EF ). Started to draw much faster going over the same lines several times. I like the result, the drawings got faster and a bit looser again.

It’s been great drawing again and it’s completely surreal to look at 2 full sketchbooks and realise that I filled them in just 5 days…

I normally always draw an underdrawing in pencil – which can make the drawings a bit stiff/tight – and I’m generally very slow at drawing. The continuous line drawings have been a great exercise for loosening up and starting to draw directly in ink. I’m only posting a few of the drawings – they are a great exercise but not necessary very interesting for everyone else to look at – to quote my son; some of them are epic fails.

I also added my first two attempts drawing/painting with Aero Color acrylic inks. Great fun, but I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing yet. It was very hard controlling the amount of water, the inks where much more saturated than I expected. It’s really hard/strange for me not to use any lines but since I’m trying to draw looser and lose the contour lines it was a great exercise too. Can’t all be ink so the last drawing was mostly done with my favourite pencil; Polychromos dark indigo. I really like the photo, it’s been in my queue for quite a while. Didn’t quite capture what I wanted to in the face so I might take another stab at it another day. I drew the eyes quite wonky but I almost saved it by placing one set of eyelashes high and the other one low 😉