Misadventures & Magic: Spellstober22

Ah, Autumn! The days start to cool, the nights get a little longer, and around here the ink gets flowing. I have traditionally taken on Inktober every year; that’s annual October challenge to illustrate and ink one drawing everyday, responding to prompts. I admit, I’ve had a mixed experience with Inktober over the years; some years have been more successful than others, some years I feel inspired and invigorated, other years are a little bit more of let’s say a struggle. The practice is always incredibly valuable in helping me build skill and maintain habits.

This year, I’m branching away from the office Inktober TM prompts and taking on #spellstober22, a list made by Australian artist, Spells (or, Liz, according to their Tumblr). I saw a friend of mine post this list on her Instagram page, and these prompts really got me excited, so I decided (against my better judgement of what my daily schedule can actually handle) to take on Inktober Spellstober this year!

I’m really loving my illustrations so far. The list is so well crafted, that I’m starting to see a story emerge from just the images. Characters with lives and a world they inhabit with dramas and intrigue.

I’ll post my images up on Instagram first, and then eventually update them here on the homepage all through October, and then they’ll live on this post for the rest of ever.

Wish me luck!

Ink Illustrations at LBCC Fall 2022

Create illustrations for books, comics, cards and fine arts with inking techniques to express drama. Practice sketching, linework, stippling, shading and scumbling with one or more pens to create effects of depth and movement. This class is perfect for beginners who want to develop illustration skills or combine ink illustrations with other media like watercolor for journals.

September 27 – November 15, 2022 (8 weeks)

Register at Linn-Benton Community College

Already registered? Click here to access the student page (password protected)

Drawing Practice: Linework Exercise

This is my go-to drawing practice when I’m wanting to improve my linework skills, warm up before working on a project, or want to get back into drawing after a break. This practice helps develop control and consistency by focusing on drawing circles and lines in patterns.

I picked up this exercise when I was looking for ways to improve my drawing skills after being frustrated that I hadn’t improved after drawing for a while. One thing I noticed about my illustrations was that my lines didn’t flow the way I wanted them too. I was also discouraged because I didn’t know what to draw and was getting tired of looking for a subject to study without feeling inspired.

This practice helped by giving me something to draw without the expectations that it would have to look like a specific subject, while also allowing me to practice building my linework skills.

I usually recommend this exercise to all my students when they’re wanting to improve their drawing skills. I like to think of this as a stretch or gentle job before a big run, it’s something to warm up the hand and mind without the pressure of full-performance. One of the ways I notice myself and others struggle with drawing and illustration is when we expect to have a finished “perfect” drawing immediately. When something doesn’t look like what we’re expecting to see, that discouragement can make us put down the pencils and not want to pick them up again.

This exercise creates a respite from that expectation, so we can be present with the practice and appreciate what we can do rather than what we struggle to achieve.

This isn’t a magic exercise, though. To become skilled at drawing and illustration, you’ll still need to practice drawing different subjects from references and your imagination. This exercise is a way to prepare for that work.