Inktober is now done and dusted, 31 days of brush pen drawings completed. I’d like to say it was fun, but actually it was pretty tough, and got tougher towards the end. I do think I progressed a bit in terms of technique, which was the main reason for doing it. I certainly feel like I have a better grasp of how to use a brush pen than I did a month ago. Huge thanks to everyone who liked and commented on my work across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, your support and encouragement was very much appreciated.
Now that Inktober is over I’ll be working on a couple of other projects, completing some commissions, and planning ideas for books and a comic – but all at a slightly less forced pace.
Quite a few people have expressed an interest in purchasing some of the Inktober drawings, so the images below are now available to buy. If there’s a drawing you’d like that isn’t included here, drop me an email – it may still be available.
The prices vary depending on how detailed the illustrations are, the size, and the quality of paper they are drawn on. Feel free to ask for more details.
To buy any of these, drop me an email letting me know which you’d like to buy and the postal address it’s to be sent to. I’ll then work out postage, and payment can be made via PayPal.
All enquiries should be emailed to me at email@example.com
Illustrations are available on a strictly first come, first served basis.
If you miss out on an illustration, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to work on something brand new for you.
18 days in to the project and I’m part frustrated – that I haven’t made more progress using the brush pen, it still feels damn tricky to get the line quality right – and partly delighted to be producing illustrations every day that I’m (more or less) happy with.
Time, as always, is a big factor. I’m back working in London Monday to Friday now, and getting home at eight in the evening doesn’t leave lots of time to think or draw. I try to get out of the office at lunch time and do some sketching, getting some ideas together for things I might draw that evening or the coming days. This can really help, if I don’t get to my desk until after nine pm once I’ve eaten, having an idea ready to go is a weight off my shoulders.
I am still drawing each illustration with my Pentel Pocket Brush, although I am sneaking in a little detailed line work here and there with Staedtler or Copic pigment liners.
Today’s drawing is still yet to be done. I’ve one idea half finished, that I’m really not too sure about, and a bunch of doodles and notes scribbled over my desk that might become something.
Here are the first 18 drawings for this year. I’ll post another update for Inktober in a couple of weeks when it’s finished.
Here’s a peek at the first three days of my Inktober challenge. I’ll probably post an update in a week or so. Even just a few days in I think the practice is making a difference. The brush pen is pretty tough to control, so it really does pay to use it a lot.
If you don’t know what Inktober is, have a look at my last blog post.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or following me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, you’ll know that between August 2013 and August 2014, I drew a robot a day for a whole year. It was quite daunting committing to a daily project of that length, but it was something I felt I had to do to get me in to the routine of drawing every day – a skill or habit that I’d need if I wanted to become an illustrator for a living. I think it achieved its purpose – I now get pretty restless if I don’t draw at all for a day, and I’m currently work on my first book illustration project.
I haven’t really drawn robots since I finished the Droid a Day adventure though, and to be honest, I’ve missed them.
Today I’ve given myself the day off from paying work to rustle up another droid, and I’m pretty pleased with the way he came out.
One of the recurring themes of my droids has to be tentacles. I don’t know why but I do love drawing a nice set of tentacles (no sniggering at the back). I quite like drawing octopus and squid too, so it’s not just droids.
There’s definitely a weird hybrid of jellyfish and octopus going on in most of these, with hints of The Matrix and The Empire Strikes Back.
Sometimes, when I post my droid pictures on my Tumblr blog, I write a little accompanying text. Sometimes this is just a quick one line description of the droid, or how I’ve drawn it, but sometimes I write a description that hints at a future history of these droids.
Air Defence Drone.
Designed and built in ‘74 by Kinetic Energy Systems Inc., the A.D.D. first saw use in the defence of the Olbers way station on Ceres. Shipping with both an Atlas-class Railgun and a Sigma-rated Plasma Cannon, the A.D.D. is a very capable weapon. With an onboard A.I. of .08 Human Analog, the drones can be deployed and then forgotten on the battlefield as they calculate the best way to achieve their orders. Currently the onboard A.I.s have recorded only one psychotic failure [see History of Belt-Mars Conflict: Vol VI: Ch 8.1 Brodsky].
Heavy Compliance Unit.
Built by Hurricane Industries for Law Enforcement, Riot Control, Crowd Suppression and Compliance. Strong and agile, with a high category A.I., the H.C.U. is equipped with both lethal and non-lethal tactical weapons, including: Low Velocity Kinetics, Tasers, Sonic Cannon, Microwave Lasers and standard MKIV mobile Rail Gun.
Eddie was built as a general purpose droid in late ‘78 and was shipped to Mars that same year to work for the Terraforming Committee. After 8 years of hard work, Eddie was sold to the owner of an algae farm in the new northern ocean. The algae farmer didn’t see robot rights as important and didn’t treat Eddie with much care or attention. In early ‘90 tax officials visiting the farm found no trace of its original owner, discovering Eddie in charge of operations. The ensuing legal case saw Eddie evicted and from that point on his antipathy to human kind was fixed. During the next decade Eddie could be found at most of the major flare-ups between humans and robots. The last anyone saw of Eddie was during the Tharsis Rebellion of ‘08 where he was seen at the heart of the robot offensive, brandishing his favoured plasma cannon as the Phobos Space Elevator came crashing down.
Rumours of Eddie’s survival have persisted, even though it’s now nearly 30 years seen he was seen. These rumours have been strenuously denied by the Human government of Mars.
I love the vague, hinted at history of far future conflicts hinted at in these descriptions. I don’t think I’ll ever write all the connecting information, better to allow people to fill in the gaps themselves. I do have a rough framework of a timeline in my head, although I’m scared to write it down in case it ties me down to a particular set of events.
I like to draw the droid, and then just see what suggests itself. That way I can be surprised too.
There is something magical about creating a place or a world that previously only existed inside your own head. It’s impossible to draw (at least it is for me) an imaginary landscape without wondering about the people who inhabit it, or the history of it, or the flora and fauna that fill it.
Some of my landscapes are very much rooted in the real world, the lake district is never far from the tip of my pen, while some have only the loosest foundations here on earth.
Only one of my landscapes exists as is, Slater’s Bridge in Little Langdale in the Lake District. I really must get back there with a sketchbook. It’s an amazingly beautiful place.
People are very rare in my drawings, partly because I’m pretty terrible at drawing them, but partly because I want to be the person in the picture. I don’t want to share these places with anyone else. Extreme escapism for me would be stepping into one of my illustrations and exploring what’s beyond the edge of the page.
One of the many responses I had to my blog post A Crisis of Confidence was a very thoughtful one from Daniel Benneworth-Gray. One of Daniel’s many insightful points was that one way of getting over my frustration would be to invite people to tweet a micro-story for me to illustrate.
Obviously, the first person I asked was Daniel, and he didn’t disappoint…
Working to someone else’s idea was liberating, and challenging. Luckily for me Mr Benneworth-Gray’s words are always damn fine and well considered, which made my job of illustrating so much easier.
As soon as I read the tweet I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. I had the idea of a normal family staring up at a huge giant robot, that was, in turn, staring right back at them. There was a definite ‘The Iron Man’ thing going on here (the book, not the film or the superhero).
The point Daniel made, about the fact that I hadn’t been illustrating – just drawing, was right. Interpreting somebody else’s words and ideas is a completely different challenge to just opening a sketchbook and making something up. It’s easier in some ways, and much harder in others. It is very worthwhile, and even if I don’t take this approach with all my future robots (110 to go), I’ll definitely give it a go from time to time, especially if I’m in a rut.
Huge thanks to Daniel for the idea, advice and encouragement. If you aren’t already following him on Twitter, or Instagram, I suggest you rectify that immediately. His blog is always a joy to read too.
Or the Tin Man according to the film. In the books, the Tin Woodman was originally a human called Nick Chopper. He was turned to tin by the Wicked Witch of the East to stop him from marrying his true love.
This is my take on the character from the 1939 film, I wanted to keep the face the same as Jack Haley’s, but give the rest a bit of a twist.