Following my heart

humpback whale drawing and descriptors
Inktober 2020: Bulky

Jake Parker started Inktober as a challenge to himself in 2009. Today the Inktober team creates a daily drawing prompt for the month of October and thousands of artists participate. I thought it was a cool concept, but I was a photographer, not an inking artist. I had talented friends who engaged with it, but it wasn’t for me. Now it’s time to break out the pens.

Inktober is a great springboard for my shift from photographer to graphic designer. Having a daily prompt makes me sit down at my desk and draw a pencil sketch every day. My goal is to create simple line drawings based on the first idea that enters my head. My experience in Norwegian nature is the basis for my drawings.

I’m learning to create simple, repeatable themes and find my style as a comic artist. My teachers are comic artists: Rosemary Mosco (Bird and Moon), Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), Jorge Cham (PHD comics), Randall Munroe (xkcd), and Nick Seluk (The Awkward Yeti). I want to hone my skills and use them for science art.

I treat each prompt as an exercise for client work. I make a rough draft each day and note how much time I use for each step. I research the authenticity of the idea that my brain has imagined, make a pencil sketch or two, and ink a final version. I use my own photographs and memories or search the internet for factual images that I can simplify.

It’s been a long time since I created pen and ink drawings. It’s been fun to throw my illustrations into the mix and see what other artists have created. Creating an image that’s good enough to share (without being perfect) and sending it out into the world is an act of everyday bravery. Inktober is perfect for drawing a subject with which I might not ordinarily interact. This is great practice for science illustrations, marrying technical, mental, and aesthetic learning. I’m still working on getting the humour of comics into the mix.

Creating daily artwork and sharing it provides a great mental boost. It shows potential clients my style and shifts my professional profile into graphic design. I’ve been drawing for most of my life and it’s good to get back into it. My career path is filled with design experience and I’m excited to finally take the leap into chasing my dreams.

Most importantly, I try to compare myself to my own goals and not the fancy drawings from other artists. I’m using Inktober as Jake intends it – improving my inking (design) skills and developing positive (drawing) habits. Find my work on social media (find links at the very bottom of the page).

Published by Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

Graphic design: Specialising in science communication. Also available for logo and icon design.

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