Sunday, October 9, 2016

Don't fear the Inker

So we're well into Inktober now,  and I wanted to talk about my experience working with wet media.

I used to hate two things ; working in colour and working in wet media. We'd have painting classes in college and sometimes we'd use coloured inks. It was nightmare fuel for me.  Dry media couldn't run,  there were never questions of opacity,  or what it would look like in the page. Every stroke was pure fear,  even though everyone else looked right at home.

In hindsight I actually did good work in some of those classes,  once I pushed through the fear and got in with it.

This leads me to step 1; get stuck in!

Different inks,  paints,  paper types and other media all combine in different ways,  with different results. You're not meant to be a master automatically,  and experiments should be treated as such. You'll find things you love,  you'll find things you hate,  and you'll find things you know you need to work on.
This doesn't start unless you do,  so even make some marks on a page and see where it goes from there!

2- Brush pens.
These are expensive, and daunting to use at first,  but they are my  favourite tool for both drawing in terms of quick emotive gestures AND as a gateway drug to the other wet media.

I use a Pentel one and a similar water brush for washes, but I'll get back to that.

For those that don't know,  a brushpen has a head like a brush with a small reservoir for ink and a squeezable cartridge that makes the handle.  Squeezing it causes more ink to flow into the reservoir and then into the page.  It allows for wet and dry brush techniques, without the need for dipping and wiping.

The first time I tried one I thought ' this is powerful and I'm just making a mess'

The fear was back.

So I took a month during the days when summer holidays are a thing and drew with it every day for a month.  the paper I used was all wrong and it bled everywhere,  but I wasn't scared anymore.

It was FAST,  and the ink was unforgiving.
It required confidence and took no prisoners.  It was a good kind of pressure,  so whenever I would draw at conventions,   I'd reach for the brush pen straight away.

3- Wash my love

Conventions were my proving ground,  as the day job usually involved colouring in photoshop and little actual drawing.

I'd seen Declan Shalvey do con sketches with ink washes so I tried it out on happy con goers! Cups of inky water were eventually replaced by a water brushpen, except filled with a pre-mixed ink wash.
the skills are the same,  but this opened up so many doors for making cool pictures, quickly.

Sometimes this would go horribly  wrong,  and I'd run out of ink or something else,  and I'd be forced to improvise.

I started inking with a brush. A BRUSH. and i was enjoying it,  too. Another time,  I had no ink wash, but an empty water brush so I used that with some watercolours.

4- watercolours! I am a photoshop painter first,  and work from the 3d sensibility of starting with a dark room and add light as I go.  Watercolor works light to dark, so I avoided it for the longest time.  I started thinking about it like inkwashes,  and like step one above,  i've been playing!  Getting stuck in,  and getting a handle on using colour in this medium. I've been playing in acrylics and I've a set of gouache waiting for me to try them out too.

Oh, the water brush and a set of watercolours is a GREAT workforce by the way!  Try it!

None of this is for the day job, just getting stuck in with learning more of the craft,  and getting the confidence to branch into even more things.

If you've seen my inktober stuff you may notice they're not the prettiest things in the world,  and they're not meant to be.  I'm playing!  Learning what I enjoy,  what I don't,  and what I need to work on.

So if you're doing inktober and you're getting stressed about posting every day or other people being wizards,  RELAX. It's a learning thing,  try and have some fun!

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