Thoughts on Drawtober 2022


I've never taken part in an online art challenge like Inktober or Drawtober before. Partly this was due to time constraints, one drawing per day for Inktober was never going to be practical to fit in with everything else I do. I came across Drawtober last month and although I've spent many years doing animal portraiture, the theme - Season of the Witch - appealed and I thought it would be good to stretch my comfort zones. Being only six prompts it was less daunting than trying to fit in one drawing per day.

I decided to do only ink drawings, in the spirit of the original Inktober, because ink forces you to think about your creative choices. Being permanent you have to think creatively around mistakes and think about value ranges.

The first prompt was Garden of Magick, this proved to be the most difficult of prompts for me because I couldn't think of anything to start with, and when I did come up with the idea of a tree spirit, due to the fact I haven't drawn anything remotely landscape oriented for years, it was difficult for me to execute how I wanted. It is the picture I'm least satisfied with but I found I enjoyed doing all the plants and scenery.
Pen and ink bat drawing
The second prompt, Midnight Delivery, was an easier one. I wanted to draw a bat being delivered, I think bats are fascinating and been wanting to do one for a while. I used my hand as a model and although hands are notoriously difficult to do, I was pleased how it turned out.

Pen and ink witch drawing with spellbook
The third prompt was Spell book Apprentice. I didn't want to do all animals so this was a chance to do a person, albeit a bit obscured! The snake was a happy accident, when sketching out a thumbnail for the idea the spiral to represent the magic happened to look like a snake so I went with it!
Pen and ink owl with coloured eyes
The fourth prompt, Fiendish Familiar, was an excuse to do an owl, but I wanted to try drawing a bit looser than normal and not get so bogged down by having it look perfectly like any particular breed of owl. I used Faber Castell Pitt brush markers for the eyes, pens I've had but been too intimidated to use, and I really like how they go on so I'll be using them in future.
The fifth prompt, Bewitched Bog, was a less stressful landscape one, I'd enjoyed elements of the first one so wanted to try more. I'm not totally happy with the spectres in the sky, my work seems to have a cute edge rather than be menacing, but I enjoyed doing it.

The final prompt, Candlelit Coven, I knew I wanted to do ravens. Recently I've been experimenting with toned paper and black and white pens and enjoy the effect it gives. I found it hard to get the lighting, this is lack of experience and I know capturing light is a weakness in my work. I did my best and am reasonably happy with how it came out.

Pen and ink raven drawing on grey toned paper

Overall I've enjoyed the experience, it has pushed me to do things I wouldn't have done otherwise, and I've discovered I actually enjoy doing landscapes, it's something I want to explore more, along with getting more narrative in my art. The only downside for me has been the element of comparison with other entries, many are digital and I felt like a dinosaur welding a pen at times, and they're also an incredibly high standard. I realised there's areas of my work that are lacking. It's certainly something for me to work on in my sketchbook and hopefully will feed through to other work.

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