October Ink Days 8 and 9 – Reptile and Vehicle

My ink drawing for Day 8 of Inktober is of a Green Iguana. They are vegetarian lizards with high intelligence and a beautiful form and colour. It was a bit of a challenge to refrain from colouring this ink drawing. Several times I reached for my watercolour box to put in “Just a little green wash” which would have spiralled out of control to a full painting. But I’m glad I kept just the inks in the end because I am so enchanted with colour that I don’t always see the beauty of a creature’s form if it has a vibrant colour.

I suspect that this might happen to lots of artists; sometimes a specific colour, in the sky, or a leaf, or a car paint job, will just stop me dead. It’s like the colour reaches through my eyes and grabs that deeply hidden bit of the brain which fills a person with wonder. It is partly this arresting quality of some colours in certain light and surroundings which captivates me with some artists.

My other artistic love is of light, of reflections and refractions and the way light dances under trees in a breeze. Again, when I see these things I feel captivated by it and full of joy. I have watched them for hours. I think that’s why I like fishing, it’s a good excuse to stare at the reflections on the water for a whole day!

In space, the way light moves is laid bare, simpler because of the lack of other objects around whatever you’re looking at and the lack of atmosphere. So frequently shadows have no reflected light in them at all and the light has a different quality. When I drew my Day 9 ink drawing I considered drawing Apollo 11 like that with pure blacks and whites and no reflected light in the shadows but it was already going to be a very complex shape and I couldn’t find any reference for what the spacecraft would really have looked like in those conditions. So I used normal earth light on it. If I manage to get hold of some gold ink I might add the gold bits of the spacecraft. I think they would make a good addition to the drawing. Here it is…

This was drawn across a two page spread in my sketchbook, so you might notice a slight gap in the drawing at the very centre where I went from one page to another.

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October Ink 5, 6 and 7 – Water, Mammal, Tree

The next three October Ink drawings I did were of a splash of water, a mouse and a bonsai tree.

 

Water is something which has always fascinated me.  I could watch ripples and splashes in water for hours, literally.  This summer we made a trip to Paris.  There were beautiful fountains and overflowing pools of water in the Trocadero Gardens (just the other side of the river from the Eiffel Tower, right next to the Pont d’Lena).  It was SO beautiful there.  Paris is a wonderful city and the people there were really helpful when I needed a wheelchair for my pain condition or help to find a taxi  – such lovely people!  The food was absolutely fabulous too!

Here are some photos of the gardens.  It was a very hot day (31 deg C) so many people were enjoying the water…

 

 

 

With repect to my October Ink drawing of water I tried to use just flat colours with no gradients to see what effect it would have.  Looking back I think it would look better if I had used some gradients in the blacks and greys.  Here’s what it might have looked like with a gradient watercolour wash over the top…

I added the colour digitally to see how much difference it made – I think it works better.

My next sketch was of a little mouse…

 

When I was at secondary school I used to keep 2 white mice in a special habitat at home.  They were lovely but they sometimes chewed their way out of their habitat (which was made of wood).  One day I remember getting ready for a hockey lesson at school when I found one of my mice in my hockey boot!  My PE teacher initially didn’t believe me when I told her what had happened, until she saw the mouse! I had to take it to the biology department so it could be looked after until the end of school.

My last drawing of a Bonsai Tree was another experiment where I was trying to use a very rigid drawing style.  Here it is…

 

It wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped.  However, if I add some digital colour, it really comes to life…

 

October Ink 3 & 4 – Dinosaurs, Cyborgs and Autism

 

My prompts for these 2 drawings were Dinosaur and Computer.  The dinosaur drawing was pretty straight-forward but the computer one revealed more about my autism than I am entirely comfortable with.

I always loved Dinosaurs, from when I was tiny.  So drawing one was a real treat.  I went for the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex.  90% of this was done with my Pigma Microns but I did add a little grey shading with my water brush pen just to give the shadows a bit more depth.  Here’s the final drawing…

 

 

 

My next topic was “Computer”.  At first I thought about an abstract drawing based on printed circuit boards but it didn’t really excite me.  My next thought was of robots, which everyone knows, are as cool as dinosaurs.  But then I began thinking about AI and cyber augmentation of the human body and Greg Egan’s ideas of digital copies of human brains so I spent most of my day metaphorically down that amazing rabbit hole and didn’t get any drawing done.  (If anyone’s interested in Greg Egan‘s ideas about digitising human consciousness, then I would highly recommend his book Permutation City.  It’s one of my favourite books of all time.)

 

 

In the end I made a quick sketch of a half-human half-robot person.  It’s how I feel about myself really.  The cyborg is crying because people keep punishing him when he’s only doing exactly what they programmed him to do in the first place.  He is in a no-win situation.  This is exactly what it feels like to have autism from my point of view.

 

October Ink Drawings – Days 1 and 2

I’m doing my own version of Inktober this year. I decided to make up my own prompts because the official ones seemed quite confusing to my autistic brain. They were adjectives rather than nouns. I prefer nouns. So here’s my list of prompts…

Because I have a chronic pain condition I decided to let the challenge continue for as long as I need but I will, eventually, make a drawing for each day in Ocotober.

So my first 2 were River and Bird. Here are the ink drawings…

The river one made me feel really calm while I drew it, despite the fact that it was drawn in those few spare minutes before school and at lunchtime while I was at work. I think the experience I have of fishing and boating on rivers and lakes brings calmness into the picture.

Being next to a body of water has always been like going home for me. When I was a child it was Toddbrook, the small stream near where I lived. As a teenager it was the gravel pit lakes where I sailed dinghies twice a week come hell or high water. Now it’s a mixture of the Norfolk Broads and all the lakes and rivers I fish regularly.

I used my Pigma Micron pens for most of this drawing.

And then added some greyscale using a Pentel water brush pen filled with a mixture of ink and water. This is what my water brush pen looks like…

My next ink drawing was of a Raven…

As I was driving to work this week BBC Radio 4 reviewed a book about the Ravens in the Tower of London. It really caught my heart and led to this picture. The book is called “The Ravenmaster” and it’s by Christopher Skaife. It’s all about his relationships with the Tower Ravens.

I don’t know if this is an autistic thing or just a general human thing but I find communication with animals much easier than with people. Dogs would be top of my list but most animals I find easier to deal with than people. So I was very interested.

I also remember an experience in a town centre where I met the scruffiest crow in the world. He was fabulous. His feathers were a mess, he hopped on only one leg and he metaphorically fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. But he was smart and bright and interested in everything. I saw him watching me eat my slice of bread pudding. As I walked past he kind of begged, hopping comically next to me as I walked along. So I stopped and gave him a little. Not too much obviously because it was bread pudding which is pure gold on my scale of brilliant foods. Then he began to beg in earnest. He bobbed his head, hopped from side to side and generally made a huge fuss which I think indicated that he liked bread pudding as much as me. So I gave up, sat down and shared it with him.

Next week, Dinosaurs and Computers… 🙂