Hey look, my, like fourth blog post this year? I need to be better about that…
Anymonkeys, it’s almost a full month late, but I finally finished Inktober 2022. I’ll admit I struggled with a lot of the prompts this year. The ideas didn’t come as quickly or easily as previous years. It was a nice challenge, though. It forced me to dig a little deeper and think a little more creatively, and, as always, I had a ton of fun.
Since I decided to start collecting these illustrations in book form every few years, I tried to think ahead to make my life easier when the time comes to put everything together. I still haven’t quite finished the first volume of Inklings, which I’ve been working on all year and hoped to be done before 2023 slaps me in the face (spoiler alert: I probably won’t quite hit that goal), and I’ve tried to identify some of the areas that slowed me down. The 3 fonts I created-one for each year in the book-took up most of my studio time in 2022, but some of the simpler parts of the process added a lot of unnecessary headache and time. I always write captions when I post the latest Inktobering to social media, but this time around I made sure to tailor each caption to fit the context of the book. I wanted to avoid mentioning contemporary life things (like how far behind I am, how little sleep I’ve had, or what other projects I’m juggling) that I would need to comb through and edit out later. I also created a Word document to copy and paste all those captions, along with the words, their phonetic spellings, and the relevant definitions. When it comes time to format the book, I can just copy and paste from that single document instead of digging through my digital files on this website for them (which is what I had to do earlier this year for Inklings). I also switched from the sepia toned paper-which I love-to plain old white, and I removed each page from the sketchbook when I was done all to make scanning and “clean up” editing in Photoshop quicker and easier, which in turn will make the images much easier to drop onto whatever paper textures I devise for Inklings Volume 2.
Anyway, if you haven’t followed along with every new Inktobering the last two months, and if you haven’t checked the gallery on this website…here they all are (I removed the captions so this post doesn’t scroll on forever times 12. You can read them in the gallery or on social media, or just wait for Inklings Volume 2…):
I have a hard time saying it, but I’m actually pretty happy with a lot of these illustrations. I can see an improvement in my skills over the years, even though they still aren’t where I want them to be. I really enjoy the wacky places my Brain goes during Inktober, I look forward to it every year. There’s another Inktober challenge called Inktober 52, which is one prompt a week for the whole year. I may start doing that next year. It will give me more illustrations, which means a shorter turn around between Inklings volumes, and it’s more opportunity to challenge myself and improve my skills. Plus, it’s always nice to have a known project to tackle when I step into the studio, especially if I’ve just finished one and I’m trying to figure out what to do next.
With Inktober 2022 in the books, I have to turn my attention to a bunch of other projects. I’m in the middle of some new commissioned work that I’m excited to share eventually. The Patron Saint of My Art wants me to draw several more book covers for her, and they are always an excuse for me to try new things and push the limits of my current abilities. I stumbled into a new work flow/process that I think I may be able to adapt for some comic work I have on the horizon. I’m perpetually searching for my “style”, but I have such diverse visual influences that I feel pulled in multiple directions. Once I wrap some other projects up, I’m going to experiment with this new direction to see if I can combine all the elements I love working in.
I still have more work to do on Inklings before I can switch mental gears, put on the businessman hat, and try to figure out how to get it published. I’m currently thinking about Kickstarter, I’ve even come up with some ideas for bonus gifts when certain monetary tiers are hit.
It’s almost xmas again, so that means a custom card and some envelope art are in my very near future. This also happens to be the time of year that American Ninja Warrior opens it’s submission page for next year. I still have comic projects I want to work on and related concept art, shirts to design, bags and coats to sew…all of this with the back drop of trying to move my studio and build my dream custom art table. It’s a huge undertaking that isn’t going fast enough.
Speaking of all these other things I need to do…I need to go do some of them. If I don’t manage to post again this year, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!