On social media, pens, and birthdays

So I recently had a birthday. I’m officially over the hill. Mr Underhill at your service.

As part of my gifts my wonderful wife ordered me three pen samplers from Jetpen.com.  I’ve often perused there selection,  read the reviews and blog posts. But generally I stick with tried and true pens that I know work for me and I’m well… cheap. I hate splurging but birthday presents in our house are for things you want but wouldn’t buy under normal circumstances. So I asked the wife and she got them for me. Outside of them somehow getting on a plane to Guam and then back through Hawaii (I’m a bit jealous of how well traveled these pens are) they got here intact and only a bit late.

So after cleaning them off and looking them over I decided to share the a photo of them on a Facebook Inktober group. Just a simple picture of them laid out and a caption about my birthday presents arriving. Now when I post to this group I expect to get maybe 30 likes and a handful of comments. I think the most I’ve ever gotten was just over 100 and I was shocked. So my surprise and confusion in getting over 1000 likes and 100 comments in the last 24 hours is well placed. I mean, it’s just a bunch of pens right. It got me thinking though.

Three Jetpen samplers in all their glory.

What is the commonality on that group? Inking drawings and the tools that we use. In our culture marketing reigns Supreme. Everyone has a fantasy whether they admit it or not that their next purchase is going to take them to the next level. I’m that way with hunting equipment, hiking gear, exercise equipment, art supplies. There’s something ingrained in us that makes us think that an object will change our world and not hard work. Look at all the action movies, an weapon is discovered that will save the day. Our commercials tell us that their product is the best and will get us the object of our desire. The genie out of the bottle… but it doesn’t. Not without the hard work.

So, this afternoon I pulled out my sketchbook and all those pens and drew toadstools with them to see how they would do. Did they magically make my art sing? No. But they worked well and I know which I should use for what and got some drawing time in and that’s what will take my art to the next level.

Don’t get me wrong. A copic fineliner is head and shoulders above a old bic pen you have lying in a drawer somewhere but it comes down to the experience in the hand holding it.

So what are your favorite drawing tools?

Until next time, do art.

Clark

A walk on a trail and inspiration

Last week I decided to take a walk on one of the local trails over lunch. I needed some inspiration as I haven’t had much time to do art or when I had time it felt blocked.

Since it is winter and all the trees are bare it’s a good time to look at the structure of the trees. Similar to how you should know how the skeleton and muscles under the skin to draw realistic people it’s good to know what’s going on under all that foliage.

Naked trees!!!

I like to take photos on my phone for landscape ideas when I’m wandering about. Some of them could work well or at least give me ideas on how things should look. Perspective examples so to speak. Others are just for my imagination.

Do you see the lion or is it a baboon?

I took many that help with perspective, like when a path dips down to go under a bridge, or up and around a curve.

Down and around or up and around?

It was a good walk and perusing the photos afterwards leads to inspiration.   I tend to draw out the ideas on post-its so that I can rearrange them. Occasionally I’ll do them in my sketchbook but the bad ones put me off from these creative process, with Post-its I can just crumple them up and toss them into the circular file cabinet. Only one sparks my interest currently.

Photo and basic structure thumbnail

I suspect this weekend I’ll create a ink wash test piece in my sketchbook to get my values and focal points worked out and then create a watercolor out of it.

Until next time, do art.

Clark