Ink Sketch Giveaway!

Inktober-2014

Many of you are aware that the month of October has recently been dubbed “#inktober” by artists. It’s origins date all the way back to 2009 when Jake Parker decided to challenge himself to draw one ink drawing per day in the month of October. The world picked up on it in a big way in 2013, and this year has been even bigger. There is no theme, no rules, no guidance. Just draw at least one drawing per day in ink in the month of October.

Super fun right!? Right!

Many artists draw whatever pops into their head that day.

Click to follow CreatureBox on Facebook

Click to follow CreatureBox on Facebook

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Click to follow Kyle Baerlocher on Instagram

Some draw whatever is around them at the moment:

Click to follow Zachary on Instagram

Click to follow Zachary on Instagram

Some have themes they stick to during the 31 days:

Click to Follow Kayla Edgar on Facebook

Click to Follow Kayla Edgar on Facebook

And some have stories worked out beforehand:

Click to follow Jake Parker on Facebook

Click to follow Jake Parker on Facebook

Here are a couple of my own drawings:

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It’s been super exciting and challenging. I only missed one day so I’m proud that I have followed through so well. I have kept them all in one moleskine sketchbook and have used Micron pens sizes 1 and 2, a Fabre Castel brush pen, and most recently, an amazing Pentel brush pen that I can’t get enough of. Had it not been for my participation in Inktober, I may never have gotten that brush pen. I love that it forces me to draw a bit lighter, and that I can draw super duper thin lines as well as extremely thick black lines. It makes it easy to block in large sections of a picture. The below image shows some brush strokes I jotted down to play around.

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So now for the fun part! Inktober is almost over and I have lots of pretty sweet sketches. One of them AND a Pentel brush pen could be yours! All you have to do is Like my art page on Facebook and SHARE this blog post! On November 7th, I will pick a random name and that person will win an Inktober sketch and a brush pen. Hooray!

Get to sharing and good luck! 🙂

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Always Be A Student

I just realized I never posted a blog entry last week. What in the, I say, what in the hell is up?!

Anyway. I’ve been pondering the concept of “always be a student” for a few days now. I was doing my morning “run” – and by run I mean shuffling down the street like C3PO on a sand dune – and it occurred to me that I was enjoying the training I was putting myself through.

See, I don’t like running. I’ve never liked running. But I love the concept of clearing your head while cruising down a back country road, fresh air, birds, etc. I also like the idea of jogging down a sidewalk in a cute little town or something. The concept of running has always appealed to me. So, I set out to learn how to run properly so I could actually enjoy it.

I realized while running the other day, concentrating on my breath count and rhythm, that I was enjoying the learning I was doing. I was thoroughly engrossed in the progress I was making. It was then that I noticed that I enjoy the process of learning in a whole lot of other areas of my life.

As I continued to breathe in for 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts repeatedly, I thought of other things I’d decided I wanted to learn over the last couple of years. I very recently taught myself how to French braid my kid’s hair. Now that I can do that, I’ve learned how to do dutch braids and side braids and fishtail braids…

I taught myself how to cook. That one took years. I failed so often it’s not even funny. But now I feel like I am a pretty decent cook and I love finding new recipes.

In relation to art, I’ve enjoyed learning from others how to paint digitally. Composition, color theory, perspective, anatomy, etc., are all things I’ve had to learn on my own through watching and learning from other artists. The thrill I get from realizing I understand a concept I didn’t previously grasp is exhilarating. It’s a moment in which I can almost physically feel that I’ve learned.

I made a decision at IlluxCon that I wanted to start oil painting. I didn’t know the first thing about oil painting and was actually quite intimidated by all the paints and mediums (wth is a medium?!) and thinners and chemicals. So I started asking around for tips and techniques. I bought Patrick Jones’s book about oil painting techniques. I bought paints and brushes and boards and canvas paper. I just jumped in. I decided to do what I do best which is to fail until I succeed.

I don’t view failure as a negative. I love failure. I live to fail. Every failure is an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to strengthen myself in whatever endeavor I’m attempting to take on.

I’ve been failing like a champ at oil painting!

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But then I succeeded a little bit.

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That gave me the confidence I needed to fail on a larger scale/project:

Underpainting for a personal project

Underpainting for a personal project

Laying down paint

Laying down paint

I’ve got a long way to go, but in the meantime, I’m still learning. If we master something, what’s the point of continuing? To remain good at it? Why not keep pushing ourselves to see what else we can do with the thing we’ve mastered? For me, that seems to be what it’s all about. To always be a student, and to love every minute, every failure, every success, everything.

Do I have days where I want to quit and throw things? I certainly do. I get extremely frustrated and discouraged. When that happens, I go back to something that I know I enjoy and that I know how to do, for a little bit of a “win”.

When all else fails, draw Batman. Or Darth Maul. Or Maleficent.

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Draw what you love, draw what brings you back to your love of the thing that has you frustrated, and it will all be alright. I promise!

What Level Does Your Portfolio Reflect?

I totally neglected to prepare this blog post earlier because of a deadline and a huge move across the country, but I guess late is better than never?

I want to talk about something that relates directly to me lately. I’ve been commissioned by a well known company to do multiple illustrations. The company is infamous for its low paying commissions (they have amazing Art Directors though). I’ve caught a bit of crap for this from some, and I wanted to blather on about it for a little bit.

As you may already be aware by my name-dropping, sappy-love post-con blog post, I attended IlluxCon in September. During the Artist Bootcamp series put on my Lauren Panepinto and Marc Scheff, the topic of lower paying jobs came up. Putting the personal ethics of whether or not to even take these types of jobs aside (that’ll be another blog post), I want to discuss behavior after I’ve agreed to the job and signed the contract.

I have struggled with whether to do the job I’m being paid for, or whether to go above and beyond. I’ve been given advice by others to do what you’re getting paid, otherwise you’re doing harder work for less pay. I can see the logic in that advice, and generally, I would agree.

My main hangup with this is exactly what Lauren pointed out in the bootcamp… that whatever work I do is what will be in my portfolio. If I’m taking a job painting things I love to paint, and I want to show that I’ve done professional work, would I want to show potential clients and Art Directors work in which I only put just enough effort into?

If my portfolio is full of illustrations I painted just to the point of being “worth” $100, that’s what I have to show. So, if I want to be hired for $500 jobs, shouldn’t my portfolio reflect work that looks like it’s worth $500?

It can be extremely frustrating to put hours and hours into a painting for which I’m getting paid peanuts (wait, what? I love peanuts). However, if I’ve already taken the job and signed a contract, there’s no way I am going to basically waste my time wasting my time. Every piece I paint is supposed to push me to improve in some kind of way, regardless if it’s a paid job or a personal piece. So the pay might be low, yes, but if I’ll be painting during that time anyway, why not use that as an opportunity to have another stellar portfolio piece to show?? Also, depending on the company, I have the chance to show how professional I am and possibly build a great working relationship with the AD, who will then talk to the other ADs he or she knows. And yes, they all talk to each other. 

For myself, I will not complain about the pay and I will try my damnedest to make my work worth more than what I’m being paid for. Better paying clients will come, if your work shows your worth paying more for! Maybe my work isn’t there yet, but it will be.

Everybody got their start somewhere. Everybody started out taking extremely low paying jobs. I don’t know of one artist who can flip their hair and say they started out being paid $1500 by Wizards for their work. Every single industry has a ladder to climb, and every single industry has shamefully low paying jobs at the bottom of that ladder. The key is to make sure you’re pushing yourself with each new painting so that you climb that ladder and don’t get stuck dangling from the bottom rung forever. If you keep producing $100 work for that $100 pay, that’s where you’ll stay.

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To all my readers, thank you for returning and reading my blog posts. To you, I say this: