Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Why Do I Struggle with Inking?

Inking in my illustrations doesn't come easy for me, I feel my lines are uninteresting, and I'm sometimes unclear when to thicken a line and when to keep it whisper thin. Although I admire the inking of Manga and Comic Illustrators, I'm not looking to ink lines so perfectly crisp and flowy that the end result looks like a well-honed machine did the inking. I want a delicate, handmade, look with enough of a hint of line weight that my drawings don't look boringly outlined. Inking is something I've struggled with for years and I think I know why.

I think my attention deficit (ADD) issue has played a big role in this struggle as well as my impatient Gemini nature and the general anxiety that internally haunts me compresses time into a looming feeling that the deadline was YESTERDAY. Even when I'm simply drawing in my own sketchbook this hurry up and rush it feeling permeates my mind.  My ADD impacts my self-esteem which in turn feeds my anxiety. I live in a world like those dreams where you show up late for a school test, can't find your pencil, realize you're not dressed and you left lunch at home–reside.

Yes I've had those dreams, hate them, HATE THEM.

Swiftly finishing a piece of art impacts the quality.  Rushing makes me skip over valuable steps, steps that make me observe, question and try another approach. Anxiety creates fear that the work won't get finished, so pull something together fast–Suzanne! Quickness makes my mind by-pass the inner pathway of the essential creative-thinking process and I end up turning a nice pencil sketch into something that's not quite right.

The first picture above is my inked in work printed on Spoonflower linen. I inked in the three characters to be printed on cloth then sewn into lavender sachets. When I received the linen I was disappointed in how heavy-handed my characters looked. I forgot, ink can really absorb into fabric, and the flat inking style made my delicate drawings look clunky.

So back to the drawing board went I.  I played with a dotted line approach. Years ago I experimented with a dotted line style and wish I stuck to it, but the unfocused ADD wagon pulled me away. Add'er's I suspect rebel against pidgeon-holing themselves into one area, but I realize now, it's not locking me into a box but rather allowing what comes naturally, to flow out. Thus one's own style is born.

My first attempt I grabbed a thinner Micron pen, and I dotted away with glee, only to realize a couple of days later I'd overkilled the dot motif, I let it take over, instead of slowly orchestrating a sensitive line.  My drawings had a ghost-like appearance, too light. So I turned to using a Colorase pencil to see if combining the soft tone of pencil with ink would work, but
the drawings were again, too heavy-looking for the delicate sachets I envisioned. Normally I would've quit this project for another month, or year, or more. . . However watching other illustrators truthfully discuss their struggles on Youtube keeps me FOCUSED these days. Youtube illustrator vlogs are my savior. I highly recommend this illustrator: FRANNERD

This time I chose a thicker Sharpie pen in purple. I thoughtfully each line, and dotted less,  I am pleased with the third try. I'm not worried there isn't any tone, as again, I want delicate renderings, as sachets go into delicate undie drawers. Being my own worse critic I could hammer out more tries, but over-laboring to the point of obsessing prevents me from moving forward, plus accepting my work as it stands now is an emotionally good thing.

I found this slow-draw process actually kept that nagging impatient-nervousness at bay, I guess the right side of my brain was taking over. So as hard as it is for me to slow down, it's the ONLY solution to mastering my inking style. I hope you like what I did, and if you want to know when the sachets are in my ETSY shop please sign up for my holiday newsletter, with plenty of fun offerings!

No comments:

Post a Comment