Inktober 2018

This year I joined in with the Inktober challenge again, which involves making an ink drawing every day (or as often as possible) during October and sharing each one on Instagram. In the past I’ve stuck to black ink and last year I just used a fineliner for the whole month. This time I decided to add some colour so I used liquid inks – mostly India ink and occasionally acrylic ink. I used a pen once or twice for lettering and black areas but otherwise I used inks and brushes. Here are my 31 drawings from the month. You may recognise a few of these as the new postcards which you can now buy in my Etsy shop. A few more are (or are going to be) available as prints too. Click on each image to see a larger version.

Review: Back Pocket Notebooks

Back Pocket Notebooks

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing out the Back Pocket Notebook. Although it’s not specifically a sketchbook, I’ve been using it for some lettering and drawings to see how it compares to sketch specific books.

To summarise, if you’re looking for a good quality, robust little notebook to carry around, I would definitely recommend the Back Pocket Notebooks.

Back Pocket Notebooks Back

I have a set of 3 Kraft Plain Notebooks, each of which contain 18 sheets or 36 pages of 120gsm paper and a stapled spine.

Back Pocket Notebooks Spine

At first glance they reminded me of the A6 Eco Starter Sketchbooks from Seawhite of Brighton. The Back Pocket Notebooks are slightly smaller, measuring 9 x 14 cm. The paper isn’t quite as thick as the Seawhite cartridge paper but there are more pages than the Eco Starter and the paper has a nice smooth surface, which I really appreciated when using fine liners and markers.

Back Pocket Notebook Inside

Although it’s described as a ‘plain’ notebook, I think that refers to the cover because it’s pointed out on the band holding the 3 notebooks together that the paper inside is actually cross grid. It’s similar to dotted paper but each ‘dot’ is a tiny cross. I’d never used that kind of paper before but it was kind of handy for keeping my hand lettering straight!

Back Pocket Notebook Felt Tip

The paper in the Back Pocket Notebook is perfect for either pen or pencil. I used a few different fine liners and felt tip pens, and the only pen that bled through to the other side of the page was the Copic marker. But Copic markers seem to bleed through almost all paper in my experience so this wasn’t a surprise or a big deal. I covered some large areas with Koi brush pens and even with the darker colours the dots on the paper do show but that may or may not be a problem for you. It didn’t bother me because I wasn’t trying to create a finished piece of artwork.

Back Pocket Notebook Gouache

I was able to apply a light wash of watercolour in the Back Pocket Notebook without any problems and the paper took gouache quite well too. The paper does buckle with both watercolour and gouache but even some dedicated watercolour paper does that so, again, this wasn’t a surprise or a problem for me.

I’ve carried the Back Pocket Notebook around in my bag and it’s stood up well to that without getting damaged so far. I wonder if rounded corners might make it a bit more robust in that respect if you were carrying it around in your bag or pocket every day.

The Back Pocket Notebooks are excellent quality, and the size means that they’re really easy to carry around without adding lots of extra weight or bulk. I wouldn’t use them to replace a dedicated sketchbook but as somewhere to keep notes and ideas, make simple line drawings and practise hand lettering, the Back Pocket Notebook is an excellent option and, as the name implies, highly portable too!

Thank you to Justin at Back Pocket Notebooks who gave me this set of Kraft Notebooks to test in exchange for an honest review.

Inktober 2016

I took part in Inktober again this October, which involves making an ink drawing every day for the whole month. Last year I drew whatever took my fancy each day but this year I decided to challenge myself a bit more by using the prompts that were published on Instagram.

Some days were more difficult than others, and some drawings didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked but that’s not really the point. Here are my 31 drawings from Inktober 2016 (each one is clickable if you want to see the full size image).

Writing as Art

Handlettered quote from Tommy Kane on drawing buildings

Because I wasn’t keeping up with all the Boot Kamp assignments as they came in I decided to skip one week for now (which I’ll come back to later on) and stick with this week’s assignments which, so far, have been about writing.

For the first assignment I chose a quote from Tommy Kane, from one of his lessons in Sketchbook Skool’s Beginnings kourse. I think it sums up not only how long he spends drawing a scene or subject but also the importance of looking closely and really seeing every detail of what you’re drawing.

Flower Doodles

Black line drawings of flowers

Unlike yesterday, this definitely is a page from my sketchbook that I’ve not posted on here before!

Another artist whose work I like is Lisa Congdon. This page is one of a few in my current sketchbook that was inspired by her work.

Although I really enjoy drawing from observation and illustrating things from my everyday life, now and again I fancy doing something a bit different. This is the kind of drawing that I can do while watching a TV programme so it’s great for winter evenings or days when I’m tired but still want to draw something.

Like any kind of drawing, not every one turns out perfectly, as you can see here, but it’s just another way that I get my pen to paper sometimes.