Facing Inktober

Sitting in a cafe doodling with a pen and a pocket notebook is a great way to spend a lunch break. The only drawback is that once a mistake is made, you’re forced to either ignore it and hope for the best, or somehow incorporate it into your sketch without making things worse.

Scan_20170909 (3)Scan_20170909 (4)

I’d reached the point where black and white was starting to bore me a little. That’s not to say I’d mastered it, but I wished I had a few other options when it came to shading or details.

I took some of my older sketches and added a bit of colour to them in Photoshop. I’ve always been keen on the ligne-claire style seen in European comics (see here for my inspiration) and wanted to mimic it as best as I could, based on some of my favourite science fiction:



My thoughts turned to getting this effect on paper, rather than resorting to Photoshop. To that end I got a grey marker pen, which added a whole new dimension to what I could do in a lunch hour.

However, I still had a weakness: faces. I have a tendency to make the eyes too damn big, and make everything below the nose too small. So for this year’s Inktober challenge, I decided to focus on getting faces right.

This year’s Inktober list of prompt words was quite tricky, I found. And I’m afraid my nerve failed me: I didn’t draw faces without lightly pencilling them in first.

The faces I chose were (hopefully) iconic and recognisable, and gave me a good opportunity to try out light and shading. Some faces are easier to get right than others, though.


Alice Cooper’s stage makeup is a dead giveaway, and I found Cate Blanchett’s cheekbones make her surprisingly easy to draw. But Harrison Ford was a lot harder. Somehow, I can draw Indiana Jones without making him look like Harrison Ford (one of my friends reckoned he turned out closer to Bruce Willis in the sketch).

So, I still have a lot more practice to do. I suspect I’ll have to turn my attentions to caricatures and see how that goes…

(My full month of Inktober sketches can be found on Twitter.)

6 responses to “Facing Inktober

  1. On the bright side, imagining Bruce Willis as Dr Jones is a whole new thing 🙂 Loved your stuff this year. Love seeing you improving over the years, too – quite the inspiration!

    • Thanks Sarah! 😀
      I’ve got a whole bunch of things I want to try out after seeing what other Inktobery types have been posting… but that can wait until after NaNoWriMo’s done!

  2. Hey, wanted to say. I love your work. Your style is fantastic. I’ve always been so petty about faces, but you’ve got something so unique about your portraits. You are most definitely welcome to improve accuracy, but your style is so unique and fun. There is a lady who painted children with big eyes and her stuff was incredible. Keep going.

    • Thanks Phoebe – that’s very kind of you! 😀
      I think I’m still trying to figure out what my ‘style’ is (maybe I never will, and I’ll just keep trying little bits of everything?).
      In any case, thank you for reading! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Inktober: see real serials | Observaterry·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s