Inktober

This month, I am participating in Inktober.

I am a big fan of month-long challenges. A month is just about long enough to create a lasting habit (such as creating art every day, or keeping my kitchen clean). Last year, I did a “30 Pieces in 30 days” watercolour art challenge in September, where I created 30 6×6 watercolour pieces based on natural science subjects I collected on my way to the studio, all of which were made available for sale.

This was a great challenge for me, as I wanted to practice a variety of watercolour skills and techniques, and I had a strong tendency to get caught up in details and take a very long time finishing work.  Having to create a “finished”, sellable piece every single day while working a dayjob and renovating my home, I learned to speed up, and really developed my watercolour skills over the course of the month.  The challenge also generated a large body of work, and specifically small, affordable pieces, which have been a big hit at studio tour events.

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30 Pieces in 30 Days – September 2016 Natural Science Watercolour Challenge Pieces

I’ve been eager to do another month-long challenge.  Last month was a little crazy with deadlines and travel, so I decided to participate in Inktober instead this year.

Inktober was started by Jake Parker, a character designer/comic illustrator, who wanted to develop his inking skills using brushes and brush pens.   Other artists have adapted the challenge to suit their own priorities, doing everything from sketching in ballpoint pen to painting in coloured inks to digital “inking”.  I am drawn to the initial concept behind the challenge, but being in a very different branch of illustration from Jake Parker, I’ve come up with my own set of goals and guidelines for my Inktober entries this year:

My Inktober Goals:

  1. Create 31 finished, sellable ink pieces by the end of the month, in addition to other scheduled illustration work
  2. Develop a better understanding and intuition of tonal values
  3. Develop my skills in monochromatic shading techniques such as cross-hatching, stippling and simplified shapes
  4. Experiment with textures in ink washes
  5. Improve my brush handling skills (useful for watercolour as well as ink) by using brush techniques with ink.

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    Inktober 2017:  Linden Pods (Day 3)
  6. BONUS: Start bridging the gap between my detailed natural science illustration work and my interest in urban sketching, see if I can start to discern a cohesive “look” across both.

My Inktober Rules:

  1. All pieces must incorporate some form of liquid, black ink (technical pens, brush pens, ink and brush, etc)
  2. Pieces may be rendered on white or toned paper.  White ink and white pencil may be used to develop tonal range on toned paper.
  3. Pencil or ballpoint pen may be used for initial sketch, but the finished lines and shading should be primarily in liquid ink.
  4. No coloured drawing media (coloured inks, watercolors, coloured pencils other than white, markers, etc)
  5. Subjects should be drawn from life/own reference, but no limits on subject matter (natural science, architecture, life drawing, still life, etc)

 

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Inktober 2017:  Spiders are the Providers (Day 1)
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Inktober 2017: Divided Pinecone (Day 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve done a few pieces for Inktober 2017 already and I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.  I will post the complete collection on this site when I am done the challenge, and all pieces will be available for sale.  If you would like to see each piece as I complete it, I will be posting them on my Instagram and Facebook Page

 

 

 

Clumping of non-granulating watercolours – A clue from indian ink!

Apparently I just can’t let this subject go.  I am becoming the crazy water hardness and watercolour clumping  lady.    Recently I was reminded of this problem/puzzle while planning for participating in Inktober.

A few months ago, I saw a really cool demonstration by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law on Youtube.

Artwork by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law demonstrating textural ink techniques

In this video she demonstrates how she creates dramatic, organic-looking textural effects using Winsor & Newton Indian Ink diluted in water.  When mixed with tap water the ink clumps up, and deposits in a granulating texture on the paper.

Being a water-resistant ink, this can then be worked over with transparent watercolour without destroying the granulation pattern.  I thought this might be useful for some spotting effects I commonly see on dry grasses and

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Drawing Ink by Winsor & Newton (Image property of Winsor & Newton)

seed pods in winter, and stashed the tip away for possible future use.

I’ve been thinking about what to do for Inktober. I would like to try in

king with liquid ink and a brush for some of my pieces.  While thinking about what to do with liquid ink,  I saw some other recommendations to thin it out for grey washes.  I was reminded of the Stephanie Law video, and decided to look up Winsor & Newton ink specifically.

On the Jackson’s art listing for Winsor & Newton’s waterproof ink, I found something very interesting:

 

Jackson's India Ink Screenshop
Jackson’s Art Page for Winsor Newton’s India Ink

See that yellow highlighted paragraph.  Here’s what it says:

The colours can be easily diluted with water to reduce the strength of the colour or to increase it’s transparency. Distilled water must be used as tap water causes the dye to separate from the binder.

Yep, that’s right.  Winsor & Newton drawing inks are watersoluble, but only in distilled water.  Even small amounts of dissolved minerals in tap water cause the ink particles to clump and curdle out of solution, causing the textural effects that Stephanie Pui-Mun Law uses to such great effect in her pieces.  This behaviour is similar to what I experienced in M. Graham watercolor paints.

I wonder whether there is a similarity between the binder(s) used in the Winsor & Newton inks and the M. Graham paints.  Very intriguing.

 

 

 

Boathouse Botanicals

 

Mark your calendars! I’m thrilled to announce my first solo art exhibit.  Boathouse Botanicals will be a selection of my botanical art work, which I will be displaying at The Boathouse in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.   The collection will include existing as well as never before seen work.

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Boathouse Botanicals – Selected works by Lee Angold, opens June 8th at The Boathouse

The Boathouse Botanicals exhibit opens on June 8th, coinciding perfectly with the beginning of patio season.  Drop into the Boathouse, browse some vibrant botanical art, and enjoy a cold beer or cider on the Boathouse patio overlooking the pond in Victoria Park.

Better yet, join me at the Boathouse Botanicals opening reception on June 8th for a first crack at purchasing one of the new pieces on display.  I will be available to discuss my process and answer any questions you may have about my pieces and their subjects.

Artwork feature on Kijani Grows garden kits

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Earlier this month, I was contacted by Eric Maundu of Kijani Grows.  Kijani Grows in an Oakland based smart aquaponics startup.  They make Arduino-controlled aquarium-fed gardens for businesses, schools and individuals.

Eric had found one of my early pen doodles online, and thought the style would be well suited to a pyrograph image on some of their new garden kits for schools.

I recently received pictures of a prototype kit printed with my Jellyfish I sketch.  The completed prototype came even nicer than I had hoped!

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I was also very pleased to see the pictures of the kit itself.  It is flat-packed for shipping, and includes easy to follow assembly instructions, which are burned into the wood alongside my illustration and the Kijani Grows logo.  Overall, it is a very clever design, which I expect will be very educational in schools.

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I look forward to working with Kijani Grows to complete a series of commissions of other sea-life pen illustrations for other units.  I have also been promised a kit of my own once they go into production – very useful to grow my own subjects for botanical illustration, as well as some of my own food

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This collaboration has been a particularly creative example of how my illustrations can be applied to commercial products.  Most of my existing pieces are available in multiple formats to be licenced for commercial use, and I am eager to work with others to develop creative custom product art.