Welcome to October, and welcome to Inktober. My little monkey mind and I have been looking forward to this day ever since the official Inktober prompt list came out. I have a nice little collection of these prompt lists now, having first attempted Inktober in 2016, the year the first prompt list was created.
I didn’t fare well in 2016. I might have attempted a drawing or two, but for the most part I gave up before I even started. Pen and ink was far too challenging for me, and my drawing skills were still in their infancy. Doing Inktober was an interesting idea, but I wasn’t ready for it.
In 2017 I managed a few drawings during the month, including one or two that made me proud. I didn’t make it through the entire month, though. It was still a bit too challenging.
Last year, in 2018, I completed 31 drawings. They were mostly “mythical monsters” and over the course of the month many of them came together as an odd sort of dysfunctional family, telling a tale of murder and mayhem. I wrapped it all up with a happy ending, and set about pondering ideas for Inktober 2019.
I considered several different ideas, and finally settled on TREES as a theme. I love trees, and I can always use more practice on drawing them. For me, the biggest weakness in the trees I draw is that they’re simply TREES. They’re generic. With the exception of a few birch trees I did in watercolor, none of my trees are recognizable as any particular species. You can’t look at any of my drawings or paintings and say unequivocally, “Oh, that’s a maple”, or “Look, there’s an old oak tree.”
So, I wanted to work on drawing trees of many different species. And, this is when and where I first met “Cheeky”, that silly little monkey mind inside my head that loves jumping around here, there, and everywhere. Cheeky and I both love creating things in a nonsensical, random way. Well, it’s not nonsense to us. It just sounds a bid odd when we try to explain our serendipitous little journeys.
To make a long story short, Cheeky came up with a truly crazy idea. Put all the Inktober prompt lists together, use those words, and search for something among the many trees of the world.
Yes, that resulted in a lot of ridiculous searches, but it also turned out to be hilarious fun. I loved seeing what came up in my searches, and after a time, Cheeky and I had compiled a lovely list of thirty-one species of trees, one for each day of Inktober. Some may not neatly fit with this year’s prompt list, but… so what? Using the official prompt list isn’t a mandatory part of Inktober, and besides, Cheeky and I did use the prompt list — but in our own rather unorthodox way.
So, based on our first search — fast, swift, poisonous, ring, tree — we came to a question in a forum from a man who wanted to get rid of a huge amla tree. I’d never heard of such a tree before, and Cheeky and I were off and running.
The amla tree, we learned, is also known as Indian Gooseberry.
I started with an HB pencil and drew these branches and fruits. Once I was satisfied with the overall look, I grabbed an XS pen from my Pitt Artist Pens and set to work inking over the drawing.
For me and Inktober… well, I liked what Cheeky and I had accomplished. I should have gone back later and erased my original pencil marks, but I decided to leave them. I was happy with the drawing and didn’t want to risk spoiling it in any way. I thought, too, of using a bit of watercolor on it, but Cheeky quickly disabused me of that notion.
So Inktober has now begun, my monkey mind and I are truly having fun swinging from one tree to another, and what’s coming up tomorrow?
Tomorrow’s prompt words:
Any guesses what that tree might be?