A Different Kind of Illusion

Inktober is still new, but so far, I’m enjoying it. Of course, I haven’t yet been brave enough to dig out those dip pens again. Will I dare? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m having fun with Inktober, and I’m learning a lot about creating illusions. That’s really what art is all about, and I like that I’m learning to do those illusions in ink.

Today’s prompt words — as ridiculous as they sound — were: hungry, underwater, spell, freeze, tree. Now both Google and Bing kept directing me to Harry Potter sites for casting magic spells — especially spells for freezing things –but Cheeky Monkey Mind and I can be quite persistent. We were looking for illusions, but not for magic; we wanted a tree.

Finally, after following several pages of hits, we made our way to an old issue of Best of Indy magazine. As far as I can tell, this is a magazine published by the city of Indianapolis, but don’t quote me on that. We skimmed through several articles, and I was about to give up when we came across references to eucalyptus wood.

Aha! We were off and climbing, swinging happily among the koalas. They eat eucalyptus leaves, you know.

Inktober 2019 5 (2)
Eucalyptus Tree – Pen and Ink by Judith Kraus

As far as I know, I’ve never seen an actual eucalyptus tree, but I love the fragrance of eucalyptus oil, so I’m counting this among my favorite trees.

Now, in some respects, maybe I’m cheating a little by creating drawings using both graphite and ink, but the official rules state that it’s all right to draw first with pencil and then ink over the drawing. That’s what I’m doing — except that I’m not inking over the entire drawing. Here, I’ve left the sky and the distant hills in graphite.

All of the leaves were done first in graphite and then inked over. That’s really helping me immensely. First, it’s giving me a little added confidence, and second, like using gray-toned paper for charcoal drawings, having that layer of graphite adds a bit of necessary value. I need that in my ink drawings. It really helps me create more realistic illusions.

I was very pleased with how this turned out. The only thing I’m not happy about is the inconsistency in my scribbles. Toward the center, my illusory leaves got tighter and closer together, but still I’m not going to quibble with myself about it too much. I succeeded in what I set out to do — create another illusion of leaves on another tree.

It is fun to consider the leaves and think of different ways to make marks on the page to suggest them. So far, so good… but this is only the fourth day!

CheekyAnd what’s in store for tomorrow?

  • Sad
  • Long
  • Chicken
  • Build
  • Tree

If you’ve ever raised any chickens, you might be able to guess where those prompt words led us. Check back to see if you guessed right!

Now, my monkey mind and I are headed to our drawing table, ready to create more magical illusions in ink.


  1. You have a lot of prompt words! Doesn’t that add the difficulty?

    There are no rules against sketching in pencil first. As long as the final output is in ink.

    Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, and some groups are even skipping the ink and art and using the prompts for poetry and short stories. It’s a fun, creative experience, and I love seeing all the ideas other artists come up with!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love all the texture you have managed to get in the tree bark. My pencil and I are firm friends and I will not be parted from it! I have seen so many people use pencil first and you are using it to add depth to your drawing. Many people seem to do digital art for Inktober too so I try not to worry to much about ‘the rules’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was really, really proud of this one! The bark actually came out looking like it was supposed to, and I got most of the leaves the way I wanted. Having the layer of graphite down really, really helps me a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s making it a lot of fun. I really need to be silly when I’m doing something like this. If I were to start taking myself (and the whole challenge) too seriously, I’d never been able to do it. I have to play around with it, and “Cheeky Monkey Mind” is a lot of fun. The silliness gives me a sense of freedom, plus a “give-it-a-try” attitude. It’s all for fun, and that’s how I need it.

      Liked by 1 person

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