First, today’s ridiculous prompt words: hidden, sword, drooling, husky, tree.
Okay, so how exactly did those words (taken from the 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Inktober prompt lists) lead to this up close and personal drawing of a coconut palm frond?
Legitimate question. The answer, it turns out, is as ridiculous as the prompt words themselves. I really thought both Google and Bing would be stumped with this search, but they quickly came back with a meme about a husky who somehow got stuck in, yes, you guessed it, a coconut tree.
I don’t know how he got stuck in the tree, but since then, the poor dog has apparently been stuck in a lot of other places courtesy of Photoshop and imaginative internet users.
Once I found the meme about the dog and the tree, Cheeky and I shook our head at the craziness of it all, and quickly added coconut to our Inktober list. So, that’s the first part of the answer to the question of how those words led to today’s drawing.
The second part comes from my approach to Inktober this year. Last year I made it through the entire month — the first time that’s happened. I’m determined to get through all thirty-one days this time around, too, so I gave it all a bit of thought before starting. I wanted to do more than just get through the month. I wanted to have a sense of purpose, along with a specific theme. Part of that purpose is to challenge myself to a degree, not just making simple drawings, but not attempting things that are too far beyond my abilities.
So, I passed by reference photos showing lovely silhouettes of palm trees. I think I could have drawn those easily enough. I also skipped over photos of thick branches laden with coconuts. I kept searching…and that’s when I came across a photo of the palm fronds.
I was fascinated, and a vision of my completed drawing came into my head. I knew I wanted it to be an almost stylized image, and I knew I wanted it to be very black and white. While drawing and inking the image, I sometimes wondered if I’d gotten confused and was somehow creating stripes on a zebra, but when it was finally completed and I could step back and see it, I was pleased that it resembled the picture I’d had in my head.
As usual, I started by drawing the image with pencil. Next, I had to choose which pen to use. The dip pens were out, but I did consider a black Sharpie. In the end, I decided to use a “B” Pitt Artist pen — it produces a thick black line.
At first, I tried inking over the pencil lines, but as I continued I found myself ignoring the lines more and more. With each tiny frond I inked, I gained a little better understanding of the structure of a palm leaf. I really enjoyed getting so up close and personal, seeing how each section of the frond attached to the stem. Basically I ended up re-drawing them and erasing any left-behind pencil marks at the end.
I enjoyed today’s drawing, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s. The prompt words?
Guess if you want, but I’m guessing that you’ll never be able to guess what tree Cheeky and I will be drawing next!