Inktober and sketch therapy

The feature photo was this morning’s crazy windy sunrise. We’ve been here in Guanajuato for three months now, and we’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve been struggling, as I was told I would be, which is partially why I haven’t had the patience or motivation to keep writing. But, everything is okay and I have things to look forward to now, which helps. 

I’ve been sketching a lot since I found out about inktober- a daily sketching prompt for the month of October. These aren’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m pleased with my process. It’s a very meditative  process in the fact that while it’s a challenging activity, it’s also very relaxing. Sketching and painting take me totally out of my head and the world around me, and I can absorb myself 100% in what I’m doing. No election drama trauma, no dogs annoying me, no stressing about meal planning, nothing. Just focusing on lines and colors. 

Here’s a few of the plain ink ones. 

“Orange County” – the prompt was “tree” 


“Broken” – this is our little Mexican street rescue dog recovering from myriad ailments 

“Sad” – from a photo I took of a woman begging here in Guanajuato. Even though parts of the city are affluent and cosmopolitan, there is still a lot of poverty, especially among indigenous people. 

“Old & New” – this isn’t a prompt, and it’s the earliest of these drawings so it’s not as good. This is one of the magnicificent sculptures  here, as I saw it one day with an elderly man and two little dogs taking a break. 


Two dogs in a blanket

My sketching teacher has been AWOL for working on two weeks now, but it gives us impetus to come up with our own things. I felt guilty for not sketching for like five days, and I was SO TIRED of watching boring television, that I decided just to draw what I saw.

Didn’t even finish my wine.

I’m not unhappy with this. It’s rough, it’s juvenile, and I still can’t figure out perspective and shading (especially when color is involved) but I feel like I’m starting to develop a style. I didn’t obsess (too much) over details and the need to be super realistic, and I tried to keep the lines simple. I want to eventually have this illustrative, simple & somewhat loose style. I want people to recognize the subject without compromising the “art” and individuality of it. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a photograph for a reason.

Throwing some shade 

Today we had to sketch a portrait, simply, (hah) from a small & not-very-detailed photo. I think the point was to focus on shapes and orientation without obsessing over detail.

God I suck at pencils. 

This started out terribly, especially when I started shading. I thought I ruined it. To my surprise, it started to come together with more lead layered on. I still had a lot of trouble with the shading, and I think that was enhanced by this super strong directional light combined with her dark skin. I really didn’t know what to do. 

But, here’s the eyeball progression. From dead eyes to rheumy eyes, to something not so bad. 

I’m going to keep sketching people because I really want to get to the point where I can bust out something simple, proportional, and quick. I’m also super cognizant of figuring out my style, whatever that ends up being. I don’t hate this though; not cartoony, but not too obsessive realism either. I want a happy, fast medium. 

Office view 

Lesson 9 in my 30 day class, and it’s “free doodle day.” Well, I’m not imaginative enough to create something, so I plopped down on the futon and drew the awfully messy office bookshelf. Naturally, my dog moved right as I got to her.

This is only the outline, because I plan to ink it tomorrow. However, I’m afraid I’m going to ruin it, so this is the evidence it’s not awful at least now.

I’m thankful work has been slow this week, as it’s been pretty heavy emotionally, as well as having just a million things on my mind to prepare for Europe and the big Mexico adventure. More on that later.

Also, I miss having a cat. :/

Total sketch.

So, I’ve taken up sketching. And/or painting. There’s something really relieving about it, while also being challenging (obviously!). I’ve never been much of an artist; I’ve not had the knack for doodling and I’m honestly not very imaginative or creative. I can see good compositions, which makes me a good photographer, but that skill doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous imagination. Eh. You can’t be too awesome, I suppose.

What I really want to be able to accomplish is definitively depict a scene with my own artistic style. Which has yet to be figured out, clearly. Meanwhile, I’m decisively scribbling and obsessively erasing while dragging my hand all the way through the graphite and torally getting it on my face. My online art instructor has said that you don’t need innate sparkly art talent in order to be a good sketch artist- you just need practice. That I can do. Here’s to practice makes artist!