I love Inktober – even in spite of the negativity surrounding the concept creator and the sad decision by many inkthususiasts to boycott this year’s challenge to pursue alternatives elsewhere. But hey! Life goes on!
About a week before the start, I set aside time to carefully come up with a concept that will last me the full 31 days. A concept that’s innovative, different and that can deliver a decent piece of visual excitement everyday and take no longer than 45 mins to complete, photograph and post. Now, that may not sound like much – but the majority of us are all pushed for time. With work, commuting, shopping, cooking, cleaning etc etc it just never seems to stop so to set aside 31 slots of 45 minutes is a tall order.
So this year I wanted to do something a little less complex than last year’s challenge (click here) and opted to create my own collection of made up insects using the prompt sheet to determine what they might look like. Last year, I mainly concentrated on using inks with drama, shading and chromatic effects so this year I thought it might be fun to dig out and showcase my shimmer and sheening ink collection and see what magic might transpire.
The nice thing about creating insects is that they are easy to create. They have decent middle sections with which do ‘stuff’ with, a decorative head, some feelers, three or four spindly segmented legs each side and sometimes, a pair of wings. They are also symmetrical, fast to construct, colour and line in.
And so, 31 days later, here is my complete collection of made up insects. I have used lots of different shimmer, sheening and standard inks of all colours and brands and also used household bleach for the highlights. I even did an online workshop for Cult Pens demonstrating my processes and within the time limit too! Cult Pens have allegedly made a video of the workshop which you may be available to find on their YouTube channel.
Many have asked if I’ll be producing any prints of these creations, well the answer is sadly no, but I have created a hi res pdf poster of the above artwork which is A3 in size and at 300dpi. If you’d like to download a copy – it’s FREE – then click here. For a decent print I suggest getting a giclee and using archival paper and lightfast inks. If you want to know what inks I have used for each insect, please visit and follow my Instagram and/or Facebook accounts – links in the website menu and at the bottom of the poster.
It’s been a real blast this year and I’ve really enjoyed revisiting the inks used. Some of the effects achieved using those Shimmer and Sheening inks are just fabulous! Some of those inks are now over six years old and they’re still in tip top condition. Roll on the next challenge! Did someone mentions classic boats?
Of possible interest: Anja at Papier und Stift has very kindly sent me vials for the complete Dominant Industry range which I will be showcasing along with samples of Fountain Wheel Press, Wearingeul, Diplomat, Taccia Jeans, Pennonia Lab and Teranishi throughout November, December and January. And yes, I have my Diamine Inkvent Calendar to share too!
AND HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course ?