Yesterday I wrapped up my second Inktober. I think I managed to get a drawing done every day. As usual, I started with some fairly elaborate drawings which became more simplified by the end of the month. Weekend drawings got a bit more dedication, but overall I probably spent an average of 30 to 45 minutes a day on each drawing. A couple friends also joined in and we shared our posts on a discord server we share.
Overall, I'm pleased with my progress and while I don't have last year's sketchbook with me, I know that I've made progress. Last year around this time I was just starting to practice drawing daily. I was all over the place with resources and was just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. This time around I had a bit more understanding of inking techniques, form, and composition.
The other day, I was reflecting on something I heard about how when we stop drawing as we grow up, we retain the sort of "symbol library" that we use to represent objects when we try and draw them (a house is a square with a triangular roof, an eye is just a circle with another circle within it, etc). Over the past year I have managed to get better at seeing shapes. This, I have learned, is one of the biggest lessons to learn, and it takes a long time. Seeing shapes (or seeing forms I suppose it could be called) has been a journey from dissasociating myself from my former symbol library and into the world of a new kind of library. How am I doing with all that? Much better when drawing from reference, but when it comes to drawing from imagination I revert pretty quickly to the old way of doing things. I could see this most evidently when I was brainstorming quick thumbnails for the day's image during inktober.
When it comes to drawing from imagination, I have been told by a few artist friends that it's not simply the case that skilled artists are alone with the paper/canvas and their pen/brush, etc. I'm not taking about a doodle here - I'm talking about trying to draw a face or an arm, or a building the same way I would try and draw a face or an arm or a building from reference - but from my mind. Writing it out it certainly seem ridiculous that one could do that - but I think it's possible. But beyond all this hypothesizing, I think there might be a meta concern here - that the idea of drawing from imagination holds a certain wow-factor that I'm probably more taken with (which is not good). I'm perhaps too interested in showing off what I can pull off the dome in the context of being seen rather than just having fun drawing.
That's all for now. I'm sure I'll be looking forward to Inktober next year - I think drawing is sticking around as a hobby.