Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis


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Happy Halloween!

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I remember when the kids were so little, I worried they would wobble off the porch when someone opened the door for them. After 15 years of trick or treating, this was the first year that even the youngest didn’t need me to tag along. Not only did I stay home, but it was my oldest who gave out the candy.

Today is the final day of InkTober. I’m very proud of my consecutive 31 days of drawing in ink. The challenge really helped motivate me. All 31 drawings are posted on my Instagram @eileenmckenna.


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I Recall Central Park in Fall

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Flipping through a magazine looking for something to draw, I came across a couple strolling with their dog. I drew them, added a tree, and had to pull out my watercolors and add some leaves.

That illustration reminded me of walking with my husband through Central Park in New York City. Having just watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” the lyrics “I recall Central Park in Fall” were in my head while I searched for an image of a couple in Central Park. I found a Getty Images photo to use as reference. It’s the lamppost that makes it Central Park.

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I’m always amazed how one idea or spark of inspiration can lead you down a path. Actually this was the topic of one of my early posts: The paths our art projects take us on:

“It’s funny, how a project can start us on a path. A path similar to the branches of a tree. The path may be fairly straight – projects similar to one another. Or the path may be twisty – each project taking a unique turn. The path can be long – each project sparking the idea for the next one. Or the path may be short – as we experiment with something that doesn’t work out or fails to inspire us any longer.
We follow a path until it ends. Until we have reached the end of that train of thought. At that point, we forge a new path, based on something different that inspires us. But each path we take, is related to the others, just like the branches of a tree.”


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Overlay designs to create a new design and a pattern

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I recently came across a watercolor painting I did in pinks, blues and yellows. At the time I was trying to paint abstractly. The other day for my InkTober challenge I drew Montauk daisies, which are in bloom in the yard. I immediately thought of that watercolor and thought it would be cool to overlay the daisies over it.

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I did something a little different with this pattern. I set up the watercolor painting so the edges don’t fall in the same place as the edges of the ink drawing. (They fall in the center.)

I’m happy to be designing patterns again and remembering how to have the background line up differently was a small victory for me! Last time I was working with a pattern I was struggling with having it be organic and actually lining up when it repeated.

If you’d like to learn more here is a post on how to create a pattern. Let me know if you’d like more info on the subject. 🙂

Here is the design on repeat:

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Which witch inspires you?

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When I was little I loved Hazel the witch on Bugs Bunny. Every time she flew off, she’d leave behind her bobby pins floating in the air.

Every October since starting my creative resolution, I’ve been inspired by Halloween – drawing haunted houses among other things. This year I seem to to be drawn to witches.

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Using a model from a catalog as reference, I drew this witch strolling down her path.

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Then I created the inside of a witch’s house (the first illustration in this post). That illustration had a mind of its own. On the following day, instead of creating a new illustration for InkTober, I added a new floor to the witch’s house. And I may not be done. Don’t you think it needs some rats scurrying around in the attic? 😂


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You never really know how a drawing will turn out

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As you put your pen to the page to make that first mark, you never really know how things will turn out. At least I don’t know. Sure I have a vision in my head, but that doesn’t mean it will turn out that way.

Personally, I don’t really plan much, I get an idea and just dive in and see what happens. If I’m drawing in ink – which I’m doing a lot this month for InkTober – I rarely do a pencil sketch first. Unless the drawing involves a face or body, then I will do some planning in pencil to get things looking “right.”

I was really pressed for time with this “little guy in the leaves.” The inspiration photo was one of my youngest son probably 8 or 9 years ago. I used pencil first to plan things a little – because you can’t erase ink. I was pleasantly surprised with the results in such a short time.

This drawing experience was the opposite of yesterday’s! I was drawing in the car during my older son’s practice. I first focused in on a nearby car. Within a minute or two of drawing the car, it drove off! Without the car there I had a hard time finishing that part. I drew the car in front of me, but my pen started running out, probably because I was drawing upright on the steering wheel. I ended up focusing on drawing the chain link fence. Like I said, you never know what the result will be when you start drawing!

See all my InkTober blog posts:


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InkTober inspiration

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9 days into InkTober and I’m going strong. Some of my sketches I’ve been proud of, some not so much. Some days it takes a while to figure out what to draw. The reference photo above is from Mollie Makes, a creative magazine I love. I find the magazine inspiring even though I don’t sew or crochet or make any of the crafts in it. I think I just like reading about the creative entrepreneurs.

Yesterday I drew our front door. It’s funny the things you end up drawing when you’re doing a drawing a day. If you want to see all my InkTober drawings follow me on Instagram @eileenmckenna. 😀

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What a difference a challenge makes

img_0405Today I grabbed my sketchbook when my son and I left to visit my mom. I never would have thought to bring it, if I wasn’t trying to draw everyday for InkTober.

By the time we arrived at the beach the sky had cleared and it was beautiful out. We walked barefoot in the sand, put our feet in, collected shells, watched the surfers. What a beautiful, peaceful day.

I took several photos to draw from later and did a sketch before we left. 😀

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Inktober

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I’m participating in InkTober this year. Jake Parker created InkTober in 2009 “as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.” Learn more and see the official InkTober prompts here. It starts Saturday, October 1st!

There is something about fall and Halloween that really inspires me – as you can see from last year’s sketchbook above. For me, InkTober is just some extra motivation. I’m back in a creating groove, which makes me really happy. Anyone else participating? 🙂