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Perfectly Imperfect Lines

Perfectly imperfect black lines - adding lines with a smooth black gel pen
I used to be afraid to use markers or ink pens. The black lines were so permanent compared to pencil lines I could easily erase and fix. I thought the lines had to be perfectly straight, circles had to be perfect curves. That’s not easy to do!

Even though I was afraid of ruining my watercolors, a few years ago I was inspired to start adding lines using a smooth black gel pen – a Uniball signo. My lines were wobbly, my circles egg shaped. I began to see that perfect lines were boring. Imperfect lines look hand drawn. Where perfect lines look almost computer generated, imperfect lines have a bit of style. I still wince occasionally when I start adding lines and they look a bit wonky, but I’ve learned to go with it and embrace the imperfection.

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To add ink or not to add ink? That is the question.

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I have to admit, I sometimes don’t know the right answer to this question. Most often my style is to work in watercolor and add details in ink. But sometimes I hesitate to add the ink details.

When I think about, the occasions where I question adding ink, are when I’ve added a lot of details in watercolor – a lot of layers. Sometimes the decision is easy. The painting looks finished, like these donuts. Other times I’m not sure – like the cupcake above.

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Adding the ink is definitely a different look. Just watercolor is softer and sometimes more realistic looking. Adding ink looks more illustrated, more whimsical. Like this cup of cappuccino and this ice cream sundae.

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One thing is for sure – once a line of ink is added, there’s no turning back. I often think of scanning and printing a painting and adding ink details to the printout. This way I can make sure I like it before touching the original painting.


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InkTober recap

Participating in InkTober was a great motivator. I got into the habit of working daily which was great. I didn’t follow the prompts but worked on what inspired me. I held off on adding Watercolor to my ink sketches, but towards the end I gave in. And purely by chance I got to meet the creator of InkTober Jake Parker!

I felt so good about doing all 31 days that this month I’m following the World Watercolor Group’s prompts. I’m glad to be back using Watercolor. Of course I’m still adding in some ink too!

Here are my favorites:

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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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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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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? 🙂