Inktober #5

Well, this is it. The last of the 2018 Inktober drawings. I hope you’ve had fun seeing them along the way.

If you’ve missed them, you can find the other weeks by clicking these links: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.


Prompt #25 was “Prickly”


I knew that I didn’t want to draw a cactus, at least not a plain cactus, since that was the “low-hanging fruit” on this picture. As I let myself start thinking deeply about this prompt, I started thinking about what makes me prickly. The topic started to make me uncomfortable, so that’s how I knew I was on the right path. I started thinking about how once someone has been hurt by love, they can get prickly and not want anyone close to them.

Yeah, true story.

I learned that in matters of relationships, I am a horrible “picker.” I don’t pick. My imagination lends me to dreaming too much and not seeing reality. I’m a bad picker. Which means that someone would have to pick me. Guess what? I don’t trust that anyone else is a good picker either. This made me start thinking about the walls that people put up to keep others out. I started thinking of the Melissa Etheridge song, “Like the Way I Do,” particularly the lyrics that go, “You found out to love me, you have to climb some fences.” That got me thinking about Sleeping Beauty and the queen putting up brier around the castle so that the prince couldn’t get through to her.

Yeah, that’s kind of how it feels, especially after one has had years to let them grow. So I wanted the prickly cactus-like heart, with a castle beyond and the brier coming out of it to illustrate the many layers of “fences.” I think the two colors also help to reference that. Fun piece. I enjoyed it very much.

Prompt #26 was “Stretch”


For this one, I wished that I’d had a picture of Merlin stretching. I really wanted to draw him again. Guess what? He doesn’t stretch on command. So, I had to go find another reference. I didn’t erase my pencil sketch from this one because I wanted to be able to see the flow of lines I used for building it. It’s purely a training thing for me. This was also a good reminder about negative space. Good practice.

Prompt #27 was “Thunder”


This one had the low-hanging fruit of people going for lightning. I knew there would be lots of those drawings, as well as of Thor from the Marvel cinematic universe with his hammer in hand and lightning crackling around him. Okay, I even thought about doing a cartoon of Marvel’s Loki pointing at an enraged Thor asking, “What are you god of? Oh, that’s right! Only THUNDER! There’s no lightning without your hammer. Without Mjolner, you’re nothing but NOISE! And who’s afraid of a little sound?” I wanted to have my dog, Merlin, cowering with his paws over his head saying, “I’m afraid.”

Alas, that idea didn’t feel right either. But, the line, “You want me to put down my hammer?” kept running through my mind.

While Thor represents thunder in Norse mythology, his hammer is actually the embodiment of lightning. (P.S. oh, and he would go around hitting people over their heads with it in order to bestow good fortune. Many people asked for him to hallow their weddings with a blow from his hammer. Yeah, I’m just not sure that hammer wielding gods equals good fortune.)

So, I drew a cartoon where Thor’s hammer slips from his hand. Whoops. So now he’s nothing but a bit of noise.

Prompt #28 was “Gift”


Oh, so many gifts to choose from. I finally decided on our little bubble in this section of space. Without the planet and it’s sheer stroke of luck, there would be no life at all. Life truly is a fluke and something that should not be possible. And since at the moment we are the only life we know of in the universe, the only proven life, we are special. Since we can’t even leave this fragile bubble we exist in to go seek out another planet (which we already know we’d have to leave our Milky Way to do), we better learn to appreciate the planet we live on. One single catastrophe could wipe us all out in a heartbeat and no one, that we know of, would even care.

Prompt #29 was “Double”


Space must be close on my mind. With “double,” I drew two twin stars circling each other. There is no way that they complete their spiral unscathed. Either one will fling the other out into space, or they will eventually collide. The cosmos is not a kind place. There are things hurtling around out there that we can’t even see. Space is really, really, really, huge. Don’t panic. We’re in our bubble. For now. But last time I blew bubbles, every single one of them popped. Yes, if we want to continue as a species, we really, really, really need to cooperate and find a way off this solitary rock. Don’t believe me? Well, have you talked to a dinosaur lately? Yeah, space is a very dangerous place and we have all our eggs in one proverbial basket.

Prompt #30 was “Jolt”


So after a couple of these being full of deep and heavy thoughts, I decided to go with Pikachu for this one. But I didn’t want him to be angry or irritated like he normally is when he begins to spark and gives Ash a jolt. After all, we do our best work when we’re happy.

Prompt #31 was “Slice”


Okay, so I went for the low-hanging fruit on this one. Yes, yes, a slice of pie. How bleeding original. But, I did want to push it further. So you’ll note the words “Magic Bakery” on the side of it. Every artist who creates their own intellectual property no matter their medium (writing, painting, music, comics, photography, movies, etc.) needs to understand this principle. Please, please, please… do these two steps: 1) get yourself a copy of The Copyright Handbook by Nolo Press and read it, and 2) read Dean Wesley Smith’s work on the magic bakery. You can buy a copy of his book here, or you can read the whole thing on his blog (start here). For people within the United States, do get the copyright book from Nolo and not someone else’s interpretation of copyright. You want it right from the mouths of the expert (which Nolo Press is) and not from someone who thinks they understand what copyright is. For my readers in other countries, find out what is the best authority from your country and get that reference book. These days, understanding copyright is doubly important for those of you who still dream of getting that wonderful New York publishing house contract. Yeah, “wonderful” is italicized for a reason — that’s me giving an eye roll. I use to be one of those dreamers. Then the universe took me out of the publishing game just as I was starting to get close, and put me back in when the world had gone through massive change making indie publishing viable. That’s not to say I won’t ever look to a traditional publisher, but thanks to my knowledge of copyright and what it means to have a magic bakery, I will be a lot smarter and cautious. If you want to have an inkling of what I’m talking about now, check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog about copyright savvy.

So, for taking the low-hanging fruit, I elevated that piece to something I’m sure no one else has done.

Goodbye now, my dear Inktober. It has been fun. Let’s do it again sometime.