One Week of Inktober

I decided to participate in Inktober this year. The whole thing was started by awesome artist Jake Parker a few years back, and the gist is to create an ink drawing each day during the month of October. Of course, it helps motivate you not to slack if you are sharing those daily on social media. I’ve shared each of my drawings on Instagram, but I thought it would be fun to include the first week’s worth together in a post.

Inktober drawing of girl with hair blowing. painted with acrylic washes. By Jameson Gardner Art.

My first Inktober drawing was this portrait of a girl with her hair blowing a little. I try not to judge my success (it’s hard) by how many people are following me, or how many likes an image gets. There is always that 18 year old who’s drawings look like mine did when I was 10 (literally, I don’t mean a fine artist who is intentionally simplifying or exaggerating forms—I am just talking plain old amateur), yet who has thousands of followers. That can get me down if I’m not careful. Anyway, despite that, I do pay attention to the response. This first one had, by far, the biggest response on Instagram. Maybe it was because it was the first day and people were pumped to look at the first round of Inktober drawings, or maybe people just liked it. A few days later I went ahead and painted some acrylic washes onto it to see how some color would look.

Inktober Girl 1 Drawing

Inktober 2

For my second drawing, I imagined up a scene of a soldier in battle who is surprised by a goblin leaping through the air. I didn’t love the composition on my sketchbook page, so I broke it down and tried to create a sort of fractured comic frame. I don’t really do comics or graphic novels—but it was worth a shot. The response on this one was significantly lower. It has still reached what I’d call the medium range. I think I posted this one later in the evening which may matter too.

Inktober drawing with fairy. By Jameson Gardner Art. Inktober drawing with damaged spaceship. By Jameson Gardner Art.

My third drawing was a fairy. Response to her was low. I spent quite a bit of time on her and I thought she turned out pretty nice. I wonder if displayed small on instagram, she didn’t have the bold blacks to attract attention. Some of the nice details of the drawing may just have been missed at that scale. Don’t hesitate to click and view her larger to see if you agree with me.

The damaged space ship was next. I admit it was a quickie. It got only slightly better response than the fairy.

Inktober drawing with frigate heeling in the wind. By Jameson Gardner Art.

This frigate was next. I worried a little while drawing it that people wouldn’t understand the angle of the masts and spars. the wind is supposed to be coming from the right. So the spars are angled to allow the square sails to still catch some power. That is also why it is heeling to port—all the pressure pushing the masts that direction. Anyway, I guess my fears were unfounded. This one did second best for likes. I don’t know if it was the drawing or if people just love ships.

Inktober drawing portrait of girl. By Jameson Gardner Art.

Inktober drawing with dragon skull. By Jameson Gardner Art.

So, this other girl portrait wasn’t my favorite. It is just as simple as the first one, but not as elegant. I guess it is just a little dull. The response wasn’t great either. It’s tied with the damaged spaceship for likes. I’m not surprised.

Last drawing of the week was the dragon skull. I tried to combine features from dog skulls with antelope skulls. You are probably wondering why I didn’t just look at lizard or dinosaur skulls…. well, because I didn’t. 🙂 The Dragon Skull scored in the mid-range. It was a later evening post too, so that might have affected it.

Hope you enjoy these. Inktober isn’t over. There is more to come. Check out my progress on Instagram @jamesonart

Dimensional Illustration Finished Series

Dimensional illustration portrait of adventurer prior to shipping out on a seal hunting schooner.Dimensional illustration of dock scene with explorer prior to shipping out on seal hunting schooner. From art exhibit "Five Months on the Ice" by James Gardner at Gallery 303, Harris Fine Arts Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally decided to post the finished series, as I promised. If you haven’t been following along, I have various posts documenting the production of these illustrations. The series tells the story of an adventurer who signs aboard a seal hunting schooner.

Dimensional illustration of schooner sailing near drift ice. Framed between icebergs.

Dimensional illustration bow of ship amongst drift ice. From story Five Months on the Ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The_vessel is out too late in the season and strikes ice. When the schooner begins taking on water, the crew abandons ship–all except our hero who was rendered unconscious by a blow to the head. He awakes to discover that the ice has closed around the vessel and locked it in place. After gathering supplies, he strikes out, knowing that the schooner could be lost at any time. Unfortunately, I had to pick and choose my scenes. I wasn’t able to illustrate many of the adventures he experiences on the ice. 

Dimensional illustration from Five Months on the Ice. Arctic survivor trudges toward a ship wreck locked in the ice.Dimensional illustration featuring wreck survivor struggling ashore after five months on the arctic ice.

 

 

 

However, I did one of my favorite scenes—when he finds the Ship with the angel figurehead just as he is about to give in to exhaustion and cold. After resting, resupplying and weathering a storm in the Angel ship, he strikes out again. Eventually (five months after the original shipwreck) he sights land and struggles ashore.

Finished Ship Hull

Hull of mini frigate from side view, for ice-bound ship illustration. Figure head in sculpey and gold leaf. Hull from balsa wood and styrofoam

The hull for the ice-bound frigate is finished. I stained it with special walnut, put a layer of thinned acrylic over that, and weathering was done with 220 grit sandaper. I sculpted the figurehead with sculpey and made the wings out of wood. Both are gold leafed, sealed and painted with a little acrylic to age it. I am not an expert sculptor and making a face that small proved a challenge.

Hull of mini frigate from side view, for ice-bound ship illustration. Figure head in sculpey and gold leaf. Hull from balsa wood and styrofoam

Drift Ice Bow Mini

Miniature scene, bow of ship amidst drift ice.

This frigate is taking so much work that, I thought it would be a shame to get only one image out of it.  In its final form it will be a ship that the character finds locked in the ice and uses for shelter. It will have some weathering effects and a figure head. I am using the same handmade model here to represent the character’s original vessel as the drift ice closes around it—no weathering, paint or figure head.

Just like my other models, it’s built to be viewed primarily from one side.

Behind the scenes look at bow in drift ice setup.

Behind the scenes look at bow in drift ice setup.

Schooner Sketch

I mentioned previously that painting the schooner for the iceberg scene was frustrating. In spite of that, it kind of made me want to try it again. The texture of the masonite after toning it is so nice that I gessoed up another as soon as I was done and started drawing a schooner at a larger scale.

The sketch is done and the panel is toned. It probably isn’t responsible of me to paint it right now when I have other more important projects. So here it is as it is. Maybe later I will paint it or maybe it will just stay like this.

Sketch of a schooner on gessoed masonite, toned with oil color.

This ship presented it’s own problems too. I used some of the beautiful reference I had collected for the iceberg scene, but none was from the angle I wanted for this drawing. At least that way I am not just copying some photo, though. I also spent at least twice as long toning as I usually do and feel like it came out half as nice as the quick careless ones that I paint right over. I guess that is life though.

progress photo of sketch of schooner on gessoed masonite toned with oil color

Painting Backdrop for Mini Icebergs

Unfinished painted backdrop for miniature iceberg scene with seal hunting schooner and ice flows.

Since the icebergs are finished, I’ve been painting the backdrop. Unlike my previous image with the dock, this backdrop will play a greater visual role in the scene. It includes the seal hunting schooner from the story.  There have been some challenges painting it.  The backdrop is 18″ wide, and therefore, decently sized for a portrait or something.  However, the ship turns out to be a little small for my painting style.  I think it will do, but it got pretty uncomfortable at times.

Below is a quick test shot with the icebergs. I still have to work out the lighting, the snow on the bergs may need some cooling.  If I can’t do it with light, I might just have to whip out the paint.

Test photo of painted backdrop, including schooner, with miniature resin icebergs.

Update!

Writing that made me want to try overlaying cooled versions of the bergs over the originals in photoshop. I only spent a couple minutes at it, but it definitely comes closer to my vision.  I’ll be keeping that in mind for the final shots.

Color corrected composition photo for miniature scene with icebergs and seal hunting schooner.