What I Learned from Inktober This Year

I have participated in Inktober for three years now. I first heard of it in 2016. Unfortunately, it was already half way through the month so I only completed 13 sketches that year. My second year, 2017, was a complete series. It was extremely difficult for me though, completing all the sketches in time. I fell behind often and had to play catch up! This year was much smoother. I was more prepared.

I wanted to write this post to share everything I have learned so far since participating in Inktober and any tips I can offer to help you with your own Inktober!

Below is a short list I quickly put together about what Inktober has helped me with. There is no order of importance, just what popped in my head first.

  • Preparation
  • Simplicity
  • Contrast
  • Commitment
  • Time management
  • Routine
  • Practice makes perfect

Preparation is an important key for making or breaking your success with Inktober. I think it is much easier if you follow the official prompts provided rather than making things up on the spot. Having the prompt list ahead of time allowed me to think about what I wanted to draw before the day came. I was jotting down ideas in September and had over half of my prompts thought out before October 1st! It makes it much easier to come up with ideas. I even decided to have all my sketches be related so I went with a “horror/monster movie theme”. It made it a lot of fun and I was able to exercise my creativity with using the prompts and my own theme together. Also, make sure you have enough supplies. I know from past years that one set of pens will not last me. They will dry out and I’ll be left with blotchy lines carving into the paper! Make sure you have enough paper too! I like using the same sketchbook for the month so I have a nice collection at the end. I work on small sizes so I can be quick with the final product.

i9Simplicity is so important when working with ink. I normally work with pencil so this can be difficult for me. I want to cover the whole area when I shade, like with pencil, but it is not necessary with ink. Repetitive and parallel lines can be effective in shading. Also, I drew a lot of people this month, which is not my strong suit. I quickly learned how messy a face can turn out if you try to keep “fixing” things. Just put in the most important lines to get your idea across and then leave it alone!

i23Commitment is right up there with preparation. You already know that this is calling for 31 sketches, if you decided to do one everyday. I knew I would have to complete my sketch around a full time job, home chores, family time, dinner and whatever else needed my attention (i.e. school events, holidays, or maybe even some “down time” would be nice!). I knew the only way I would be successful was to keep my sketches small, simple, and completed within a certain amount of time. There is also that moment, a little more than halfway through the month, when you start to get really lazy and you just don’t want to be obligated to do that sketch. Do it! If you feel that way, pick something you know is easy for you to draw and keep it simple (there’s that word again). This leads us to our next topic…

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time management. Inktober really helped me with something I have always struggled with when it comes to my artwork. It forced me to pick a regular time where I knew I could sit down and get it done. I only had one to two hours usually or else I was cutting into my sleep time and with my job, I can’t go without sleep. I didn’t have to worry everyday about when I was going to get it done because I knew at that same time everyday I would have the chance to do it. It alleviated stress and it forced me to keep my work quick and not get lost in the details (which I also do frequently). Keep it simple, sunshine. It even helped in my personal life.  I needed to ensure I would have the time to get everything done in the day. All my responsibilities had to be done by a certain time or else something would lack (even accounting for randomly staying late at work).

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Inktober allowed me to create a routine for myself. The daily repetition gave me the chance to have a system. I would sit at my desk, have a mug with the pens I knew I would need, even my pencil and ruler for my initial sketch before the ink. Everything was prepared and waiting for me. I’m not one for having a regular schedule. I get bored easily so I like to change things up. Unfortunately, this left me scatter brained, overwhelmed and constantly feeling behind. I’ve learned how much easier it is to have a little repetition in my process without letting my “day to day” become dull.

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Last but not least, the most cliché lesson of all…Practice makes perfect! Like I stated before, I drew a lot of people this year. People are a hard subject for me to work with. I forced myself out of my comfort zone on many topics and I only improved because of it. I made certain realizations I wouldn’t have otherwise that helped me improve with each sketch. I was forced to work with many areas that are difficult for me such as hands, faces, water and fire. I even tried drawing a skeleton over an already existing face. I challenged myself to the max this year and my skills improved so much more because of it!

I hope this can help you with your own Inktober experience. Just remember, it is suppose to be FUN!  If you’re not having fun, you need to change something in your approach. Now, we have to wait a whole year for the next one. I can’t wait!

Thank you to everyone who followed along through this year’s Inktober and helped encourage me to accomplish what I did! I completed all 31 sketches and ON TIME! Woohoo! Which one is your favorite? I would love to hear from ya in the comments below! I had fun connecting with others as they did their own sketches as well! Thanks for stopping by this week.

Until next time,

“There is always more to be found by exploring the same subject again and again.” -Dion Archibald

Three Year Anniversary!

Today marks my third year with my blog! I’ve come a long way and learned so much in those past three years. I can’t believe what can happen in such a short time! Special thanks to everyone who has followed along this journey with me! I can’t wait to see what the years ahead bring!

 

Zentiger WIP

BW Tiger WM

Ok, so this piece didn’t exactly come out as a ZIA (zentangle inspired art). The more I looked at the image, I realized how difficult it was to incorporate different patterns into this animal because it’s basically a giant zentangle all on it’s own. I didn’t want to take away from the tiger’s natural pattern so I went for a more classic pen and ink drawing. I used hatching, parallel lines to create tone and texture, throughout most of the piece. I have always liked how this looks and haven’t dabbled with the technique anymore than this drawing and some random sketches I did for “Inktober” last year.

I want to work with this technique more and I also miss doing my pointillism or stippling. I’ll be squeezing a couple of those in as well while I continue to work on my totem animals.

 

As for my tiger, the ink is finished. Next, I will be working on the color. This piece is considerably larger than my other totem animals, going from  5.5 in. x 8″ to 12″ x 18″. I had much more space to work with and I think it is paying off. I was sticking with the smaller size because I wanted to be sure I completed them in a timely manner. The tiger doesn’t seem to be taking any longer than the smaller pieces do and it is coming out so much better.

The next time you see the tiger, it will be completed and we will check out what symbolism they hold. Thanks for stopping by this week. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Until next time,

“It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.” -Henry David Thoreau

Tiger Time!

Working on my tiger while hanging out with my tiger. So nice of her to leave me a bit of room on the edge of my chair. With that face though, she gets whatever she wants. Damn cats! Excuse the messy desk. I’m a bit cramped in my lil’ studio but I’m happy to have one regardless. I am having fun drawing the tiger. I honestly didn’t know what to do with it in the beginning but it’s starting to come together.
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reference pic on pixabay.com

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FSM Update: Tiger Teaser

Tiger Totem BW

Hey All! I’m getting back on track with my totem animal drawings. I started the sketch to a new one today. I will be taking a break from my “Megtography” so I can start focusing on my artwork more. It is quite a challenge posting a photo a day, especially an interesting photo a day! Kudos to all the photographers out there that can keep up with it! For me though, my artwork is more important so I need to get back in the flow with my drawings! To spice it up, I am working on the mighty tiger. I have a huge adoration for big felines and tigers are one of the most striking!

Check back soon to see the completed piece and learn about tiger symbolism. Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

“There is no off switch for a tiger.” -German Proverb

 

 

 

Updates from the Road

Hey All!

We’re having a blast in Ohio. My parents, son and I took the boat out on Lake Erie this past Wednesday. We caught a bunch of perch and fried them up the next day for a fish fry with my brother’s family. The kids went swimming in the pool and we hung out with the horses for a bit.

Today we are exploring Grand Rapids, OH and later a bike ride at Oak Openings Nature preserve in Swanton, OH.

Then, tomorrow we begin the long drive home. I have many photos to go through and share, to include my daily photos. I’ll be working diligently when I get back to get all these photos posted! I can also get back on track with my totem animal drawings and their symbolism. I have a few photos of the wildlife in the area as well, mostly aviary. Perhaps one of them will inspire my next piece.

Check in next week to see the adventures!

Until next time,

“Adventure is out there!”

FSM Update: Photography, Road Trips and More!

Hey All! Hope the summer is treating everyone good. We had one week that was unforgiving but other than that, it’s been nice.

I am getting a little behind in posting my Megtography. I have been playing catch up in a lot of aspects in my life so I will get to posting those soon.

I have a couple photo journals I need to share as well! I took some photos at Moreau Lake State Park a week ago. I will also be attending Monster Jam tonight and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of pictures to share of that. Then in just over a week I will be on my way to Ohio to visit family! We will be going fishing on Lake Erie. After that, my work is having an outing to a baseball game! I haven’t been to one of those for over 20 years! There is a lot coming up and I’m really excited about it all! I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

I haven’t started my next totem drawing yet nor can I decide which animal it will be. I have been seeing a lot of wildlife lately. I saw three yellow finches hanging out together at a bird feeder, a doe and her two fawns bounding around playing in someone’s backyard and I have seen a million skunks everywhere! So many beautiful creatures yet I can only draw one at a time! I guess we will just have to wait and see what’s next!

Thanks for stopping by this week. There is much on it’s way so come back soon!

Until next time,

“I am speed. I am lightning.”

FSM Updates: Mourning Dove WIP

Morning Dove Totem BW

I finished the ink for my latest totem drawing. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I usually have my Zentangle book handy so I can use official tangles in my work. This time I created my own tangles and was happy with the results. I want it to be 100% original and unique since this is a meaningful gift for my grandfather. I can’t wait to see how it will pop with the color added.

I want to start a realism piece very soon. I have focusing a lot on my totem animals and Zentangle as a way to clear my mind and work on my time management. It has been a while since I have created a realism piece and have decided it is time to get back in the saddle. Speaking of saddles, it will be an equine related piece, which is another subject I have neglected. I can’t call myself an equine artist if I don’t have any equine work!

I will also be working on my website. I have a lot of fun playing around with the customization and will be working on making everything neat and easy to find.

Thanks for stopping by. Check back next week to see the completed mourning dove piece and the symbolism behind this beautiful creature!

Until next time,

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers

FSM Update: Equipment Galore!

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Earlier this week I posted a photo of my new camera, a Nikon D5500. I use to have a Canon Rebel xTi which I adored but sadly lost in a fire a year ago. I have been camera-less ever since and had to settle with the camera on my phone. Ugh! Better than nothing but it was extremely frustrating at times…most times. The worst is over though and I have finally replaced my beloved equipment. Although this time I decided to go with Nikon. Honestly, there is no particular reason other than that was the model and price I decided upon. I was looking at both Canon and Nikon with no prejudice to either brand. I have used Nikon while working as a photographer for Lifetouch so I am familiar with both. Both take great pictures and are user friendly. It all boiled down to what I could find in my budget that offered what I expected from the camera.

I came across an amazing bundle which gave me an overwhelming amount of accessories. I truly do not know what to mess around with first. I received four different lens, seven different filters, a tripod, a very nice bag to hold everything and countless other items….memory card, card reader, table tripod, flash…the list goes on. All of this for less than $1000. I could not pass this up. The camera is considered an “entry-level” camera but comparing it to my Rebel which was 10.1 MP, it greatly outshines it with 24 MP! So for me, it’s quite the upgrade. I have taken a few pictures here and there to start getting a feel for it. No special lens or filters yet. Nor have I been able to take pictures outdoors but I hoping to go out this weekend for a little photo adventure. I am very excited to play around with the macro and telephoto lens. I have been wanting a macro lens for a very long time! I can’t wait!

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Also, my husband and I have recently improved our computer station. We each have our own computers now on a two person desk with three monitors. I’m not going to lie, it is surreal. It’s nice being able to work next to each other; my son also gets more time to play his PC games so we are all happy. My husband and I want to start streaming our own channels; now we have hardware to do so. I still need to get a good webcam or two and a mic but other than that I’m ready. Starting a stream is another thing I am excited to mess around with! By the way, do you like my Starry Night mousepad? I couldn’t resist! 

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I am truly grateful to be in the position to gear up with new toys and hardware. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and I am finally seeing the harvest. It’s a great feeling. I do not have to “settle” with outdated equipment that barely works, is poor quality or any other headaches I have dealt with in the past. Work hard and you will be rewarded. I feel like I have finally earned it.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in the excitement! What kind of camera do you adore? Or perhaps there are some streaming artists out there with some tips for a noob? Any suggestions for a good webcam? Leave your comments below. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“You got to dress for the job you want, not the job you got.”

 

 

 

FSM Update: Snow, Sketches & Subs

I apologize for my absence last week. These nor’easters are kicking my booty! I have been working snow removal since these last random snow storms have rolled in, therefore, I was gone most of the day and night. The snow has finally gave us a breather…at least for now.  Although there is one nice thing about working in the middle of the night in a snowstorm; everything looks absolutely beautiful. Nothing is touched, the snow is fresh and everything totally blanketed in white. Unfortunately, I was drenched and was afraid to pull out my phone for many pictures. I did however manage to get these two photos.

Winter Nights
Winter Night
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Blue Night

I haven’t had the opportunity to draw anything new these past two weeks but have a couple treasures sitting in my sketchbook waiting to be shared. I recently made a flight to Ohio and had a four hour layover between connecting flights. I had downloaded the “IT” audio book to go along with the actual book I am reading right now by Stephen King. (I am actually going to finish it tonight and I’m ecstatic!) Anyways, long story short, I’m obsessed with “IT’ and drew this while I listened to the audio book. It was relaxing even though the story is so murderous. ;P

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“IT” 2017 movie poster

I have also been working on tangles. I have a couple sketches that I ,naturally, enjoyed creating. Do not be offended by the finger. Even peace-loving free spirits can get angry sometimes. I was pretty upset that week. Nothing was working how I planned. So I said, “F!ck it all!” and I felt much better after the drawing! ;P

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Some days…

I have a list of totem animals I still want to complete. Every time I think of a new animal I write it on a post-it note on my desk. I’m up to 56 and counting. I feel like the squirrel, the manatee and the hawk will be completed in the near future. I’m surprised I have not done horse yet. That one needs to get bumped up as well. Stay tuned for new work and symbolism to come!

I’ve recently subscribed to WordPress so I have many new tools at my disposal to better customize my website. I immediately opted for my own domain name which is now…dunt da da da…. freespiritmeg.com! No more dot wordpress dot com. I do love you wordpress, dont get me wrong, but it’s time for my own name. I also have changed the look of my page, adding a new home page and a theme that is clean and simple. I feel it is a suitable look for displaying my work and is easier to see that this is an “artist’s website”. A new slideshow welcomes you to the site and my blog now has it’s own tab where you can find all of my recent and past posts. I will be continuing to play around with all these new features more and more to bring a better viewing and reading experience for all.

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you are staying warm through this last winter battle. What do you think about the new look? Do you like the new layout for my page? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Until next time,

“I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you…stranger.”