Nov 10, 2020

Secret process behind my inktober illustrations this year.

Inktober is always an experiment for me. This year I wanted to explore a bunch of techniques to make a huge mess but have some control over it. I decided to make a bunch of spontaneous ink blobs and crazy brush strokes, explore some printing techniques, and revive some experiments that I left unfinished last year. I made a list of options and then I made a plan. And then abandoned/adjusted and transformed it on the go. But having a plan was crucial to enjoying the process and making it without a glitch through all 31 days.

My plan had two pillars: structure and maintenance.


  • Keep my subject matter very simple: plants; Have a list for all the days and go through it.
  • Use only black ink, two particular brushes that I wanted to master, and one printing technique (stencil and ink pad).
  • Stick to the same amount of time per day to make these (under 30 min) and post whatever you have within this block of time. No analyzing within those 30 minutes. 


  • I found a particular notebook with ink-friendly paper with enough pages for the whole project;
  • I put all my materials in the same box so that there would be minimum friction at the start of each day;
  • I created a bunch of tags to use on social media and copy-pasted them instead of re-typing every time;
  • I wanted to see if I can start with the plants I have at home and then see how it will go. Just in case I made a list of plants to draw and got some wonderful books from the library to use as inspiration. 
  • I planned to make some images in advance but then decided against it - the rhythm of working on this project, same amount of time, every single day was very helpful. 

Next, I started working and almost every day I would change something :) I sincerely thought that I would put all my notes on how I did my inktober illustrations in this post but now that I uploaded them all in one place and looked back - it is impossible to list every single step/technique/experiment - some I don't even remember! 

Here are somethings that I do remember:

  • I changed the subject matter to the plants that I had in my home, drew them from life in my sketchbook, and then made an illustration after.
  • I introduced other printing methods (monotype, stamps, linocuts) and other inks (water-based stamp inks, india ink, thick acrylic paint) and tools to make marks (cloths, sponges, fingers, and objects dipped in ink). 
  • I made a shortcut to make posts without opening social media sites which saved a tone of willpower and time.

And after I was done with my inktober illustrations I would normally make a variation of it (and post it with the original) and with many I kept going making more versions on the same theme, writing notes on what I like or what worked or did not work - next to my usual daily sketchbook notes. It was a great month of experimentations! 

You can find all the original inktober illustrations:

You can find all of my inktober explorations from 2020 in this folder on Flickr:

Nov 6, 2020

On My Table Today: A book I recommend.

This is a book about sketching. 

It is filled with lots of inspiring art (my art is there too and it makes me super proud to be in such an amazing company. I think you can buy this book it to tear our separate pages and hang on your walls). 

It is written in a very sincere, kind voice. As if Suhita is talking to a friend who wants to sketch but did not get to it yet or dropped it at some point and wants to go back.

Here are my four favorite parts of the book:

1. Using shapes to understand and capture people quickly:

2. How to create a visual path:

2. Shape as a starting point:

2. List of challenges:

You can order this book on Amazon.

And here is a link to a post where Suhita shares a free downloadable PDF and information about where you can get some signed copies!

Oct 27, 2020

Everyday Life: This tomato.

This tomato was pretty tasty. But before I found out that I knew that it was fragrant and shiny and reflected a lot of blue around it. 

Oct 24, 2020

Everyday life: a walk.

 During the walk I felt like the fall is actually coming. And that I am very rusty with some of my skills.

Oct 22, 2020

Everyday Life: This pear was very tasty


Little things from the day - sketched, taped, and glued in the book little notes. 

Oct 21, 2020

Everyday Life: Acacia Seed Pod


After I finish making my main inktober image I keep going about it with leftover materials and ideas. I also just really liked drawing the word ACACIA and the way these pods create shadows within themselves.

Oct 20, 2020

Sketching My Everyday Life.

Just a page with sketches from the other day: leftover inktober pear next to California Bear. By the way I checked - looks like the idea that the pear was supposed to be on the flag and then someone misheard and put a bear is an urban legend and also one of the places where we can exercise our ability to check facts and think about resources that we trust. I believe  the bear was supposed to be on the flag from the beginning. 

Oct 12, 2020

Everlasting Meal

I wanted to tell my friend about the book I recently got that the library and ended up drawing about it in my sketchbook:

Oct 10, 2020

Fall calls for the toned paper sketchbooks

I recently started sketchbook #131 - it is a cappuccino hahnemuhle A4 book, and I thought that somehow fall is the time when I always crave some toned paper. I went to the shelve where I keep most of my books and realized that I was right. 

My favorite toned paper sketchbook used to be Recycled Earthbound Cachet Sketchbook from Daler Rowney. It has a lovely ochre paper with fibers of all colors showing on the surface. It was pretty thin and not suitable for water media, but I loved how it worked with ink and markers, and buckling does not matter that much to me anyway. The joy from drawing and painting in it was always bigger anyways. 

And over the years, these books would always come out in the fall - here is a shot of the sketchbooks #36 (2009), #60 (2011), #70 (2012), #93 (2015), #109 (2017), all laid out on my table. I decorated the cover and had a lot of fun drawing my life in them. And this year, I found the only spiral bound Recycled Earthbound, so the cappuccino book is getting a chance. It does not have the same colorful surface but, it is lovely smooth and has a peachy ochre color and seems to be a joy to work on too!

Oct 7, 2020

Inktober - the first five days.

 Inktober is always an experiment for me - so far I am enjoying it immensely. Here are the first 5 days: