It’s the Calavara twins’ birthday! To celebrate, I drew Fat Mammal, a recurring character in paintings and art, and who I consider to be one of the closer proxies to myself. For example, he’s the protagonist of All Bad Choices, an alphabet book about depression from a couple of years ago. Anyhow, here’s the finished piece, on 11″x14″ bristol:
I took some pictures of the piece in progress, because it’s fun to see how people put pieces of art together. First off, minus the jars of four different types of ink, here are the tools:
Here are the pencils, which are pretty basic.
Here’s my delightful hand inking, using my favorite tool, a steel nib drawing pen. Audrey found a vintage box containing a gross of these from 1936, that she gave me like a decade ago, and they remain the best drawing tool I’ve ever used. I’ve tried maybe a dozen bottles of ink over the years, and my preferred one is Sennelier India Ink. I’ve gone through several jars of it, though I wouldn’t recommend it for a fountain pen, only a dip one.
Here’s the finished Fat Mammal, all inked up. I had started to do some work on the rocky outcropping/mountain, but the pen gummed up, as they do, it was coffee time, and I got bored, so I scribbled it out, hit it with a brush, and called it good.
Next I roughed in pencils for how I wanted the shapes in the background lines, and started to work with a drawing fountain pen, using Noodler’s Ink. It’s mostly sorta-waterproof. Waterproof enough that it’ll smear when I hit it with a brush later on, but the basic line will remain intact. This is not only tedious and exacting, but makes an unholy mess on both the ruler and my hands. I did most of it on a lapdesk while watching true crime documentaries instead of at my drafting table. Here’s the finished blacks, thousands and thousands of lines later:
Next is the inkwash, which is just diluted drawing ink. I start with just grey, to lay down shadows, before going over the entire thing with a color. Sometimes I do color first and shadows after. My process is chosen by the incredibly complex technique of whichever ink I happen to grab first. Stay in school kids.And finally I went over the whole thing with color drawing ink to finish it. You can maybe see the difference in the blue between the bits over the linework that swept up and smeared some of the black, and the “stream” in the middle where it kept itself pretty pure. Unlike the picture at the top of this post, which is a scan, this is a photo I snapped of the finished work just sitting on my drafting table.