I just made it through another low productivity period of time this summer. I never like days like that. They might not even be as low productivity as they feel like to me because I do get stuff done but not a whole lot of my time was spent at the drawing board. Also I don’t always count things that I have to get done as doing things I got done. That’s a weird quirk of mind.

One thing that I got done that I don’t always count is my Sunday “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip. They take a bit of work. Over time I have to draw and color a whole bunch of individual cartoon art cards. Usually I wait until I have enough for about thirty strips. That’s sixty cartoon art card to be drawn, written, lettered, and colored. But since I’ve been doing it for a while, and I expect to do it, it doesn’t always count as an accomplishment in my mind. Plus there is another thirty regular art cards and a Middle Story to be written. That’s a lot of work for me not thinking it is.

I’ve also almost finished up two books I’ve been working on. My “Ghost of Fifth Street” comic and my “Moments Float Back To Me” art book. Each one has gone through about five drafts of the writing. That takes a lot of time but it doesn’t feel like I get a lot of work done. “I got the third draft done but still don’t like it” is not a feeling of satisfaction. I’m still happy I got all the writing done though.

Of course all of that takes away from the time I have to make anything new. A new drawing, a new painting, or some such. I did manage to get some new photos done. I seemed to have a bit of concentration to use on them. There were a few days when I was writing and getting other things done that I tried to draw and couldn’t. So I switched over to working on my street photos. It’s funny how different things take different types of concentration. It takes me hours, at least five of them, to get one of my photos done but I was able to do it by working twenty minutes here and twenty minutes there. But then I stopped getting them done too. Don’t know why.

This week I finally got some drawing done. And how did I do it? By skipping the drawing stage. Well almost. My usual method is to first make same small drawings in my ink book (which I’ve still managed to do this summer), pick a small drawing to work on larger, draw the bigger drawing in pencil, and finally make that drawing in ink. Sometimes the pencil drawing even goes through two steps. First I draw it at about 6×9 inches and then I redraw it at 10×15 inches. That’s a lot of drawing but it really helps me refine the image. Yet I just couldn’t do it this time. It takes a lot of concentration and I didn’t have enough of it. So what did I do? I skipped the pencilling.

After making some videos for my new Art by Osborn YouTube channel about how to choose and use a brush I decided to use one myself. I went right to the inks. I went to my ink-books and found an image I liked. It was only a small thumbnail drawing as they all are in my ink-books but I blew it up to about 6×9 inches and printed it out in blue line on some bristol. This is usually where I’d pull out my pencil but instead I pulled out my brush. I drew in ink with it.

Drawing in ink is a totally different mind set than drawing in pencil. With a pencil you search around for the line. You sketch with your pencil and redraw the same line over and over and over until you suss out the right one. When drawing in ink you have to think about the line before you put it down. You have to be sure where you want it to go. When doing something like my spontaneous ASMR ink drawings I’m making those decisions on the fly as I come up with the image on the spur of the moment but with these ink drawings I have something to work with already. The blue line drawing.

Since I have the blue line drawing on the paper already I have an idea for the image. I know what it’s going to be. Or at least the bones of what it’s going to be. But the bones are important. They make it a different type of drawing than spontaneous ink drawings. I would decide what line were already good in the drawing and then add to them. I did one and liked the way it came out. Lots of bold black brush lines. It was also fun to make. It was satisfying to be able to think about what line I wanted to put down and then doing it.

I ended up making five of them over a week. The imagery came out differently than my usual imagery and I thought that was interesting. The black strokes of ink were also much bolder than I usually make them. That’s probably because I wasn’t following a pencil line. I used pattern a bit too. Overall they came out okay.

The final thing I did this week was to kick the size up a notch. I have a few already finished drawings printed out at 10×15 inches in blue line. They sit in a pile waiting for me to one day ink them. For most of last winter and spring I was doing a lot of inking with a pen and French curves rather than a brush. These pencils were meant to be inked that way buy I’ve been tired of doing that. So I decided to ink one of them entirely with a brush. Almost. I used a circle template a little bit. It was interesting. Once again I enjoyed drawing freely in ink. I had most of the drawing done in pencil with this one but still there was a lot to be decided as things went along. And things did go along. It was nice to get them done.