Sometimes I get caught up in making things. I get so into it that I can’t stop for a little while. Usually it’s not a big project or piece, those toke a lot of planning and effort, but a smaller thing that takes less time. Of course the whole getting caught up part means that the small thing takes up way more time than initially planned. This time those small things were my “On the Rough” drawings. They are five by seven drawings that are on extremely rough watercolor paper. I draw on them with ink and a brush (and no pencil underdrawing) and then use watercolor. Except this time I used Rotring artist color inks instead of watercolor. I’ve had this set of Rotring colors since 1988 and I’ve barely ever used it. It’s a set of twelve colors in ink bottles and to colors are very bright. Much brighter than my usual watercolors. Other than that they work about the same as my usual watercolor.

Once again I’ll say I got caught up in them because looking back at the others (I had done forty four of them) I made them four at a time. I’d grab four pieces of paper, draw four ink drawings, and then put the color in with watercolor. Doing them four at a time allows me to pick up a new one as the watercolor on the previous one dries. It speeds things up compared to working on them one at a time. For some reason this time I worked on six of them at a time. Two days in a row. That means I got twelve of them done in two days. I just kept going for two days in a row. I got caught up. Now I’m going to pick four of them to take a look at.

The first one is “On the Rough” number 55. It’s one of my half masked faces. I draw masked and half masked people a lot. This person even has half a head of hair. This one doesn’t have much form to the body. That’s a bit odd for me but it ended up that way do to the process of no underdrawing and the fur. It’s not easy to draw on this paper with ink and usually I start with a little structure but here started no structure on the bottom half and let the color hold it together. The face keeps my interest on the top and the yellow and orange keeps holds my interest on the bottom. It’s almost like half an abstract painting. There is also a farm within the frame in the green background.

The second one is “On the Rough” number 53. I started drawing the face in the lower right corner and knew I wanted some big hair in this one. As I started drawing the crazy hair I noticed that the drawing started to resemble the Bride of Frankenstein. I decided to keep that going in the color and give her a streak of brightness in her hair. I like the way her face came out. The light blue against the dark blue of the sky works for me plus the red hair with the yellow streak works for me. She;s also looking out at us harder than we’re looking at her. Overall this might be my favorite of the twelve I made.

The third one is “On the Rough” number 56. Now we’re getting super-heroic with things. With this one you can definitely see that I’m drawing in ink and can’t erase any of the construction lines. There are some lines in the gloves, boots, and arms that are only there because they’re left over from the initial drawing. I don’t mind them there because they’re part of this particular process but normally they wouldn’t be. I also wouldn’t normally have his toe pressed right up against the border but with no erasing going on things end up where they want to sometimes. I like the color on this one. The three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, scream super-hero as much as the view of him flying against the aqua and purple sky. The green of the trees or whatever they are box him in and give him something to fight against. There is also a trail of purple and yellow propelling him forward and making him a little more super.

The fourth one is “On the Rough” number 48. The big orange belly. This one is all about the curve of her hip and the glowing orange color of her belly. The Rotring inks are really showing off here because that orange is bright. The pigment in my bottles is twenty five years old too. That’s remarkable brightness. Rotring doesn’t even make those inks anymore. I’ve got my usual spiral breasts but being stuck up in the corner they don’t have a lot of impact. Only one of the spirals is even pretty. The purple peeking up from underneath the orange serves to pop the orange out even more. The green and blue on the sides calm things down and are the most pleasant colors in the piece. I like the three pieces of black line that ended up in the middle of the belly. Two lines that refer to the edges of abs and a belly button. They’re far from literal and hand there like brush strokes in an abstract painting. They make it work for me.

So there you go. That’s only four of the twelve but the four I find most interesting. When making spontaneous ink drawings four in twelve is a pretty good batting average. Since I can’t go back, erase, and work on things until I think they’re perfect not everything is going to be good. That’s the nature of this type of drawing. Of course the payoff is that I can find new ways of doing things. Some drawings can’t be made if I’m thinking things through. Sometimes it’s the mistakes that lead me down a new path. And I get caught up.