I’m coming off two weeks of being sick with a cold, sinus infection, or whatever the heck it was that I had. I couldn’t get any kind of artwork done for ten days in a row. Nothing. Well, I did manage to fill up a couple of pages in my ink book on two of my Monday commutes but that was it. I had no energy and couldn’t get anything done.

After that long layoff the first thing I tried to do was get a 6×9 inch pencil drawing done. I felt good in the morning so I decided to get going and pulled out a blue line drawing I had ready to pencil over. I lasted about an hour before I needed a nap. That kind of took me by surprise. Eventually I finished the drawing but it took me from 8AM until about 3 PM to do it. With a lot of rest in there too. That’s probably about three times longer than if I was well.

The next day I fared a little bit better with another pencil drawing. It was a much more complicated drawing but I didn’t need a nap an hour into it. It still took me longer to do than normal. Not only was I working slower but I needed to sit down and rest more often than normal. That was the story of my cold. I needed a lot of rest.

On day three of my getting back to work I finally got a bit more ambitious and to to work inking one of my faux comic book covers. It was “Dreams of Things” #71. I ink these covers in a couple of inking styles that I have developed and this one was done in my rough side of the brush technique. For years and years I had one basic inking technique. I’d dip my brush in ink and then draw a line with it that went from thick to thin in some proportion. I can make a really pretty line in ink and that’s what I did to build up an image.

For drawing straight lines I use a pen, such as a technical pen or marker, and draw it along the side of a straight edge, French curve, or circle template. That way I can make perfect straight lines to go along with my pretty thick to thin brush strokes. Besides adding various textures to things if they were called for that’s how I inked things for a long time.

A few years ago I stated working with my old inking brushes that were so battered and beat up that they could no longer make a pretty thick to thin line. That’s when I developed my busted brush technique along with my side of the brush technique. With “Dreams of Things” #71 I decided to go with my side of the brush technique. It’s a technique where none of the straight edges are drawn with an even or thick to thin line. I use the side of the brush to draw a rough textured line.

For whatever reason I didn’t have the energy to make things pretty on this third day of trying to get things done. I wanted to keep the drawing rough. That must have been the state of my mind. I worked on the main figure most of the day and built it up slowly over time. With lots of rest in there. I actually had the hardest time with the buildings in the background where I used a straight edge and marker. There wasn’t even much to them but they took way more of my concentration than I thought they should. Maybe the day was getting too long by then.

On the fourth day of trying to get things done I still wanted to keep things rough. I decided to make a couple of my 5×7 inch landscapes with my busted brush technique. I first drew the landscape and buildings in ink with my busted brush and then add some watercolors to that. I always think I should be able to get them done quickly but then they always take more time than I expect. That day was no exception.

The odd thing was that the next day I worked on “Dreams of Things” #72 almost exclusively with straight edges, French curves, templates, and a marker. No busted brush and no side of the brush technique. It’s weird how some days I have no patience for that way of working and other days it’s all I have the patience for. I grabbed my straight edge and made one line at a time. I didn’t even think a whole lot about it. One line just lead me to the next in a mechanical process. Once again I needed a lot more rest than usual but every time I got back to it I was ready to make another technical line. All the lines I couldn’t make the day before.

After finishing eighty percent of the drawing that way all that was left was some pretty thick to thin brush work. I was on top of it and I got that done easily. It was amazing to me how one day I could get things done with the side of the brush and the next it was my pretty line and neither could be done if the days were switched. You would think that I would have any of my techniques at my disposal at any time but it doesn’t always work out that way.

The one thing I knew I couldn’t get done was marker coloring one of my faux covers. I had a few of them ready to go and I contemplated doing one but I couldn’t bring myself to. All those colors and all those markers seemed too complicated. I don’t know why since I’ve done plenty of them before but my stuffy head wasn’t up to the task. The water color in the landscapes that I did was a simple task compared to a faux cover. Simple is how I had to make things this week. I can’t wait for my head to finally clear.