Combining things. That’s what I’ve been doing this week. I’ve been combining my monster face drawings with my “On the Rough” drawings to make “Monster a Day” drawings. Or taking bits for each. It all kinda blurs together. Y’see about a month ago I bought some new colored acrylic ink. That’s something I’ve never used very much. I have a small bottle of light blue acrylic ink that I’ve messed with a little but not often. I even think it’s a bit separated and dried out. Ink shouldn’t be chunky.

With my monster faces I use black India ink and colored markers. With my “On the Rough” drawings I use black ink and either some color pigmented inks or watercolor. I use the inks if I want bright color and the watercolor for more muted palette. The new acrylic inks are similar to both of my previous choices but have a bit more of a pigment load. That makes them more opaque. But not gouache opaque.

The first problem I had with the new inks, well maybe the only problem, was that I bought six once bottles of them. Most ink bottles that I work with and out of are one or two ounces. That’s small enough to keep on the desk, dip into, and not spill. I’ve got no place to keep and work out of a six ounce bottle let alone three of them. And they’re tall rather than wide. That makes for spilling. Rubbermaid to the rescue. I got these four ounce square-ish containers that are also airtight. I could drop an ounce or two of ink in them, work out of them easily with a brush, and then put them away so they won’t dry out. It took me a few weeks of the new ink bottles sitting around to figure that out though. In my defense I was busy with other things.

At first I just wanted to use the inks for my “On the Rough” drawings. I was just gonna make a few more. But for some reason I decided that I wanted to draw four monsters. So I grabbed four sheets of my rough five by seven inch watercolor paper, my old and battered brush that I use for dry brushing, and started on the monsters. I do all four of the black ink drawings before starting the color.

When using watercolor I have five colors pre-mixed and ready to go in larger Rubbermaid containers. When using the pigmented inks I have a set of twelve of them. In small bottles. Many more choices. With the new acrylic inks I only bought three colors. Red, yellow, and blue. The three primaries with which you can mix all the other colors. Except I don’t mix colors when I do these type drawings. At least not in a separate container.

The pigmented inks and watercolors are transparent color. That means I can layer them on top of each other to mix colors. I put down some blue, let it dry, put down some yellow, and then I’ve got green. I also sometimes put down some water on the paper and then paint so that I start with a real light layer of color. The water dilutes the paint. The first thing I noticed was that the new acrylic inks were very dense with pigment and color. They were not as transparent as what I was used to. It took a bit of trial and error but I eventually learned to put down a lot more water than I usually do. This worked but slowed the process down as all that water took time to dry. In then end it worked out okay. I like the drawings, They get a bit muddier with all that pigment than I’m used to but I got some nice color out of them. Plus monsters are supposed to be dark.

After that I wanted to draw more monsters. But I didn’t want to use the six by nine inch paper and marker that I normally use. I wanted the rough five by seven watercolor paper and ink. But I didn’t want them in color either. Just black and white. Time to combine.

I’m an odd bird when it comes to making my art. Plus I’m methodical. That means method is very important to me. Method is how I get things done. Naming what I’m doing is part of the method and the distinction between things helps me get stuff done. So these new monster drawing couldn’t be “On the Rough” drawings. They also couldn’t be my other individually named monster face drawings. So they became “Monster a Day” drawings. The four I did in color even became that. They didn’t quite fit in with “On the Rough” so they became “Monster a Day” numbers one through four. They don’t quite fit in there either but oh, well.

I’ve even managed to get one a day done just like the name. I think I may have done a couple a day some days but I’ve got fourteen in total. They’re fun to do and I post them on my Instagram to show them off a little. I also found another way to use the new acrylic inks. I grabbed my red ink and used it just as I’d use the black ink to draw a monster face. That red ink is dense too. There was almost no difference between using the red and the black. But in the end the monster was too red. Too bright. So I went back in with my black ink right over top of the red. It was dense enough to cover the red when I needed it to but the dry brush technique let a lot of the red show though in the end. I like the way it came out and am going to have to try it with the blue and the yellow.

Meanwhile I even decided to make a video of me drawing one of the “Monster a Day” drawings. Most of my spontaneous live drawing videos are ten to fifteen minutes long and I thought I could get a monster drawing done in that about of time. I’m not even sure how long they usually take me but I bet it’s no more than half an hour on the outside. The red and black one probably took the longest since I basically drew it twice but the black went a lot faster than the red because there was already a drawing there. Turned out to be no problem getting a drawing done in about ten minutes. It wasn’t my best one but with this method of spontaneous drawing some of them are going to be better than others. Either way the video has some nice dry brushing sounds.