For something different I’m going to pull one of my ink books off the shelf, open it to a random page, and see what drawings I find there. That’s often how I start a new project. Since I have sixteen ink books finished, and the one from this year in progress, I have a lot to choose from. The ink books are filled with small spontaneous ink drawings that I draw with a Pentel Sign Pen. I usually draw six to nine small drawings per page. I’ve been mostly doing nine drawings per page for the last few years but earlier on that number varied a lot more. First I draw a small box on the page and then I draw inside the box. Having a border around the drawing helps me compose. I draw the boxes row by row as I fill the page. It may look like a comic book page but they’re all individual drawings that really don’t have anything to do with one and other.

So now I’ll pick a book and a page number. Let’s try book eleven and page thirty two. Let’s give it a look. First of all this page is an unusual one. It’s from July 17, 2010 (I date my ink book pages) and there is also a notation on the back that I drew this page on the train. I don’t think I’ve drawn many pages on the train. This one was from a day that I went down to Bryant Park to take street photos. Nowadays I bring something with me to read when I take the train to the park but there was a time I wanted to get some work done as I rode.

This page has eight panels. Eight panels drawn with a shaky line. That’s the train moving and also why I probably gave up drawing on the train. It’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s not too bad of a shaky line. I’ve tried drawing while riding the bus and that makes things much worse. The shaky line makes things not up to my usual standards though.

The first panel is one of my usual faces. He (or maybe she) has one eye looking out at us as he is silenced by some sort of gag over his mouth. Nothing too spectacular here as I’ve made similar drawings over the years. It does have a nice tilt to it though.

I like the use of space in the second panel. The background sky is a nice negative space that almost becomes the subject of the drawing. Plus there is a lot of depth to it. We have some shapes that are vaguely like machinery in the foreground, a person with a Z shaped hat in the middle ground, a spiked hat wearing face in the background, and then the sky. I like this panel. Any indication of faces is missing on the small figures and I bet that’s because of the shaky train. I’m guessing I didn’t want to draw anything that tiny.

The third panel is one I used for something. I can’t remember what but I think it was an eight by ten inch acrylic on canvas painting. I must have picked this one because I liked the shape of the hair and face. They fit together like puzzle pieces. The body is a little lumpy but that’s easy to work with. I’ll have to see if I can track down the painting.

Panel four looks familiar but I don’t think I made anything from it. It’s one of my rarer unsubjected drawings. I love creating images far more than I like to make abstract paintings but sometimes I make geometric abstract paintings. This drawing is along those lines. On occasion I like to compose with just shapes. Rectangles and circles are my favorites but I often work in triangles too. I haven’t finished too many pieces that have no figure in them but it does happen.

Panels five, six, and seven are all pretty small. The lines in them seem less shaky and more confident. That’s probably because the lines are shorter and made quickly. Panel five is a face that’s looking in two directions at once. It’s kind of a Picasso thing but it’s not very good. Just some lines and a face that never quite come together. Panel six is a bit better. It’s a nice little face with a weird body with lots of curved shapes in it. I’m not sure what that shape is between his eyes. That would have to go if I were to make something from this. Drawing seven looks like an incomplete mess. I think the shaking of the train was getting to me by then. It doesn’t suggest much to me besides a head on top of some sort of triangle body.

The eighth and last panel just misses being interesting. Once again I think that’s because of drawing on a train. It looks like I gave up on it. It could really use some sort of background or at least the background sky making a nice negative shape like in panel two. Instead we get a lot of clumsiness. I still don’t think it’s a total loss though. I like the placement of the three figures. I think I could work with them. The central figure has a really shaky jaw-line but that’s nothing to worry about. That gets fixed in the next version of the drawing. I’m not sure what those lines on the left side are. They look like a mishmash that could be a person or a thing. I’d have to clean that up.

So there you have it. That’s how I look at an ink book page. It’s funny how when I picked a random book and page number I picked an unusual page. Each ink book has a hundred pages in it and with sixteen finished ink books that makes sixteen hundred drawings. There are maybe six pages that were drawn on the train. Probably fewer. So the odds were long on picking a train page. But what the heck. Unusual can make for some nice analysis.