Today was an unmotivated day. I wasn’t really in the mood to do anything specific. Art-wise that is. But even on unmotivated days I can get things done because of habit. The habit of “I may as well do something because doing nothing doesn’t make me happy.”

As I was standing in front of my drawing table in the morning there was nothing I wanted to work on. So I pulled out my Inkbook. I fill up the hundred pages of a 5.5×8.5 inch sketchbook every year with spontaneous ink drawings. There are anywhere from six to nine little drawings on a page. Each page takes me from half an hour to an hour to draw and I fill about eight pages a month. That means at the end of the year I have to fill a few extra pages.

I opened my inkbook up to page 87 this morning and decided to get started drawing on it. Except I didn’t do it my usual way. Instead of my Sign Pen and little drawings I decided to do one big drawing with a Sharpie. That’s how I draw in my ASMR drawing videos, which I haven’t done in about a year, and sometimes in my Inkbook. This is the first time this year I’ve filled up a page that way. It took an hour. I wasn’t moving fast this morning.

After finishing that I ran out to the Post Office and then stood in front of my desk again. Unmotivated. I walked over to my box of stuff to work on and pulled out one of my “Dreams of Things” covers that was ready to ink. At least I thought is was ready. When I looked at it closely the drawing of the woman’s face was wonky. I knew I would have to fix it and didn’t feel like it right then.

I walked back to my desk and picked up some of my cartoon art cards. Last week I wrote, drew, and lettered them and now they were waiting to be colored with markers. Ten of them. I grabbed my markers and worked on them until lunch. It took a couple of hours but I almost fished them. After lunch I wrapped them up in 20 minutes. Then it took another 20 minutes to scan them in and set them up to be used for my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip.

I was still lacking any motivation but I decided I might as well fix up that face on the “Dreams of Things” cover and print it out in blue line so I could ink it. That took longer than I thought. I fixed the face fairly easily but as I went to put it into my template I notice that I had messed around with the background before printing it last time and would have to do the same again. That took another 20 minutes.

Usually when I print out a piece in blue line to be inked it goes smoothly. I put paper in the printer, hit print, and I’m done. Not this time. After I printed the cover I noticed it had a blue line running from top to bottom right through a figure and face. I have no idea where it came from but it must have arrived when I was messing with the background and I didn’t notice it. I fixed it and printed out the cover again. Guess what? There was a second smaller blue line somewhere else on the page that appeared. I had to fix that and print the page again.

That make three pieces of 11×17 bristol board (paper) that I wasted trying to make this cover. But instead of throwing the paper out I cut it up into 5×7 inch pieces. That’s a size I often work on for small ink drawings so I figure I’ll work on the back of these ones. That’s what I usually do when I make a mistake on one side of a big piece of paper. Somehow I’m okay with a small piece having random printed lines on the back of it but not on a big piece.

I have a nice 18 inch Dahle rotary paper cutter that I use to cut my Bristol. For years I kept it in its original box in the closet and every time I pulled it out I had to take it out of and put it back into that clumsy box. It wasn’t just a rectangle. It had parts cut out to it to show off the cutter. Then one day it struck me that there was reason to keep it in the box. So I tossed the box and have just kept the paper cutter in the closet ever since. The cutter has gotten so much use over the years that I even had to replace the rotary blade.

With the paper cut up I was free to start inking the cover. I figured I may as well get to it. It didn’t take me as long as some pieces do. There is a lot of open forms on this one. It’s going to take a long time to color but the inks were fast. There are tiger stripes on the main female figure’s body and I used a crow quill pen to draw those in. I’m usually a brush guy so that was unusual. After that I used a straight edge and French curves with a marker to put in all the mechanical lines. All that was left after that was the woman’s face and the outline of her figure. I did that with a brush.

All told I think it took me three hours to ink the whole cover. That’s unusually fast. It wasn’t because I was moving particularly fast but because the technique didn’t call for a lot of lines and so many things were left open for color. I like it but it doesn’t look finished yet. It really needs color. Not all black and white pieces do. Plenty look finished after the ink stage but not this one. Too much flat and open white space to be done.

So that was my unmotivated day. At the end of it things look okay. No thrills. No breakthroughs. No epiphanies. No ah-ha moments. Just a day doing stuff because not doing stuff doesn’t help me. And at the end of the day I wrote this. Not bad.