Not too long ago, my mom came home from Omer Deserres (the best/cheapest art shop in Quebec) with some 18″x24″ drawing paper that was on sale for something absurd like $2.
I don’t know what possessed me to use it for ink, since the cover clearly indicates it’s for “dry media”, but I went and was a rebel anyway.
Well the universe got me for it because I spilled my India ink bottle all over the first page. And because it’s for dry media, it completely soaked through a good quarter of the book. Splotches of ink on clean white sheets whose images I hadn’t even conceived of yet.
But hey, I’m not going to put that paper to waste. Instead I thought I’d one-up the mistake and just splotch the marred pages some more. With deliberate splatters criss-crossing the dry-media-only canvas, I suddenly could play a connect-the-dots/hidden-picture game.
The result ended up being really surprising and, dorky truth be told, very exciting. Pushing a pen around a page is what I’ve done my whole life, but those lines are controlled. They get stiff.
Here, there was a ton of energy. Yes, energy in dots! I swear to you. It was invigorating to work with this creative puzzle, to see how to solve the mess in front of me.
So I tried again.
There are times I’ve tried and genuinely no image comes out at me, but I just move on to the next.
Last night, afraid I might be doomed to the same mental block as the night before’s failed endeavour, I asked a friend for a monster prompt. He suggested “a 60s style Japanese monster with at least some characteristic of a racoon”.
I looked down at my ink splatter.
And yet I dove right in.
In the end, it didn’t quite look Japanese – in fact it looked very Ralph Steadman – but incorporating the ruff around the neck (sometimes seen around dragon necks of that geographic location) and the knobby claws gave me enough inspiration to draw it all together. Plus, racoon tail.
I’m really enjoying this style. It’s one I’ve unconsciously wanted to try for a very long time (clearly my unconscious was at work when I spilled that first splash of ink my mistake). Without doubt I’m going to be pursuing this for a while.
I can’t even complain that the ink completely stains my hands when I’m working. In fact, it brings minor joy to me when I see my black cuticles during the day because it makes me want to get back to it and experiment some more.
Hopefully I’ll have more to show soon!