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Loosen up with Ink Wash


Inktober Day 9

Drawing prompt – the owl

It is 3:45am

HOOT! HOOT!

“Yoo-hoo! I know you’re a wake.”

My thought. I am now. How did you know?

“Come on now, I’m your Muse, I know when you are thinking, and besides you have a deadline. You know this Inktober thing you have to write, and don’t forget you need a picture. What illustration are you going to use? How about an owl, since that is today’s drawing prompt?”


My Muse's name is Artemis and like most muses they are relentlessly persistent, but for me, reliable. I mentally answer my Muse's questions. I remember. The words are already taking shape. My idea was to do something with ink wash. I also have this photo reference of an owl. How appropriate, a night owl.


I try to go back to sleep but it is not going to happen. So, I get up and drag myself to the studio. It’s 4:45am. Even before coffee, I start the creative process.

As creative people, we have all been there. So, what does this have to do with Inktober? Well, it is day 9. Is your inspiration waning a bit? Hey, there are only 22 more days to go. You can do it! Perhaps you need to loosen up your approach a bit. As a drafter and a technical artist, my work became rather tight especially when I discovered technical pens. Luckily, I was also a painter. It took a while but, I loosened up by going back to the brush. I often rely on ink washes. They are also great way to establish value, since I start out light and work towards darker values.


The process became easier when I discovered the aqua brush. I use the Molotow Aqua Squeeze Pen. They hold a substantial amount of liquid and they don’t leak even when I fly with them full. I have a flat and a round which I fill with water and add 5 drops of Higgins India Ink or Black Magic. This gives me an approximate 10-20% on the value scale. I also fill a third aqua brush with a 50% value. You don’t need to be mathematical to know that percentages add up. I never use the 100% black ink from the bottle during the ink wash process. You can also add line work to drawings with a pen for added dimension.


So, it is time to start your drawing for today, and the rest of the tomorrows. Keep it loose and do some sketching with ink washes. No use fighting the creative urges. Listen to your Muse and stay inspired.


A special thank you to Pam for the inspirational photo reference of the owl.

Ed S Brickler – artist, art educator, art materials consultant, dreamer, wise old owl apprentice, and author of Making Art: Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist. www.EdSBrickler-artist.com

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