Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Drawing diary: Insta-Inktober

I haven't written in a while, but don't worry, that doesn't mean anything is wrong. Out of my two main reasons for blogging less, it's the more positive one: I'm just really busy with studying right now. I've taken on a big project that's also going to be my master's thesis and it sucks up almost all my energy. Graduating is way more important to me than writing blog posts, so that's just how it is for now.

However, I've had this drawing diary post sitting in my drafts folder for ages; I may as well publish it, so you have something to read! If you'd rather read about gaming, check out my latest article Why we love doing dumb things in MMOs over at MMO Bro.

Instagram and Inktober

In my previous drawing diary, I wrote about participating in Inktober: a well known internet challenge to draw something with ink every day in October. While I was certain I wouldn't make every day, I gave it a heroic attempt. And I actually managed to draw a lot more than usual! In this post, I will share those drawings with you.

Part of the challenge was to post your drawings on social media. Because I didn't want to bother my gamer followers on Twitter with my daily drawings, nor spam my offline life Facebook friends, I created an Instagram account for them. It seemed fitting: Instagram is all about posting pictures, so people can't exactly complain when pictures show up.

Wait... what are you saying, Rav? Instagram, that medium for self absorbed attention seeking selfie posters?! Uh, well, yes, although that's not how I hope to use it. (Disclaimer: if you were hoping for Rav selfies, you'll be disappointed.) I'm probably using Instagram all wrong and I don't care.) But if you do like to see my drawings and photos before I finally get around to blogging them, you're welcome to follow me.

Inktober list and water colour self portrait

When I started reading about Inktober, every article told me that I needed a list with subjects to follow, or I'd give up halfway, not knowing what to draw anymore. Coming up with things to draw is usually not a problem; lists that I need to follow usually annoy the crap out of me. Nevertheless, I was a good girl and made a list with topics -  with the intention of not feeling obliged to follow it.

I think at the end of the month I had drawn about 30% of the list. For what else I managed to draw, I just went with whatever I felt like.

The first thing I drew was a self portrait. This probably sounds stupid, but I really don't like staring at my own face intensively for some reason. And that's exactly what you need to do when drawing yourself. Because of this, this is the first self portrait I ever made. I felt very uncomfortable drawing it, but I'm pretty OK with the end result.

Meadow saffrans (herfsttijloos)

The next day was busy, and it was already late in the evening when I got around to Inktober. I decided to quickly draw the flowers that were standing in the gaming room. They belonged to a bulb of meadow saffrans (herfsttijloos) that my mother gifted me. It felt a bit forced to just draw for the sake of it rather than drawing something that I felt very enthusiastic about.

View from the Binnengasthuis

Later, I went to Amsterdam for some study appointments. When waiting in the university building, I looked outside and saw this typically Amsterdam city centre view. All of a sudden, I noticed how beautiful it was, all those 17th and 18th century houses cramped together, and I wanted to draw it.

Gebed Zonder End and an Amsterdam canal in the autumn

I love the area around my university, so I drew more there.

The left drawing shows an alley I passed when walking to the tram. It's called Gebed Zonder End ("Prayer Without Ending") because of all the monasteries that used to be there in the Middle Ages. I tried to make the drawing less static by drawing less neatly and using different pen sizes.

The second (right) drawing is of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in autumn colours. It was my first drawing using my new ecoline brush pens from Talens. I totally didn't do reality justice, because the actual view looked mesmerising.

October mushrooms

October was also the month of mushrooms. I don't remember the last time there were so many of them, and I definitely have to write about my mushroom hunts in a separate blog post. Either way, the drawing shows three mushroom species I found in my home town (from left to right): Armillaria mellea (honingzwam), Geastrum triplex (gekraagde aardster) and Tricholoma sulphureum (narcisridderzwam). The latter smells strongly of tar and I got a giant headache from drawing it.

Alpaca, tigers and a ring-tailed lemur

I also wanted to practice drawing animals, because I somehow never do that. I drew the lemur as a card for a friend, the tiger as a birthday card for Conrad and the alpaca for myself. Oh my, I do love alpacas.

Corridor in the attic and Window of the gaming room

These two drawings - made with a black ecoline brushpen - were an unexpected hit on Instagram. They're of the corridor and a corner of the gaming room of our attic apartment, so I now you know a bit what my home looks like.

Dying birch tree with mushrooms (twice)

I saw this dying birch tree during a forest hike. White mushrooms called "birch killer" (berkendoder) in Dutch, speed up its demise. It was tragic, but also a beautiful tree, and I ended up drawing it twice, in different styles.

 Train station Amersfoort, on my way to Drachten

Intermezzo: sightseeing in Drachten

I usually like to put some offline life adventures in my Drawing Diaries, and this one is no different. But first, watch out: huge drawing incoming (I couldn't come up with a good pairing)!

Book shop Van der Velde

One weekend in October, I visited a friend in Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands. She works in a lovely book shop and while she was finishing her shift, I sketched the coffee corner (see above).

I convinced my friend to go full tourist mode, and we cycled around the town of Drachten. Among other things, we rode past some houses that were built in the well known De Stijl art movement.

I really loved this old school building. The colours are so pretty together.

These houses are hardcore De Stijl, with accents in the three primary colours. The whole neighbourhood has them.

When they were just built, people really hated the colours! But nowadays, it is clear that people are really proud of their houses. Some houses featured mailboxes or other home made attributes in De Stijl style (err, that sounds weird).

That's enough sightseeing and art lessons, though, let's proceed with the last Inktober drawings.

Back to the drawings

We've arrived at the end of the month, and at this point I just wanted to draw something simple. I never draw items, so this was as good of an excuse as any to give that some practice.

The yellow pumps are my favourite shoes. And the phone is actually brand new. It's the first time in my life that I bought a good phone for myself, and I'm so happy with it: it can even play Pokémon GO and not crash! Finally, I drew the cat after a funny cat GIF. It's about to go crazy about something with huge dilated eyes.

That's all for Inktober. I didn't draw all 31 days, but I did end up drawing a lot more than usual, so that's a win for me. I'm actually really happy with most of my Inktober drawings, so I guess I was on a roll. But it's nice to be not feeling obliged to use ink in all my drawings anymore, too, now it's over.


  1. I swear every time you make one of these posts your drawings always seem better, no matter how much time has passed. :)

    Not liking to stare at your face for a long period of time doesn't sound stupid at all. I think most people are like that. Well, at least I think most people used to be like that. In this era of selfies I am not so sure anymore!

    I liked your drawing of those buildings. I don't know why but I just love that kind of architecture. Probably because it is so different from the one in my country.

    Speaking of architecture, I also liked the De Stijl pictures. Those colors make the buildings stand out more and look more lively, in my opinion. It would be cool if it was something that got more popular around the world as I think all cities could use more color.

    And of course, I loved all the other drawings and the picture of the train station too. :)

    1. Aww, thank you, that's so nice to hear! Obviously, it's kinda what I'm hoping, that it gets better when I draw more. But it's really hard to look objectively at your own stuff (I don't really see a clear progress myself, apart from maybe the faces), so knowing how others perceive my drawings is valuable information.

      I wonder how people find that "I don't care" button when they're taking selfies. I really dread taking selfies, and on the very rare occasions that I have done that, it clearly shows on my face. :P

      I'm happy you like the drawings of buildings! I really love it, too, when buildings are colourful, or otherwise have interesting details. And I love when they are not perfect, like the building Gebed Zonder End alley. It is in perfect shape in the main street at the front for the tourists, but at the back (where I made the drawing) there was plaster and repairs clearly visible all over.

  2. Always glad to see more posts from you, regardless of content. :)

    My favourites from this batch are the Amsterdam canal and the left version of the dying birch tree with mushrooms. (Having grown up with a birch right outside my window, I've always found their patterned bark particularly engrossing.)

    1. Thank you! I feel bad, because I don't dare and read your posts anymore in fear of being spoiled. I'm so out of the loop with SWTOR!

      I do love the texture of birch bark, and I understand how a tree you grow up next to can leave quite the impression. In my back garden, we had a maple tree that I climbed in that I was very fond of. Now maple trees are special to me, too (unfortunately, you rarely see them). :)

  3. If it makes you feel better, you got farther into Inktober than I did in NaNoWriMo. And the drawings are great!

    I'm just glad things are going well for you, Rav!

    1. Sorry to hear you didn't get very far into NaNoWriMo. Maybe we both will give it another go next November. I know I for one will try to do better on Inktober. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Your drawings are just so wonderful! I love all of the intricate detail and variety of subjects. Your self portrait is lovely, you do know you look very much like an elf in it, right? I find your description of Instagram interesting. So many crafters and gardeners whose blogs I read seem to sort of disappear onto Instagram, and I always think it is really because it is simpler to post pictures of their work and gardens without having to explain anything, no deep thinking up what to say, just ta da, here is my beautiful work.

    1. Awww, thank you!! If I look like an elf, the self portrait is probably too flattering and not very accurate. But hey, it looks like a person with generally my features. I'm not putting the bar that high when it comes to portraits. ^^

      Haha, don't take me too seriously about Instagram!

      You're probably right about why people disappear onto that platform, though. Personally, being able to blab and (sometimes) having deep discussions with random people about subjects is what's so attractive about blogging to me - so I don't think it will happen to me anytime soon.

      Do you use Instagram yourself?

  5. You've come such a long way in your drawing! Good job! Always love seeing your work.

    Btw, I got your card in the mail recently. Thank you! I love it, so adorable! <3

    1. Thank you so much! And I'm so happy you got the card and even like it. You don't want to know how many tries it took to end up with something I found remotely acceptable. From now on, I leave the horses to you, haha!


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