Every year, when autumn rolls around, I tell myself, I’m going to participate in Inktober or NaNoWriMo, and every year, I either forget or I try and fail. “Well, this year is going to be different!” I proclaimed. Then I blinked, and it was October 7th, and I’d forgotten. Oops.
But you know the old expression: Better late than never. My friend, Ally (@Ally_Santra on Twitter), started doing a pinup Inktober prompt list, which I found very interesting. So, I dove in and double-timed it to catch up, and in the end, for the first time ever, I completed it. I can’t tell you how uplifting that was in a time when I really needed a win.
In this post, I’ve included every black-and-white drawing I did throughout the month, but my favorites I’ve colored and added a few words about what I like and more importantly, what it has taught me about myself and my work.
At the beginning, I was posting three drawings per day to catch up, and I actually liked two out of every three. Not bad, really. And it’s not that I hated the others; I just didn’t feel they were nearly as good. I used all five of my series’ recurring female characters as the models, and while I love all of my girls, I think my favorites are Ash and Maren. Their drawings usually turned out to be the best ones I created for this month.
Alright, let’s get this one out of the way first. You all know how much I love Casablanca, so for the group Halloween costume this year, I decided to take inspiration from there. First off, yes, it’s not a pinup. Sorry, not sorry. My challenge to myself was to actually make a scene without any dialogue, and I’m pleased with what I accomplished. There’s tons of tension everywhere. But my favorite part is Mike as Sam. His design turned out better than I could have hoped. It’s a difficult pose, and it was going to be an excellent test of my skills. I had so much fun with this drawing.
Okay, now, on to the actual pinup drawings, starting with Stefanie, Esmerelda, and Caroline.
First drawing of the month, and I felt great about it; one of my best drawings of Stefanie. Until this one.
I’m sure a good chunk of these don’t technically classify as “pinup”, but who’s counting anyway? I really tried to get good pinup poses when I could. I think this one was a homerun. Or at least a triple followed by an RBI.
I’m a KISS fan, I’ll admit it. They’re a legendary spectacle, and I wanted to have some fun with the prompt.
Esmerelda, our newest character, kind of got the short end of the stick. But she started off well. I found out that I had a hard time drawing butts, apparently.
Here’s Caroline showing off that I still cannot draw posteriors. Wonderful. On the other hand, here’s Caroline looking delightfully literary…sort of.
I absolutely love this drawing. With my Inktober drawings, it was either feast or “I guess I could eat”. I either loved it or it was just passable. Unless it was one of these two golden girls: Ash and Maren. I loved just about every drawing I did of them. I’m going to start with Maren first.
There is nothing here I don’t love. Everything just kinda clicked. Everything looks good. It all works. I was blown away.
Another one rocking on all cylinders. I have a few girls who have interesting hair styles; interesting in that they look great from one side and weird from another. Maren is one of those girls. Stefanie is the other. Maren looks excellent from her right side. Not so much from the left. So, I wanted to work on that. For reference, here’s her from the right.
See? Looks so great. That’s why I focused on the left side. I want to be able to get her into shots from all angles, along with other characters, and there’s only one way to get that down: Practice.
Ash, on the other hand, has no problems like that. She’s the first girl I drew and has changed relatively little over the course of the series. I really think the only major change to her look is her eyes, which have elongated over the past couple of years as I figured out my drawing style, something I probably should have done before starting a comic, but whatever; that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I love this drawing for the pose. It just looks like it works, and there’s such a lovely little moment there. I love the joy in her face, the optimism, because that’s who she is.
I could absolutely envision this before I drew it, and I’m gobsmacked that it actually came out the way I imagined it. Another happy stretch for Ash. She’s been a great study in body language.
This one was another surprise favorite. The response on this one was higher than I expected. Don’t get me wrong: I love the hell out of this drawing. I just was surprised it got as much love from y’all as it did. I almost think this one shows more about my growth as an artist than any others. It all just looks…right.
These were fun ones. And I think that’s the other side of Inktober: Enjoying your art. If it’s not enjoyable, what the hell’s the point? We create because, well, we must. There’s no other way to describe it. We create because if we don’t, we’ll probably explode. The energy needs an escape, and this is our steam release valve.
I’ll leave you with this one. Not the strongest of the group, but it’s a fun one. There’s two sides to every coin. Doesn’t take a lot to flip it.
So, what has Inktober taught me about myself? A good deal, really. September and October have been trying months. Really, 2018 in general has been difficult. With so much going on, Inktober was, first and foremost, a much-needed lift, a wonderful release. It was incredible having both the time and energy to be able to pour into such an exercise. Beyond that, it showed me how much I’ve grown as an artist. Inktober made me take some more risks than I usually do in my regular comics. For the most part, I feel I was successful, and really, I felt successful in just completing this month-long challenge. It was an enormous boon I desperately needed. This is something I can do pretty well, and it’s something that I can enjoy at the same time. I can’t stress enough how important such a thing is to have in your life. It will help propel me forward for the challenges which still lay ahead.
-The Retail Explorer