Thirteen days to fix dad / Trece días para arreglar a papá
My very first illustrated book is already here! Thanks to the trust placed in me by Mariché Gómez, publisher from Ediciones Diquesí, and this wonderful story by Chiki Fabregat. Thirteen days to fix dad is an illustrated book for children (written in Spanish) in which I am the illustrator for the front cover and illustrations inside.
Trece días para arreglar a papá – Book Cover
When I read Thirteen days to fix dad for the first time I felt this was the perfect project for me to start as a children´s book illustrator. I felt a connection with the story and I could work freely to express the world I imagined throughout the book.
I identified with some of the characters of the story, especially with the main character Zir, the crystal boy.
Trece días para arreglar a papá – Illustration – Lud and her birds
I was fascinated by Lud and her birds.
Trece días para arreglar a papá – Illustration – Lud´s bird
Also Zir and Jaya´s friendship captivated me, unavoidably.
Trece días para arreglar a papá – Illustration – Zir and Jaya inside the forest
In other words, you will find an incredible adventure in another world, just next to ours, inside this book. Where the crystal people lives and very brave children courageously fight for their dreams and face their fears. Surrounded by birds. Beware of the butterflies.
Dear reader, do you dare to join Zir, Jaya and Lud in this journey through this other world?
October always comes with ink, brushes, and Inktober.
Inktober, this so successful artist challenge by great Mr. Jake Parker about creating 31 drawings in 31 days with ink tools and share them with the artist community.
More artists join the challenge each year and it has become incredibly popular nowadays.
And every single one of us is looking for excuses just to join it, of course! So, if you are interested in my personal excuses, welcome to this post!
First of all I would like to tell you a little about my personal story.
I discovered Inktober several years ago, maybe in 2011 or so. And I´m sure an artist friend of mine told me about it, here in Spain.
I had tried with ink before, for sure.
Ink brush and pen explorations
When I was a young girl, I decided to learn how to draw manga and animation characters. I loved to copy a lot with markers.
I also begun with designs on my own.
A few drawings I did when I was so influenced by manga and anime
I didn’t dare to try the challenge. And I say try because one single complete drawing for me was too much for each day. So stressful.
Just think about it: Every day I follow more and more incredible and so talented artists with amazing Inktober projects. Resulting in so much pressure and stress for me. But… something happened that changed everything.
I really loved ink tools. I can remember entire days in art class drawing and experimenting with ink brushes and pens because my teacher gave them to me when I was stressed (so many times, I must confess) and suddenly with ink came calm and just enjoy.
Tree explorations with pen
Later came the first time I tried to join the challenge, just for four or five drawings. And it was fine but I can remember me thinking like: “I cannot do this anymore. I am not capable of finishing it.”
But, the next year came and then I forgot the sensation and I was so excited that I tried it again one more time. And I began to understand that some of the artists I follow had very strong skills also consistency and a personal project behind the challenge and I had nothing, even a simple goal.
So in 2017, I did a very special Inktober. My personal challenge was just doing it, with bad and not-so-bad drawings, with a lot of experimentation about the technique.
Later the same year, I began Nathan Fowkes´s Schoolism online art class and this changed my process. Because Nathan uses a very useful and convenient approach to put focus on a daily basis artist routine, with limited time for each sketch and with very strong goals: composition and value.
A perfect balance for me. And then with this approach, I did several Inktober drawings in 2018. You can see them in this older post: Art Challenge Inktober 2018
So this Inktober 2019, I was so happy about feeling so comfortable and free of fear and anxiety that I did a very satisfying challenge, with a collection of ancient trees. You can see in my Instagram that I even recorded myself doing a few of them: Ale Díaz Bouza´s Instagram
Inktober 2019 Ancient trees Series 3
And I didn’t finish with the 31 drawings, but I´m so proud of being so near to this goal that now I´m so happy with it. Get my hands dirty, like a child playing, is also a very nice sensation too.
I think I´m learning about the technique, process, consistency, that I can do better drawings and scenes using this approach. I am decided to implement it in my artist daily routine. Hope I can tell you more about this in future posts.
Cold and bad weather came later, here in Madrid, for autumn season this year. But Inktober is never late. Probably you already know about Inktober: Jake Parker´s art challenge; but in case you don´t it´s easy to explain: creating ink images during the entire month of October. Sounds great, isn´t it? For ink lovers this is the best way to go back to this art material and stain their hands, clothes and workspace. Every year many tool recommendations are shared from Mr. Parker´s web and also from art supplies stores on social media. Here in Spain we have this grate one: La Madriguera Shop.
There are different approaches for the challenge. One is make almost an ink drawing and share it on social media with #inktober #inktober2018 hashtag and do the same thing so many times as you can. Once a week is another possibility, so great for professional and amateur artists with not so much time but with a lot of enthusiasm. And the most difficult one for me: the everyday challenge following the official prompts list. You can check it out on Inktober rules web page.
I´ve never been able to do the prompt challenge because I wasn´t enough motivated about the list. Maybe I will take this approach another year, who knows! But in my case I was surrounded by excuses everywhere: not enough time, I need to do the laundry, I´m failing my obligations… or maybe (looking on social media) Wow! Where this amazing people came from? My ink drawings are so bad in comparison that seem rubbish! Well, I think you have now the idea.
But this year I changed my approach. What was interesting for me was doing it with consistency, adjusting the challenge the way I need, and create an artistic routine.
I have been doing courses on Schoolism since spring (if you don´t know this online art courses platform I highly recommend you to take a look). Actually I´m hooked on a few courses from, who I consider a (jedi) master in concept art, Nathan Fowkes. One of the most important lessons I´m try to learn from him is about consistency in our daily bases and about coping reference from art paying special attention to the simple statement in value structures and composition. And doing this every day is one of Nathan assignments. Best excuse for me!
Ink is a versatile, but also tricky, technique. It can bring you joy but also frustration moments. In some way is almost like watercolour, it doesn’t allow many corrections. But it is so interesting for experimentation. This year I decided to use the same tools that (my) master Nathan uses: Pentel´s water soluble ink brush and the water brush. Not so much about copying the technique but for use this as a limitation.
Every single day I repeated the same process: quick tiny comps with pencil, then I made the drawings on a (not so much) bigger watercolour paper and then play with ink brushes, trying to respect the value structure of my comp sketches.
About the topic I didn’t think about it so much. I just did Nathan´s assignments: coping from art, from photo reference, from real life, from movie frames or from whatever interesting image. And when I felt brave I did some comps from my own imagination.
Films: Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts.
Movie frames from Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban.
Some studies about Hogwarts castle.
Places I know and photo reference, but real places.
Compositions from my own imagination.
And for the finale sprint it was all about forest, witches and Samhain celebrations with fire.
So, after all this month of Inktober, I think I´m so happy with results. Not only because I feel satisfied with some of the ink final sketches but also because I´m on my way to reaching the goal in my daily work routine. I will keep trying to do this as a regular bases in my work process and hope I will achieve this goal.
I hope to hear from your Inktober stories too because Inktober never ends.