Pen and Ink
J. Dianne Dotson – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer – Pen and Ink

The facets of the mind expand in all directions. At times, stressors can overwhelm, and an instinct to withdraw might set in. But within our minds we possess the ability to look at things differently, even just by trying something new.

Last year I first took part in Inktober, the “31 days, 31 drawings” endeavor created by illustrator Jake Parker. This delightful event takes place in October and allows anyone to join in and draw, usually based on prompts. Different prompts for different days might include such things as in this year’s list: poisonous, roasted, spell, etc. Some illustrators use their own prompts or simply sketch something each day. I took part in this last year.

This year, I’m sticking to the “official” prompts. You can see my work on Instagram. And of course, you can also see it in the header of this blog post. This piece I made for the prompt “spell” and it’s titled “A Bit of Sorcery”.

What I like about this process of coming up with different illustrations every day is the fact that I can go in any direction I want to. I can make something quick and simple, or I can work on something more elaborate. So far I’ve been sticking to pen and ink, whereas last year I freely used watercolor in addition to pen. I favor Micron pens for art, in case you’re curious. Sometimes I may do a rough sketch with pencil before inking, sometimes not. It all depends on my mood.

And this brings me back to my first point. If I’m stuck in a word tangle with Book Two (okay, I am, because I’m getting so close to the finish line), I find that working on something entirely different helps. Hence working on art, sketches, illustration, etc. Or I might delve into a favorite book I haven’t read in years (The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, in this case).

The idea is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try something completely different from your day-to-day endeavors, and you might find yourself refreshed. I think even doodling helps. Or maybe coloring. Something to get pen and ink flowing, and your thoughts moving. It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, and in fact “aimless” doodling and journaling can open up your mind and quiet it at the same time. It’s good to keep busy like this. And then when you’re finished, you will have made something! Something completely unique, unlike anything else on earth, because it was made by YOU.

Image Credit: “A Bit of Sorcery” Illustration by J. Dianne Dotson Copyright 2018