When I first heard of Inktober, I thought the rules were that you had to draw straight in ink from the get-go, and that you didn’t know what each day’s prompt was going to be. I don’t know why I thought this, but even years after finding out these weren’t really the “rules,” I still mostly do Inktober as if that’s how it has to be done. I see the prompt list in October—I just this year realized it gets published a month in advance—but take it one day at a time.
This year, I felt really strapped for time, but that in itself made me want to do this even more. With each passing year I feel like my job eats away at what little time I have for myself, so doing this is, in part, trying to get a bit of my life back. From what I’ve read on social media, some people stress themselves out to create 31 perfect illustrations, but for me, taking these ten minutes to two hours is escapism. If I draw something that’s worth a second look, that’s a bonus.
All that said, I’d only gotten through all 31 prompts one year before, namely 2019.
This year, as before, I mostly used whatever ballpoint pen was nearby when I sat down to draw, but a few prompts gave me ideas that I wanted to put more effort in to, so I did some penciling first on a few. For the penciled pieces, I inked with some combination of Tombow or Faber-Castell brush pen, Sakura Microns, highlighter, and gel pens. I also used color pencil and Prismacolor markers on one of these. With one exception, I drew inside of a 5.5 x 8.5 inch (14 x 22 cm) sketchbook.
Unlike 2019, when I used Sephiroth for only one piece, this time I let myself spam him as much as I felt like, which ended up being seven times, with one of those times counting for five days’ worth of prompts. I’d “cheated” by doubling up on prompts before, but doing five-in-one was a first. I ended up liking it so much that I did a digital colored version, which I’ll share for the first time at the end of this post.
I originally shared these images on Twitter as I drew them, but I had used my phone to take the photos, and mostly at night with artificial light. For sharing on Warped Frost, I used my scanner instead for much better image quality. I wrote in “warpedfrost.net” only on the pieces I planned on sharing here after posting them to Twitter.
Side note 1: For the time being, I don’t plan on leaving the bird site, but neither did I nor will I pay for its service. Whatever happens, I’ll be here on Warped Frost. I don’t log in every day, but any message left here, I will see eventually.
Anyway, on to it! Here are the rest of my favorite pieces from this year’s Inktober!
What was supposed to be a fast illustration turned into a night of watching videos about the pink fairy armadillo (including this nearly 50-minute documentary) and reading about yeísmo (the tendency of the sound of “ll,” which had been considered a letter in its own right in Spanish, to change into the sound of “y” across the majority of the Spanish-speaking world). On a slightly different train of thought, since Spanish words which are used in English tend to go into Japanese through English, Japanese people pronounce them in the bastardized English way even when they would be perfectly capable of pronouncing them as they’re said in Spanish. For example, “armadillo” is written in katakana in the dictionary as アルマジロ (arumajiro). The sound “di” doesn’t exist in Japanese, so using “ji” instead of the newer combination ディ (di) is understandable, but using ロ (ro) instead of ヨ (yo), which approximates the sound of “llo,” is due to the influence of English.
Not gonna lie, I felt a bit cheesy at first piling so many prompts into one illustration, but I probably wouldn’t have drawn something this ridiculous otherwise, so ultimately I’m very happy with it! Special thanks to whoever this is in the stock photo I used as reference for the pose.
Though I’ve noted before how much I enjoy High Ponytail Sephiroth, this was actually inspired by Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, an anime about…famous race horses who get reincarnated as girls in Japan…? Or something. I suppose it’s not any sillier than Uma no Prince-sama, the otome game about dating a horse who has a human face. Ahaha…
Since I do the majority of my drawings on paper first, I’ve been wishing there were a way to remove the white background from line art easily with crisp results. In the past I’d found a tip using the blending mode multiply in Photoshop, but this messed up pretty much everything else given how I do things. I figured it was time to give this search another shot, and found a technique that worked far better on the site of illustrator Christine Nishiyama:
Were it not for this, I would’ve had to re-ink the lineart digitally, which would’ve been boring for me. (When I know I’m going to color a piece digitally, I don’t ink it physically so I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing twice.) I did end up with a lot more smudges and sketchy lines visible in the digitized lineart, but I’m willing to bet that could be reduced with some adjustments. I just didn’t feel like figuring it out right now. I only made some minor corrections to the lineart, mostly in the face, and voilà! Digital lineart ready for coloring.
I thought of drawing Aerith in the far background, peeking out from behind the last tree, but I forgot. At this point, I consider this done, so that’s that.
Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, O Readers! I leave you with one last Bonus, the piece that was meant to be my FFVII Halloween piece, but I didn’t finish in time.
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seaming of a demon’s that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;