About Jane Hannah

Canadian graphic artist, painter, sketcher, typographer, calligrapher and teacher at Cégep John Abbott College in Québec, Canada. Jane Hannah also has a website for her students at www.gimligraphics.com and a main blog at www.janehannah.com. She is also part of the Montreal Urban Sketchers.

:: You had time ::

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How can I go home
With nothing to say
I know you’re going to look at me that way
And say what did you do out there?
And what did you decide?
You said you needed time
And you had time

You are a china shop

And I am a bull
You are really good food
And I am full
I guess everything is timing
I guess everything’s been said
So I am coming home with an empty head
— You had time by Ani DiFranco

Oh boy! Watercolour papers are a diverse bunch of papers! When I started painting a few years back, I used to love the Moleskine Watercolour Notebook and then a couple of years later while experimenting with other papers the Moleskine was put aside as I preferred most of the other ones. This morning when I picked it up again, I decided to paint with watercolours (not India Ink) and wow! I love it again! Such a strange relationship that we have with these beautiful papers. In the same way, some of the colours that I have used in the past have been put aside to be replaced by other ones and sometimes they come back in – they are sneaky like that – wouldn’t you say?

On Sundays, while I am working or painting I always listen to music and today was an Ani DiFranco type of day. One of the softest songs is You had time…

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Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Notebook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF (the 3776 is the height in meters of Mount Fuji)
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Pyrrol Crimson, DS Cerulean Chromium, W&N Burnt Sienna

Here is my present palette colours which I am really enjoying as they contain the colours that I love. The next one that I will exchange is the MC Azo Yello as I find it too opaque…

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:: November Day ::

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I’ve learned that no matter what happens,
or how bad it seems today,
life does go on,
and it will be better tomorrow.
— Maya Angelou

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Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon Namiki SEF
Ink Wash: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink

:: Just my type of place ::

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All the fine winds gone
And this sweet world is so much older
Animals pull the night around their shoulders
Flowers fall to their naked knees
Here I come now, here I come
I hear you been out there looking for something to love
The dark force that shifts at the edge of the tree
It’s alright, it’s alright
When you turn so long and lovely, it’s hard to believe
That we’re falling now in the name of the Anthrocene
— Anthrocene by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Sometimes when you enter a building and you look around you and assess the place and wham! You love it? Well, this is definitely my kind of place. This beautiful grand desk filled with books, papers and of course fountain pens is just in my style. I took out my Bombay Black India Ink bottle to create the washes and am quite satisfied with the different values that it gave me, going from a soft light gray to quite dark values.

On another note, the semester is in full swing, a whole lot of correcting and prepping to do and just being present for the students is quite engaging, to say the least.

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Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki Falcon SEF

:: Doughnuts & Life ::

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As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult,
but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.

— Vincent van Gogh

Why do you think that someone like me would draw doughnuts? Well, because they are spherical thus difficult to draw and paint, at least for me. So after many months of not having touched a paintbrush, these small subjects made me realize that I am sooo rusty and my eyes are having trouble judging foreshortening. For those of you in the know, you probably understand this, and these were my 5th and 6th attempts… the other ones were just good for the recycling bin. No matter, I had fun doing these. The colours that I used for the doughnut were mainly Raw Sienna & Burnt Sienna as a first wash. Did you know that there are actually poems that have been written on doughnuts? Hah-hah! Funny!

Paper: Handbook field watercolour journal
Colours: Lemon Yellow, Q. Rose, French Ultramarine Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna

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:: The Lost Words ::

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“Once Upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”

I have a book at home called The Lost Words and it is a gorgeous spell book. This is the excerpt on the back sleeve. “…When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter and willow. The words were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these lost words were replaced by attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world. In response, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that would conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature….”

If you are interested in reading more about this beautiful book here is a link. So with this in mind, one of the sketches that I will be asking my students to complete will be creating an acrostic poem and drawing its being for a “lost” natural being that they could not part with in this world… I chose a tree -)))

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Art Plus Large

:: Learning to draw… ::

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“We are not born focusing, it’s an acquired skill that requires initial effort and constant upgrading.”

In this day and age, with multiple electronic devices at our fingertips, it is easy to divert our attention to the technology at hand and take away our focus on what needs to be done. The word that is very popular with my students is procrastination: to postpone or delay needlessly.

So to come back to my ramblings… how does an artist learn how to draw, or paint? Is it by copying from the Masters? Is it by drawing/painting in plein air, alive with the elements? Is it by observation? Or is it with the imagination? In my point of view, all answers ring true! I would just suggest to alternate between: sketching from life, working from the imagination and copying from the Masters. And a big thank you to James Gurney who initially sent out this valuable information on his blog…

So for this coming semester, I will try to let the students delve into these three methods of drawing. For the first exercise I will ask them to draw 18 emojis… and this should be from their imagination. The second exercise will be copying from the Masters. The following apple was drawn using curving lines to show the swelling of the apple. I am relying on The Prang Elementary Course in Art Instruction. In this book, examples are shown on the left side of the page what the student is expected to copy on the right hand side. I actually redid the drawing myself as I am hoping that because I did the drawing students will relate more readily than with a very old book… hah-hah!

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Large 5″x8″

 

:: Coloured version emojis ::

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Different watercolour papers take paint differently and the new Moleskine Sketchbook which is identified as Art Plus is made for drawing, even though it takes some washes and you do not have to scrub them in as much as with the older versions of the Moleskine Sketchbooks.  It is an improved paper for watercolours, and I feel a bit nostalgic about losing the scrubby texture the older paper used to give me… hah! Things change…

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Watercolours: New Gamboge DS, Q. Rose DS, Antwerp Blue W&N
Sketchbook: Moleskine Art+ Sketchbook, Large

:: 18 emojis ::

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“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
C. Northcote Parkinson, British scholar

I have been prepping in a kind of a frenzy these last few days as I procrastinated this summer… too well for my liking and habits — hah-hah! I promised myself that I will do as I usually do and start prepping once my final grades are in next May.

For my drawing class I have been teaching different sketching techniques hoping that the majority of my students catch one technique that they will aspire to. Well I have to admit that almost 50% of the students can’t see or apply the different techniques and seem to draw in the same manner as they were taught when they were very young.

So with the help of a very old drawing book by Pranks, I decided to try something new. Learn from the masters by replicating what they are seeing! I myself have been astonished by what I have learned over the years with this technique — quite a revelation. So I am giving it a go for this semester and hope that this might ease some student anxiety over the “blank” page and help them to start drawing.

My first exercise is to see their creativity by getting them to draw 18 different Emojis in their sketchbook… a way for me to look into their creativity and imagination levels! I had fun drawing these and I will be painting them too a bit later on…

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″

:: Soft petal day ::

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I must study politics and war so that my sons
may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy,
geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation,
commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children
a right to study painting, poetry, music,
architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

— John Adams, founder, 1735

A soft, warm and dry day in Rigaud today and as I have not dabbled in watercolours for quite a while, I painted one of my iris drawings after having totally ruined another drawing that I had just done of a beautiful Ostrya virginiana leave, trunk & flower… also commonly known as a Hophornbeam or Ironwood and Bois de fer in french in Québec.

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Watercolours: DS New Gamboge, DS Q. Rose, and W&N Antwerp Blue
Sketchbook: Stillman & Birn Gamma Series

:: Just in time ::

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Each day has its own individuality of colour.
— Hawthorne on Painting

Flowers are in bloom here in Quebec, just in time to cooperate with my slowly recovering energy levels and the urge to draw. For those of you who did not know, I had an operation and now all is well — finally. I am starting to live again and it feels so good. Here in Rigaud the bugs are alive and feisty as we had a cold spring and I think that all of the mosquitoes waited to emerge at the same time in my backyard… real little pests they are, but the birds are singing galore and they are feasting and feeding their hatchlings.

I had never realized this before, but drawing and painting need high concentration levels and energy. You have to be in the moment and you have to stay in the moment, for quite a while I might add… so could we call drawing or painting a “meditation in observation”? Well I guess that it depends if you draw/paint directly from observation as plein-air artists do, or if you draw from your imagination with references? Or if you draw from your imagination without references? Have you ever tried without references? It is really hard but it is essential in developing your visual memory.

So no matter which way that you draw, and I do recommend that you rotate your habitual way of drawing to accommodate all three ways, drawing is good for you!

Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Paper: Stillman & Birn, Gamma Series 9″x6″

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A language not our own…

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Listening to Radiohead’s Kid A album, Rigaud is awash with sleets of ice rain, bouts of rain and some snow… perfect temperature to stay warm inside and get back to some drawing. Are you like me? I tend to read many books at the same time and I am reading four at the moment… each book lives in a specific room, reflecting that rooms ruminations. One of the books that I am reading gives me peace and tranquillity and a deep longing for spring to finally arrive… after the icy winter that we have just endured.

“Braiding Sweetgrass, an Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer opens up a world for the mind, body, emotion & spirit and is a hymn to the world. Here is an excerpt:

“…I come here to listen, to nestle in the curve of the roots in a soft hollow of pine needles, to lean my bones against the column of whit pine, to turn off the voice in my head until I can hear the voices outside it: the shhh of wind in needles, water trickling over rock, nuthatch tapping, chipmunks digging, beechnut falling,  mosquito in my ear, and something more — something that is not me, for which we have no language, the wordless being of others in which we are never alone. After the drumbeat of my mother’s heart, this was my first language. Listening in wild places, we are audience to conversations in a language not our own…”.

Paper: Stillman & Birn, 9″ x 6″, Gamma series
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: I worried…. by Mary Oliver ::

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I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the river
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

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Health, love, wisdom & a long life!

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Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.
— Charles Dickens.

I wish you health, love, wisdom & a long life!

Learning from the Masters such as Winslow Homer is illuminating! I discovered that I could mix the colour Burnt Umber, which is a brown, into the sky which I would never have done otherwise. I also learnt that all of his colours are muted, except for the woman’s hat, the sky, the sea and the date tree. I really enjoyed painting this. In a way it is much easier to imitate than to actually paint on one’s own as all of the figuring out has already been done for you. This one is for you Gaétan!

Paper: Stillman & Birn, gamma series, 6″ x 9″
Colours: New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Pyrrol Crimson, Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue & Ultramarine
Original painting: Winslow Homer 1836-1910 “Along the road in the Bahamas20181231-winslow-homer-jane-hannah-loRes

 

:: Winter solstice ::

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I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says
‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).

The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an important day for us in the northern hemisphere as this is the day that has the longest night and the shortest day of the year… so this means that tomorrow the days are starting to grow longer… already! Ancient cultures viewed this day as a day of death and rebirth. This fills my heart up with joy as the promise of spring is coming, even if it will not appear before mid-April. And to add to this day, there will be a full Cold Moon.

Here is another beautiful poem by the great Ursula K. Le Guin

HOW IT SEEMS TO ME
In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.
— Ursula K. Le Guin

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:: When day is done ::

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When day is done and I reach my gate,
I come to a realm where there is no hate,
For here, whatever my worth may be,
Are those who cling to their faith in me;
And with love on guard at my humble door,
I have all that the world has struggled for.
— by Edgar Guest (1881-1959)

What better way of giving than to offer a piece of art? So for those of you who are pressed for time, or simply don’t know what to buy or would like to peruse a few of my paintings & drawings, here is an easy way! Just click here for either a digital version or a printed version of some of my paintings & drawings that I have done over the years. An added perk is that the texts are written in English & in French!
http://www.blurb.ca/b/8458456-a-few-stories-with-watercolours-and-drawings

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:: Ring your own bell ::

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No reaction at all — extinction — wears away on the individual until the behaviour grinds to a halt. This is a danger for artists who struggle in a vacuum. Joining clubs, exhibiting online, sending work away to distant galleries, inviting trusted friends to come over and critique goes part of the way, but it doesn’t always ring the bell. Art is a rare pursuit where participants have to learn to ring their own bells.

In my Creative Workflow class, students need to draw a complex line art drawing, then convert it into a digital format using Adobe Illustrator then bring it into Photoshop to actually paint it in watercolour with the help of a Wacom Intuos Pro digital tablet. The end result is usually quite amazing! The students also seem to love it, as they seem to go into a very zen mood.

I use my watercolour painting palette, scan it in, bring it into Photoshop, and then use the eyedropper tool to extract the actual colours and then proceed to paint with the Mixer Brush… which actually does what the tool says that it does. It mixes the colours together. I have been playing with this tool and I have actually managed to use a limited palette for this flower. So I have screened-shot my Photoshop screen so that you can see how I work and see the result.

Medium: Adobe CC Photoshop

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:: Flanders Fields ::

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
     We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
     Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— by John McCrae, May 1915

For Remembrance Day I decided of course to paint poppies and I used a wet-in-wet technique… which means to totally immerse your paper in water and then sponge off the excess. The paper that I used did not soak up that much water to my surprise! But hey! I am no aficionado!!! This poem to me would make a wonderful song… has it been done? Does anyone know?

Paper: The Langton from Daler Rowley (which I bought in London — hahah)
Watercolours: DS Pyrrol Scarlet, MG Ultramarine & some DS New Gamboge

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:: No more borders ::

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Next Saturday is our annual Square Foot Exhibition and I hope that you will be able to come and say hello if you live somewhat close to this property.

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Drawing people is difficult for me… and as you can see today I drew a man that turned out to be a woman! So hard to get the exact likeness…20181104-profile-drawing-jane-hannah

:: Flowing ::

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— SOLD —

A canvas may be measured with inches,
but the speed with which you travel over it is regulated by the artist.
— The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

I have been swamped with correcting student projects as this week alone I corrected 175 of them on top of department meetings so my Inktober resolve has disintegrated into work-related activities… oh well… it was to be expected…

I am preparing for the Square Foot Art Exhibition taking place on Saturday November 10th in Senneville and this is one of the drawings that I will be displaying. If you feel like it, you can drop by and say hello or even buy one of the 100 paintings that will be displayed on that day by 25 artists. All for a very good cause as some of the funds are going to the Montreal Old Brewery Mission.

Paper: Fluid 100 12″ x 12″
Fountain Pen: Platinum Century 3776
Ink: De Atramantis Document Black

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:: Lighthouses ::

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Writing… is an act of faith: I believe it’s also an act of hope, the hope that things can get better than they are.
— Margaret Atwood

In the province of Quebec there are 43 lighthouses and are enjoying a second life as they are being converted into museums, inns or cottages. As I have been on the Inktober 2018 prompt trail for 13 days in a row, I needed a bit of colour in my life, so I think that I did overdo it a tad… but no matter, it was fun!

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:: Inktober 13 :: Guarded ::

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An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal.
A walk for a walk’s sake.
— Paul Klee

Still listening to Thom Yorke and his mesmerizing voice, words and music. Catching up with Inktober prompts today and this is my last one of the day. I love dogs and here is a sheepdog guarding his flock of sheep.

Paper: Moleskine Japanese Album
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF

#inktober2018 #inktober #sheep #dog #guarded #drawing #ink

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:: Inktober 12 :: Whale ::

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This is a waltz thinking about our bodies
What they mean for our salvation
With only the clothes that we stand up in
Just the ground on which we stand
Is the darkness ours to take?
Bathed in lightness, bathed in heat

All is well, as long as we keep spinning
Here and now, dancing behind a wall
When the old songs and laughter we do
Are forgiven always and never been true

When I arrive, will you come and find me?
Or in a crowd, be one of them?
Wore the wrong sign back beside her
Know tomorrow’s at peace
— Suspirium by Thom Yorke

Listening to the haunting song “Suspirium” by Thom Yorke (Radiohead) in which the piano plays like a lullaby. I had so many images come up for the whale prompt today and I chose to do a bit of a surreal world… What I am really enjoying is painting with inks as even once you have put them on the page, you can pull them this way and that way, add water or almost do whatever you want with them as they take a long time to dry. Ideal for playing around with inks & effects -)

Paper: Moleskine Japanese Album
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF

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:: Inktober 11 :: Cruel ::

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Dogs can never speak the language of humans, and humans can never speak the language of dogs. But many dogs can understand almost every word humans say, while humans seldom learn to recognize more than half a dozen barks, if that. And barks are only a small part of the dog language. A wagging tail can mean so many things. Humans know that it means a dog is pleased, but not what a dog is saying about his pleasedness.
— Dodie Smith from The 101 Dalmatians

After a day at work, my imagination is low so I just painted a favourite cartoon character of mine, Cruella Deville from The 101 Dalmatians! Her name comes from combining the words “cruel” and “evil”.

Fountain pen: Pilot Namiki SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink and then I painted with DeAtramentis DocumentFog Grey Ink .

#inktober2018 #inktober #Cruella #Drawing #Painting

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:: Inktober 9 :: Precious ::

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A line is a dot that went for a walk.
— Paul Klee

On October 9th 2004 I wrote in my journal that the fall foliage was at its most beautiful… and today, October 10th, the colours are at their most stunning in my region. With rain announced and some high winds, this might be the only day that the trees are heavy with leaves marking this day as so precious. So I had to paint one of the beautiful trees that line up our street. A bit of ink, and a lot of watercolours -)

I first painted the background sky, then I painted the foliage and I finished with the tree trunk and limbs. I think that in my earnestness I painted in too many limbs…

#inktober2018 #inktober #watercolour #tree #fall #foliage

Paper: The Langton from Daler Rowney

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