Create motion effects in ink
Socar Myles demonstrates an inking technique that favours value over line, to create beautiful lighting and motion effects
My illustration career began with a portfolio filled with digital painting. There’s no end to what can be done with a computer. I enjoyed it at first: after all, learning something new is always a blast. But after a couple of years, I realised I’d never quite got used to looking at the screen, while drawing on a plastic tablet in my lap.
Worse still, my poor colour perception was getting in the way. People kept describing my work as “monochromatic.” It was supposed to be bright and cheerful. I wasn’t getting the idea across. So, rather than despairing, I decided to embrace the monochrome entirely. I cleared out my portfolio and returned to something that had served me well in the past: a pen.
Pen and ink has always been my favourite medium: not only is it conveniently cheap, but I like everything about it, from the way it gives me precise control over every dot and whorl, to the
August 2015 feel of the nib as it scratches the tooth of the paper.
When I draw, I try to present the world the way I perceive it, rather than the way it really is. I don’t want to show people what was there in front of me: I want to force them to see what I saw, get the feelings I got, maybe think some of the same thoughts. I usually forget to wear my specs, so the world I see is a bit blurry, a bit dreamy, and filled with details my brain has inserted, to make up for what I can’t quite make out.
I like to add things that aren’t there when I draw from life or from memory: these things stand in for the thoughts that crossed my mind, while I admired the scene in front of me. It sounds arrogant, but I want everyone to understand the whole experience, from my perspective: what was there, and what I thought of it.
Every morning, just after sunrise, I sit on the steps just outside my building and watch the neighbourhood wake up. I get most of my ideas from doing this. I see weird-looking people; I draw them. I see a bird I can’t identify; I draw that, and put it on Facebook, and hope someone identifies it for me. I stare blankly into space, seeing nothing, mind wandering; I draw that, as well.