Cre­ate mo­tion ef­fects in ink

Socar Myles demon­strates an ink­ing tech­nique that favours value over line, to cre­ate beau­ti­ful light­ing and mo­tion ef­fects

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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.

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