Inktober 2020

In 2018 I attended a fabulous evening for the finalists of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year at Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in Mayfair. It is fair to say Clarendon looked after us very well and we were all very happy by the end of the evening. I was there with my wife and eldest daughter, Frances.

Perhaps unwisely, with the benefit of hindsight, I had brought down a small drawing of Sean Connery as James Bond for one of Fran’s friends to give to her brother. After the party and a late supper Fran took a bus home and we took a taxi to our hotel. The next morning Fran admitted to having left the picture on the bus! It was no big deal, I did another and posted it.

But that episode had got me thinking about randomness and the thought of someone picking up the envelope and finding a random drawing of Sean Connery. I like to think they kept it rather than throwing it in the bin. In 2019 I produced a series of six postcard sized pieces of the boats at Staithes to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Cleveland Way. They were designed to join together but they were exhibited and sold individually. So, unless one person bought all six, they have been separated forever even though they should be together.

This lead me to come up with the idea of individual postcards for each prompt in Inktober 2020 and to send them out to various friends, relatives, regular clients and other artists I know and simply send them as postcards with a stamp, no protection and not in an envelope. Just to see how many made it to their intended recipients. This is the list of prompts from Jake Parker for 2020:

I started with an easy win of a Brown Trout to send to my good friend John, a keen angler. I did it on a regular postcard. It was great to draw on and to use my inking stamps but it didn’t take the watercolour that well. I didn’t discover that until after I had stamped all 31 regular cards with their prompts!!!

I abandoned the regular postcards in favour of watercolour cards and continued with the daily prompts.

I tried to make each postcard relatable to the recipient as often as I could which meant sometimes a prompt lead to two or three variations for particular people. The prompt for day 23 was RIP. It took this as Rest in Peace and produced drawings of Lemmy and George Michael. Unfortunately, I made George look like a 70’s magician at my first attempt! It still went out.

Sometimes the prompt just made me want to draw more. Day 29 being a case in point. I love shoe design and women’s shoe design in particular. I chose to draw shoes by Jimmy Choo and Vivienne Westwood which I had seen and sketched at the V&A ‘Pleasure & Pain’ exhibition in 2016.

The final prompt was CRAWL. Well, those of you who know or follow me will know I love to draw a boozer. So what better, a virtual pub crawl. Although I did get a little carried away and ended up finishing these on the first day of November with a headache. Clearly my photography skills were impaired too!

So that was Inktober 2020. Probably the one I have had most fun with. Lots of variations in style and techniques. Lots of variation in subject matter. I was a little disappointed when every postcard found its intended recipient. Although some took a long time to get there. It was a good feeling to simply send things out for free and lighten the mood in challenging times. Not once did I mention the C word!

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