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Dancing Skeleton

Now that Inktober is over I can write about my experience with participating in this. Last year was the first year I’ve done this and I was naive about the whole process. I decided that I would draw whatever I wanted and I only used the official Inktober prompt list if I was stuck on what I wanted to draw on a certain day. At first I was really eager with coming up with a new drawing every day until about mid-way through the month when the novelty of doing one new drawing per day began to wear off on me. I found it to be pure drudgery to go through the hassle of thinking of an idea for a sketch, doing that sketch, photographing that sketch, then uploading it online to the blog and a bunch of social media sites that I currently belong to, including a few of the less-popular ones like Minds.com, Tumblr, and Google+. To say that it was time-consuming each day was an understatement. I only managed to keep it up without throwing in the towel by telling myself that it was only for 31 days. I didn’t realize until towards the end of Inktober that the official Inktober prompt list was released in early September and one could do drawings in advance as long as they were only done in pencil.

For my second year of participating in Inktober I made a few changes this year in how I approached this. First I decided that I would stick with doing drawings based only on the words on the official Inktober prompt list. I thought I needed a challenge and sticking to the prompt list would be a great way to challenge me. Boy did that list challenge me! Some days I found that a certain word was relatively easy and I was able to churn out a pencil sketch quick. Other days were way harder and I struggled with them. The last three days of Inktober I ended up drawing consumer products (Doublemint gum, Jolt cola, and Slice soft drink) because that was all I could think of regarding the prompt words “double,” “jolt,” and “slice.”

Since I got the official Inktober prompt list in September I had the luxury of planning out what drawings I wanted to work on and upload to this blog and the various social media sites. As for the social media sites, I basically cut back to just Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because I never got much response on the other ones where I uploaded my previous year’s Inktober drawings. Besides, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are currently the top three social media sites in the world at the moment so it makes sense to use the sites where I could attract the most eyeballs. For the first ever I uploaded a few of my Inktober drawings on both LinkedIn and Jobcase, just so I can get some more exposure of my talents as an artist. The only drawings I didn’t upload on two professional jobs-oriented sites were the ones that either featured Donald Trump, were a bit on the risqué side, or both. I only stuck with Flickr this year despite the lack of notice the previous year because I could create a slideshow of the drawings I uploaded, which is a neat feature. The big irony is that my drawings received more attention (in the form of people hitting “like”) on Flickr this year than last year. But I still don’t regret not putting my drawings on Google+, Minds.com, or Tumblr since those social media sites aren’t popular.

I also did a video version on YouTube but I decided to wait until after I finished all of my drawings and uploaded them online before I could even upload that video. (Which meant I had to wait until after I finished my last Inktober drawing on October 31.) Otherwise I just ditched the other social media sites because I didn’t want to waste my time uploading something that probably no one will ever see.

I did all of the drawings in a small hardcover 4” x 6” sketchbook. For the ink I mostly used cheap pens (such as Papermate InkJoy) that I purchased from places like Target and Five Below.

When it came time to working on the drawings themselves, I decided to use a method that’s similar to how comic books and the cells used in traditional 2D hand-drawn animation are produced. Generally a pencil drawing is made then it is shown to a manager or someone in position of authority. If the person approves it, then that drawing goes through the inking phase where the outlines, shadows, and other dark areas are covered in black ink. Again it is shown to a person in position of authority. If that person signs off on the work, then it is colored in a variety of colors.

Before Inktober began I did the drawings in pencil. I first worked on the prompts where I came up with an idea fast. Once I finished with those drawings I went back to the prompts that gave me trouble and eventually came up with pencil drawings for those as well.

Once I finished doing all of the pencils, I decided to put the drawings through the inking phase. I basically did the outlines and colored in any areas that were intended to be solid black. (There was one major exception. I only did the outlines of the whales and I waited until the allotted day before I filled in the areas with solid black ink because that drawing was a black and white drawing.) When I finished the inking phase, the only thing that was left was the coloring phase. I thought about waiting until each drawing’s allotted day until I remember last year when a huge chunk of my daily time was spent coloring. That was one of the reasons why I started to burn out on Inktober 2017 mid-way through the month. By the end I was so burned out that I came up with this solution where I spent one weekend afternoon prior to Halloween where I colored in the last week’s worth of drawings but I left just one area of each drawing blank. On that drawing’s allotted day I would color in that remaining blank area before photographing it and uploading it online just so I could say that, technically, I finished that drawing on that particular day.

So, for this year, I took a look at each drawing and did some of the coloring before October 1. For some of my easier drawings (such as the one that illustrated the word “tranquil”) I didn’t bother with coloring until the allotted day. For some of my other drawings that were either more intricate or simply required more coloring (such as the one that illustrated the word “drain”), I did the bulk of the coloring prior to October 1 while leaving just one small area blank until the allotted day when I finished coloring that small area so I could say that, technically, I actually worked on that drawing on that drawing’s allotted day.

Some of you may think that it’s cheating but it was the only way I could do this in an effort to avoid burning out like I did last year. In addition I have a lot of other things going on in my life so I just don’t have the luxury of sitting in an art studio spending hours working on a single drawing each day, photographing it, then uploading it online.

I also still have memories of when I got sick twice during Inktober last year. The first time came when I came down with a nasty cold that left me so sleepy that I could only muster working on simple drawings of a penguin and a panda bear. Fortunately I got over that cold pretty fast. The second time I got sick came right on Halloween when I had this horrible stomach flu that resulted in diarrhea and feeling very sick and queasy. I barely managed to finish my last Inktober drawing and upload it online in between trips to the toilet. I also barely managed to give out treats to the trick or treaters who stopped by my house. But once the official trick or treat time ended in my neighborhood, I got in my car and drove to a pharmacy so I could buy some medications. I ended up skipping a Halloween party that was held at a friend’s home that night because I was so sick.

I don’t know if the stress from working on Inktober drawings despite feeling burned out brought on that stomach flu but I really wanted to avoid being sick on Halloween night this time around. I feel like I succeeded because there was only one day when I felt kind of tired and under the weather and it was on Halloween itself. I took a nap in the afternoon and I suddenly felt better so I was able to give the treats out to the kids without feeling nauseated and wanting to throw up.

This year I found that the planning phase was far less stressful because I could work at my own pace without worrying about having to finish each drawing ASAP so I could take pictures and upload my latest drawing by 11:59 p.m. every night. I worked on my drawings when I had some free time and there were times when I found it quite relaxing. I also wrote rough drafts of my social media and blog posts for each drawing on each day using TextEdit on the Mac so all I had to do was to do a quick cut and paste. This year I was totally prepared for the first day of Inktober when it finally came.

It was during the preparation phase when I learned that there are alternative Inktober prompts lists submitted by others that I could’ve used instead of the official Inktober prompt list. By that point I was three-quarters of the way done with the pencil sketches so I decided that I would continue to use the official prompt list for this year because I didn’t want to deal with erasing drawings I had already done or get confused over which prompt list to use. Yeah, I could’ve followed three or more additional prompt lists and done something like three or more drawings per day based on those prompts but that would’ve been way too time-consuming. I just wasn’t into spending up to 20 hours per day doing multiple drawings based on 10 or more different prompt lists each day. Especially since I wasn’t getting paid for participating in Inktober and I needed to focus some of my time on doing things that will generate an income so I can pay the bills and buy food and gas.

So, unlike last year, I was prepared by the first day of Inktober. I had long since gotten over the feelings of burnout I felt from last year’s Inktober so I was very enthusiastic about finishing my work, photographing it, then sharing it with others on a daily basis until Halloween.

The one advantage of this preparation was that I had a relatively less-stressful Inktober compared to last year. The only big disadvantage is that I couldn’t be as spontaneous this year during Inktober itself. That was due partly to the fact that I was adhering to the official Inktober prompt 100 percent and partly to the fact that I had done so much of the drawing and inking for each day in advance that I wasn’t able to change my mind at the last minute if I wanted to draw something different, especially if there was a breaking news story. That’s why I haven’t done any drawings during Inktober that commented on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court or the recent horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside of the Saudi Embassy in Turkey or the bombs that were mailed to prominent Democrats by a fanatical Trump supporter or the shooting of African Americans in a grocery store in Louisville followed by another shooting of a synagogue in Pittsburg by other fanatical Trump supporters.

Despite all of my careful planning, there were a few snags along the way. One of them came on the second day of Inktober. (Ironically the prompt word for that day was “tranquil,” while this hurdle was anything but tranquil.) Here’s some background. Because I used cheaper pens for this project (mainly because I’m too cash-strapped to be able to purchase top-of-the-line pens at the moment), I had less color variety. One example is that I had a silver gel pen instead of a grey-colored pen that’s sold in a pen pack. I’ve been using the silver pen whenever I needed to color something grey because that’s the closest shade I currently have to grey.

So I was doing some preliminary work on my Inktober pieces before October 1 where I was using the silver pen only to have it suddenly stop working. Even though the pen indicated that there was still ink inside, it wouldn’t write. I tried scribbling on scrap paper and it wouldn’t work. I even tried shaking the pen very hard several times but to no avail. I couldn’t get the damned thing to work. That’s the problem with using cheap pens—sometimes they stop working even if there is still plenty of ink left.

I had been looking for a red pen that had ink that’s a shade lighter than the red pen I currently have and I learned that Five Below had a pen pack that had both the light red pen and the silver pen. It had other colors that I already had but I decided to shell out the $5 and buy the pack because I figured that I would have some backups available in case another colored pen suddenly ran out of ink or stopped working during Inktober.

So I was using the silver pen to finish the preliminary pre-October 1 work then I put it down. On October 2 the prompt word was “tranquil” and I was coloring in my drawing of a garden statue dog in a meditation pose using the silver ink only to discover that, halfway through, I had ran out of ink. Unfortunately the Five Below ink pack only had one silver colored pen and I know from previous shopping trips that the stores closer to my home only sold the silver pens if they were part of a multicolored pen pack. I could’ve gone back to Five Below and purchased another $5 pen pack but then I would’ve been overflowing in multicolored pens of other colors.

In an act of desperation I went into my supply of acrylic paint, pulled out my tube of silver paint along with a tiny paintbrush, and finished the drawing with that paint. I used a thin layer of paint since I was working with a drawing sketchbook and I didn’t want to risk any kind of bleeding through the pages. When I was finished I found myself satisfied with the results. I couldn’t tell the difference between the acrylic paint and the ink. I continued to use the silver acrylic paint to color in the silver areas of the rest of my Inktober drawings.

I’ll admit that I was cheating by using acrylic painting since the event is called “Inktober” and not “Paintober.” I had gotten desperate and I really wanted to continue with participating in Inktober since I had gone through much effort to plan and prepare for this. But you would be hard-pressed to see where I had used silver ink and where I used silver paint. If it weren’t for the silver paint, I would have seriously considered dropping out of Inktober after the second day.

There were times when life simply got in the way but I managed to continue participating in Inktober despite that. Early in October I was helping a client with her website as part of a publicity campaign for a series of upcoming webinars that she’s giving starting this month. I woke up early, finished with the last bit of coloring I needed to do in my latest drawing, shot a picture of it, then worked on that other project with the client from 9 a.m-5 p.m. There was still work left to be done but she needed to get a haircut and get dinner so I had a two-hour break where I uploaded my latest Inktober drawing online, ate dinner, then headed back to the client’s home to work on that website from 7-9 p.m.

Then there was the last Saturday in October when I went to a free Educamp event with a friend that was held at Loyola College’s Columbia, Maryland campus where I had to wake up early so I could quickly finish the last bit of drawing, take a photo, and upload it to my computer. I managed to upload that drawing online during some downtime at that day-long conference then continue with participating in that conference.

Despite my preparations for this year weeks ahead of time, I still had the challenge of distractions, especially the last week of Inktober. One was Halloween but that one will always be a distraction for me as long as I continue to participate in Inktober. This year there were horrors that literally rocked this country, such as the mailing of bombs to various liberal left-leaning politicians and celebrities like Barack Obama and Robert De Niro while Donald Trump wasn’t doing very much to denounce this blatant act of terrorism that happened during the last week of October. Compared to this ongoing drama, the drawings I posted during the last week of Inktober seemed frivolous by comparison (such as the ones featuring Lamb Chop and my late pet hedgehog Spike, which were both uploaded during this time). Those mail bombs were followed by shootings of African Americans in Louisville and a synagogue in Pittsburgh, both by white supremacist Trump supporters while I uploaded drawings featuring Stretch Armstrong and Thor. I still managed to get some attention and even some “Likes” on this blog and social media despite these extraordinary times so maybe there were people who just wanted a brief escape from all this horrible news.

The only thing that improved for me was the burned-out feeling. Last year that feeling started midway through the month and I found it a major challenge to keep going. This year I didn’t start feeling burned out until the last week but that was easier to handle since Inktober was going to end in a matter of days instead of weeks.

Despite the chronic burnout feeling, I have to admit that this morning I found it strange that I didn’t have to finish drawing anything then photographing and uploading that drawing online. I’ll eventually get used to not to have to adhere to a daily drawing deadline. At least I can use the time spent on Inktober on other things around the house that needs to be done.

There were some positive memorable moments during Inktober. Unlike last year, when my father-in-law passed away during October, there were no deaths of people who are close to me, which was pretty nice.

I was uploading certain select Inktober drawings on to Jobcase, which, like LinkedIn, is also a professional site. While LinkedIn overshadows Jobcase, the latter is increasing in popularity. Well, one of my Inktober posts earned me the award of Jobcaser of the Day. As a result, I got a free $100 Amazon gift card, which is awesome! Now the hard part is to decide what to purchase from that site. (LOL!)

Another high point came when I uploaded my drawing of Poison Ivy taking revenge on Donald Trump for trying to grab her pussy. My Instagram drawing was liked by Jimmy Palomiotti, who’s a writer of a number of Harley Quinn comic books. (Poison Ivy frequently makes a guest appearance in that comic book series and there are hints that she and Harley are friends with benefits, if you catch my drift.) That was pretty cool!

I also got a few positive comments by Madonna Girl Dale when I posted that drawing featuring her on Instagram.

I got a positive comment from Reverend Valentine when I posted that drawing featuring her and Devil Dinosaur on Facebook.

All in all it was a pretty good Inktober for me. The work I did for Inktober fell into the following categories (which you can click on if you missed some of my drawings I did over the past month):

Animals: Meditating dog, Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia, chicken, drooling dog, Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, killer whales, Delirium Red (with pink elephant), dragon, Lamb Chop, hedgehog sniffing a rose, raven

Comic Book Characters: Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, Poison Ivy with Donald Trump, Thor

Consumer Product: Delirium Red beer, Doublemint gum, Jolt cola, Slice soft drink

DC Comics: Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, Poison Ivy with Donald Trump

Disney: Snow White, Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Merida from Brave, Thor

Fan Art: Snow White, Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Madonna and Madonna Girl Dale, Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Merida from Brave, Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, Poison Ivy with Donald Trump, Bubbles, Lamb Chop, Stretch Armstrong, Thor

Fantasy/Fairy Tales: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Merida from Brave, dragon

Flora and Fauna: Poison Ivy with Donald Trump, hedgehog sniffing a rose

Food and Beverage: Roasted chicken, Delirium Red beer, eggs, Doublemint gum, Jolt cola, Slice soft drink

Marvel Comics: Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Thor

Pixar: Merida from Brave

Places: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Bromo Seltzer Clock Tower in Baltimore

Political Humor: Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, Poison Ivy with Donald Trump, Donald Trump

Real People: Madonna and Madonna Girl Dale, Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, Poison Ivy with Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Muddy Waters, the Doublemint Twins

Signs: Gas prices, gift with a sign

Singers/Musicians/Performers/Models: Madonna and Madonna Girl Dale, Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Muddy Waters, the Doublemint Twins

Technology: Robot

Toy: Stretch Armstrong

Video Games: Bubbles

This year I decided to do something different. I decided to count the number of “likes” each Inktober drawing got. That was easier said than done because I haven’t figured out how to count these likes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Jobcase, or Twitter. So I decided to limit my counts strictly to Instagram, Flickr, and this blog because those were easy to tally. (I’m also assuming that different people hit the “like” buttons, although it’s possible that one person could’ve hit “like” on the same drawing on Instagram, Flickr, and this blog. LOL!) During Inktober I did a total of 32 drawings (I did two drawings on Halloween while I only did one drawing on all of the other days that month). As of today the Top Ten (Plus One) Inktober Drawings are:

1. Poison Ivy with Donald Trump

2. Delirium Red beer

3. Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia

4. Muddy Waters

5-8 (Tied): Sleeping Beauty, Harley Quinn with Donald Trump, dragon, hedgehog sniffing a rose

9-11 (Tied): Donald Trump, Bubbles, gas prices

And here are the bottom five of my Inktober drawings:

28-30 (Tied): Lamb Chop, Stretch Armstrong, the Doublemint Twins

31-32 (Tied): Reverend Valentine and Devil Dinosaur, Jolt cola

For next year I’m toying with the idea of using a word from each different prompt list as inspirations for future Inktober drawings. (That’s assuming that I will actually take part in Inktober next year. I really can’t promise anything a year in advance because I’ve been through a lot of chaos over the past few years and it’s possible that something might happen to me at this time next year that would prevent me from participating in another Inktober.) It would go like this: day one would be based on a prompt from the official Inktober prompt list, day two would be based on a prompt from a fairy tale prompt list, day three would be based on a prompt from a monster prompt list, day four would be based on a pirate prompt list, day five would be based on a flower prompt list and so on. The one advantage is that I would have a lot more variety in my Inktober drawings, which would be pretty cool, and I would still be challenged to draw something that I would have never thought about drawing on my own.

I’ll end this post with a video I did of all the drawings I did during Inktober.

If you prefer to view each of my drawings at your own pace without music, here’s my Flickr slideshow of the same drawings. (Just click on the illustration below to begin the slideshow.)

Inktober 2018

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Dancing Skeleton

Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “slice.” Like yesterday the only thing I could think of was a certain brand of soft drink. So I drew a can of Slice carbonated soft drink. I occasionally drink Slice if I’m at a friend’s house or an event at my church. (Usually I drink the lemon lime flavor because it tastes like Sprite.)

And on that note, this is the last drawing I did based on the official Inktober prompt list. I have to admit that adhering strictly to that list was harder than I thought it would be. There were some prompts where I came up with an idea really quick and I was able to whip that drawing to match the prompt very fast. But there were others that gave me a lot of trouble and I ended up doing some drawings that I would never have otherwise drawn, such as today’s prompt, where I could only think of Slice soft drink.

After I finished that drawing I was basically satisfied except for one thing. Today is not only the last day of Inktober but it’s also Halloween as well. I really didn’t like the idea of ending Inktober with a drawing that I could’ve done any other time of the year and it’s based on a consumer product that I could care less about. (Like I wrote earlier, I only drank Slice if I was at a friend’s party or church event and that was what they had available to drink.) I noticed both last year and this year that other Inktober participants were doing two or more drawings per day while using the Inktober hashtag on all of them, even though the original idea is supposed to be that you did only one drawing per day for 31 days in a row. So I decided that since it was Halloween and since other people were drawing more than one drawing per day during Inktober, I would do a second drawing as well. Here is the result:

After deciding between a witch, a vampire, and a skeleton, I remembered Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “The Raven” so I decided to draw that bird saying “Nevermore.” I found a free tutorial on how to draw a raven so I based my drawing on that. The original tutorial said to color the raven in different shades of grey and black and I currently only have one black ink pen so I drew a less-detailed bird and drew it more of a silhouette or shadow. It would be the kind of design that one could easily use as a logo to sell something like Raven Beer or Raven Snacks or Raven Gas or Raven Fashion or Raven Shoes or Raven Nightclub or something like that. I decided to ink the “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” letters in purple mainly because that’s one of the official colors of the Baltimore Ravens football team.

After spending the last 31 days doing drawings based on the official Inktober prompt list, it felt liberating to try drawing whatever I wanted to draw. I don’t regret sticking with the official Inktober prompt list this year because, in some ways, it provided more of a challenge for me. In other ways it was hard because there were some prompts that literally stumped me and it took me longer to decide what I was going to draw to illustrate that prompt.

These two drawings mark the official end of my participation in Inktober 2018. From now on I’ll add new drawings in my small sketchbook only if I get a sudden flash of inspiration and I feel the desire to draw in that sketchbook. Even then I won’t be doing a new drawing every single day because it can get pretty tiring after a while. I’ll write a separate post about what insight I gained from participating in Inktober this year.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “jolt.” The only thing I could think of was Jolt Cola, which billed itself as “All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine.” I used to drink it on occasion back in the 1980s and it was normally whenever I was very tired and I needed to stay awake (such as when I’m working at a job and I couldn’t get off for another few hours). I remembered that Jolt tasted okay (although I preferred Coke and Pepsi) but it definitely did a good job of keeping me awake. So I drew a can of Jolt Cola.

Tomorrow is the last day of Inktober 2018. Hooray!

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Thanks to Inktober I’ve been drawing a lot this month. If doing 30+ drawings over a 31-day period isn’t enough, I went to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in downtown Washington, DC. Yeah, I definitely did a lot of drawing this month. (LOL!)

I initially took some photos around Dupont Circle. I saw this homeless man sleeping underneath a Krispy Kreme sign.

When I first saw this man walking around with a sandwich board that said “final days,” I thought he was one of those crazy street preachers announcing the end of the world was coming soon. Actually he was announcing a store that was going out of business soon.

A Google ad sign at a bus stop regarding IT training.

The last time I was in Dupont Circle was back in June where I saw plenty of anti-Trump graffiti. Most of that graffiti that I photographed the last time is gone but it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole where you get rid of anti-Trump graffiti and new anti-Trump graffiti spring up in their place.

Many merchants in Dupont Circle were involved in a special promotion with Apple Pay when I was there. They displayed signs in fancy type fonts.

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron. Here’s a shot of my art supplies during intermission between modeling sessions.

A burlesque performer named Valeria Voxx was the model for this event and, yes, some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “double.” This was yet another prompt that I had a hard time dealing with. The only thing I could think of was those ads for Doublemint gum featuring identical twins. Through the Wikipedia I learned that 21-year-old Jayne and Joan Boyd were the first set of twins who appeared in Doublemint’s television ads way back in 1959. (They were born Jayne and Joan Knoerzer but used their mother’s maiden name professionally.) So I drew those twins based on the vintage print ads I saw online.

One interesting fun fact was that at one point Joan and Jayne actually cut a 33 1/3 EP record titled “Double Your Pleasure” (which also happens to be the official Doublemint gum ad slogan). Their gig as spokespersons for Doublemint ended in 1963 when Joan became pregnant. Information about them have been scant since their reign as the Doublemint Twins ended other than that they both got married and changed their last names, Jayne now lives in Beverly Hills, California, and the twins’ mother died in 1991.

Over the years other twins have shown up in TV ads representing Doublemint gum. I used to chew Doublemint gum when I was growing up (along with Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum) but I haven’t purchased any packs of chewing gum in years. But I definitely remember growing up seeing ads featuring identical twins hawking Doublemint gum. It turns out that even though Doublemint gum can still be found on sale in many places, Wrigley have long since dropped the Doublemint Twins ads and it has even stopped advertising Doublemint gum on TV.

Just two days to go until Inktober 2018 ends.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “gift.” I drew something a bit more serious for this prompt. Ever since my marriage abruptly collapsed in late 2011 I had to deal with financial struggle while I had a series of jobs that were either short-lived, poorly paid, or both. I read Melody Beattie’s book The Language of Letting Go where she had one suggestion of writing your deepest wish on a piece of paper or just saying it out loud. The idea is to put your message out in the universe. She said that doing this can get results. When I was doing rough drawings in pencil a few weeks ago, I decided to write down my biggest wish in the hopes that it will come true. I’m currently doing freelance work for a therapist on an upcoming webinar series that will probably end next month and I’m currently helping someone else with her eBay sales but the latter is through the local timebank so I’m only going to get time banking hours, not paid hours. For me having my wish come true would be a gift for me.

Three more days and three more drawings until this Inktober is finally finished.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “thunder.” I have to admit that this prompt was a bit of a challenge mainly because thunder is a noise that’s not visible. But then I thought about an ancient god of thunder and I did a Google search. One of the suggestions was Thor, the ancient Norse thunder god. In addition some of the searches brought up the Marvel Comics version of Thor. I remember reading that comic book when I was a kid and there have been a few movies released in recent years featuring him. (Although I must confess that I have never seen any of them.) I based this drawing on a comic book cover from the late 1970s since this Thor is close to my memory of the Thor from my childhood.

Four more drawings in four more days until Inktober ends.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “stretch.” The only thing I could think of was drawing Stretch Armstrong, which was a rubber toy action figure that kids could stretch as far as they possibly could without ripping the toy in half.

I never had a Stretch Armstrong toy myself but I saw kids in my neighborhood playing with this, especially the boys. Anyway, just five more days until Inktober 2018 ends.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “prickly.” I came up with an idea of doing a drawing based on a photograph I took of my late pet hedgehog Spike sniffing a rose that had thorns. I had purchased the rose from Wegmans around Easter and I decided to try putting it in Spike’s outdoor playpen to see how he would react to it. He initially moved the rose with his head a few times but then I managed to shoot a photo of Spike sniffing that rose. (He only sniffed that rose for a few seconds before he decided to move on to sniffing the dirt, the fallen leaves, and the grass that was in the process of growing from the ground.) Here’s the drawing I did based on that photograph.

I submitted the photograph that my drawing was based on to the Greenbelt Labor Day Photo Show and it won a third place ribbon in the Pets category. I later exhibited that photo at other local art shows. Spike the Hedgehog passed away suddenly five years ago last month. He had lived with me for a year and a half at the time of his death. I haven’t had a pet since due mainly to shaky finances. But I will never forget Spike no matter how long I live.

Just six more days and six more drawings until the end of Inktober.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “chop.” It was yet another prompt word that I struggled with until I remembered a character from my childhood. Lamb Chop was a puppet that was operated by Shari Lewis. Lamb Chop had a childlike voice and she was pretty cute. I used to see her and Shari Lewis guest star on various TV shows. Shari Lewis died in 1998 but I learned through the Wikipedia that Shari’s daughter, Mallory Lewis, now operates the puppet. She has the performing rights to Lamb Chop while DreamWorks have the main legal rights now.

I wrote some information about Lamb Chop below the drawing mainly because I wasn’t sure if younger people would have even gotten the reference. That’s because Shari Lewis has been dead for 20 years and I haven’t heard much about Lamb Chop since her death. But then, just a week or two ago, long after I did the initial pencil draft and inking of the outlines and lettering of this drawing, I happened to be doing some grocery shopping at Giant when I saw these Halloween-themed plush squeak toys for dogs.

Yes, it’s Lamb Chop wearing a witch hat in a variety of colors. It’s nice to know that Lamb Chop haven’t been entirely forgotten.

Just seven more days and seven more drawings until Inktober 2018 ends.

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