Changing Gears

Writing wasn’t going well yesterday, so I decided to change gears and do some sketching.

Normally when I say I’m sketching, I’m talking about character sketches or scene sketches, short, free-form chunks of writing that help me flesh out a character in my mind or figure out how a scene should go.

Yesterday, though, I was talking about real sketching. Pencil and paper instead of pen and ink, lines and curves that form pictures, not words. I’m by no means a great artist, and my best work comes from a computer, but I like to scribble from time to time. Doing something different, but still creative, is also a good way to jump-start my mind when I get stuck on a story.

I decided to draw this little guy. He’s a Chinese carved stamp Chad and I picked up at an antique shop during a trip a few years back:

Brown carved stamp with a rabbit on top

What I decided to sketch

The sketchbook is a tiny — and I do mean TINY — journal that I picked up a few years ago with the idea of handwriting a short story in it for a friend. That never happened, and I couldn’t find the sketchbook I was looking for, so I decided to use it for this.

First, I sketched the rabbit in pencil:

A sketch of a rabbit, done in pencil on brown paper

The sketch, in pencil

And then, because Twitter was down when I wanted to tweet the sketch and I can’t leave anything alone, I inked it with Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, using a black Esterbrook Trans J fountain pen with a 9048 Flexible Fine nib:

A sketch of a rabbit in reddish purple ink on brown paper

Final sketch, inked with Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses

The paper is a bit coarse, and the nib wasn’t too happy with it, so I didn’t use the flex much. Not that most people would really consider an Estie nib flexible. Instead, I went over the lines as necessary to add width. I’m glad I did. The sketch looked pretty good in pencil, but I think it looks great inked.

Writing is going better today, by the way. I pushed through the scene that’s been giving me trouble, and even knocked out another scene and the better part of a third. Now I’m going to make myself a cup of tea, stick a batch of banana muffins in the oven, and switch over to research for an RPG supplement for the rest of the day.

Oh, and in other news, I found out that not only did ARFP meet its $10,000 goal for the Human Race, we beat it! Final figures won’t be available for about a month, but apparently ARFP raised the third highest amount of money of all the charities who participated. So, thank you to everyone who sponsored me! Without you, we couldn’t have done it — and thanks to you, we’re going to help a lot of homeless pets this spring.

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