Here’s a new sketch, as my half-done projects (an elaborate embroidery, and another calendar repaint) remain stubbornly half-done. This is a good example of how the materials themselves shape what I’ll draw.

I sketched this while Alan learned the fine art of pour-over coffee at Barefoot Coffee, on a tabletop made of pennies suspended in resin. I’d forgotten to bring specific drawing materials to occupy myself, so fortunately he had a pencil & sharpener and kindly lent it to me to use. I usually keep a few “artist trading card”-sized pieces of bristol board with me, though I’ve also used the back of a business card in a pinch.

There’s an inverse proportion between paper size & level of detail for me–the smaller the paper, the higher the detail I want. I’ve drawn on a few with stubborn pens that dry out or blot at random, and been frustrated with the clumsy results. I will only use a pen now if I can get a relatively new micro ink (not gel), ballpoint (good for gradation), or brush pen. It’s been a while since I used a pencil, though, which is much more satisfying and less taxing for getting good shading.

I looked around for people or objects that I could surreptitiously draw, and wasn’t really seeing anything of interest so I started sketching curves and shadows until a character started forming. Using a pencil must have tapped into the high school portion of my brain when I would make pencil-shaded drawings of elaborate dragons, gargoyles, and demons. I decided I was in the mood to draw octopus tentacles, so here’s where it went.