Putting ink to paper to Instagram in October

People be lovin’ a time-limited challenge – whether it’s writing a novel, eating healthy or doing a plank every day for a month (nope). Artists are no different and – even though getting “excited” is out of my comfort zone – this month I’m excited to be participating in an annual creative challenge called Inktober.

What is Inktober?

Every October artists from all over the world commit to creating one ink drawing each day of the month. The rules are pretty simple: make an ink drawing and post it to social media using the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2019. Search those hashtags on Instagram and you’ll find millions of posts – of varying quality and subject.

The subject matter is up to the artist, although Inktober’s creator, Jake Parker, does provide an official list of interesting prompts. I did this challenge two years ago and did my own thing but this year, I’m traveling with the masses and sticking to Jake’s list.

Why do this?

Good question – I have three kids ages 5 and under. Where will I find the time and energy? The answer is simple: neglect. Neglect is the artist’s way! 😉

Why do it? It’s fun. And it’s about growing, improving and committing to doing something even when I don’t feel like it. I know I’ll run out of easy ideas (or steam) halfway through the month and that’s when I really have to stretch myself and get creative.

Another reason is the communal aspect of the challenge. Several other artists I know in real life are also participating: Tami Boyce, Morgan East, Abdul Shabazz, and Samantha Bell. And here’s some folks I don’t know IRL but I wish I did: This Northern Boy, Roxannimus, Ania Przybylko, and Ataliefite.

As for me, in addition to the official prompts, I have committed to including a person in each daily drawing. Drawing characters is an important skill for an illustrator and it’s an area in which I need improvement. The only way to get better at drawing people is by… drawing people. The timing is great because I’m working on the sequel to my children’s picture book Heyward the Horse and I’m at the people-adding-stage.

Slogging Through

By day 7, this challenge was definitely feeling like work. In life and art, I put a premium on being “clever” (I don’t recommend it) and when I can’t think of something clever with the daily prompt, I get nervous. But somehow, if I show up, ideas flow in from wherever ideas come from. For example, on this day, I was around people watching football.

On this day, I was reading a book about tigers.

Another example, on day 10, I had literally no ideas. I just started doodling a bunny and then – to meet my requirement – added a little boy doing a handstand. The daily prompt was “pattern” so I just decided to make a simple pattern. I let myself go and didn’t try to overthink it. You can see the finished product below. Turns out, this has been one of my favorites and has connected with other people. 

So you see, Inktober is a bit like running a race – ups and downs (and a finish line). Have you ever done anything like this in your business or personal life? Tell me about in the comments below or shoot me an email. And, if you like, follow me for the rest of my #inktober journey.

Have a great week,

sig

Fishy Field Trip

The other day, I couldn’t bare to look at my computer screen for one more second. Not one. I blame early spring. I was feeling burned out. So, reluctantly I gave myself permission to go on a field trip. It was 10AM on a Tuesday — very much out of the norm for ABD.

I grabbed my sketchbook and headed down to the local aquarium. It’s an amazing place and their slogan is “Cheaper than a therapist!” Okay it’s not, but it should be.

I lucked out — no screaming kids. For the next couple of hours, I roamed the exhibits, sketched out various creatures that caught my eye and generally tried not to look like the creepy bearded guy by himself. It was a great afternoon and very relaxing.

Here’s some scans from my sketchbook:

aquarium sketches

Fast forward: a few weeks later when I was looking back through my drawings all these ideas just started flowing. I scanned in my drawings and made a short illustrated series for fun.

colored sketches of fish and an eel

colored sketches of fish and a jellyfish

colored sketches of fish

Then a few days after that, I ran out of business cards. Time was short so I grabbed my fishy friends and turned them into some new business cards. Take a look:

andrew barton business card

blue fish with one red fish

side of card

The moral of the story: sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission to do something out of the ordinary. You never know what kind of creative ideas a little “me time” will spark. Try that on your boss and let me know how it goes.

Have a great week,

sig

PS – I really want to do some creative work for the Aquarium so if you’re reading this, SC Aquarium, swipe right.

Hatman Direct Mailer

Every year I mail out a New Year’s Card. It’s one of my favorite annual projects. Check out previous year’s designs here and here.

For 2017, I wanted to take it to the next level. I also wanted to tie the theme back to Charleston history. At some point during the brainstorming process, my fascination with the lapel pin craze and the Charleston Hatman coalesced into an idea that I was really excited about.

I was riding high until the realization that this project would be double or triple my budget. By this time, I was emotionally attached to my hatman mailer so I reached out to some partners to collaborate. Kimberly Hopkins from RR Donnelly printed the mailer and Michelle Harris from Karst Promo handled the enamel lapel pin. We all serve similar customers and used this opportunity for cross promotion. It was a win win… win.

Here’s how the project turned out:

direct mail front

happy new year design

charleston hatman history

hat man lapel pin

hatman lapel pin

BONUS – Watch a time-lapse video of the making of the Hatman vector artwork:

I was super pleased with the final product.

To summarize – need something printed? Call Kim. Need a customized lapel pin (or anything promotional)? Tell Michelle. Need some graphic design love? Nothing rhymes with Andrew. ? But here’s my number – 843.882.7627.

Have a great week,

sig

 

 

Inktober 2016

This year, I participated in an art challenge called Inktober. What’s Inktober?

Inktober is a time when artists draw an image a day using traditional inking tools (biro, marker, ink wash, etc.) throughout the month of October.

For my theme, I chose isometric architectural and landscape drawings. For more information on what that means, check out isometric projection. That’s pretty boring stuff, but you may recognize the isometric perspective from video games like Simcity 2000.

sim city

In keeping with inktober, I stuck with black ink and gray markers. Here’s a few examples of what I drew everyday:

isometric house

isometric charleston houseisometric castle house isometric mushroom house isometric icecream truck  isometric indian camp

After a few days, I put 9 of these “tiles” together to form a little scene.

neighborhood isometric

As we approached October 31st, I even created a Halloween themed scene.

isometric haunted house

At the end of the month, I finished 31 isometric ink drawings. It was a great challenge. It was a great fun! You can see them all on my instagram feed. You may need to scroll down a bit. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #inktober2016 to find all the other great artwork that was being created too.

One last thing, if you’re interested to see how these were created, I recorded some of the process. Check it out here:

View this post on Instagram

Making of "the School". #screencapture #inktober2016

A post shared by Andrew Barton (@andrewbartondesign) on

 

Have a great week,

sig

 

 

i heart maps

Maps are fun. I love the process and the finished product. But like most worthwhile projects, in the middle they can be challenging.

A map must precisely reflect reality so there’s not a lot of wiggle room regarding structure. That said, after establishing the framework, it’s amazing how much character can be added with design and illustration. To see what I mean, check out two of my recent map projects.

Summer Camp

cool camp map

Camp Greystone is a magical camp located up in the mountains of western North Carolina. Click the map to enlarge.

SEWE /  Downtown Charleston

SEWE map

SEWE updated their map for the 2013 show. Jonathan Miller, author of the Sammy Dog Books series, provided some awesome illustrations. Click the map to enlarge.