Little Stories – Playful Pieces

Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

Hi Everyone!  Little Stories are posts where I share unrelated odds and ends from my life and my atelier.  This one is full of playful little pieces.  Whenever I need a little push, I work on teeny tiny things.  They not only help me get going again,  they also often spark new ideas.  These little pieces that I worked on earlier are setting the stage for my winter break.

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

I always keep a stack of small pieces of inexpensive watercolor paper on my desk.   I paint simple things on those papers whenever I need to warm up before working on something larger.   Sometimes I also use them to try out new art supplies that I have purchased, but haven’t used yet.  There is never any pressure with these practice pieces.

Over the break, I plan to work with these new art supplies a bit more in-depth, and then share the results with you.

 

 

 

Japanese Kana Syllabary by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

Japanese Syllabary

 

I was very fastidious about making good sweeping curves while drawing these flash cards of Japanese syllabary.  After 142 cards, I not only learned the characters well, they also provided good practice for drawing curves with a pen.

I will continue to work on my Japanese studies over the break.   This will include a trip to the Japanese store so we can start making authentic Japanese food at home.  I love to explore authentic cuisines from different countries, which is always a highlight of our travels.

 

 

 

Charlie's 18th birthday card - cat watercolor painting by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

Our sweet Charlie turned 19 last Saturday

 

He LOVES cheesecake.  So for his birthdays, he gets a special treat – a very sizable portion of cheesecake.  My husband and he have a very special bond.  He was looking up at my husband to sit with him while he savored his birthday treat.

Although he is a perpetual kitten, I painted this dignified version of him in the library for his 18th birthday last year.   I am really quite excited about the new painting I am working on, featuring him celebrating his 19th birthday.

 

 

 

French link handmade book by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

Although I love binding books with decorative stitches on the spine, I unfortunately don’t get to make these decorative books often.  That is another thing I want to work on over the break.  I already have a bunch of pages prepped to be bound in different styles.  When I make these books, I like to color coordinate everything. 

 

 

 

Handmade books and journals by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

I sometimes zone out while making books.  That’s how I ended up binding these books all together, but they are lacking cover art.  That’s next for this stack of little journals.

Handmade journals are available in my shop

 

 

Fairy Lanterns Northern California Yellow Wildflower Art @ inktorrents.com by Soma

 

New book covers will undoubtedly include some block carvings.  My head is teeming with new ideas and some of them are already penciled into my sketchbooks.   Time to sharpen those carving tools.  Keep an eye out for journals with new cover designs in the shop.

 

 

 

Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

A tree and a travelling woman.  I was really not in the mood to do much that day.  So I grabbed a few scrap pieces of paper and started drawing with a new $10 fude fountain pen.  Changing the angle of the nib of a fude fountain pen changes the line thickness.    I miss these impromptu drawings.  I would like to sit by the fireplace and do more of these as well.

 

 

 

Oaks in autumn at Yosemite photo by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

Most importantly, before March shuts me indoors again, I plan to take many walks outside with my beloved camera.  I took this photo during our last visit to the mountains.  I can’t wait to go snowshoeing there among the trees and the stones. 

 

 

 

The Girl and Her Cat watercolor painting by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

The time has come for me to go on my winter break.  I look forward to donning my favourite woolens and exploring the peaceful, sleepy world outside.  Inside the home, long hours of video game playing with my husband has become a tradition.  Ink and paper adventures also await me, along with the prospect of warm beverages, fireside reading, and kitty cuddles. 

 

Thank you so much for being here with me and for your lovely and encouraging words.   I will be back around February / March with a lot to share as well as new The Girl and Her Cat stories. 

Wishing you a safe and magical holiday season.   I hope you find a few playful pieces to unwind with during this time as well.

See you then,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please consider paying a visit to some of them.

 

P.S.  The Ink Torrents Graphics shop remains open.  I will continue to fulfill orders, as always.  I will also be available via email.  Thank you for continuing to shop from my store.

 

 

 

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Suddenly Smitten

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

Hi Everyone!  Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it.  Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey.  I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected.  I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.  These flowers are no larger than 0.5″.  I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well.  They are so sweet, I love watching them.  After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Then I ran into a little problem.  I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours.   There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper.  After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course. 

I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks.  I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour.  I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper.  So, I used the the FW inks instead.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

This was one of the unsuccessful paintings.  Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint.  Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing.  Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process. 

With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts.  It worked.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head.  I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook.  I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing.  I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line.  I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

You know the rest.  The block was carved.  

Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early,  one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   I decided to recreate the edge of the tool. 

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  I finally found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process. 

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board.  Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.

I played with printing on different kinds of paper,  both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper. 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I made bullet journals with the print on the cover.   I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies.  A few of the others have also found new homes.  The journals are available in my shop.

 

 

Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

You can read about the carving and book binding here. 

 

 

 

 

 

As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the  exact same picture.   However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them.  Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way.  It was fun to play along.

I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!

Until next time,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are always a source of new inspirations.  Please pay them a visit.

 

 

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