Saturday, 1 November 2014
Quink was the stuff that started it. Loaded daily into cheap leaky fountain pens and put to good use scratching out copies of Rembrandts and Michelangelo’s in the back of school exercise books. Or more officially used to provide illustrations to History essays. Drawings that, in my case displayed far more care and attention than the audaciously brief, grammatically nonsensical essay’s they adorned.
One Art foundation course, two degrees and thirty years of practicing commercial art later and I’m still Quinking, although the fountain pen has now been replaced by the more professional dip pen & Indian ink. It would be misleading though, to describe my illustration career as a continuous flow of black ink onto white paper. There have been great blocks of grey along the way, in the shape of frequent and ongoing affairs with paint and many therapeutic interludes with coloured crayons.
In fact, for five years I produced illustrations for newspapers using only chalk & conte crayon, followed by ten years of using paint and at least another decade working exclusively with coloured pencil. All this time I was harbouring a dark, jet black secret. My working drawings, known in the trade as roughs were all done in ink! and secretly I liked them far more than the finished paint or pastel artworks they preceded.
After many years of keeping my addiction hidden I felt it was time to go public. Paint, pastel and crayon were great to work with but ink was surely the life blood of the graphic arts. It was spontaneous, responsive and instantly expressive while also being very precise. Ink, for me represented freedom and just like drink, ink helped you think! The time had come to be honest and admit I had a serious quink problem.
A particular commission presented itself and despite feeling nervous, all went well and my first pen & ink drawings were published. It was a great relief and although progress was slow at first, pen, ink & wash eventually became my mainstream illustration media and hopefully proof that not all addictions are bad for you.