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Inktober 2018 - The Assassin


The final ink painting.

"We're all counting on you now, child. You're our last chance."

I had no special story about this one, originally. It was just about exploring the concept of something not being what it appears to be and how to relay that idea visually. The first idea was a beautiful woman with an old woman's hands. But drawing an old woman's hands and making them look like an old woman's hands - yeah. I quickly realized that it might be beyond my skills at the moment.

So I went back to the drawing board. I had a vintage picture of a little girl that I really liked. Could I do something with that? And then this piece just happened.

I'm not sure if there's a story here or not. Obviously the little girl is an assassin. But how is she being manipulated or controlled by the people around her? Is she aware of what she's doing? Or does she just wake up with blood on her hands? This kind of character makes a lot of appearances in other stories that I've played with over the years. I wonder what that says about my psyche?

I really don't think I'm a creepy person in real life. But maybe I am and I'm just denying it? My sister says these last two pieces scared the living daylights out of her.

Are they really scary?


This one started out just like the Monster in the Mirror piece. A quick series of thumbnails in my sketchbook to iron out the idea, then Col-Erase on grey toned Strathmore multimedia paper.

Her hands are the bane of my existence. They just wouldn't draw the way I wanted. I re-drew them one-hundred thousand times, for real. But not really. And they're still too small. I thought I had made progress with hands; I have been disillusioned. I'm so glad I nixed the hag-hand idea. That was the right choice.

The drawing with ink outlines finished

I started with the Staedtler Pigment liner (.05), essentially just inking my line-work. Then, because I knew the majority of this one was going to be dark, I went in with the Pentel Color Brush Pen in grey and darkened everything that was darker than that mid-value grey of the paper. The ink in these particular brush pens are water soluble, so I was able to go back in with water and move the ink around and get some interesting textures. Which also turned out to be a wonderful thing for doing some of the rendering in her face.

I used two different blacks for the dark-darks. The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen ink is waterproof and it's a lovely dark matte black. There's a subtle contrast between it and the non-waterproof Pentel Color Brush I used for the background (how I was able to get that drippy texture). I was able to mess with the area between the dress and the background without worrying about the values lifting. The white was acrylic ink with a little bit of white Prismacolor at the very end.

Close-up of the final painting.


For something that I pulled out last minute, I think this one is pretty strong. Other than what I've already whined about, I don't have much more to say.

I really, really like the materials I used on this one - I'm going to keep playing with those.

I keep coming back to this on every single piece I've done so far, but I should have tried to get better reference. There were moments with the hands and especially her hair where I didn't know what the light should be doing to it or what I wanted the light to do to it. As a result there are bits that look fiddly to me.

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