Peony and Parakeet

How Inktober Strengthened My Visual Voice

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Read and watch a video about her Inktober drawings!

This is the second blog post about participating Inktober drawing challenge. See the first post here!

Inktober Experience in a Nutshell

Here’s what this challenge did to me:
1) Following the prompts and working with black ink only revealed some creative blocks. Becoming aware of these helped me to remove them!
2) I found what I love to draw and it has strengthened my visual voice.
3) I have always liked to draw with non-erasable ink but now I am addicted! I am more creative when I can’t erase the lines.
4) I have a lot of stories to tell that have never found their way to my art before.
5) I like being challenged by weird words that are difficult or even appalling to visualize.

What you can learn from all this:
a) Draw with pen or pencil only now and then so that your voice won’t get hidden behind the products.
b) Write what people have said to you about your creative skills. These may have been good advice back then but irrelevant now.
c) Start a list about things you love – these are also the things you should draw, no matter how superficial or deep they are. Make sure you include some things you loved when you were a child.
d) Give yourself a problem and solve it by drawing. Don’t settle for the obvious solutions!

Strengthening the Visual Voice – Watch the Video!

In the video, you can see all 31 drawings as a flip-through video, some thoughts, and how I used my sketchbook during the challenge.

I also attach the drawings in this blog post with the notes that I wrote for each one during Inktober.

Inktober #13 – Guardian

Inktober 2018, day 13, Guardian. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The external world may be designed for extroverts, but every introvert is a designer and guardian of her own world.

Inktober #14 – Clock

Inktober 2018, day 14, Clock. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

As a child, my favorite play was to be the queen of England. I lived in a small town near the Russian border, and the only real luxury was nature. To me, trees were the pillars of the enormous halls, and I graciously wandered from room to room, repainting every plant and bird in my mind. No matter what’s the time or the place, this is still true: We can’t be the queens of England, but we can all be the queens of Imagination.

Inktober #15 – Weak

Inktober 2018, day 15, Weak. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Even if all the ties and responsibilities may feel heavy, they are what keep us going through the hard times. Let’s stay connected so that we can support one another!

Inktober #16 – Angular

Inktober 2018, day 16, Angular. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Have you seen the newest version of The Great Gatsby? It’s directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann, and it’s gorgeous. My favorite scene is the big party scene where everybody dances disco: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” wearing art deco party dresses in a divine-looking villa with pools, staircases and all. So today and tomorrow my Inktober pieces are dedicated to a big party, and you are all invited!

Inktober #17 – Swollen

Inktober 2018, day 17, Swollen. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Let’s continue the party from yesterday! Imagine that art has two feet. One foot represents the techniques, and the other one is the imagination. Moving forward in one foot only is impossible in the long run. You need both feet. And – even if sometimes your other foot is swollen, don’t let that bother you too much! Here’s to celebrate our creativity!

Inktober #18 – Bottle

Inktober 2018, day 18, Bottle. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

If only we could bottle nature inspiration! I would have a stash of Finnish summer days! Now when trees are losing their leaves, I could spray some summer breeze and the smell of peonies!

Inktober #19 – Scorched

Inktober 2018, day 19, Scorched. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Sometimes the process is more beautiful than what comes out of it. All of us who like arts and crafts have experienced that, do you agree?!

Inktober #20 – Breakable

Inktober 2018, day 20, Breakable. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The misconceptions about what we can’t do are breakable. When becoming aware of any of mine, it feels like I have been a bird inside a soap bubble forgetting to use the beak. Why float inside the bubble when you can fly? Let’s believe in ourselves!!

Inktober #21 – Drain

Inktober 2018, day 21, Drain. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

After drawing some ethereal and romantic pieces, I went to a couple of contemporary art exhibitions and this happened! When I was studying industrial design, it was made clear to me that this is NOT the acceptable style to draw. But today, let’s not care about those “don’t”s and “no”s and denials, and let the humor be a part of the art!

Inktober #22 – Expensive

Inktober 2018, day 22, Expensive. Inspired by four seasons. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

What could be the most expensive bouquet ever? All the four seasons in one bunch!

Inktober #23 – Muddy

Inktober 2018, day 23, Muddy. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I believe in mud and dirt. If life becomes too sterile, it is not enjoyable anymore. That’s why I have animals and house plants, the garden, and I think that those who have children share this thought too. The same principle applies to art as well. If every stroke you paint, every line you draw is controlled and pre-planned, it lacks the soil where the ideas grow. So here’s to celebrate the mud in our lives!

Inktober #24 – Chop

Inktober 2018, day 24, Chop. Inspired by oranges. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Now when I am well over the halfway, I have started to make a list of things that I love to draw. My list includes stuff like folk art, antique jewelry, glass, fabric, etc. Most of them are quite decorative and luxurious stuff. I have also sliced and chopped these words to less general subjects like Russian handpainted trays, victorian necklaces, crystal, kelim, etc. It has felt like day by day, I am getting more hang of what I really love to illustrate. One item on the list is citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, etc. so I made some for today’s challenge, decorated with jewels and folk art, of course! — Tell me, what’s on your list!

Inktober #25 – Prickly

Inktober 2018, day 25, Prickly. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Virginia Woolf has said: “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” So when the pot feels prickly and the hat too heavy, there can still be some kind of peace and satisfaction in all that.

Inktober #26 – Stretch

Inktober 2018, day 26, Stretch. Inspired by writers and authors. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

This one is dedicated for all who love to write. Many prepare for NaNoWriMo to write a novel during November. I am more of a visual creator, but there’s definitely risktaking involved in both writing and drawing. You never know where it takes you, but that’s also a big part of the reward!

Inktober #27 – Thunder

Inktober 2018, day 27, Thunder. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Only 4 to go! Really enjoyed drawing this one.

Inktober #28 – Gift

Inktober 2018, day 28, Gift. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Out of the box, towards the change! Ink pens and watercolor on Bristol paper.

Inktober #29 – Double

Inktober 2018, day 29, Double. Inspired by friendship and horses. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

When you get to spend time with someone who likes similar things … Thank you, my friend, fantasy artist Eeva Nikunen! Here’s for the friendships between artistic souls!

Inktober #30 – Jolt

Inktober 2018, day 30, Jolt. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

When I started this monthly challenge, I was quite timid. First, I used everyday life as an inspiration, but the more I drew, the more I yearned to go on a journey to the hidden world. I have always loved Russian zhostovo paintings, luxury handbags, decorative fabrics, antique jewelry, Dolce & Gabbana … so slowly all the luxury found their way to these drawings.

First, it felt like they would be fragile and disappear soon, but now I can take a hammer and hit them, and they just keep flowing onto paper. I have cried because I have lost a part of my old style and mindset, but after 30 drawings, there’s no hammer big enough to make all of this luxury disappear. Thank you for still following me, I know this has been quite a change for many of you, I hope you continue the journey with me anyway.

Inktober #31 – Slice

Inktober 2018, day 31, Slice. Art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.
After the challenge, I am a like a nomad, carrying all the stuff that has come along with the journey, wondering what will happen next. Time will tell! Here, have a slice of cake with me to celebrate both this accomplishment and Happy Halloween!

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29 thoughts on “How Inktober Strengthened My Visual Voice

  1. Amazing how one can grow by accepting a challenge! Glad you continued to the end, and more Paivi – there’s a world of new art adventures bursting to come out …. loved watching each day to see your ideas and progress. Congratulations.

  2. This black and white ink art is beautiful! It is powerful in it’s symbolism with so much detail that it takes a long time to work my eyes and mind through the designs. This shows a different side to you and your art than I have seen before. It is very inspiring.

  3. Paivi, I absolutely LOVE this series. It’s similar to your past work but with a difference. I see much more of a design quality, some realism to latch and draw the viewer in with curiosity, and then a wonderful playful surreal aspect to brighten the eye and bring questions and stories to the mind. Bravo!

  4. Paivi, as I viewed your video of the drawings I was so awestruck. I happened onto it before your blog posted. I definately saw your hand at work and saw the amazing transformation of your style. All the while I was thinking words like luxurious, grand deep. I thought, these pieces tell a story. And then to read your blog where you mention the same thoughts…wow.
    I love the few sentences describing each piece. These represent a form of art / visual journaling that I’ve not seen anywhere before. Thank you for posting.

  5. Your imagination is incredible and your ink drawings are breathtaking! I would frame and hang one or more of your drawings in a heartbeat. Let us know if you are going to make prints.

  6. Wonderful drawings Paivi! Thank you for sharing your experience. I was really interested in your experience with folk art and “proper/real art”, as I’ve had a similar block.

  7. 31 gorgeous, intriguing, inspiring, works of art. Thank you for sharing your daring ‘shift’. Your words have been as uplifting as your ink sketches!

    1. Thank you, Francine! Many times when I started drawing, I didn’t know what to say about the topic but once the drawing was finished, the words came really easily!

  8. Paivi, As usual your art is fabulous, intriguing, detailed and a joy to discover. You amaze me!
    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Your delving into your inner depths through this exercise is so inspiring. Seeing how you are evolving is such a pleasure. I am so happy that you allowed us to witness your evolution. To see your willingness to change and grow is why I chose to study with you. So many artists seem to find a style and then settle on it…and their pieces are recognizable, but they become somewhat stagnant and similar. Bravo for not only doing this, but for sharing it with the world. You are brave, fearless and a wonderful teacher!

  10. I’ve followed your work for a while now and liked what you did.
    And now – I just LOVE your drawings! They are wonderful and I would very much like to buy a whole book with your drawings in it. Really, a queen of imagination. And I love everything you rediscovered your love for. Your INKTOBER experience has been the best and most meaningful for me to watch standing by …
    Thank you for sharing!

    Can’t wait for what’s next. You are a wonderful artist and who knows what other gems are still in hiding up your sleeve?

  11. Thank you for the flip of all the prompts. It really shows your progress towards your love of drawing opulence. I’m so glad this experience opened your eyes to a new path.

  12. These images are so RICH, and I do mean luxurious as well as full and abundant. Not only do the images themselves capture the luxury you love, they also portray the abundance of ideas coming out of the imagination. Really they are infinite, ever changing, and never ending. This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing this challenge with us!

  13. Thank you for sharing your inktober!
    I dont think the change is that big, your art is always very rich, and i love it!
    I have followed you for many years, and comes to think of all of your wonderful patterns from then, when i see inktober. Inktober is more detailed and so delicious, but the link is still there!

    I am excited to see what comes next, now i just love one more thing that you make, besides all of the previous <3
    And that is thoug i am a color-freak
    Best wishes from denmark

  14. Paivi, Your ink drawings are so lovely, clearly you have been on a new journey, a wonderful mixture of imagination, whimsical subject matter and your personal sensibilities.❤️

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