Reflecting on Week 6 of the 2017 Index-Card-a-Day Challenge
Yesterday marked the end of Week 6 of this year’s ICAD. In a funny deja vu moment that echoed last week, I laid my previous day’s card out, mid-day, to take my photos. With the afternoon light bright and even, I thought that maybe I should go ahead and get my group shot for the week so that I would have it ready for this post. I grabbed the cards that were strewn on the table. Not enough. I opened the pink clipboard case I’ve been using as both a carrier and a work surface, and I pulled out the stash of cards inside. (I had them tucked away last week when I met someone for coffee, just in case there was an opportunity to pull them out.) I sorted through the ones in the pile, and the one that seemed most current was July 5. I thought back through the days and dates and realized that would have been the end of week 5. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. I kept counting the six blue ink cards on the table, trying to figure out what was missing. And then I realized, same as last week, that it was the card for that day that wasn’t there. I couldn’t take the photo because I hadn’t yet drawn the card for the final day of the week. I don’t know why this throws me each week!
The seven cards in this grouping, the “Week 6” cards, all hold together for me in look, feel, and the impression they made upon me in the actual drawing of them. There is a “darkness” to most of these, an actual pushing of the exploration of layering and building up the darkness of the blue ink to and past the point of saturation. These cards really have signaled new exploration and a willingness to keep pushing the lights and darks even more than I have in the previous five weeks. I have suddenly shifted from a few precarious days where I had fleeting moments (nanoseconds) of thinking maybe I wouldn’t do my card or “what if” I didn’t do my card. I persevered through those days and drawings, and this week I sensed in myself, unwittingly, this tilt a whirl realization that my issue now has shifted from feeling worn down by the daily to feeling like I am doing work that could, if it wasn’t for the challenge, be more involved than it is.
In this week, I also recognized a shift from a few precarious days on which I had fleeting moments (nanoseconds) of thinking maybe I wouldn’t do my card or “what if” I didn’t do my card. I persevered through those days and drawings, and this week I sensed in myself, unwittingly, this tilt-a-whirl realization that my issue now has migrated from feeling worn down by the grind of a “daily” to feeling like I am doing work that could, if it wasn’t for the challenge, be more involved than it is… work that exceeds the limits of daily. (Of course, this means “my” limits, limits that tie in to my own available time, energy, and responsibilities.)
I had a spell of car sitting this week, and during that time, I worked on finishing a card (because I hadn’t quite finished the night before despite working on it up until midnight). I sat in the car, and I talked out loud on my (treasured) little recorder. If the quality of that recording is passable, I’ll be including that “field note” in the next podcast. It was my way of taking a break and working on my card in daylight hours, of having virtual coffee with a few of you, and of thinking through these issues of how much time I am spending, what ink I am using, and how the series feels to me six weeks in.
The cards this week signal a few things to (and for) me:
- I am still loving ballpoint.
- I turn, time and again, to the blue Bic.
- Ballpoint ink does change colors after it dries. (I had heard that, but I saw it in action this week when working on a card in two separate sittings.)
- I often choose a photo to draw based on color.
- I often choose a photo to draw based on hair.
- I tend to draw at a certain scale. (I know this, but it keeps knocking me over the head.) This means that often, the hair or colored elements that were important in my selection don’t make it into the composition.
- There is something wonderfully methodical and mesmerizing about layering ink.
- I layer more lightly and delicately on faces than I do hair.
- Layering doesn’t work nearly as well when your mood is not even, when you are upset or frustrated, etc.
- Shading with ballpoint ink can not be rushed.
- I sometimes fail to see major problems (like eyes that are really mis-sized) until I take my photos. But… these are daily pieces. They are what they are.
- If you go too dark, you are stuck with it.
- I love the crisp white of some of the mixed papers I am using.
- I also like the golden shade of the toned paper.
- I think I would like to try gray toned paper as well.
- I have experimented with other ways to hold my pen to help with even lighter pressure when shading with ballpoint.
- I am obsessed with researching ballpoint ink online and trying to figure out what else I can try. But at this point, I am stuck in a Bic blue rut. I trust it. I know what to expect. I love it.
- I am, however, determined to find refills that will layer well to put in a Parker Jotter body. (The Parker Quink ink refill is too bold and dark; it doesn’t layer. I am enamored with the Parker Jotter body though… I wish I could put Bic ink in it! The Schmidt P900 refill is next on my “to try” list. )
- There is nothing better than a series you love.
Moving on into Week 7. I am not sure yet what will differentiate the cards this week or hold them together. But I am feeling good about being in the final stretch and still feeling like I am going strong with what I decided to do.