The Shallow End – October 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello October!

So much to talk about, so let’s jump right in!

I’ve started painting with gouache again, finally! I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the medium for years. I love the way it looks, but hated learning to use it. It’s just so weird — it’s deceptively similar to traditional watercolor (as it technically is “opaque watercolor” so, highly-pigmented and thick watercolor), but it is so NOT like watercolor too. It can handle all kinds of paint consistencies, which means I have to actually pay attention to that while I work. AND it can be re-worked after it’s dried, which I assume must be witchcraft and I don’t understand!

All that said, I LOVE the rich colors and matte finish that gouache produces, it’s just so so goood. So, with practice, I’m starting to slowly understand it more. Go figure, right? The key to getting better at something is practicing? What kind of nonsense is that?! 😛

October is also “Inktober,” which once again I nearly forgot about! I also forgot about how much I was practicing drawing cartoon people earlier this year. So voila — my Inktober plan was created! 31 days of 31 people. Always one for a theme, I’ve decided to focus mine on another October tradition in our house — “Spooky Scary”. The unofficial name of our “watch as many scary movies as we reasonably can in a month” at home film festival. So, that’s right, for Inktober this year I will be drawing 31 cartoon monsters, villains and horrors (like evil haunted mirrors! …but…personified?). A Halloween themed Inktober, who would’ve thought?! Haha.

My goal is to push myself to move from still portrait drawings and include a bit more action or emotion, and using some of our favorite scary movies as a reference should help! It’s definitely in the realm of fan art this year, but it should be a lot of fun to just practice and I’m hoping I’ll be able to share some of it in next month’s newsletter!


I’m actually super excited for watching a ton of movies this month. I’ve been really bad about watching anything anymore. The TV is mostly a means to watch Liverpool football and play video games. A month of fun scary movies sounds weirdly refreshing! I never thought I would look forward to watching horror movies, but here we are!

This year we don’t really have a theme, but are focusing a lot on Cult Classics. I’ve also been firmly anti-slashers since, well, always… but this year I’m allowing them on our list too. Like, I’ve seen dozens and dozens of super scary, gross, or creepy horror movies now, and I’ve still never seen I Know What You Did Last Summer or Friday the 13th?? How does that work? Since it’s a mixed-bag movie list, I’ve also insisted on some monster animal movies like Jaws and Anaconda. I’m hoping they are the awful and hilarious horror equivalent to my beloved disaster movies like Godzilla and 2012. 😀


As for books, I’m 100% obsessed with Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster. I borrowed a copy from the library on a whim and read it in a few days. Then I was like “oh my gosh, this just changed my life, what did I just read?!” and started re-reading it immediately. Once I realized it was impractical to hang on to the library ebook forever, I ordered my own physical copy. Every chapter is a loving and entertaining pep-talk. The one with Anjelica Huston is my absolute favorite (have I piqued your interest?!). It’s definitely a self-help memoir, but it’s one of the best (and that genre is my JAM so I know what I’m talking about!). I will forever be slowly working my way through this book again and again…

I’ve also started The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It was recommended in Tara Schuster’s book, so I had to check it out! …It’s interesting… I’m firmly a skeptic, but also a darn dreamer who hopes desperately that it will “work” and help me live my best creative life (no pressure). It’s structured with weekly assignments, and I’m still in the beginning-ish. And I’ve had to pause while I wait for my turn to borrow it again (but seriously y’all, library ebooks are a game changer!). I suspect this is a book where it is okay to take your time, as long as you keep doing the work in it… which I weirdly am… so it had better work too. 😉

Who knows, maybe when I finish the book eventually I can do a full write up on my experience with it. Would that be interesting? Let me know in the comments!


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

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