With the day job––and life––being very busy since September, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and just draw. When I do, it tends to be very loose, observational, and further experimentation on the iPad and its incredible art program, Procreate.

Since the day job started winding down and the holiday season descended upon the world, I finally had a chance to breathe a little. Family visited for the holidays, which resulted in one of my favorite pastimes––extended periods of everybody sitting together and just talking. Though we intermittently look at our phones, tick tack away on laptops, or get up to refill drinks or get more snacks, the conversation is always going. I’m not as participatory as others, but I love to listen and at least have my presence be a part of the interaction.

I haven’t had much joy in the doodles I’ve been making digitally lately. As was the case, I usually am trying to doodle during these conversations, which meant my iPad is on my lap as we all talk. At one point, my wife was invested in something or other on her phone, and the angle and the way her hair fell was striking to me (plus, she was sitting still, which makes observational drawing much easier). But my iPad was charging and all I had were the archaic tools of a sketchbook and pens.

I’m not the best at likenesses and I kept my tools to a brush pen, a calligraphy pen, and a corrective pen which, for me, results in relatively messy––but energetic––work. But I found a lot of joy in the act of putting ink on paper again, which is a good sign because I soon need to dive back into Chapter 6 of Long John.

I added some shading and color overlay in Photoshop, but as a drawing on its own, it captures the tone and feeling I enjoy most about the holidays: comfort and tranquility.