The Pecking Order | Skillshare Projects

Abigail Southworth

Illustrator & Designer



The Pecking Order


When I saw that Yuko Shimizu was teaching a class, my first thought was: Hell yeah.

The second thought was that I had the perfect sketch I wanted to use for this class- partially to get me to get it out of my head, and partially to get me to do some traditional inking. I've been in a digital drawing slump as of late, so I've been turning to my traditional roots.

I had been working with the stock model La Lunatique from deviantart on the pose for another piece when this artwork came about. This is a story about all the things that someone who is LGBT faces in their life, some decisions, some fears, some frustrations, running the whole gamut of emotions.

The idea came from the word 'pecking.' It feels like with ever new obstacle, people are 'pecking' away at our resolve, our hope, our self-esteem- and so I've embodied them as ravens, both binding and strangling the woman with expectations and restrictions.

I'm very excited to start inking again. I haven't done any brush inking in years (almost a decade if you consider whether i've finished a piece in ink alone.) I've worked with watercolor quite a bit though, as well as with pen. I'm hoping those skills will at least keep me afloat as I continue experimenting with these brush and nib inking techniques.

Ink Study I

I've completed one ink study so far- I chose something simple and fantastical, but with plenty of room for practicing fine details.

I ended up using the same brush for most of it- a very small, fine pointed one. I found I could get a decent range out of it, but I had to force myself to use other brushes as well. I'm a bit of a control freak, so it's going to tough for me to do washes and other things that give you little to no control.

Update 7/15:

I've finished the "The Pecking Order" piece. From here I may do some digital editing, but for now I'm satisfied with the result. If I did this over, I would DEFINITELY do it larger! Even with my smallest brush (which you can see below) didn't get me as much detail as I wanted.

I initially thought of doing a lot of details in the ravens, but instead opted to make them more ominous shapes rather than more realistic.

I'll admit I had to cheat a bit. I couldn't get small enough text with the brush, so I had to use a pen for the text only. Ah well.

I'm going to do some more experimenting with textures, but for the 'big' piece I think I'm done. :)

Thanks for the support everyone!


Alright, I lied. That wasn't my final update. In the spirit of working with textures, I wanted to throw up one more study.

This is something heavily conceptual that I tried doing once in vector/digital painting, but wanted to try with inking. I think I got carried away in some areas, so if I could do it again i'd dial it back in some places.


For my Editorial Illustration class, also on Skillshare, I decided to continue with the inking theme and start out my piece, Bullying Manifesto, in ink as well. I'll be added some digital flair with color and texture, but here's what I got for the initial. Feel free to pop on over for more details.

Want to see more? I tend to update my Facebook page with current works more often :)


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