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Exclusive Interview with Artist Behind "Two Ways" Inktober Art

I hope you enjoy this exclusive interview with Brent Florica, the artist and author behind Sketchbook B and The King's Library!

1. Where did the inspiration for “Two Ways” originate? This was an Inktober piece from 2019, that started out as just black and white ink on paper. It sat that way for months until I recently put some colour on it and finished it off on my YouTube channel, Sketchbook B. The prompt word was “bait,” and the idea for this piece began to take shape pretty quickly. I had just watched the new Pilgrim’s Progress movie by Revelation Media and was so inspired by it, the image of Vanity Fair in particular was a big inspiration in this drawing.

2. What are some of the creative choices you feel are most effective in this piece? The dichotomy of the two paths was mostly conveyed through the colours, I tried to keep everything on the right side very natural looking, and everything on the left very artificial looking. The colour of the grass, the yellow pathway, the vibrant colours and action and noise of the city on Broad way were made as vibrant and colourful as possible to contrast the very quiet and peaceful Narrow pathway on the right.

3. At a glance, “Two Ways” sparkles with symbolism. Can you take us beneath the surface to some of the deeper meanings hidden in this fork in the road? The piece was based on the word “bait,” so I created this scene to demonstrate the kinds of bait that Satan uses to pull us away from God and His will for our lives. Satan offers a lot of excitement and pleasure and material gain, but it’s a very selfish way, and is nothing more than a counterfeit of the authentic joys that God offers. This path is like walking downhill, it feels easy and enjoyable for this life, but the ultimate end of this self-serving way is the punishment of our sinful nature, the pit leading to hell and separation from God forever. The other path is a harder road to walk in this life, it’s full of self denial and obedience to the Lord, but it leads us upward, beyond our sinful nature to the redeemed life eternally in heaven with Him.

4. For any Copic or alcohol-based ink artists out there, did you gain any new insights into this medium while inking “Two Ways”? With each new piece I learn and grow, and there are lots of little discoveries along the way. I found some really nice colour gradients, and I keep track of all of the test papers from each piece so I won’t forget what colours blended well for the sky or the fire or the grass, etc. I also tried to use as much atmospheric perspective as possible (closer things are more vibrant, farther things are lighter and more subdued) in the mountains, sky, and even along the pathways in both directions, it definitely helps to create depth.

5. Favourite part(s)? Love the way the pit turned out at the end of the Broad way, that fiery glow was super satisfying to do. Also, the unassuming, peaceful archway to the Narrow way just makes me happy.

6. Parts you would change if you could? I would have definitely been more careful at the inking stage not to put linework that was too heavy-handed in certain places. The background in particular would have been more effective if the linework was much thinner or perhaps even conveyed entirely through the coloured markers. There were also a few places where the inkwork didn’t leave me enough room to properly add the colour I wanted to add. I also probably wouldn’t have used any pencil crayon, I wasn’t really happy with how they worked on top of the marker.

7. As the artist, what is the most critical takeaway you aimed to convey through this piece? This piece is really about perspective. A person standing at this crossroads must decide if the present sacrifice is worth the eternal prize that awaits, or if the present prize is worth the eternal sacrifice.

8. Finally, if we could take a step back, could you tell us a bit about your channel—what inspired it, what we can find there, what it has in store for us? The channel started as an outlet for my creativity, a place to have fun with art. But it has also moved past that for me. I have some creative projects in the future I’m building towards that I’m not really ready for yet, because my art isn’t at the level it needs to be. So this channel is for me to go on a journey of artistic improvement, getting better and learning with each piece, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. I know it’s hard as a beginner artist to look at a professional’s polished piece and think, “Wow that’s amazing, I’ll NEVER be able to do that!” But that isn’t true. Nobody started out by being a pro, and through patience, dedication and practice, anyone can learn and grow to the point where they are doing something great. So I’m giving people a chance to get in on the ground floor of my creative process and walk the road to improvement with me, and hopefully they will learn from my mistakes and successes or at least have some fun with them and see that the only way to reach the destination is to start walking! For now the channel has been mostly traditional work with markers and ink pens, but in the future I’m looking forward to exploring the digital realm of art as well.

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