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A week of Hugs is what I have for you today. Hugs because I mis hugging my friends and family. Hugs because I know you might miss that too. Many people do. So, let’s start by a hug from me to you:

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Hugs, India ink on Bristol paper, © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

My week of hugs ended up being in India ink due to Inktober. I was half planning to join, but knowing that I never do a full Inktober challenge I was a bit half-hearted about it. Plus…ink! Yikes! I don’t know if you remember drawing with dip pen and ink in school when you were young? Do you remember the scratching of the metal pen? The tearing of the paper? The blotching? The accidental swipe over wet areas blackening everything? Well, I wasn’t that into ink, to tell you the truth. And yet…

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Big Hugs, India Ink on Bristol paper © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

And yet, all my hugs ended up being in India ink. Why? There’s no reason behind it. I just drew the first one, the one at the top of this post, and was startled by how much I liked the graphic feel of it. It made me want more. And also…I had managed an A6 ink drawing without scratching and according goose bumps, smudges and blotches. So I gained some confidence to proceed:

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Hugelele, India ink on Bristol paper, © Mandy van Goeije

One hug after another flowed from the tip of my pen…I sent them all to friends. And all these hugs refer to the relationships I have with these friends. It was super fun to be able to do something for my friends to show them my affection, which I now cannot do in a physical hug. This certainly feels like the next best thing. And maybe it’s even better because it lasts. Maybe a week of hugs any shape or form other than actual hugs isn’t so bad after all. If we eventually get to embrace eachother again, that is. Nothing really beats that, does it?

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Long time no see Hug, India ink on Bristol paper, © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

Some of my drawings are not based on actual friendships, but on concepts…on ideas that sprang to mind, like the one above in which a man is SO eager to hug this woman that she’s totally overwhelmed by the intensity and enthusiasm of it. I think it’s so cute! And I can imagine this feeling so well after so many months without hugs and embraces…

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Hug Turpin, a “Dick Turpin” hug in India ink on Bristol paper, © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

Then one of my peers in an online poetry class wrote a poem about how a covid facemask gives room to fantasies about being a Dick Turpin-like hero behind a facemask and how one could cheekily blow a kiss to the cleaning lady from behind their masks. As my mind works, it immediately envisioned the scene one step further… Glad it’s just my comic-styled imagination or else this Dick Turpin could be in for a slap with the mop. Whoops! 😉

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Huggoween, a Halloween Hug in India ink on Bristol paper, © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

And how about this couple? No friends of mine. Although the cat’s a cuty I see almost every day whenI walk the dog. But aren’t they just adorable? I am so proud of this ink drawing. I love its graphic character. It turned out exactly like I wanted. Simple as these drawings may look, they take a long time. More than a work day, sometimes even two full work days. There’s sketching, studies sometimes, practicing, drawing and then the inking, which happens in phases. So it’s just really, really great if they turn out pristine like this one because in the final stages there is so much risk of a little accident and with inks the accidents are rarely happy ones…

India Ink hug illustration by Mandy van Goeije for a week of hugs
Chronicled Hug, India ink on Bristol paper © Mandy van Goeije, 2020

This is another drawing that took a lot of time to get right and make. It’s for a friend I really, REALLY wanted to hug firmly this week and couldn’t, which was especially frustrating. It was so good to be able to turn to my ink jar. It offered consolation again because it allowed me to do the next best thing I COULD do.

You know, making someone feel they are loved, appreciated and missed, even if you see them every day, is so incredibly precious. I don’t think I would have appreciated that for what it’s worth if it weren’t for this pandemic. It’s not just the care or worry I can feel for someone, or the desire to hold them for a while and let them feel my affection. It’s also the sheer energy I feel when drawing these hugs for people. And the best thing of all? My friends feel it too on opening their mail.

Can I Hug you?

If you like this idea of getting or sending out a Hug, I hereby offer to make commissioned Hugs. A Hug for yourself or a Hug for a friend of yours. Custom made A5 size for € 100 plus shipping. E-mail me for possibilities. I take only a couple of commissions per week.

So, covid or not…we can always let people know we care about them. My way of doing so is in ink. How do you do it? And if you don’t do it yet, what would be your way of doing it? Can you think of something? What would your week of hugs look like?