If you’ve been following me at all on social media, you’ve probably noticed that I was sharing an ink drawing every day last month with #Inktober. Inktober is a 31 day challenge to do an ink drawing every day of October and share it somewhere. It was started by the artist Jake Parker in 2009 as a way to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.
When I first came across Inktober in 2013, I had only recently started experimenting with inking my sketches and there were only a few days left in October. Nevertheless, I decided to participate anyway and began inking more often afterwards, determined to take on the complete challenge the following year. I’ve now done it for the last 3 years and one of the things that keeps bringing me back is the noticeable improvement I see in my art every year.
I feel like I level up as an artist after every Inktober!
I like Inktober for the same reason I like game jams; I can set a goal to push myself over a set period of time, I can take the opportunity to try new things and break out of my comfort zone, and finally, I find being part of a large group of people trying to do the same thing to be quite motivating. This year I decided to follow the official (optional) prompt list when deciding what to draw each day. I tried to draw things I’ve never drawn before (like certain animals), put new twists on things I usually draw and add some narrative to my drawings. I also made it a habit to thumbnail my ideas each day and almost never went straight to the first idea I got. I also wrote a bit about some of the drawings when posting them and the response was quite nice and makes me want to develop characters like Reggie in the future!
To me Inktober is about improving yourself as an artist and creative by using 3 things: Ink, daily commitment and sharing.
Drawing with ink means taking a leap, risking mistakes and embracing them, and eventually discipline and care. I still take a deep breath before I start inking a sketch and a sigh of relief when it’s done. I usually sketch in pencil before going to ink for most of the Inktober drawings but I also like to doodle in ink too. I’ve been asked about the pens I use and my process but I’ll write a full post about that later.
The daily commitment is something I’ve been asked about and have given a great deal of thought to. The way I see it, aside from daily practice being a generally good thing, trying to be creative everyday is quite draining. Eventually you hit a wall, but you are forced to find a way around it and that’s where you usually find a new source of inspiration and creativity. The important thing though is to actually push through it, and that’s where sharing comes in.
When you share your art online and tag it with #inktober, you are telling your family, friends and followers that you are taking on a challenge. You create a situation where people will ask you what you’re planning on drawing that day or even request things. There’s also the likes and praise to feed the ego but I’m sure no one cares about that, right? Overall you are creating incentive for you to do it and a sort of deterrent to not feel like you are disappointing others. In a nutshell sharing is there to make sure you commit to the daily activity.
That’s all I have to say for now! You can check out all the Inktober drawings and more on my Instagram account. I hope some of you will join me next year for Inktober 2017 🙂