With October right around the corner that means Inktober is about to be upon us. One of the most fun times of the year to be an artist or a lover of art. Artists from all over the world take on the month-long challenge of creating an ink drawing a day through the month of October. The challenge created by Jake Parker has become immensely popular and is a much looked forward to event every year. You can find out more information about Inktober from the official website here.
Many artists have taken to preparing for Inktober in September. So, if you happen to be apart of online groups for Inktober, such as Facebook groups where people share their work, you may have noticed the increase in talk as soon as September rolls around. This is largely due to the release of the official Inktober prompt list at the beginning of September. With more activity, planning, and talk around this time I also start to see many people unsure if they should participate. People begin to voice their worries about whether they are “good enough” or “talented enough” to partake in the fun.
While this is an excellent segue to dive deeper into our psyches and insecurities as artists (which is absolutely something I am going to do in the near future, so stay tuned for that) I am going to talk specifically about art challenges right now.
What many of us seem to forget around this time of year is that challenges like this are personal challenges. They exist for us to challenge ourselves. They exist for us to improve. There is no eligibility requirement to take part. You could have never picked up an art supply in your life or even drawn a line and you can still take part in Inktober or any other similar challenge. You don’t have to be Picasso to draw daily.
But I’m a beginner
Everyone starts somewhere. You don’t have to be an “artist” to draw. Being creative has benefits no matter your skill level. There are many reasons people feel hesitant about participating in a challenge such as this; one of them being that they don’t consider themselves creative on top of being a beginner. A common thing I see being asked is, “a drawing a day is a lot, how do I keep finding inspiration?”. Inktober is great for this, there are lots of unofficial prompt lists kicking around online for the challenge, there is an official Inktober prompt list, and there are even other challenges going on at the same time that come with prompts as well (such as drawlloween). You can use the prompt list exclusively, mix and match prompt lists, use them sometimes, or not use them at all. This is where I find lots of people get tripped up, it is something for you, there are no hard-set rules unless you want there to be. You can do what you like, as long as you’re having fun with it, that is what matters.
Challenges like this are an awesome way to experiment, learn new techniques, and simply have fun. They shouldn’t be stressful, and they certainly aren’t the be-all-end-all. Relax, let loose, and enjoy. That is how you will get the most out of something like this, especially as someone just starting out.
You are going to improve
Go ahead, pick up that pencil and put it to paper everyday and see what happens! I can guarantee you that if you put in the time you will see improvement. That is the entire point to challenges like this and that is why I love them so much. You don’t have to share your work either, it isn’t a requirement to participate but it does give you a sense of involvement and community. It can also be a good motivator to keep going if you are putting your work out there and people know it.
Even if you take five minutes out of your day to doodle, you are at the very least building good artistic habits. The act of picking up your supplies and creating something, no matter how small or time consuming, gets you used to doing it and builds up that habit. The more you do it, the less you have to think about it or force yourself to. In turn, the better you will get and the more you will benefit from having those few moments to yourself as well as the benefits of allowing creativity into your life.
What do I use?
I see a lot of people getting discouraged because they see so many posts about people spending all kinds of money on things for Inktober. Truth is that’s on them, all you need is something to draw on and some ink. That can be a pen, fine liner, markers, ink and brush, nib and ink, etc. Whatever you have on hand or like to use. You don’t need fancy materials or to break the bank to join in. You can even just use a regular ball point pen if you want. All I’ve bought this year for Inktober is a few microns (fine liners) because I needed to replace mine anyway.
There is a bit of debate about this but if you draw digitally (photoshop, Procreate,etc) you can even use that. I recently got an IPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate. I think they are valid options for Inktober.
What do I draw when I don’t know what to draw?
The prompts are a great place to look and find inspiration. If you are at a point where you feel as though you aren’t at a point where you can create something from your imagination fear not, there are many other options.
Around the home- find an everyday item that you use and draw from life, however you like. It is an excellent exercise to ink from a still life.
Try a new technique- maybe you saw a lovely drawing the other day that had some beautiful cross hatching on it and you thought to yourself, “that is awesome, I want to be able to do that”. Well, do that. Doodle and play around with a new technique, practicing lines and feeling how your materials flow and work with it.
Portraits- portraits are a fun way to express yourself, learn anatomy, practice, and have fun. You can draw from a picture or draw from life.
Hands- hands can be tricky to draw but they can also be lots of fun. They can portray all kinds of gestures and best of all you have one of your own to use as a model.
Draw out something that has happened- You could do something along the lines of a comic strip or a panel. It can be anything you want.
Happy inking! If you would like to follow my inktober progress you can do so on Instagram ( @letitiapfinder )
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Until next time my Creative Friends!
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