31 Drawings Later… An Inktober Wrap Up
I had heard about Inktober in the past from other artists. The good, the bad, the stress, and the rush. After letting it pass me by these past few years I decided to finally ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak. If you do not want to read the entirety of this post, I will sum up the takeaways I will be discussing. Firstly, what this challenge entailed, the positives and negatives, what I would do in advance for next time, and lastly whether or not I will participate next year.
What is Inktober?
To some artists Inktober is a creative challenge to help boost drawing skills, creativity, and community. To others it has become a time to create alternative less pressure packed art challenges. In both cases it starts with a prompt list. In the case of Inktober there are 31 words for each day of the month of October. Artists post their works every day on social media sites for the chance to be featured on Inktober’s official social pages.
The prompts are released ahead of October to allow artists time to develop sketches and gather reference photos.
Artists who choose to create their own word prompt lists will either stick to the schedule of 31 prompts or create weekly/biweekly prompts to ensure more time to develop each piece.
It is up to the artist to determine what they imagine best matches the word or a piece of the word. This is also where the creativity is endless! For example, one word this past year was “booger”. I couldn’t stand to even think of drawing anything related to mucus and noses. I changed my interpretation to something that says both “boo” and “grr”, which together make up the original word. You can see the piece here!
The ups and down of the challenge
Starting out the challenge, there was a lot of energy and excitement for me. About a week in, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to participate for a number of days. But, I was still determined to finish the challenge on time. When I was able to resume, I had to pop out TWO illustrations a day until I was caught up!
There was a moment that I felt like a hamster on a wheel. The never-ending prompt list seemed to go on forever, until it felt like it was almost over, and a nostalgic feeling set in.
I saw how proficient I had become at sketching concepts, the ease I felt at picking up my pen to draw and something I rarely can say it gave me confidence.
The community of artists who participate each year formed such a supportive base it was as if we were all pushing each other onwards and over the finish line.
For myself, the positives outweighed the negatives of the pressure to create felt by some, but I speculate this is only because I was given a prompt to base my creativity on.
Preparations for next year
If you have read this far, you may come to the conclusion that I plan to participate in next year’s Inktober, and you would be correct! However, next year I have a few things I plan to do in preparation that I did not do this past year.
In fact, I did no preparation for this past Inktober. While there is something to say about creating spontaneously and the virtues it may hold, one may find themselves a bit rushed to find sources and start sketches the day the prompt is due. This next year I will be prepared with many, MANY, reference photos as well as sketch ideas for the prompts I may deem more challenging!
My recommendation to artists who are on the fence about participating is to participate even for yourself. After drawing consistently for 31 days straight, the self-assuredness I felt in regards to my drawing skills was something I had never experienced before. Let yourself be the judge of whether or not this challenge is for you or not. You may come to find you like the idea of it, but would like to create your own numbered prompt list like others have, allowing for more time and days in between. For this artist though, I just wish there were more challenges such as these for the time in between the Inktober challenges!