I have participated in Inktober for three years now. I first heard of it in 2016. Unfortunately, it was already half way through the month so I only completed 13 sketches that year. My second year, 2017, was a complete series. It was extremely difficult for me though, completing all the sketches in time. I fell behind often and had to play catch up! This year was much smoother. I was more prepared.
I wanted to write this post to share everything I have learned so far since participating in Inktober and any tips I can offer to help you with your own Inktober!
Below is a short list I quickly put together about what Inktober has helped me with. There is no order of importance, just what popped in my head first.
Preparation is an important key for making or breaking your success with Inktober. I think it is much easier if you follow the official prompts provided rather than making things up on the spot. Having the prompt list ahead of time allowed me to think about what I wanted to draw before the day came. I was jotting down ideas in September and had over half of my prompts thought out before October 1st! It makes it much easier to come up with ideas. I even decided to have all my sketches be related so I went with a “horror/monster movie theme”. It made it a lot of fun and I was able to exercise my creativity with using the prompts and my own theme together. Also, make sure you have enough supplies. I know from past years that one set of pens will not last me. They will dry out and I’ll be left with blotchy lines carving into the paper! Make sure you have enough paper too! I like using the same sketchbook for the month so I have a nice collection at the end. I work on small sizes so I can be quick with the final product.
Simplicity is so important when working with ink. I normally work with pencil so this can be difficult for me. I want to cover the whole area when I shade, like with pencil, but it is not necessary with ink. Repetitive and parallel lines can be effective in shading. Also, I drew a lot of people this month, which is not my strong suit. I quickly learned how messy a face can turn out if you try to keep “fixing” things. Just put in the most important lines to get your idea across and then leave it alone!
Commitment is right up there with preparation. You already know that this is calling for 31 sketches, if you decided to do one everyday. I knew I would have to complete my sketch around a full time job, home chores, family time, dinner and whatever else needed my attention (i.e. school events, holidays, or maybe even some “down time” would be nice!). I knew the only way I would be successful was to keep my sketches small, simple, and completed within a certain amount of time. There is also that moment, a little more than halfway through the month, when you start to get really lazy and you just don’t want to be obligated to do that sketch. Do it! If you feel that way, pick something you know is easy for you to draw and keep it simple (there’s that word again). This leads us to our next topic…
…time management. Inktober really helped me with something I have always struggled with when it comes to my artwork. It forced me to pick a regular time where I knew I could sit down and get it done. I only had one to two hours usually or else I was cutting into my sleep time and with my job, I can’t go without sleep. I didn’t have to worry everyday about when I was going to get it done because I knew at that same time everyday I would have the chance to do it. It alleviated stress and it forced me to keep my work quick and not get lost in the details (which I also do frequently). Keep it simple, sunshine. It even helped in my personal life. I needed to ensure I would have the time to get everything done in the day. All my responsibilities had to be done by a certain time or else something would lack (even accounting for randomly staying late at work).
Inktober allowed me to create a routine for myself. The daily repetition gave me the chance to have a system. I would sit at my desk, have a mug with the pens I knew I would need, even my pencil and ruler for my initial sketch before the ink. Everything was prepared and waiting for me. I’m not one for having a regular schedule. I get bored easily so I like to change things up. Unfortunately, this left me scatter brained, overwhelmed and constantly feeling behind. I’ve learned how much easier it is to have a little repetition in my process without letting my “day to day” become dull.
Last but not least, the most cliché lesson of all…Practice makes perfect! Like I stated before, I drew a lot of people this year. People are a hard subject for me to work with. I forced myself out of my comfort zone on many topics and I only improved because of it. I made certain realizations I wouldn’t have otherwise that helped me improve with each sketch. I was forced to work with many areas that are difficult for me such as hands, faces, water and fire. I even tried drawing a skeleton over an already existing face. I challenged myself to the max this year and my skills improved so much more because of it!
I hope this can help you with your own Inktober experience. Just remember, it is suppose to be FUN! If you’re not having fun, you need to change something in your approach. Now, we have to wait a whole year for the next one. I can’t wait!
Thank you to everyone who followed along through this year’s Inktober and helped encourage me to accomplish what I did! I completed all 31 sketches and ON TIME! Woohoo! Which one is your favorite? I would love to hear from ya in the comments below! I had fun connecting with others as they did their own sketches as well! Thanks for stopping by this week.
Until next time,
“There is always more to be found by exploring the same subject again and again.” -Dion Archibald