Saturday, October 26, 2019

Inking Your Way in October - The Inktober Phenomenon!

Like they say “It’s that time of the year” when every illustrator in particular and every artist in general whether seasoned or the first-timer, prepares themselves to immerse in 31 days of drawings with pen and ink. Though I mention pen and ink which was how it was conceived in its beginning it has moved on to be more than just pen and ink. It has ‘stimulated’ artists’ across genres and mediums. Yes, I am speaking of Inktober as anyone too familiar with the art world routine would know. Though Inktober has its Official prompt list many artists take to their own versions including me.


According to Jake Parker, the Creator of Inktober:

Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.
I created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.
Anyone can do Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.”

The Inktober website mentions the Rules and Prompts as:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it on any social media account you want or just post it on your refrigerator. The point is to share your art with someone. :)

3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2019

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. Whatever you decide, just be consistent with it. Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better. That's it! Now go make something beautiful.

I can vouch for this myself since I have been taking part in Inktober, religiously, for the past 3 years and as anyone would know “Practice makes a man perfect.” It allows us to completely delve into the area(s) we would like to focus on. First year I took to Insects “Tiny, but Me!I wanted to bring to notice the importance of tiny beings in this universe who have the right to life just like any of us. The second year I took to a much more intricate work of temple sculptures and I spent almost 4 to 5 hours over a drawing as I was trying to ‘learn’ by making a sketch on paper, transferring it to the sketchbook and then inking it. So this year I wanted something ‘light’ and I am making Cats – our feline friends -  all within 5 to 10 minutes and it is quite gripping and exciting to observe their expressions and working through the process.

Jake Parker, Illustrator and Creator of Inktober currently living in Utah 


says that like the last two years, Jake is planning on a large piece with 31 characters, only this year he’s developing his SkyHeart characters.

He started Inktober day 1 with ‘Wake’ who is the central character in his graphic novel SkyHeart.
He goes on to say: 
I don’t know about the prompts for this project. I mostly knew what I wanted to draw going into this, but the prompts have inspired ideas for some characters...just out of order. Like, today’s prompt is “ring” and I have a character inspired by it, but I’m saving them for the end. Wake’s prompt is day 29: injured. But I wanted to draw him first. So I guess I’m doing the prompts out of order this year.

Loish a.k.a Lois van baarle currently a freelance illustrator and animator located in Utrecht (the Netherlands) 


“I decided to create something really personal. When I saw the prompt, 'frail', the first thing I thought of was my cat Charlie, who passed away last November. I was so attached to her, and seeing her health decline so quickly was traumatizing. I only realized in hindsight that she had been growing weaker and weaker for a long time. The reality of losing her was such a difficult thing to process that I didn't even realize it was happening until she was very sick... Until her final days. This drawing is based on one of the last pictures taken of me and her before everything escalated. I miss her every day and dealing with her loss truly has not gotten any easier.” Loish on Day 8th prompt.

Myriam Tillson is a Freelance Sculptor and Prosthetic Makeup Artist from London


She begins her day 1 with the prompt "ring" and says:

As you may have noticed, I failed at "taking it easy" and went straight for the high-detail, wrist-annihilating, fine-liner design... Anyway. This was fun, and so it begins!”

She adds, “I inspired myself quite a bit from the incredible @willmurai for the plants and environment in this piece. His ink pieces are out of this world, and I want to practice textures and composition this month.

Bobby Chiu co-founder of Imaginism Studios and the founder of Schoolism, a physical/digital art school for artists and illustrators. He has a lot of inspiring words to go with his ballpoint pen illustrations:

The only REAL failures are the good chances that are never taken.”
“You can learn when doodling. That I agree. But when you draw to learn, you learn a lot more.”

On day 8 he says: “It's not like I'm 'married' to art. Art & I are one. It's more like we're conjoined twins like Kuato from Total Recall.”

On day 10 he says: "Inspiration can come at any time, ESPECIALLY if we’re constantly looking for it. These Inktober drawings have been quite special to me. I feel like there’ve been some new understandings for me of the capabilities of a simple ballpoint pen can be used, sharpened and polished. The idea for this came to me at 4:30am. Inspiration can come at any time, so in a way, this little critter is me awake when most people were asleep."

Annie Stegg Gerard, an artist from Northern Georgia and a Bachelor in arts says:


I'm trying out a new vellum parchment paper that was recommended by the very talented @meredithdillmanart, and I'm in love!

She has been trying whimsical illustration and her goal is to create unique images that tell a story. Annie often draws inspiration from her life and incorporates her surroundings and environment like the Halloween themes, the full moon night and the pumpkin patch she visited during the weekend into her Inktober works.

Annie and Bobby have their own prompts while Loish and Myriam are adhering to the official ones on most days and move away on certain other. 

One can see that often artists are inspired by one another’s work and they learn more by observation and incorporating influences and inspiration from others. It is a way of enriching one’s own work practice.

The artists I have mentioned here are only a couple of seasoned artists but if you take a look at Instagram with the hashtags inktober, inktober2019, inktoberworld, etc. you are bound to meet a whole array of incredible artists who definitely leave you amazed and inspire to pick up your pen or pencil or paint or maybe an iPad. There are many artists who post their process as well both as time-lapse and process videos on Instagram and YouTube.

To conclude I would like to mention what Jake points out before the beginning of Inktober that Inktober is just a framework to get yourself to draw better and have some fun with your art. It is not a contest and the challenge is to see how much one can improve one’s art in a month, to inspire and be inspired. I love it when he says that there is no “Inktober police” going around shutting down people if they are not using ink or the official prompts and asks those self-declared police to keep such thoughts to themselves and use that energy to celebrate instead. 

Jake reinforces:
"While it's suggested to use real ink, keep things black and white, and use the official prompt list, the spirit of the challenge is very open to people being creative in what tools they use, how they use them, and what they create. If at any point the challenge gets too overwhelming and you aren’t having fun, pause for a day or two. Catch your breath, and just pick up where you left off.

In short: be nice, and have fun!"

Inktober website also offers a paid course on How to Ink.

Just 5 days left for this year's Inktober to get over and my next post will be on my Cats - this year's Inktober entries. Yes, that's what I am doing this year.

This is not a promotional post. This is the third year I am participating in Inktober and some of my friends were pretty interested to know what this is about. So this is meant for all those people who wanted to know about Inktober. So next year, be prepared friends to be part of the Inktober Fest!

Inktober information from Inktober Website.
Artists' quotes and images from Instagram. 
All rights reserved by the artists.