Artist and illustrator Jake Parker created a drawing challenge called “Inktober” in 2004 for artists around the world. From October 1st to 31st each year, participants are to create an ink drawing each day following the official prompt list. The list varies each year, and though artists are encouraged to use it, it is ultimately up to their own judgment whether or not they wish to follow the prompts. There are hundreds of lists made by other artists that you can follow, ranging from “Goretober” to “OCtober.”
My personal experience with Inktober has been a positive one. Two years ago, I attempted to follow the challenge, but couldn’t keep up and gave up after only a week. Until you try it, creating one drawing a day sounds easy. But trust me, it’s not. I had an entire year to mull over my failure and create a game plan in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. I planned out my prompts before October started. This kept me on track throughout last year’s challenge and, to my own surprise, I stuck with it. Part of this is because I found a way to relate every drawing back to Star Wars. All 31 of them. Once it was over, the improvement from the first drawing to the last was obvious.
The purpose of using ink throughout the challenge is to own your mistakes. You’re encouraged to be bold, be brave with your lines. There’s no erasing ink, but that’s a good thing. Mess up a line? Too bad. Change it, morph it into something unexpected. You can look back and see your decision-making, the thought process of creating a piece so uniquely “you.” If you’re an artist, creator, or someone who dares to be bold, try participating in Inktober next year. It’s great practice for aspiring artists and great fun for those who aren’t.