My First Inktober: What I Learned

If you just want to look at the drawings and skip reading about the valuable lessons I learned during this art journey, then visit my Instagram page, or click here.

I’ve recently gotten back into the groove of doing personal sketches and creating analog art for myself, and I’ve obtained enough confidence from doing so that I decided to take on Inktober for the first time ever. For those uninitiated, Inktober is a daily drawing challenge started by artist Jake Parker.

There are 4 rules:

1.) Make a drawing in ink.
2.) Post it online.
3.) Hashtag it with #Inktober and #Inktober2017
4.) Repeat every day of October.

Mr. Parker also provides a prompt list with words assigned for every day to help spark ideas. I wanted to stick with an overarching theme for the month, so I opted for my own theme: Daily Noms. That’s right – food! I figured this way, I will have concrete daily references so I wouldn’t get stuck on ideas, therefore no excuses in missing a day of drawing. It was already going to be challenging making time to draw everyday, so I wanted to do anything I could to help set myself up for success.

I drew every day, but I didn’t post every day. During the last couple weeks, I got into the routine of drawing in pencil at night and then completing color and ink in the morning. Then I posted. Although I didn’t post every day, I’m going to call it a win, since I have been setting aside time every day to draw. And that’s really what this challenge is all about, isn’t it?

Two surprises:

1.) My discipline.

When I decided to do Inktober, I was in the midst of frantically packing for a family vacation to Disney World from October 3rd to the 11th. How does one fit in daily sketching amidst an oppressively hectic schedule of pool time, cocktails, and rubbing elbows with Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter? Ohhhh, the PAIN! 😛 But seriously, though, I was fully expecting to come back to the hotel each night exhausted, cursing myself for announcing my Inktober participation, but I worked it in. Nightly sketching became a way for me to unwind at the day’s conclusion. It was a valuable lesson in commitment and discipline. I see it as an investment in my personal wellness and development as an artist for myself and for my clients.

2.) How long it took me to complete each drawing.

I thought each drawing would take 1 hour max. Instead, each drawing – between penciling it out, coloring, and then inking – took 2-3 hours. Yikes!

What I learned:

1.) Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I *can* make time for drawing daily.

2.) Next year, focus on 1-color ink.

Although I set myself up for success by focusing on a theme – Daily Noms – I was quite overly ambitious by throwing color into the mix. The color is what took the most time. It didn’t take me too long to pencil and then ink after I colored, but DANG, the coloring! I got sucked into the trial and error of using the correct colors from my boxed set of Faber-Castell Pitt Brush Pens for each food piece. My goal for each drawing was to have each food item ooze major appetite appeal, and picking out the perfect colors was crucial to achieving that. I’m extremely happy with how each piece turned out, but since the idea of Inktober is to set aside time – no matter how small – each day to draw, I’ll give myself a break next year and focus on inking only.

3.) I got better!

I noticed an improvement in each sketch, day-to-day. When I compare my October 1st sketch to my October 31st sketch, wow – there’s quite a difference there. I can see there is more confidence in pen strokes and color choice on Day 31 vs. Day 1. I have intentions to continue daily sketching after Inktober (as I’m seeing a few fellow artists are saying), so we’ll see if I can follow through on that. It’s been rewarding to see my Inktober sketchbook quickly fill, so perhaps that will be another incentive to keep up the habit.

Did you participate in Inktober or know someone who did? Did you like it? Hate it? What did you learn? Leave a comment, and let me know how it went!

Day 1: Falafel Bowl

Day 2: Tofu Scramble & Hash Browns with Cholula

Day 3: Larabar

Day 4: Mickey Pretzel

Day 5: Blood Orange Jalapeño Margarita

Day 6: Cafe Tutu Tango’s Fire-Roasted Vegetables

Day 7: Tofu Rice Bowl

Day 8: Coffee in Splitsville Mug

Day 9: Dufftoberfest for Moe’s Tavern

Day 10: Veg Out Pizza from Blaze

Day 11: Tofu Curry & Rice

Day 12: Tenders, Tots & Onion Rings

Day 13: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Day 14: Veggie Wrap

Day 15: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Day 16: Blue Cocktail

Day 17: Berries & Almond Butter on Toast

Day 18: Matcha Bowl with Oats & Berries

Day 19: Cooper’s Hawk’s Bin 61 Sour

Day 20: Banana

Day 21: Ema’s Hummus Spread Sampler

Day 22: Vegan Cafe’s Jalapeño Corn Chowder

Day 23: Daiya Cheezy Mac

Day 24: Kite Hill Almond Milk Drinkable Yogurt, Summer Berry Flavor

Day 25: Sloppy Jane Sandwich

Day 26: Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Caramel Fudge & Coconut Seven Layer Bar

Day 27: MOD Pizza

Day 28: Quinoa Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Pepper

Day 29: Gardein Mini Chicken & Waffles

Day 30: Stranger Things Cocktail, “Eleven”

Day 31: Pineapple Upside Down Cake