If you're an illustrator, or you follow illustrators on social media, you probably noticed something called #Inktober taking over Twitter last month. Jake Parker started Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his own inking skills. It's still going strong, and now thousands of artists participate by posting one ink drawing every day for the entire month of October, tagging them with #inktober and #inktober2017. All types of artists join in, from children's book illustrators to comic book artists, posting pieces in every style you can think of. People use all types of inks and tools-pens, markers, brushes, quills and even digital inking tools.
I first noticed Inktober in 2013, but I was too shy to try it. By 2015 I wanted to give it a try, but with a new baby and a full-time job, posting one drawing a day seemed almost impossible. Last year, in 2016, I finally joined in and gave Inktober a try. That was the first year that Jake Parker put out an official Prompt List, with one word for every day of October. I decided to use the prompt words, although they are just suggestions, not a requirement for participating. Posting one ink drawing a day was exciting but tough. I finished a few in a hotel bathroom while on a trip for a family wedding. Some days I didn’t have time to do one, and then I’d make up for it by doing a few at one time, staying up late into the night. Keeping up with the challenge was stressful at times but having 31 new pieces at the end of the month felt like a great accomplishment. Another plus was that Inktober brought me back to my first true love in drawing—using a quill dipped in ink—which I had stopped using over the years.
This year I wanted to participate, but I needed a different experience. I decided to ditch the prompt list, as well as the pressure of doing one every single day. For an overarching theme, I went with figure drawing, and I’ve been looking up life drawing poses and videos on Youtube. (Who knew that even existed?! I didn’t!) Even though I didn’t participate for all 31 days, it was fun to be part of the challenge. Another nice little perk? New Instagram followers. Attracting followers on social media was definitely not my main goal, but it’s fun to connect with more artists online and know your work is being seen by new people.
To everyone who did Inktober, congratulations! To everyone considering it, jump in and try it next time, even if it’s on your own terms.
Here are a few great Inktober posts from SCBWI members: