What Inktober Taught Me

So this year, I took part in the Inktober initiative for the first time. If you’ve never heard of Inktober, like…? Your rock must be on Saturn or something. 😛

Basically, you draw something every day in October. As the name of the initiative suggests, you’re invited to make your art using ink. Obviously, this is more of a guideline than a rule. I also know other people who only took part once a week, or every second day – the idea is just to keep a constant flow of art going.

For the last, I don’t know, 6, 7 years? I’ve only been making art digitally. I’ve always striven for photorealism, because I’m a little insane. You’ve heard me mention that before. My Wacom died a few months back, so digital art-making went out the window. As a challenge, I bought a set of watercolours and I’ve been going to ‘art class’ on YouTube. I’m telling you, YouTube can teach you anything.

OK. The point. I’ve been in a deep art rut for too damn long. The stuff I painted always looked the same. The poses and faces always resembled each other, and little that was truly unique came out in what I drew.

I wanted to use this Intkober as an experiment – different styles, media and subject matter that I’ve never drawn before. This was a massive challenge, to see if there’s something inside that I didn’t know I was capable of. For this reason, I tried to stick to the suggested schedule on the Inktober website, because I wasn’t drawn (ha, see what I did there) to many of the daily themes. Most of them, really. So following the schedule was a challenge in itself, because I had to try and make something of a thing I didn’t like.

Of course, writing / editing and making art at the same time meant my creativity got an adrenaline shot, and pretty much exploded some days. On those days, I made the art that I was inspired to make, not what was suggested.

I literally tried something new every day, incorporating new mediums at the same time. A sloppy doodle one day, and a detailed painting the next. I wanted to see what reactions I’d get out of it, what would be received well and what really didn’t work for me or my Facebook friends and Instagram followers.

This taught me a lot. For the first time in my art-making history, people were commenting on the emotional aspect of the artwork. It blows me away, because nobody has ever seen my art as emotional. Stiff, tight, sure. Emotional? No.

And this led to the idea for a new series of artworks, titled ‘Emotions’. I’ve already posted the first on Instagram, but will share the series with you here once it’s complete.

So, in conclusion, Inktober taught me to embrace imperfections. It was difficult not to draw the lines exactly right. Sometimes, stepping away was the most challenging aspect of the experiment. But, in doing that, I’ve learned to make people feel something – I’ve learned to pour what I feel, into a picture.

It’s been one of the most valuable lessons of the year.

Have a good one,



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