Inktober 2019

I want to start by saying I don’t feel like a failure this time. But that makes no sense, so I’ll elaborate. 🙂

Whenever I take part in something online, something with deadlines and prompts and goals, I get totally crazy. I have to reach each goal and tick them off as done. It’s an absolute must for me, and I drive myself deep into the clutches of anxiety to achieve those goals.

But sometimes, that small endorphin boost just isn’t in the cards. Life will happen, whether I’m taking part in this online thing or not. Whether I have shit on the checklist or not. Whether I’m accountable or not.

Then, when life happens, when I have too much stacked on my plate, I either deliver low quality work or don’t deliver at all. No goals are achieved, and I feel terrible. Because I failed.

This is why I can’t do Nanowrimo. We all know I can punch out 50k words in a month. I know I can. But I’ve learned from experience that just because I can really doesn’t mean I should.

Inktober has also made me feel like a failure in the past. I didn’t finish last year. Sure, I had a good reason. I told everyone I probably wouldn’t finish my run before I’d even started drawing. We were moving across Canada, after all. So, I sketched as much as I could, until I couldn’t keep up the drawing.

Despite my good reason, despite keeping up appearances online, I still felt like crap after. I failed.

This year was going to be different. I wanted to finish. I really tried. But I have this wrist injury, you see, and when it’s acting up, it’s almost impossible for me to draw.

This is the interesting, out-of-character part, because I don’t feel that small implosion in my chest at the thought of failing. And I did fail. I didn’t keep up the sketches as I’d hoped, and I didn’t reach the primary goal of drawing something every day.

But I inked as much as I could this year, and that’s enough. If I learned anything while writing A Trial of Sparks & Kindling, it’s that my health is important too. I shouldn’t be working myself into a stupor just to reach invisible goals. Nobody cares anyway, just me.

My personal theme for this year was medical art. I wanted to make stuff related to my books. The long-term plan is to create some Fall of the Mantle inspired bookish merch, and I figured medical charts and diagrams would be right up Cara’s alley. Besides, I’ve always been fascinated with medical sketches.

So, without further ado, this is what I drew for Inktober 2019.

I’ve made some progress on the big skull that is the centrepiece of the human skull page, but it’s not done yet. I’ll share more once I’ve progressed on that.

Meanwhile, I finished the bran chart digitally. This is how that turned out.

I’m going to make this available in print soon, and will let you know when it’s online. I plan to make a similar chart with the skulls, then move on to kidneys after that.

Meanwhile, all of this and other art stuff I’ve made now features in its own Instagram account. So, if you want to see my art, but aren’t that keen on the bookstagram photos, don’t worry. You can check out my art account, Colour and Graphite.

I guess the moral of the story is that our lives happen in seasons. Sometimes, it’s a season of rest. And it’s difficult, but I’m trying to learn to be okay with that.

Until next time.



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A Study of Ash & Smoke
A Trial of Sparks & Kindling


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