My Inktober experience


31 days, 31 drawings.

The Inktober initiative was created in 2009 by Jake JP Parker. He wanted to challenge himself to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. However, he soon realized that this challenge could be beneficial to other artists and introduced it to the public. Today, thousands of artists from all around the world participate in the initiative each October.

There are 4 simple rules to Inktober:

  • Make a drawing with ink
  • Post it online
  • Hashtag it with #Inktober and #Inktober 2017
  • Repeat every day of October

Parker creates a list of 31 prompts each year that artists can use but are not limited to. Many make up their own lists, stick to themes, or even tell stories one drawing at a time. The point of Inktober is to create good habits and to practice. No matter how cliché or unconvincing the old saying “Practice makes perfect” sounds, it’s true; potentially more so for those who are eager to express themselves creatively. Practicing different techniques is crucial if you want to improve your artistic abilities.

This past October, I took the challenge. For someone like myself who gets anxious at the thought commitment, calling this a challenge is an understatement. However, as an aspiring Digital Arts major, I figured this might be a good way to jump into practicing art more seriously. Making 31 drawings in 31 days sounded manageable. I was sure that I could make one small drawing a day without any problems. After completing all 31 days, I can say that this challenge did not only have pros, there were some cons as well.

Pros Inktober is a great way to get into the habit of thinking creatively every day. It forces you to take some of your free time and devote it to both interpreting the prompts and executing them. Coming up with ideas comes naturally to me, but not feeling confident enough in my craftsmanship to put them to paper often holds me back. Having to sit down for thirty minutes to an hour and draw something simple and fun was a relief. The beauty of Inktober is that you can be as detailed or simplistic as you would like. I let go of my worries about not having adequate skills and just let my ideas flow. This was a good way to get rid of my anxieties about producing something insufficient. Even if a picture didn’t come out exactly as I thought it would, I could go back and critique myself about what I could do better next time.

Cons Being creative every day is hard. There were so many days where I had an exam or an event to run and I struggled with finding the time to think about the prompt or draw something interesting. What I thought would be a fun and productive activity sometimes became stressful and more of a chore. Some nights I would sacrifice one of the five hours of sleep I had to get a drawing done. Other days I would get lazy and draw something sloppily. I regretted my lazy drawings immediately after I finished them.

Running out of ideas was a foreign concept for me. However, after nine or so days I began to blank on what to draw. My goal for this Inktober was to stay consistent with a ‘spooky’ theme (in homage to Halloween). However, after spending an hour thinking about what to draw for the prompt “screech,” I gave up on being creative and drew a scene from “Spongebob.” It wasn’t exactly my best work, but it saved me from spending two to three hours of thinking of what to draw.

I would suggest Inktober to anyone who wants to improve their artistic skills. If you’re interested in this challenge, you don’t have to wait an entire year. You can find tons of prompt lists online and get started on your own. All you need are the essentials: a sketchbook, a black pen and a little creativity.