Have y’all heard of Inktober? It’s a drawing challenge originally started by illustrator, Jake Parker in 2009. Every October, artists around the world aim to create an ink drawing daily for 31 days, sharing their work online with the #Inktober hashtag.
Over the years, it’s morphed into a huge art event with over 12 million drawings created by thousands of artists from around the world. There are official Inktober themes each year, but many artists choose to pick their own themes as well.
The rules are simple:
- Draw in ink
- Post it to the social media of your choice.
- Hashtag with #inktober and #inktober2019 (or whatever year it is) plus any other theme hashtags you’re doing
- Do it again tomorrow!
Actually Doing It…
Sounds pretty easy, right? How hard can it be to carve out a few minutes to draw a lil’ something each day?
Welp, it turns out it’s very hard. I remember not too long ago when I struggled so much with drawing consistently. I desperately wanted to be drawing every day. I knew I should be, and I told myself I would, over and over. But somehow, the hours and then the days would slip by and I wouldn’t draw a single line.
I’d get busy with all the other things I had to do. I’d get overwhelmed not knowing what to draw. I’d be afraid I would draw something terrible and end up feeling worse. But a lot of times, I’d just choose not to draw because it was easier. I’ll do it tomorrow…
Inktober was the kick in the butt I needed. I forget now exactly which year it was, but the first year I participated in Inktober marked a major shift in my drawing output. I saw a tweet about it and thought, “Yes! This is what I need! This will give me the motivation and accountability to actually draw every day!”
Developing a Drawing Habit
And surprisingly, it did. Did I draw every single day that first Inktober? No. I missed multiple days. It wasn’t perfect. But having the ongoing motivation, and knowing that I was supposed to be sharing my work each day, made me jump back on the drawing wagon way quicker than I had before. All in all, it was more than I had ever drawn in a month. But more importantly, it was the most consistent I had ever drawn.
A funny thing happened while I was going through that first monthly challenge. I started to want to draw each day. Once I had gotten over the hump of the first week, and had sat down to my sketchbook multiple days in a row, something clicked in my brain that made me start to crave drawing.
I no longer had to work as hard to convince myself to draw. I just wanted to. I was developing a drawing habit.
Drawing more leads to drawing more
If you haven’t experienced this sense of drawing nirvana, don’t worry. It’s never too late to develop a drawing habit. And don’t be intimidated and think your drawing habit has to be perfect. Trust me, mine wasn’t in the beginning and it’s not now either. There are still days, occasionally, when I don’t draw.
But the difference is how long these lapses last. It used to go on for days and days, even weeks. Now it’s just one day, and it happens much less frequently. And I don’t beat myself up about it, I just get back to drawing.
What I’ve learned is that consistency is the most important aspect of improving your drawing skills.
You don’t want to burn out creating huge pieces of detailed artwork every single day. But drawing something, no matter how small or how simple, will do wonders for your attitude toward drawing, confidence while drawing, and development of your style and voice.
Drawing consistently is hard, for sure. It requires commitment and willpower, and sometimes drawing when you don’t really want to. But the more you draw, the more it builds on itself. The drawings compound, and you’ll notice with each line and each day that it becomes easier and more enjoyable to draw.
How to Rock Inktober 2019
So how ’bout it? If you’re interested in drawing with us in Inktober this year, here are some tips to get started and stay on course for the whole month!
1. Choose a theme or theme list.
You can choose to follow the official Inktober theme list, pick one from another artist on social media, or use our #MightCouldDrawToday month-long theme with #MCDTInktober2019! I’ll be announcing that theme on September 30.
You can also pick and choose from different themes based on what inspires you that day, or create your own theme!
2. Choose your frequency.
Remember our whole consistency, not perfection goal? That totally applies to Inktober too. YOU get to choose what goal works best for you. Is your goal to draw every day in October? Every other day? Once a week? Setting your intention ahead of time will help you manage expectations and be more likely to follow through.
“You can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.”–Jake Parker
3. Use your own hashtag along with others.
Using the challenge hashtags or other artists’ hashtags is a great way to share your work with a larger community and get involved. But creating and using your own unique hashtag will allow you to collect and see all your drawings from the month together in one place.
A common way of doing this is to add your name to the Inktober hashtag like one of these:
4. Go easy on yourself!
Let’s say it happens—you missed a day of drawing. So what? That was yesterday, and today is today. We can’t let one slip up bring this whole thing crashing down.
It’s ok. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Consistency is what we’re really aiming for, and we can keep it up by forgetting the tiny missteps and focusing on the big picture.
Maybe you forgot to draw yesterday. You can’t go back, and you can’t change that. But today is a new day with the opportunity to rebound. You can still draw today!
You can totally rock Inktober this year. It’s challenging, I know. That’s the point of a drawing challenge! But armed with a theme, a frequency goal, hashtags, and self-compassion, you can draw more than you’ve drawn before!
I’ll be here, drawin’, messin’ up, and kickin’ booty right along with you.
It’s Inktober time, baby… so let’s draw!