Last year was my first Inktober and I approached it with trepidation because I wasn’t terribly confident in my artistic abilities, particularly as compared to the phenomenal talent that participates in Inktober. More to the point I was nervous about working in black and white–in ink. Although ink has in common with pencil the nakedness which renders talent or lack of talent visible to the viewer, ink lacks that erase-ability which makes pencil seem less daunting. However, the challenge itself felt exciting because I wanted to join the community that surrounds the event and I got over my own egoic need to be amazing—or passably good and plunged right in.
My results weren’t what I would call phenomenal but working with ink gave me the opportunity to take risks that I wasn’t taking in my work up to that point. At the start of the month I sketched out pieces but midway through I began trying to ink without a sketch. This allowed me to trust myself to work with mistakes rather than outright try to avoid them. Something I’ve begun to get very comfortable with since then is that if you want to get better at your art you have to learn how to accept the ugly stages of it. Working with ink without a sketch was the start of beginning to trust myself as an artist. It didn’t mean that the art I’ve done since then is at the level I want it to be but Inktober 2018 helped me to recreate the environment I experienced as an art student.
For 2019 I am, once again, attempting to be braver than I feel and I have created a prompt list that will challenge me with opportunities to draw things I have always wanted to draw but have been too afraid to botch and fail at. I will also be including some of the reference images on Pinterest in case you’re also searching for Inktober inspiration. I’m also sharing my prompt list despite the abundance of available prompts.
My goals for the month are incredibly basic because the year has been a real shit show. Acceptance is the first step so, yes, I’m ready to admit that my goals have been upended at every turn. But, what has been good about the year is that I’ve really been learning how to carve out creative space into the little manageable chunks that have been possible. Inktober is a continuation of that. My goal is to complete the prompts and the month. I’m not as concerned about achieving great art or anything particularly featurable as I am about just getting the work done in order to have that progress and growth that is possible through this type of regular, structured practice.
Good luck to all that are participating! It is a fun and supportive community, especially if you approach it with an eagerness to learn and grow as an artist. Have fun and I’ll post a recap early in November but I’ll try to post on Instagram more regularly during October.