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5 ways to get into Inktober

I tend to be way too hard on myself. The other night I was talking to Sander about how I wished I had a time machine. I want to be able to go back and tell my younger self to focus more on drawing. Sometimes I believe that I could tell a lot more stories that way. I often forget how much joy writing brings me. But when I see what artists can produce, I want to mope about how I lack those skills. I’m not doing that this year. Instead I’m participating in a little something called Inktober.

Inktober is an drawing challenge created by artist Jake Parker. It focuses on improving skills and creating positive drawing habits. Every day has a new prompt to inspire the participant. Even though this is my first year, I’ve watched way too many videos on how to prepare for it. So I’d like to share what I’ve learned from finishing my first 7 days of Inktober.

Come prepared
Inktober is about practicing with ink and paper. It’s the most traditional one can get when it comes to drawing. I’m currently drawing in a large unlined notebook that I got years ago. I use a 2H pencil and these pens to ink. The S22 is my most used pen out of this set but I like using the S20 to fill in large spaces with black. I’ve heard that the best pen to use can be a common ballpoint pen but I wanted to play a little this year. Someday I’ll use a ball point pen because I’ve seen some gorgeous pieces!

Pace yourself
I’ve realized that I can’t find time to draw on the weekends. For some reason or another, we’re busy and I can’t focus. So instead I’ll draw a few extra prompts over the week and post them on the day of that word. It will make my life less stressful and I can stay on top of things. There’s nothing worse than falling behind and feeling discouraged about catching up. Falling behind is a huge reason for why so many people quit challenging themselves.

Don’t be critical
While each drawing prompt is a single word, it can be easy to overthink what to do. I’ve seen some beautiful pieces come forward but I always end up looking at what I’ve done and be a bit sad. So I suck it up and remind myself I need to put in the effort now or never. It’s better to go simplistic and draw something I know I can. I want to push myself all the time but end up feeling frustrated with my skill level. There have been several times I’ve started a new drawing because I was unhappy with the previous one. And that’s ok!

Sharing progress is eye opening
I have an Instagram account for drawing so that I have a space to share my progress. It’s more of a personal online library where I can look back at what I’ve done. I’d like to be able to look back 10 years from now and be able to see how I’ve improved. It’s a common thing other artists post about too. I love when artists post a redraw of a particular image. It’s a good way to judge on how style and method change too! A digital copy of art is also an easy way to keep track of pieces when a stack of notebooks piles up!

Enjoy the process
I watched Brookes Eggleston’s video on how everyone has 1,000 bad drawings inside of them. Of course it was a parody video but something in it made a lot of sense to me. I want to be a good artist but I’m not. How can I be when I’ve only put in a handful of hours? There’s no way I can be good unless I’ve practiced enough. Getting 1,000 drawings out on paper is the first step. They may be terrible and I might hate them but it’s all part of the process. The great thing about doing and completing Inktober, is that it encourages the participants to draw everyday. In 1,000 days I want be a better artist than I am now. And that’s something to look forward to.

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