October has come to a close, and on top of being the best month of the year for its fall festivities, amazing eats, and opportunities to play dress-up, this month has been a pivotal turning point for me as an artist. This was the first year I participated in Inktober—an Instagram challenge started by Jake Parker in which artists all over the globe post an ink drawing every day for the month of October.
Each day was accompanied by a prompt, such as “Tranquil,” “Cruel,” and “Gift.” Artists were not required to follow the prompts, but did have to stick to a few key rules: 1.) to make a drawing in ink, 2.) post it online, 3.) hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2018, and 4.) repeat every day of October. Though I started a few days late and ended a few days early, taking part in the challenge had an unexpected effect: it helped me define my drawing style—a task I’ve been daunted by for years.
Every seasoned and successful artist has a consistent, recognizable look that they’ve chosen to pursue. It helps viewers know what to expect from them and allows them to make their mark in the world of art. Over the years, I’d recognized mediums that I favored and excelled at, black and white ink drawings being one of them. Within that medium, however, my style was inconsistent and I often found myself dissatisfied with the results.
Inktober gave me the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles, discipline my drawing habits, obtain inspiration and tips on inking technique, and ultimately experiment with total creative freedom. Gradually, as I tried new things, I discovered techniques that I both enjoyed doing and liked the results of. I identified subjects that I gravitated towards, and allowed myself to be pulled into their orbit. My final drawing, inspired by the prompt “Prickly,” was the epitome of my evolved inking style, and I couldn’t be happier with this new creative direction.
It’s been a pleasure embarking on this journey with my fellow Inktober artists and with the friends and family who have encouraged me along the way. I look forward to next year’s challenge!