Inktober – Doing it My (Very Rough) Way

Inktober is a month-long drawing challenge that takes place in October each year. The idea is to develop an ink drawing habit, but beyond that the rules are pretty loose.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing what others create during Inktober, but never felt like getting involved myself. Mostly because I don’t like committing myself to doing things every day. I’m more of a go with the flow person and tend to rebel against rigid structures and routines, even if they’re self-imposed. I’ve also seen a lot of artists get quite stressed by challenges like this, and what’s the point of turning something that’s supposed to be fun into a chore? So I have some reservations about it.

All that said, I’ve decided to give Inktober a go this year, but I’m using it for my own purposes. These are:

  1. To get into the habit of sketching in ink most days. I already draw nearly every day, so developing a drawing habit isn’t something I need to work on. But I haven’t drawn much with ink for a while, and this is a good oppotunity to get back to that. I think that sketching more in ink (as opposed to just graphite like I normally use) will be good for developing my skills going forward.
  2. To draw animals regularly. I love drawing animals but haven’t been doing it much lately, so rather than following the prompts, I’m going to sketch an animal every day. It can be realistic, cartoonish, or whatever style I feel like.
  3. To loosen up my technique. I’m only doing rough sketches, not finished drawings. Partly because I don’t have a lot of time for this, and partly because I know myself and I get pretty obsessive with ink drawing, wanting to add in tons of tiny details and get every little line ‘just right’. I naturally lean towards a very tight, precise style (which I associate with ink drawing especially), but I don’t actually like drawing that way most of the time. It’s hard on my hand and eyes, and it takes forever to finish a piece. So I’m deliberately keeping things very loose and sketchy, and not spending more than about 10 minutes on a drawing.
  4. Finally – to experiment with my supplies. I have a lot of drawing pens! And I tend to stick with the same two or three while the rest just sit there. So I’m going to use a different pen (or brush and ink etc) each day.

I won’t be posting my drawings on social media, although I might share a couple on this site. I’m doing it for myself, not as a way to build a following or get feedback. I already know I won’t be making the kind of art I want to show off!

Here’s my first sketch from day one – as I said, very rough! I’m actually a bit embarrassed to post it, especially as the proportions are off (something not easily fixed in ink, and no time to start over). But drawing like this is helpful for me right now, and that’s the important thing. I’m not following the prompts, but as it happens the day one prompt was ‘fish’, so it fits 🙂 I used my favourite pen (Copic Multiliner SP), but will try something different next time.

Rough fish sketch for Inktober 2020

I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes over the rest of the month. And if anyone reading is doing Inktober too, I hope you have fun with it!

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