At the start of October I made a post about doing Inktober this year, in my own way. Basically, I planned to draw a rough ink sketch of an animal most days, with the aim of creating a regular habit of sketching in ink. I hadn’t done much ink drawing or animal drawing for a while, and wanted to get back into doing both regularly. I also wanted to practice drawing fast and very loosely (I tend to get bogged down in detail), and to use more of my supplies. Unlike many artists who take part in Inktober, I didn’t plan to make polished drawings, follow the prompts, or to post what I was doing on social media. This was more of a personal thing for me, not a way to get attention on my art.
So, how did it go? I’m glad to say I followed through on my plan, although I ended up sketching five days a week, and taking the weekends off. I find that doing something every single day without a break leads to burnout, and I never want drawing to feel like a chore. I do usually make some kind of art at the weekends too, but it’s all for fun, not preplanned. So five days worked better, and I completed 25 sketches in total. Here’s the last one. I’m not posting the others, because they’re even rougher than this 😀
I’m happy to have established this habit, and will keep sketching in ink each weekday, although I’ll include other subjects now, not just animals. I also drew with a different pen each day, so it was fun to explore more of my supplies that I don’t use much. I’m going to keep doing this too, and not just stick to my favourites all the time. My other aim was to loosen my technique, and that worked – these drawings are very rough, and it was nice to not care about getting things looking ‘just right’.
On the downside, there were days when I just wasn’t in the mood, but I pushed through anyway. Some people might see this as a good thing, but I don’t like forcing myself to draw when I don’t want to. I don’t sit around ‘waiting for inspiration’ either, but there’s a middle ground. In this case it wasn’t a big deal since I’d only committed to a quick daily sketch that took a few minutes, but I wouldn’t take this approach with more time-consuming projects. I enjoy working consistently on my colouring books and other art (I make a lot more than I post publicly), and none of that comes from making myself do it. But having a strong habit makes it easy to keep going and lessens any occasional resistance, so it can be worth using a bit of short term self-discipline to start a new helpful habit. I think doing this challenge was worth it for that reason.
Overall, my experience was about as I expected. I knew going in that I don’t do well with strict daily challenges and public accountability, so I didn’t commit to those things. I did enjoy seeing other people’s Inktober drawings on Instagram from time to time (not every day), and that gave me a bit of extra inspiration. I don’t need a public challenge to make a change/improvement, but if there’s one that coincides with my plans, as happened here, it can be fun to take part in my own way. I may do something similar with other art challenges in the future – if I feel like it 🙂