I’m baaaack! There’s a reason I’ve been remiss in blogging this past month, and it’s called Inktober.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a “past life” as an illustrator but hit a major roadblock that pushed me into quitting drawing (almost cold turkey) for several years. It got to a point that I felt like I would never draw again, followed by a fear of starting over, and then a series of false starts that didn’t really lead anywhere.
So when I saw the Inktober drawing challenge on my feed one day (Sept. 30, to be exact), and I thought it might help. I haven’t really been drawing until recently, and I was scared of putting my work out there, so I said I would do it if I had friends who would do it with me. I didn’t think they’d take me seriously, but then they did, and I couldn’t take it back (hahaha).
So Inktober basically requires you to post one ink drawing a day on your social media accounts. You can do it freestyle, or you can tackle a list of drawing prompts, like the Halloween-themed Drawlloween.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy. I constantly struggled with dread (bordering on panic) over a particularly challenging prompt; anxiety (over likes, or lack thereof); even self-doubt (some days it just feels like crap). But the other side of the coin more than made up for the experience: the encouragement and the positive feedback from family and friends and even random strangers on the Internet, and all the discoveries I made along the way.
So here I am, after 31 days of continuously drawing (and very little sleep), blogging about Inktober because I feel like I finally managed to unlock something that has eluded me for so many years, and I learned so many things in the process.
1) Just keep drawing. There were good days and there were bad days. There were days when I had a solid concept, and days when I felt really good about what I was working on. But there were more days when a concept fell flat, or nothing was working the way I wanted it to. I had to remind myself that if nothing else, I would only get better with practice, and there was always the fresh opportunity to make new art the following day.
2) It’s okay to make mistakes. Some drawings I had time to do over; some I just learned to live with, but most of the time people don’t even notice mistakes unless you point it out (which I did, a lot, haha!).
3) Take risks. Inktober has allowed me to draw many things I’ve never, ever drawn before, in styles I never thought I could do, and media I’ve never worked with before. Some paid off and some didn’t, but I never would have known if I hadn’t tried.
4) There is more than one way to solve a problem. This is a source of constant fascination to me: finding a different way to attack a drawing challenge. Sometimes you just need to look at things from a new angle for the solution to come to you.
5) Your greatest competition is yourself. This is the toughest lesson I had to learn and the temptation to wallow in self-pity never really goes away, especially when you have extremely talented friends like mine and you’re all drawing the same thing. My consolation was pretty much the fact that I’ve produced more drawings this entire month than possibly the last three years combined, and some of them even better than anything I’ve ever done in the past, so I count that as a major achievement.
Plus, it’s really hard to resent such a lovely bunch of folks, which brings me to
6) Surround yourself with the right people. People who generously share their techniques, talk you through a particularly tough challenge, give you constructive feedback on your work, wait eagerly for your next post (and tell you how much they look forward to seeing your work), hit the like button when you ask them to (just so you can stop stewing about it), just listen to you wax poetic about a particular pen in the wee hours of the night, and generally just encourage you to be the best you can be. And I’m really glad I have these people in my life, because I wouldn’t have made it through Inktober without them.
So thank you to my Inktober buddies, especially Ajie, Gege, Rhett, Misa, Arjaey, and the rest of the contributors to the album; and everyone who took the time to like, share, and leave comments on our work.
Here are my favorite Inktober works:
For the rest of the posts (and see the works of my amazing friends, too!) head over to the complete album.
And I know Inktober isn’t strictly book-related, but who knows? Maybe I’ll get to work on a book again soon.