Inktober is coming! If you have not heard about Inktober it is high time you learn more. Inktober began in 2009 as a personal challenge initiated by artist Jake Parker in which artists create 31 ink drawings in 31 days over the course of the month of October.
Challenges like this are great ways to establish a more consistent creative process, achieve greater technical skill, and develop your own style. However, even the most disciplined artist can find this 31 day challenge difficult!
Here are 6 easy (but effective) tips to help make your experience more manageable:
1. Establish a goal. When your time is spent working on a specific outcome it is easier to stay motivated and can help you justify the time on days when you feel a little swamped. What can you do that will benefit your artistic goals the most? Perhaps you need practice with observation. Maybe you want to refine your line work more. Do you have a couple of characters in mind what you would like to develop? Now is the time to devote yourself to the cause and make your effort count.
2. Develop a game plan. Create a calendar or list of daily objectives for yourself ahead of time to eliminate the pressure of coming up with ideas each day. While unlimited options are good for some people they can prevent quite a few others from getting started at all. Consider your goals and personal interests. If your goal was to refine your line work, choose simple imagery and focusing on contour line drawings. If you were thinking about developing a character, make a list of various aspects of that character that you want to explore. Allow for flexibility and give yourself some additional options if you worry that you will feel too confined.
Try using one of the following ones lists designed for this type of challenge if you do not feel like creating your own.
Jake Parker has even released a list of 2016 Inktober prompts that can be used:
Also, many artists choose to merge Inktober with Drawlloween for this purpose.
3. Define perimeters. By limiting yourself to a set of predetermined rules you can help keep your expectations realistic. This could be interpreted in different ways. For instance, you could choose materials (like pens or new ink techniques) ahead of time and stick to them throughout the duration of the challenge to develop your range with them. You might also decide to use the same size for all of your drawings to help you manage time concerns if you love detail. Deciding to use a specific format or composition each day can create more emphasis on your media and technique. Your goals can help you craft personal perimeters that will ensure that you feel more successful.
4. Be realistic about your time expectations. If you know you have a stacked schedule consider setting a time limit each day. 10-15 minutes may seem like you are not doing enough but when the alternative is not doing anything, investing even a small amount of time is a legitimate solution. Although you are likely to see artists spending several hours on their daily works, there is no specific expectation for this challenge. Every day poses new opportunities so if you cannot devote much time to your work on certain days, it is likely you will have more time on others.
5. Share your work. No really… a lot of people resist sharing their work on social media for various reasons. Although you may feel awkward doing this, sharing your work is critical to feeling accountable for your participation. If social media is not for you, garnering the support of your friends of family – or better yet, getting them involved too – might be more your style. This is a lot like trying to lose weight; it is harder to go it alone.
6. Be kind to yourself! If you miss a day do NOT give up – keep going! If your drawing is less than what you desired on a given day – let it go! No one is perfect and any issues you encounter are not the end of the world. Have fun with the challenge and embrace any mistakes that happen as part of the process. Despite some of the beautiful and amazing IG and Tumblr feeds that may pop up throughout the month, not every day will yield a gallery worthy creation – this is simply not realistic for most of us.
Do not allow anyone – especially yourself – to dull your experience!