Bird & Botanical Drawings for Inktober (Oct 1-10)

This October I’ve been participating in the internationally celebrated Inktober Challenge started by Jake Parker – the goal: create 31 drawings in 31 days during the month of October. Last year was my first year to make it all the way through. I’m determined to accomplish this again.

Here is a slide show of all the works from October 1 – October 10:

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My theme is “my turf” so to speak. I’ll be combining vegetation and wildlife from my yard and neighborhood throughout the month.

The first page of my Inktober 2017 book. Sadly, the very first drawing with the title is perhaps my least favorite of the first 10 days due to the lack of contrast in the title and background.
On October 3rd I decided to pay a small tribute to the musician Tom Petty, who passed away on the 2nd.
On both October 4th and 5th, I found remains of two of my very loved Mourning Doves and a distinctly different tone settled into my yard. While I worked to reduce any possible hiding spots for my neighbors cat, some birds trickled back in… but only a 3 of the 12-16 doves in the previous colony returned in the time since.
My studio work space has become pretty comfy and this is making it easier to sit down and get to work each day. It helps to have a studio cat (or 2) to keep me company.
My other studio cat likes the window as Bug claims the rug (and thus, the sun) to herself. Like me, Gemma’s pretty content to simply sit and watch the birds outside.
Because the sketchbook I’m working in only has 25 pages I’ve known from the start that 6 pages will have to be doubled up. This has caused me to think a little more creatively about my layouts and October 7 and 8 are a good example of something that worked out better than expected.

I’ve also chosen to also focus my attention on improving my overall video quality and while I won’t share all of the process videos here (though there is one for each day), these can be watched on my YouTube channel’s “Inktober 2017” playlist. You can read more about my starting point in my previous post.

Here are a couple of my favorites (and most successful videos):

I’m using the native iPhone Camera and iMovie apps as well as LapseIt to process my time-lapse videos of my inking and watercolor work each day. I’ve not been satisfied with any one program so far. As a result, I’ve been switching back and forth to get the job done and it is causing the quality of the final video to be dramatically lessened in the end. This is still something I wish to fix. But, for my daily goals now (and the need to keep up the pace!) it seems to be working okay (and I’m adding sound finally!).

While I’ve tried to maintain my 52 week personal challenge while doing this, I have ended up spending anywhere between 2-4 hours a day working on my Inktober drawings. Between my “day job” and prepping for a shipment of artwork expected at the Spruill Gallery (for the Holiday Artist’s Market) by the end of the month, I think I bit off more than I can chew.

Part of my goals for Inktober this year were to accept my limitations and be kinder to myself when things don’t go as planned (as we all should). As I’m getting more out of this daily challenge at the moment than I am from the weekly one, I’ve decided that it is okay to overlap. I’m going to use these three 10-day summary posts as weeks 38, 39, and 40, as a result. 🙂

In the end, it’s not always about the destination, right? I’m starting to feel myself more in the works I’m creating and for the first time in over 5 years I’ve begun to make art a major priority in my life again – a task that hasn’t been as easy as one might think and is certainly still a challenge.

By October 9th I’d hit a bit of a plateau and was getting burnt out – more by the digital processing involved more than anything – so I gave myself a little break on day 10 and only took photos instead. Gemma helped me show off the final inked work (and the watercolor video is available via YouTube).

Creativity can be taxing sometimes and it is a lot of hard work. It is very easy to make excuses and take the path of least resistance when it gets right down to it. I think that challenges like Inktober can reveal some of what a person is capable of without them realizing it. I love Inktober for this reason and because I get to meet a lot of new artists and feel more accountable as a result of shared expectations by the Inktober community.

I’ve been happy to see so many of my former studio students taking the leap this year too and have really enjoyed seeing their posts each day. It’s getting harder though – for me, especially. So those of us who are fighting the fight need to just keep going forward.

Personally, I’m going to nix the watercolor portion of these pieces for the second 10 days to open up more time for eco-printing and holiday sale prep. I think it will help. I can also paint them later – something I can look forward to.


    1. I thought I’d be more diverse but all I seem to want to draw each day are the Mourning Doves. I’m trying to throw in some additional animals and plants now but – we simply like what we like, I suppose. I enjoy what you’ve been doing so far and look forward to seeing the rest of your pieces this month too.

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