I love a challenge. This challenge, while motivational and even inspirational pretty much kicked my butt.

Inktober, the brain child of Jake Parker, a tremendously talented illustrator and ink master, is a month-long challenge to create original daily drawings, based on a single-word prompt provided by Parker, and ink them throughout the month of October. Some treat the challenge as a training opportunity – get better at inking, increase the speed of creativity, rise to the “prompt challenge.” I, on the other hand, just wanted to be able to do it…  create something every day – to be able to cartoon/illustrate on a “deadline” – to “Do Art” every day…

I did it. 

What did I learn from Inktober 2018? I realized a few things about myself and my art through this process. Through the 31 assignments I was able to:

  • Discover areas of my cartooning and my illustration skills that needed improvement (MANY)
  • Become comfortable with the tools I’ve chosen to use (iPad, Apple Pencil, and the Adobe Draw App)
  • Test my “ON-DEMAND” creativity and my ability to get images on the “page” (BIGGEST challenge)
  • Increase proliferation
  • Sharpen my sketch-to-inking skills and speed (this evolved most throughout the month)
  • Build confidence in my ability to create images that not only I like, but connect to a wider audience (less coffee gags?  NEVER!)
  • See other participants, their creativity and incredible talent (wow, there was some sweet work done in October)

I approached the challenge a little differently than some. I didn’t “read ahead” to the next day’s prompt.  I didn’t want to get caught up anticipating ideas or having other influences on the daily assignment. That kept the pieces unique, for the most part, but also created a “start from scratch” panic that I didn’t enjoy – especially on a daily basis.  But I guess THAT’s the challenge, right?

I may re-think that approach and work on a “Master” illustration in 2019. Some used the prompts in this way and what resulted was some pretty fantastic work that encompassed all of the prompts and, I assume, offered another level of creative thought, planning, and strategy to produce the final pieces.

Some of my resulting cartoons were, what I consider, less than my best. I admit. Working at such a pace and with so little time, practice, patience, etc. …  some of my submissions felt a little “phoned in.” On the other hand, it also created some really fun and well-drawn pieces. I was able to flesh out the Derphead style and discovered (or rediscovered) some techniques needed to produce better quality pieces.

Another thing that was discovered was a belief in the theory that repetition creates habit. I’ve had coaches and teachers tell me “If you just do ‘XYZ’ every day for a month, it will be come habit.” It’s true. Since Inktober’s end, I’ve automatically pulled my iPad out each evening to draw.

Overall, Inktober was a great experience. I enjoyed the challenge and treated it as a learning opportunity to improve my skills as an artist as well as inspire me to achieve more. I look forward to the 2019 challenge.