This year, I finally remembered to join in on the manic art challenge that is inktober. And by remembered, I mean someone posted on tumblr the day before and I frantically drove to get a new sketchbook to ink in.
Inktober is an art challenge where for 31 days, you have to create 31 sketches in ink.You can use other mediums and of course a range of colours, so long as the main medium is ink.
As well as uploading all my final sketches to instagram, I also decided to film all 31 paintings and upload them to youtube which, as I’m still editing all the videos, wasn’t the best idea looking back. I’m seriously behind on editing as it takes so long to compile them together, however I do think that this has allowed me to review my creative process and all the work I had put into the project.
As I’m currently working full time on my gap year before university, I haven’t got a lot of spare time, especially as I’m doing an apprenticeship so I haven’t avoided paperwork! By taking part in inktober I managed to give myself a routine- sketches during my lunch break and finishing off the sketch in the evening. This also meant I had something to focus on in my lunch break and felt more motivated afterwards as I was doing something worthwhile.
I also found that as the days passed I cared less about being ‘perfect.’ I tried out more poses and facial expressions which I might not have if I didn’t draw every day. By making art daily, I felt more confident in my skills and in turn, began to experiment more with what I was creating.
In turn, I also found that I felt more inspired as I was constantly thinking of new ideas and how I could create them on paper, and as the days went on my concepts also got bolder. I wasn’t just drawing faces and the occasional full body sketch, I drew dynamic poses. And as an artist, being able to develop your anatomical skills so that your paintings can get that one step closer to being exactly how you envisioned it in your brain is the best feeling ever.
Granted, most of my drawings used a reference and for my bts wings series which I did for a few days, in celebration of their new album, used their promotional pictures with a twist, I was still improving my skills by being able to replicate real life subjects so that when I came to draw entirely from scratch later, I could map out facial features just that little bit more accurately.
I have also discovered things about my existing skills that I didn’t know beforehand. For example, I didn’t know that I could paint portraits in monochrome as well as I did when I painted my friend, Rania. And now I’m using that as a focal point for huevember (another art challenge) to further improve this skill. I’ve also discovered a new character in drawing. My sketch for day 10 was of a superhero who I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a story about (another hobby I’ve brushed under the rug for ages ;; ) and by sketching her, ideas about plots and other characters were spun into the web of her concept. And it also serves as a physical reminder, because for me, if I have drawn whilst thinking of a plot, or anything in general, I tend to remember it more.
One final thing that I also realised is that I can draw more difficult poses if I put my mind and hands to it. Take day 18 for example. I know that a person stretching and yawning isn’t really that challenging, but for me it is one that was difficult at first to map out i a way that looked ‘right’ in my mind. By working on it and changing certain elements, not just giving up and going with whatever I had turned out with first time, I managed to create a piece that was more active than my usual passive tendencies. Although the face isn’t as expressive as I’d hoped, I still worked hard and I have the opportunity to work on that section at a later point as a redraw, because I know that I have the ability to do so.
In short, inktober has awoken my creative spark and pushed me to further improve my skills in a way that was fun and motivating and left me wanting to continue drawing every day, not wishing for Halloween to come so I could stop drawing.