Inktober

Olivia Lin, Contributing Writer & Cartoonist

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Ink. Jet black and permanent, the bold liquid can be daunting for artists no matter the skill level. There is no eraser that can dream of fully eradicating its presence once it bestows its immortal kiss upon the crisp white of a fresh sheet of paper. Not to mention mastery over the wily substance takes years of training and countless souls emerge with their spirits broken, dreams crushed. It smells fear in the hands of those who dare yield it and punishes anyone foolish enough to show weakness with bitter defeat. For one cannot control the Ink, the Ink controls them.  

In all seriousness, using ink can be intimidating for those accustomed to using the more error-forgiving pencil. For this reason, American illustrator Jake Parker created Inktober; a month-long art challenge where artists create an inked illustration daily in the month of October. Parker told the Washington Post, he started the challenge in 2009 to “motivate myself to become better at drawing in ink.” Parker had hoped to create a way to make himself more accountable for consistently practicing ink drawings as he would otherwise “get frustrated and move on to something easier.” Inktober helps artists create the habit of drawing something everyday in spite of creative block or a busy schedule. The goal isn’t to create masterpieces but to stay consistent in quality and effort. 

 Social media platforms helped spread the event, creating a community of creators that could support each other in their artistic journeys. Inktober’s official Instagram page also features creators during and after the event with contests for art supplies as well. The only rules to participate (as per the official Inktober site: www.inktober.com) are to: 

  1. Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
  2. Post it on a social platform of your preference (Instagram, etc)
  3. Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2019
  4. Repeat

Still, creators aren’t restricted to just using ink, they can use watercolours, acrylics, colour pencils, markers, and just about anything that they want to. After all, above all else, the goal of the challenge is to form positive habits and become more comfortable with facing artistic challenges. An official prompt list is created each year to help artists overcome creative block with many abstract ideas for inspiration such as mindless and overgrown in the 2019 list. Unofficial prompt lists with different themes can also be found but artists are always free to create to their heart’s content. In fact, anyone can take on Inktober, even if they’re not an artist; writers, poets and part-time doodlers are all encouraged to participate. 

Creators shouldn’t be discouraged if they miss a few days along the way either. Practicing practice takes time and there’s only room for improvement. So when October rolls around again next year, surprise yourself. Put the pen to the paper and don’t be afraid to create.