It's been a busy month to say the least.
I love inktober. I love all of it's camaraderie, although some of it feels forced, but that's what happens when you bring several thousand people together with their own agendas, beliefs and standards.
There was some controversy around it (again) this year, who plagiarised who? I'm not going into it as I'm quite indifferent to it all. The whole point of Inktober is to challenge yourself, not the founder, Jake Parker. My personal challenges were to develop my characters Hare and Snail, to put them in viable situations, develop their colour, shape and expressions in preparation for my book.
I also wanted to find a preferred medium. I was using Specrum Noir's Aqua Pens, Arteza's brush pens and watercolour pencils.
Spectrum Noir Aqua Pens and Windsor&Newton Calligraphy ink (white)
Arteza Brush Pen
In truth, I like them both, but to work quickly as Inktober calls for, the brush pens are easier. The ink is easier to manoeuver in water, and looks better when layers are added.
I think every artist should take part in it at least once, especially if you're suffering from artist's block.
The prompt words are given a month in advance, so it's possible to sketch out ideas beforehand in readiness for inking. As my characters developed, my first drafts were discarded. Initially concentrating on nature, my focus changed to Hare and Snail alone. There were a few words where I felt I was whinging it, but turned out well in the end.
Chef, was a particularly difficult one (as was teeth, outpost, throw and dizzy) I did't want to cartoonise them, so donning Hare in a chef's hat and filleting knife wasn't an option. Instead I surrounded them in the edible plants I grow in my own garden.
and it was this type of quick thinking that develops during Inktober and hopefully lasts, for a while at least.
If you're thinking about taking part next year, it is very important not to think about the 'likes' you will or will not accumulate on the Facebook page (or whatever platform you're using), instead think of it as a lesson. Look at the post with 300 likes and compare in an objective way. Are his lines clearer, shading believable, form sharper, better aesthetics and composition? And therefore, how can you improve your own art work, but without loosing your own style.
Take the drawing above, for instance; Hare should be in the centre, a face full of food. The top right corner is much darker than the rest, there are too many similar colours in the bottom right and the Mallow (the purple flower) sticks out like a sore thumb, the Red Clover at the bottom could be developed to help with the balance. Snail should also be clearer.
(Feel free to comment any other changes you think should be made, I welcome criticism)
As a first idea, it's ok, but it needs work and that's ok too.
Don't forget that a lot of the participants have been doing this for a long time and have established their way of accomplishing Inktober.
In the middle of this challenge, a dear friend of mine suddenly died. His mother drove from the neighbouring country to tell me as she didn't have contact details for me. It was a shock, but the continuing focus on painting was a great help, and I was able to hold a memory in one of them. There is a lot to be said for art therapy.
Inktober is also a great way to 'meet' like minded people, new friends and lasting relationships of discovery, inspiration and personal development. It's true. there are other challenges, groups, pages online where you can achieve the same, but personally, I feel there is something different about Inktober, despite what's going on in the background.
If you're there for the right reasons, it's the most enjoyable experience through art.
I love every minute of it.
Then there's the post Inktober malaise.
Last year I joined as many online groups as possible, to keep up with the drawing every day, keep those serotonin levels up but inevitably, life got in the way, lockdown, where I focused on knitting and the garden, because I had the time, the summer season, where my paid job is incredibly busy and we're back here again. This year I found the courage to post the whole Inktober series on my personal Facebook page, something I don't often do, I used to be quite shy about my work, but I can't do that and sell it, so it had to change. To my surprise (and endless appreciation) I am being encouraged to keep it going, with many suggestions to do so.
I'm also thinking about next year. New character? Develop a style I've not used before? Too soon to think about it? I'm sure that by Christmas I will have done, but for now, let me basque in my accomplishment.