As the header and thumbnail of this post shows I’m going to write about my experience doing this year’s Inktober challenge (2018). First of all let me explain what is Inktober challenge! It doesn’t involve doing ridiculous and odd things like consuming harmful substance or succeeding at doing a difficult task. It is simply about art celebration and trying to be creative and self-improve yourself. Every October artists around the world gather around to celebrate art by making inked artworks everyday day. It all started in 2009 by Jake Parker, an illustration artist. In order to level up his artistic skill he decided to create one full inked drawing everyday for the month of October. Since then it got more popular around social media. In order to put regulation and structure to this challenge, for last few years Parker has posted prompts in his website and social media. People can follow the 31 prompts so they can compare their unique works with other artists. The challenge is very accessible and everyone can participate. People can use their favourite medium even if it doesn’t involve ink. It can be digital, it can be done by sharpie or a regular pen. If creating 31 unique arts is difficult, people are allowed to do once in a few days or once a week or even try to pick a few prompts and work on them. The goal is to create something and self-improve your skills.

Start & Struggle:

Last month, October 2018, I participated in the Inktober challenge. I had some free time and wasn’t busy working on a project. First I decided to do a few prompts and I wasn’t planning to work on all of them. I actually started from 2nd of October. The prompt for that day was “Tranquil” and I inked a mountain view with a fisher man on a boat on a lake, trying to catch fish. When I posted that on my Instagram it got some attention and liked by many people. I usually don’t use my Instagram account and after I posted that it got the most likes between my Instagram posts. Somehow it got me satisfying feelings that confront me to continue this challenge. The next day I went back and tried to work on the first prompt which was “Poisonous”. I was really satisfied with the result and also after posting that it got even more likes than my previous post. Later that day I settled on to have consistent posts with special colour scheme and subject matter. Most people who posted their works on Instagram had specified styles and tones. I thought it would be wise to have my own technique and method. So, for the rest of the prompts I tried to come up with arts about nature and using my Staedtler fineliner pens and include my pigmented red pen somewhere. Since this was my first Inktober challenge and working with traditional arts, it was really demanding for a new guy. After a few days I stopped using my red pen temporary and I gave up on nature themed arts. On third day I worked on two prompts because I was behind and after posting the “Spell” prompt, I felt insecure to post my “Roasted” prompt, because it looked unoriginal and unfinished. I didn’t know this challenge would go downhill this early, but now I’m looking back and I realize it was just the uphill.

Ups & Downs:

This challenge had so many ups and downs. There were days that I loved the result and there were other days that I hated the result. Some days I liked the result but when I posted them it would get less interaction. There are posts that I didn’t expect much attention from the community, but it would get hearts from everywhere. Also let me say the Inktober community is so warm and positive. I frequently received comments and follows from others which amazed me, because my account was mostly inactive. Based on Jake Parker’s Instagram post, this year had the most interaction from the people. This year surpassed one million posts just after a few days which is a record.

Most & Worst:

I have set so many records this Inktober. Some of my posts reached to 20 likes and I have posted so many arts in a month. My day 30th post, prompted word “Jolt”, got the most likes. For this one I did that infamous Matrix movie scene when the agent dodge bullets. This time for difference I tried chibi style. I actually worked less on that one because it is simple and straight lineart work. For this reason I expected less likes, but it received 20 likes. As a surprise after the month of October my day 20 prompt got 20 likes as well which is one of my favourites. The word was “Breakable” and I experimented to create a broken glass or vase, but later I narrowed it down to do a fish bowl breaking with the fish inside it. I remember it was Saturday and I had less time to finish it. The real pain in Inktober challenge is that there are no days off. You produce one unique art everyday and timing is crucial. You sometimes find yourself working on something and it’s Sunday evening when you usually watch a movie or play a video game. I mentioned about my most successful posts and now about worst ones. My least liked post is the “Chicken” prompt. I didn’t have much time to work on that so I did the chicken from Moana movie. It is a simple lineart without any shading and details. The other least liked post is the “Flowing” for day 10. I have different reason this time and it’s not because I didn’t have much time, but the reason is that it was a failed one. I tried to achieve a flowing river effect that I found on Pinterest. It was a struggle to bring an idea from internet to paper. I can’t believe I actually finished that one even though I was not satisfied a bit. So I moved on and took another shot to it, but this time digitally. I created a villain character that can turn into liquid. I liked that character but since I didn’t have much time (again) I rushed it. Fortunately I came back to it later after the Inktober and worked on it thoroughly. These ones were my least and most liked posts however I also have my own best and worst works. I think my worst work is the day 22 “Expensive”. I dislike it because again I couldn’t accomplish what I imagined at first. Creating a stylized version of something is hard for someone like me. Same as the “Flowing” I returned to it later and inked a Koenigsegg car, a very expensive vehicle. My favourite one gotta be the “Bottle”. I created a potion bottle and really enjoyed doing the stippling method for shading.

Tricks & Traps:

As I continued doing this challenge I learned tricks and methods to tackle problems. If I felt that the work I’m doing is terrible, I reluctantly stop myself and move on to another one, instead of being trapped inside it and trying to improve upon it. For example for day 26 “Stretch”, I wanted to create a scene from Flubber movie, especially the one when Robbin William stretch the Flubber and says “You’re elastic!”. I immediately stopped when I knew I couldn’t depict that, therefore I came up with another idea. Since Inktober is about challenging yourself and trying new things I attempted many styles and methods. For a long time I wanted to try chibi characters, so I took a chance and did four of the prompts in cartoony chibi method. I love the result with “Muddy” prompt. It turned out great and later I added the colour with Photoshop. Using computer to add colours and sometimes to edit mistakes was a great idea. Colours really turn a simple drawing to an interesting drawing. I used photoshop on “Swollen” prompt and it turned my work into another level. It brought up the cartoon vibe and separated characters from other objects. Day 28th of Inktober I tried to craft those folding papers art. It’s those ones that when you unfold it, it would reveal another part of the drawing. I created a gift box drawing that when you unfold it, it reveals what’s inside the box. After 17th day of Inktober I got the hang of it and began using more styles, like stippling and using different sized pens. For example for “Bottle” and “Scorched” I used stippling to do the shading and different pens for lines. 0.5 sized pen was purposed for outlines, 0.3 for inside lines and stippling shading with 0.1 pen.

I would definitely do this challenge next year. It was fun and I learned so many things, like which pen size to use when and how to do line strokes smoothly. Later in the month I started taking out the paper from sketchbook so I could rotate the paper freely. In this way the result would be cleaner. This challenge is not a rush. If you are not happy with the result you can come back to it and work on it again. There are probably people that still doing this challenge even though October is over. Some people might like to do last year’s Inktober or even do their own prompts. I still go back and redo many of them or turn some of my favourites into digital. I really liked the result with “thunder” and it kind of looked like a vector graphic to me so I decided to make it into digital. You can see the vector illustration down below. Also I recorded the screen when I was making it. The video and image are down below.

Vector illustration of “Thunder”

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