‘Inktober’: A challenge to hone the artist within you

Like any other artist trying to improve his or her sketching skills, Jake Parker started a challenge called ‘Inktober’ which has turned into a worldwide phenomenon. We give you a peek into how Inktober came to be, along with some of our favourite art from the challenge.

‘Inktober’: A challenge to hone the artist within you
Source: magazine.artsation.com

Started as a self-improvement challenge, ‘Inktober’ has become a worldwide phenomenon. Artists from all around the world post a drawing every day on their social media channels in the month of October. From sketching minimalist drawings to complex and intricate sketches, artists draw their sketches strictly in ‘ink’.

Drawings made by tattoo artist Luke Schroeder as a part of Inktober challenge
Drawings made by tattoo artist Luke Schroeder as a part of Inktober challenge. Source: siouxcityjournal.com/weekender/

So, how did this challenge start?

How many times have you told yourself, ‘I need to start sketching more’? Or, ‘I feel like the artist within me is dead’? The most difficult task to becoming an artist seems to be the initial push; that first session with a pen and pencil or picking up your instrument. It is the distrust and speculation in one’s talent that pulls us back from taking that first step.

Struggling with these mental quarrels was a man named Jake Parker, an illustrator and cartoonist, who decided to create a challenge for himself in the October of 2009. He drew a sketch every day during that month. On the official site of Inktober, Parker says:

“I wanted to get better at inking, so I started a month-long drawing challenge to help me improve my inking skills. I called it ‘Inktober’. Since then, it has exploded and become a worldwide event with tens of thousands of people participating every year. People have told me that Inktober has helped them form positive drawing habits and it boosted their creativity and they are thinking more creatively now. The actual professionals have told me that Inktober reminded them what it was like to draw for themselves and how much fun drawing can be”.

To this date, there are about 16,220,434 posts on Inktober on Instagram (with around 3.5 million posts with #inktober2019 itself). Sketching a new piece every day can help one evolve their skills over the month. You can observe yourself developing artistically with each and every new piece that is created.

Sketch by Jey Ram, as an aspiring artist. 
Sketch by Jey Ram, as an aspiring artist.  Source: jeyram.org

How to participate in this challenge?

Well, there are no said rules, but just certain guidelines given by the creator:

  1. The drawings are supposed to be made entirely with ink or a pen. You can use a pencil to do some rough works.
  2. Once you are done with your sketch, post it on social media.
  3. Use the hashtag #INKTOBER when you post your work.

More than anything else, ‘Inktober’ is about making a commitment to yourself—a commitment to diligently start drawing and pushing your creativity to new levels. If your schedule does not permit you to sketch every day, then try doing it every alternative day or, let’s say, thrice a week. Above all, as Parker says, “just be consistent with your plan”.

To help you with conceptualising an idea for your drawing, Parker posts a ‘Prompt List’ that has a selected theme for each day of the month.

The official prompt list of Inktober 2019
The official prompt list of Inktober 2019. Source:mymodernmet.com

He has also uploaded a few tutorial videos for amateur sketchers or those who are trying to sketch for the first time. There are 3 different tutorial videos for each level: Beginner, Intermediate and Advance. These can be found on the official website of ‘Inktober’.

Along with that, you can also find a tools guide where he has selected some of the best ink pens and sketchbooks that he has worked with and recommends you for a more enjoyable sketching experience.

So, without second-guessing yourself, take up your pens and start sketching, it’s not too late! If you are looking for inspiration, here are some of our favourite Inktober sketches­—

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INKTOBER # 11 – 60s icon JEAN SHRIMPTON An icon of the "swinging sixties", Jean Rosemary Shrimpton was nicknamed "The Shrimp" for her dainty frame. She is considered to be one of the world's first supermodels and is well-known for her doe-eyes, wispy eyelashes and fringed hairstyle. In fact, this winsome woman was one of the first to launch the mini skirt! P.S. I wanted to give her this fairytale princess-like appeal, hence the detailed flower crown that's reminiscent of storybook art. #art #artist #artistsoninstagram #illustration #instaart #fashionillustrator #illustrator #drawing #design #sketch #sketchbook #botanical #artoftheday #gallery #flowers #portrait #painting #creative #inktober #inktoberindia #inktober2017 #ink #vintage #brushpen #shwetadraws #jeanshrimpton #model #icon #fashion #artistscoutz @artistscoutz @artshelp @arts_help @help_illustrator @dailyart @worldofartist

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