How an Amateur Artist Survived Inktober

I’d like to start off by saying I’m not an illustrator by any means. So, when my friend Faby asked me and several other mutual friends to draw each day for 31 days for Inktober – I thought to myself hell no I will never survive it. Even seasoned illustrators have a hard time accomplishing it. I told myself I’d try it anyways, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. To my surprise, I survived my first Inktober.

Oh wait, let me explain what Inktober is! Every year in October, Jake Parker, the illustrator who started Inktober, shares a month’s worth of drawing prompts that people can choose to illustrate with ink (can be pen, marker, watercolor, and even digital). The point is to draw something different every day for a month and share it on social media.

Join an Ink Coven (or Coven Ink)

Inktober Coven Ink Favs Doodles

Our Coven Ink illustrated by Favs Doodles

I could not have done this without the support of friends who were also participating in Inktober. We even started a group called “Coven Ink” or “Ink Coven” (we used the hashtag interchangeably) and a Facebook chat where we would give each other feedback and brainstorm ideas for prompts.

There were times when I wanted to quit, but they kept me accountable. They gave me the push to pull through on my drawings.

Inktober Coven Ink Facebook message 1

Coven Ink Mom Faby always encouraged us to keep going.

I loved sharing their work with my Instagram followers, and I loved seeing them share mine as well. We created a tight-knit network where helped each other get through the month. Make or join a group of Inktober friends and you’ll make it through the very end.

Plan ahead and Pin It!

Inktober Coven Ink Plan ahead.jpg

At times, my drawings were a depiction of what I was feeling in that moment. It was cool seeing my emotions illustrated.

Take a look at this year’s prompt ahead of time and carve out time to execute your drawings. I brainstormed and planned out my drawings at least a few days in advance. I did a lot of word association with the prompts — some were literal and others took a little more thought.

I spent little chunks of time sketching and posting my drawing because my work schedule could vary from day to day. Even if I was waiting for an appointment or had downtime at work, I made the time to draw here and there — even if it was 5 minutes at a time.

Inktober Coven Ink chunks of time.jpg

I actively drew instead of spending my idle time scrolling through my phone. It was crazy how much drawing I could get done in a few minutes.

Look for inspiration and references on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my favorite Pinterest. I pinned a lot of ink-spiration for the prompts, and it truly helped me come up with ideas. Some prompts I paid homages to other artists (always make sure to credit the artists and put your own spin on it).

Let Go of Perfectionism

Inktober Coven Ink Eevee and Loki.jpg

My dogs Eevee and Loki show my moods during Inktober: Confident and Self-defeating.

Perfectionism kills creativity and I know this because I’m a perfectionist Virgo. Before joining Inktober, I decided I would embrace my mistakes, not compare myself to other Inktober artists and keep drawing even if I fall behind.

In one of my drawings, one of my pens bled outside my lines and I went with it. I made the entire background black to cover it up. If I were my old self, I would have gave up and started a new one. However, it turned out better than I had planned!

Inktober Coven Ink mistakes

I painted the background of this Star Wars drawing because I didn’t wait long enough for the ink to dry and I smeared it. It came out better than I expected.

Do not compare yourself to other illustrators. I repeat, DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER ILLUSTRATORS. We’re all at different skill levels and like I mentioned I’m not a professional illustrator. Even though I enjoy drawing, I rarely draw and I’m no Michelangelo (the painter, not the Ninja Turtle). It’s fine to see what the other Inktober artists are doing in the hashtags, but don’t beat yourself if your drawing doesn’t look like the Sistine Chapel. Do you and just draw!

michaelangelo pizza.gif

Treat Yo’Self with Small Goal Rewards

I don’t know about you, but I need rewards to keep myself going — maybe I’m part lab-rat but that’s how I work. I broke down every 5 days of Inktober and rewarded myself for every 5 days that I completed.

Inktober rewards victories

It was awesome looking forward to completing a small victory every few days and rewarding myself with a cup of Dutch Bros. coffee or pizza (yes, I run on coffee and pizza). Also, when I chunked it down this way it didn’t make the huge overall goal as overwhelming.

Cross out every day you accomplish a drawing and you’ll see how quickly you will get through the month! What will you treat yo’self with?

Finishing all 31 days of Inktober

Holy sheet, I honestly didn’t have any high expectations for Inktober and maybe it was best that way. I drew without the pressure to be perfect and because it was fun and therapeutic. Also, it was pleasing to get away from the TV and computer screens and focus on my drawings.

31 days of drawings and I don’t regret any of them.

Would I do it next year? Absolutely!

Whatever skill level you are at, I definitely recommend trying out Inktober even if you just draw the prompts you feel connected to. Inktober is a challenge that will spark your creativity and shake up your daily routine!

Inktober finished main

Check out my Coven Ink friends’ individual experiences on accomplishing Inktober! The four of the seven who started finished strong. You can read it here.

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