My Plight about Inktober, and Why I Love it Anyway

Note: Please read until the end of the blog post to find out how you can enter in my very first giveaway!

Spooooooooky season is upon us 🎃

Every year I get extremely excited for this month.  When that list comes out around September, I start sketching out ideas for what I’m going to do and jotting concepts down in my phone notes when they come to me in the middle of the night.  I prep to the absolute best of my ability and always tell myself, “this will be the year that I’ll get it together and actually finish Inktober.”

And then October first comes, and reality kicks in.

I don’t really know what it is or why it happens to me.  It’s like I have this mental block.  Something always comes up, or I get into a thought loop.  Whatever the reason, I never start on time.

I have a complicated relationship with Inktober.  Prompts like the ones given for Inktober are my favorite: they’re actually thought provoking.  They’re simple one-word prompts that can be twisted any way you like.  Some are inherently spooky, which I love, but some are more standard and require a bit more thought to give them the creepy-crawly October feel.  That is, if you’re even going for a spooky feeling.  Maybe you’re not.  It doesn’t matter, because Inktober can really be anything you want it to be.

Because of that, I always overcomplicate it in my brain.  I have a tendency to do things as extreme as I possibly can.  That means well-thought out images for every one of them, displaying excellent craftsmanship that take hours each.  That simply is not feasible for anyone.   The anticipation becomes less exciting and more daunting, like a chore.  I tell myself I have to do these all to the best of my ability, because I don’t allow myself mediocrity.  So I put it off, and nothing gets done.

See, I recognize that Inktober can (and probably should) be just a 15-minute exercise to do daily.  It can be really fun, in fact that’s the whole point.  Fun.  I also strongly suggest to any artist, especially those still learning their craft, to draw for 15 minutes every day, and Inktober is just a means of receiving prompts for that time.

Still, I freeze up every October, and I stall in every aspect of my art.  Paintings, commissions, sketches, design.  It all comes to a halt.

I can’t be alone in feeling this way, can I?  Where I get so trapped inside my own head that Inktober becomes just another chore on the to-do list?  After a long day of work, I simply don’t want to do it.  I want to go to bed or watch Yu Yu Hakusho… and then go to bed.

I don’t want to go the entire month without starting a single thing, though.  I did that last year, and I felt like garbage.  I decided to turn this around, one small step at a time.  I started small, just the first prompt: “Ring.”  I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

And I thought, eh it’s okay.  I wouldn’t put it out for the world to see, (exactly what I’m doing now.) 

So I made it over again, but this time digitally.

This was when I realized I was

A) being counter productive

B) not even using ink

C) probably better off the first time because it took me a lot less time and looked to be about the same quality.

Panic ensued, as it does.  Small issues feel life-altering when you realize you’re not as great at your craft as you thought you were.  So I rushed into day two: “Mindless.”

Does she look like Lana Del Ray to you? She was not the model but I can’t stop thinking that.

Rushed is the magic word here.  These lines are SLOPPY.  I fixed it up digitally to look more how I wanted it to originally, but again, this might be considered cheating, and at the end of the day I’m still disappointed.

Does it really matter if Inktober’s only real rule is to have fun?  Am I having fun yet? *eye twitch*

This one is okay at best.  I might redo it someday when I have a clearer mind.  Pun intended.

I made a reference photo for day 3, but I actually loved it too much to ruin it, so I’m saving this for a larger piece:

(I personally hate censorship, but I’m not about to get reported, considering it’s a photograph.)

Obviously at this point nothing matters, so I skipped “Freeze” and went right to “Build.”

Believe it or not, I’m happy with this one!  And it only took me about 30 minutes!  

He reminds me of two other things I’ve made before, a different tortoise I’d created about a year ago for a friend, and the Namazu logo I created for a class:

Maybe things will be atrocious again tomorrow when I attempt to draw what I have planned for “freeze” and “husky,” but this was a huge confidence boost.  The wise ancient tortoise has cultivated civilization itself on his back, and he is a funky mister.

I guess I’m starting to understand my relationship with Inktober?  I’m tired of feeling like it’s another responsibility, so I’m breaking my chain to it, and I’m only going to do the ones I feel like, when I feel like it.  Maybe I’ll hold onto these prompts and do them in the middle of January when I want to create a painting for myself after the Christmas rush.  You can’t control me.

Anyway, I still LOVE seeing other people’s Inktober work.  I asked the void of Facebook if I could see some of their Inktober art, and here’s what I was blessed to see:

This is a Badger girl named Bug, created by Lotti Sidwell.  I LOVE this, because I’m pretty sure Lotti was actually using one of the multiple Inktober sheets that isn’t the traditional one!  So many people put out their own lists, and it’s so exciting to see how people love to take this month as an excuse to make art and show it to the world.

This is a very handsome frog, created by Hail O’Donnell.  This drawing isn’t even inked, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Inktober has NO RULES.  (I just hold myself to ridiculously high standards and then I panic when I can’t even fulfill the baseline standard because I got too overwhelmed.)

Finally, this drawing is done by Joey Thorpe.

So if you didn’t already know, I live with Joey.  Joey has been kicking butt this month, and I’m outrageously proud of him.  He has consistently been churning out awesome inktober work, and hasn’t dropped the ball at all.  I’m actually a little jealous, but in the healthy way that motivates me to do better.

Last post, I asked you to draw or paint something you care about.  Create something that means a lot to you.  Now my absolute ANGEL of a friend Josie White took this opportunity to recreate…

Me.  I cried.  I’m so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

This time, I would love to see more of your Inktober work. If you have any art that you would like to share, please send in your art to bmartin.artdesign@gmail.com and it might just get featured in the blog.

Normally, this would be the point where I stop writing and go about my day, but we’re not done just yet!  I have something really exciting to announce.

I am currently halfway through my first giveaway!  

You get to choose your prize!  As the winner, you have the choice between:

  • A one-hour 1 on 1 lesson in drawing or watercolor painting
  • 50% off a pet portrait painting
  • a signed FREE art print

Here’s what you need to do in order to win:

  • Follow @biancamartinart on either Facebook or Instagram.  You can technically enter twice if you have both accounts!
  • Scroll down and like the original post that has these images in it.  
  • Tag a friend in the comments of the original post

Share the giveaway on Facebook for an extra entry!  Good luck, the giveaway will be closing on October 26th at noon, and the winner will be announced on Halloween. 🎃