Inktober, Confidence, and Inspiration

It’s September 14th, so you know what that means! It’s 17 days until October! As a visual artist, October is one of my favorite times of the year. Sure, the seasonal food is great and the romanticized imagery of Autumn are all okay, but have you seen the A R T? Every October, the collective internet gathers together and participates in Inktober, a daily drawing event started in 2009 by cartoonist Jake Parker. Each day you’re given a prompt, and you have to create a drawing based on either that prompt, or one of your own (Check out #inktober on Instagram or Twitter and prepare to lose a few hours of your day looking through it all). However you approach it, that’s up to you. The goal is to create something in ink, every day, the entire month (or in intervals throughout the month). Personally, I love it because ink is unforgiving. If you lay down a mark, that mark is there f o r e v e r. Not where you intended it to be? That’s okay! We’ve all heard the age old adage, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.” There’s so much to learn from this practice, however. Maybe that stray mark will force you to make new decisions about composition, or maybe it’ll spur a new idea. Ultimately, working with a media like ink will make you a more confident artist, and when you’re confident in your work, every aspect of your creative process will improve, from your linework, to your compositions and markmaking economy. Have you ever looked at one of John Singer Sargent’s portraits?

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

You can see each individual broad, thick brush stroke that he used to create the hand. Personally, I’ve noodled in paint for hours to render a hand. THAT is why I like Inktober, you have to make those decisions, and be confident in them. I’d encourage everyone to participate! Be as literal or as figurative as you’d like with the prompts! Here’s one I made last year for the theme, “Underwater.”

I’d been watching Blade Runner, and I thought of the “Tears in the Rain” monologue. It’s raining in the scene, so that’s underwater, right?

That took a much larger portion of this blog than I was anticipating, but that’s okay! This was originally going to be a post about inspiration, and Inktober is a GREAT way to give you a little nudge for inspiration with its prompts, so lets talk about that. Where do you find inspiration? While I was a teacher, one of the most common things I heard was “I have art block. I can’t work unless I feel inspired.” What if I told you that sometimes, the best way to find inspiration is just to start making something. Work with a new media, keep a sketchbook, draw from life, find a community of creatives on or offline that are just as jazzed up to create as you are. There are hosts of daily sketch groups on Reddit, Facebook, and Discord, and I’d gladly provide links if anyone wants them! Sometimes just seeing someone else making something cool is all it takes to start making something yourself. Take some time to see your surroundings, digest media like music, movies, tv, or books, and find ideas from those. Idea generation, to some degree, is a skill. The more you practice it, the easier it will become. Have fun with it, and try something new! Going back to Inktober, the great thing about it is that there are no expectations. You’re supposed to be learning and challenging yourself, so have fun and explore, without worrying about the outcome.

Where do you find your inspiration? What movies, video games, books, or music do you play to get into that creative mode?

Lets go make things. If you want to participate, feel free to share with us on social media! We’d love to see them! If you don’t want to participate, but still want to share art with us, send us that too! While you’re at it, consider submitting art and photography to both our Halloween contest and our next issue!



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