October is easily one of my favourite times of year. From the first day, social media channels far and wide blossom to showcase inspiring and beautifully inked illustrations from all over the globe. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the ins-and-outs of the Inktober challenge, it essentially boils down to this core concept: create one drawing using ink (in any way, shape or form) for every day of the month of October.
Started by the now legendary Jake Parker, Inktober was never intended to be the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. Jake simply wanted to level-up his traditional inking skills and created Inktober as a personal challenge to have a reason to practice. Needless to say, this idea was quickly adopted by hundreds of thousands of artists (professional, amateur, and aspiring alike), and all in the name of creative fun, developing positive habits and artistic skill-building—awesome, right? Right!
While creating a drawing a day sounds fairly straight forward, it can quickly become a challenging affair. You may plan to spend 10 minutes on your daily drawing, only to realise that 10 minutes isn’t as long as you thought it was—especially if you aim to challenge yourself creatively. So I’ve put together a few great tips to help you make it through your ink-filled journey this October.
Let’s get started!
1. The prompt list
Every year there is a new prompt list with words that intend to inspire your drawing for every day of October. This takes some of the guesswork out of the equation, so that you can focus less on thinking, and more on inking!
While the prompt list is very helpful to newbies, I highly recommend forging your own prompt list instead, made up of things that reflect YOUR personal interests. For instance, my 2018 prompt list was based on old cartoon characters from my childhood. This will help you stay focussed and captivated throughout the month, as you’ll be sourcing your inspiration from a sentimental place of genuine interest.
2. Have a game plan
Life is busy, and it can be incredibly tricky to find time to sit down and draw every day. The best way to make sure that you get your Inktober drawing done daily is to have a simple routine that breaks the process up into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Why not plan your drawing while having your morning coffee? That way you can get straight to inking when you get back from work or school in the afternoon.
3. Have the right tools
Having a good go-to set of inking tools will make the process so much easier. There’s a pretty good chance that you already have a few favourite pens, so why not use them? You already know what to expect with these tools, and the marks that they make, so there’s no time wasted on training and practice.
Another often overlooked tool is the paper you work on. Make sure that your sketchbook or choice of paper is durable, ink-friendly, and most importantly, bleed-resistant. If you plan to keep your drawings safe, make sure that the paper you use is also acid-free, which will prevent your drawings from fading over time.
4. Have the wrong tools
If your schedule allows for it, it can be incredibly fun and beneficial to experiment with some new inking tools that you haven’t tried before. “Happy accidents” is the name of the game here. Some of the most unexpected tools could yield some of the most amazing results. For me, this was a dipping/quill pen with India ink, but I’ve seen some jaw-dropping works created with sumi-e brushes, ballpoint pens, brush pens, fountain pens, ink washes, colourful inks, and even sponges!
If you’re working digitally, this might be a great time to try out some new and experimental digital inking brushes too—you might be pleasantly surprised with the results (especially if they’re Affinity brushes, wink wink, nudge nudge).
5. Find inspiration
Do some research and find inspiring artworks created with ink. This could help light that flame that will make you excited to get drawing, and will carry you through the month.
Last year I did a lot of research on comic book inkers prior to Inktober, and it reignited my dormant (yet undying) love for comic artwork. It had such an impact on me that I ended up bringing a lot more comic-style inking techniques into my drawings, and ultimately my own style, which I’ve been applying a lot to my client work as a result.
6. Looking out for good deals
Art supply stores often take advantage of the Inktober hype, and offer a lot of great deals on supplies, so keep an eye out! This is the perfect time to stock up on inking tools, whether you need them for Inktober specifically, or just in general.
7. Don’t beat yourself up
At the end of the day, Inktober is not meant to be a draining and stressful experience. It’s meant to be an exciting, personal challenge.
Be realistic from the start. If doing a drawing every day is going to be near impossible for you, plan to do a drawing every other day instead, or even once a week. The important part is that you stick to the plan. If you miss a day, it’s okay—the world isn’t going to end. Just get back up and keep moving.
Best of luck for Inktober 2019 and happy inking folks!
You can follow Christi on Instagram to keep up with his latest work—and see what he’s up to for Inktober!
If you choose to work digitally in Affinity Photo or Designer don’t forget to use #madeinaffinity when sharing your work. We would love to see your creations.