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Inktober and Vectober round up 2021

Each year we see many talented artists using Affinity apps to flex their creative muscles and take part in the annual Inktober and Vectober challenge. This year the work has been truly exceptional and so varied in style that we’ve found it hard to round up our favourites.

Here are 15 artists who stood out from the crowd and some of the illustrations they created.

Jhonatan Silva

Vector aficionado Jhonatan Silva stepped up his Vectober game this year, releasing a new Vectober tutorial each day throughout October to show vector artists how to create an illustration for each day’s prompt in Affinity Designer.

“Many of my students and designers have been sharing their artworks on social media, and it’s inspiring to see so many people dedicating time to Vectober, watching our premiere sessions, experimenting with Affinity Designer and learning new vector techniques.”

“The best thing is, it seems to give them a real purpose to study and practice. Of course, it’s not easy for everybody to keep doing an illustration every day for an entire month, but those who get into the challenge often see huge workflow improvements and achieve great results. Techniques that could normally take months to learn, can be accomplished in just a matter of days.

“When I take part in challenges like this, I always learn a lot from what I create. Even if you have a solid workflow, there are many ways to approach a project, and I’ve explored this with people and showed them what they can do.”

With all this practice, you also start to perform tasks more quickly and stop overthinking about which tools to use. That gives you more time to take care of what really matters, the creativity.”

The replays of Jhon’s Vectober 2021 and 2020 challenges will be available on his Vectorize school website,

In the spirit of Halloween, he has also created an Affinity Creative Session to show you how to create a spooky vector pumpkin in Affinity Designer. You can watch the session premiere Friday 29 October at 4pm BST on our official YouTube channel.

Pope Phoenix

Pope Phoenix is a self-taught, Bronx-born art director, illustrator, motion designer and a mentor to designers on social media. We are huge fans of Pope’s work and enjoyed following his Vectober 2021 journey on Instagram.

“In October 2019, I attempted Vectober as an alternative to Inktober since I’m primarily a vector artist and don’t paint or ink much nowadays. It felt like I was challenging myself to consistently draw for 30 days straight…unfortunately, I only created 12 illustrations that month,” Pope explains.

“This year, my goal was to double my original output but also expand out of my normal style of art. I look at Vectober as a time to focus on experimentation. Many people get overwhelmed by this challenge because of the amount of work, but I try to look at it as a moment for aspiration. Vectober to me is a challenge to learn and explore my work, not a challenge to conquer a set number of illustrations.”

Check out Pope’s website, Instagram and Behance profile to see more of his Vectober illustrations and portfolio.

Mathias Carvalho

Mathias Carvalho is a self-taught Brazilian illustrator who loves to illustrate a huge variety of things for books, magazines and more.

“I decided to join Inktober to reconnect with art and explore my creativity after a break. I love working with vectors; they always give me immense versatility, and Affinity Designer adds a lot to that,” Mathias reveals.

“For this illustration, I thought of something scarier, a monster, something different from what I’ve done in the past, and when I had the first idea sketched, I went straight to Affinity Designer to start illustrating because I knew it would be perfect for that!”

You can see more of Mathias’ work on Instagram.

Cátia Ferreira

Cátia Ferreira, aka KatCurse, is a UI/UX and graphic designer at Kajoo Creative Studio in Portugal who enjoys creating dark, surreal illustrations as a hobby.

“I use Affinity Designer in my day to day professional work, so naturally, I started using it for my illustrations. I love that it allows me to use vectors and pixels in the same file.

Usually, I start my illustrations with vector shapes and then paint them with pixel brushes. This allows me to rearrange and move the elements around pretty easily to fit my original sketch.”

“All my illustrations have a dark theme and are mostly black and white. This piece was made for Inktober 2021. The prompt for this day was Suit, so I took it literally and painted a fancy skull all suited up.”

If you would like to see more of Cátia’s work, you can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

Stuart Ruecroft

Stuart Ruecroft is a 2D Digital Artist from Cheltenham, UK, with a traditional pen and ink digital drawing style. He loves to explore natural patterns and textures in his work and frequently develops his own resources that he uses extensively in his work.

Stuart’s Scratch and Scribble brushes were used to create the word prompt ‘Knot’

“I have dedicated a lot of time to creating resources for Affinity. It has always been part of what I wanted to achieve, supplementing artwork with brushes, vector assets and styles. Creating brushes specifically for Inktober has been an evolutionary process over a period of two years.

For Inktober 2019/2020, I largely used a mix of brushes from my InkBrush and InkPainter collections but found it frustrating tracking brushes through numerous sets, so in November last year, I assembled ‘Inktober Inker’, a single brush set containing a collection of 60 inking, pattern and grunge brushes. Three additional sets were added to the collection through 2021: Inker Pattern, Outline Inker and Scratch & Scribble.”

Stuart’s Distressed brushes were used to create the word prompt ‘Watch’

“Creating brushes is a constant learning curve. There are always options for improvements. For Inker 2021 (Version 02), I attempted to improve the quality of the brushes and remove the ones I rarely used. The 2021 version has been updated to integrate changes to brush dynamics and new brushes imported from recent brush collections. I wanted to have the option of a flexible inking set where alternative brushes could be exchanged as required.”

Stuart’s latest Inker Version 02 brushes can be viewed here, and a sample set is now available on the Affinity Forum.

Visit Stuart’s profile on Artstation to see more of his amazing work.

Jason Arsenault

Cartoonist and illustrator Jason Arsenault was born and raised in the beautiful pacific northwest. He has been making art off and on for more than 30 years, and his first memories of drawing were copying his favourite comic book characters, Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield.

“I’ve tried many different styles and mediums over the years, but my favourite has been simple black and white cartooning. I consider my cartoons to be “pantomime” style in that there is generally no dialogue. I like to think I set up the scene, and the rest of the story is left to the viewer’s imagination.”

“I actually hadn’t planned to do Inktober this year. One of the funniest things I do with my Instagram followers is to ask them, usually once a week in my stories, “What can I doodle for you?”. In the first week of Inktober, I got the request for a “monkey causing trouble”. I started doodling a monkey. That monkey ended up holding a hammer like it was going to smash something. What should the monkey be smashing? Of course! A crystal! Looks like I’m doing Inktober.”

“Later, I received the request to draw a space dog. As I started drawing him playing fetch on another planet, the natural question was, how did he get here, and who is throwing the frisbee? The next thing I knew, I drew a space station “vessel” in the background with the astronauts in the distance.”

To see more of Jason’s art, check out his website and Instagram.

Fajar Ardianto AS

Fajar Ardianto AS is a full-time freelance graphic designer from Magelang, Indonesia, who enjoys designing logos and icons. He previously worked for a design studio in Indonesia before going freelance and is now focused on participating in several design contests and making stock designs for microstock.

“It was around 2016 when I started using Affinity Designer, and almost all of my work is made with it, like my work for the Vectober campaign. For this year’s Vectober, I wanted to create some simple icons. I did not use any set prompts. Sometimes, if the theme doesn’t match my mood, I get bored of working on it. Therefore, I chose my own themes. This helped me to be consistent and complete this year’s Vectober challenge, which is better than doing nothing, right?”

You can see more of Fajar’s work on dribbble and Instagram.

Renato Pedrina

Renato Pedrina is a 30-year-old creative from Paraguay. You may remember his work from our previous Inktober round ups, and this year he is back creating more incredible illustrations in Affinity Designer.

“I have always loved to draw, so when I found out about the Inktober event a few years back, I decided to try it out, and I loved the challenge. It inspired me to get creative with my content, to be able to use the Affinity Designer app better and to explore more tools and styles. It also helped me be more consistent with my art and more efficient, so I’m really happy I decided to try it out. From my experience, it gets more challenging but better every year.”

To see more of Renato’s Inktober illustrations, check out @renatopedrinapy on Instagram.

Matt Pua

Matt Pua is a software developer by trade who started doing vector artwork in the past couple of years. He first started designing by partaking in Inktober 2019 and hasn’t missed an Inktober/Vectober since.

“For this piece, I honestly tried to create the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the prompt. I envisioned something that had a regal feel to it, and had strong contrasting colours to make small details about the piece pop out.”

You can see more of Matt’s illustrations on dribbble and Instagram.

Taru Finni

Taru Finni “Firu” is a freelance illustrator and self-proclaimed chocolate lover from Finland who makes fun illustrations, often inspired by her goofy cat.

“Participating in this year’s Inktober challenge by using Affinity Designer was an obvious choice for me. It is my absolute favourite tool because I feel like illustrating what’s on my mind is so easy with it. I hope my illustrations brighten your day! Stay cool and eat your chocolate!”

Check out @firuyee on Instagram to see more of Taru’s illustrations.

Iain Stirling

Iain Stirling was raised in the Scottish Highlands and now works there as a forester. Drawing and illustration have been a long time hobby for Iain, who is self-taught and began with pencil and ink sketching, then moved up to digital to experiment with colouring and making more complete drawings.

“I’ve used Affinity for most of that journey, finding the blend of pixel and vector styles available in Designer, along with the total tablet/desktop cross-compatibility really suits my style of drawing.

For Inktober, I’ve been trying to develop my skills for making complete drawings from a range of inspirations but with a sci-fi/fantasy twist. So naturally, with the prompt “Suit,” my mind immediately went to “battlesuit”, or specifically “Iron Man suit”. For this one, I went with the Marvel character War Machine, as I’ve always enjoyed the character, and I find the design a bit more interesting.”

“It was a good opportunity to experiment with creating a strong dynamic and heroic pose, with a lot of scope to have fun with the lighting and colours. This one was done fully in the iPad version of Designer, using the pixel brushes to sketch out and refine the lines and base colours, experimenting with cloud texture brushes for the background. Vector colour and transparency gradients were used with various blend modes at the end to get the deep red/blue lighting, which is always a fun stage to get creative with.”

More of Iain’s artwork can be found on Instagram.

Parth Trivedi

Parth Trivedi is a 27-year-old quality engineer and self-taught illustrator who first started drawing by using comic books as reference materials and studying the works of Jim Lee and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series). In 2018, he completed his first (fully digital) Inktober, and that success carried forward for Inktober 2019 and 2020. This year he is taking part in Inktober 2021, Inktober 52 and Fright-Fall 2021 (by RetroSupply Co.)—there’s no rest for the wicked!

Parth’s ‘Watch’ concept was heavily inspired by his love for the film-noir genre, and we think it’s a great example of how to work with negative space in illustration.

You can see more of Parth’s art on his socials: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Raquel Luján

Raquel Luján is a graphic designer and front end developer based in Barcelona.

“In my free time, I enjoy drawing and doing collage (traditional and digital). Every year I try to accomplish the Inktober challenge in a notebook, but I end up losing it inside some bag. So this year, I decided it would be nice to try digital drawing. I find it very comfortable working with layers. You can go back if you made a mistake, and there’s infinite canvas at your disposal!

For the concept “Spirit,” I wanted to portray what is spiritual for me, a fusion of mental peace and brute inner strength. I find this kind of calm state while swimming, so the water Orishas, goddesses of the Yoruba religion, came to my memory.”

“With this concept in mind, I found a beautiful underwater photoshoot by Kenneth Gorzal, and I used one of the models to draw the Orisha Olosa (also called Osara), goddess of the lagoon and estuaries, surrounded by a mystical snake called Madre de Agua, in the representation of Yemanjá, mother of all Orishas and patron spirit of rivers and oceans.”

Check out @rekil on Instagram to see more of Raquel’s illustrations.

Laura Mougel

Laura Mougel is a 32-year-old graphic designer and illustrator living in La Rochelle on the West Coast of France.

“What inspired me to create this illustration? Being drunk. On love, especially, but also being drunk (just a bit) by drinking alcohol. I love cocktails, not only drinking them but also drawing them because they all have a story!

This illustration has a story too. It is inspired by a memory, but also a fantasy…drinking whiskey and talking about love, and by a song (‘Knots’ by Lisa Hannigan). With the whiskey, the singer and the ‘knot,’ there are a lot of Irish references! (I have a big crush on Ireland!).”

To see more of Laura’s work, check out @unpetitcoupdemou on Instagram.

Eliud Delgado

Eliud Delgado is a civil engineer and freelance illustrator who was born in Valera, a small city in the Venezuelan Andes, and is now based in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia.

“Since I was a child, I have always been passionate about drawing and painting. I remember always being with paper and pencil in hand making fan art of my favourite animated series and video games. While growing up, I dreamed of studying and dedicating myself to a profession related to the creative field. Architecture and graphic design have always been my aspiration. Because of things in life, I ended up in the engineering faculty of the Universidad de Los Andes. After graduating, I worked for several years in the construction industry, but I never stopped drawing and dreaming of dedicating myself to illustration. Today I divide my time between my private business and illustration.”

“I find the inspiration for my illustrations in everything that surrounds me, from the video games and series that I watched as a child to the folkloric expressions of my country. Digital art is something recent for me, a pleasant discovery that I came to after buying my first iPad and starting to try different applications. The iPad is a very powerful and versatile tool, it has many applications to illustrate, but none fit my workflow like Affinity Designer,” Eliud explains.

“Participating in Vectober has been very useful to improve my workflow, having to do a small piece every day is a challenge and Affinity Designer is the best tool I have found to achieve it.”

To see more of Eliud’s Vectober illustrations, check out @delagoeliud on Instagram.

Spotlight editor

As editor of Affinity Spotlight Melanie oversees the stories, interviews and tutorials published on the site. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, reading crime thrillers, Pilates and dabbling in a spot of oil painting. Get in touch with Melanie if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.

Credits & Footnotes

All artwork is copyright of its creators and used here with written permission. Inktober is a registered trademark.