Three Cheers for Inktober!
I’m a university professor and a scholar and writer and ethnographer and all that stuff, but as an arts-based researcher, sometimes the Art part gets shoved off to the side and hidden away, especially when times are stressful or busy and I have a thousand papers to mark and a book chapter overdue and all kinds of straight work that seems to be ahead of art in the proverbial urgency queue. That’s why I love things like Inktober.
Jake Parker is the smarty pants behind the idea of #inktober— when illustrators all over the world are encouraged to draw something for every day of the month of October. The point of #inktober is to develop positive drawing habits, share your work with others on social media, and build a supportive community. Jake writes, “Inktober is just a framework to get yourself to draw better, flex a little, and/or have some fun with your art. Inktober is a challenge NOT a contest to see who the best artist is. It’s a challenge to see how much you can improve your art in a month, and to be inspired or to help inspire other artists to do the same.” Jake started the challenge in 2009, but this is the first year I have done it.
Now, I haven’t exactly followed all the rules. I’ve been traveling a lot and working on other projects so I haven’t always followed the prompts, I missed a day here and there, and I have only sketched by hand about half the time (I love working on my tablet, which I find very glossy and soothing). But I feel like I followed the spirit of the challenge: as a working artist with a serious day job that only sometimes involves art, drawing every day has been a fantastic way to stay connected with my work as an illustrator– and more importantly to connect with other artists and to remember what the hell I’m actually doing all of this arts-based researcher thing for. I’ve made friends, gotten a new contract or two (thanks, social media!) and even provided a design for a dear friend’s new tattoo! Drawing every day, just like writing every day, really does build up and sustain one’s creative chops.
Look at all the fun stuff I drew!