|Chiron reimagined as a Persona for my self-insert character!|
Since this year was the first ever that I’ve participated in Inktober, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve reflected on since completing it. First, though, I want to thank everyone who liked, shared, and commented on any of my Inktober drawings—you all were definitely motivators in helping me see the challenge through to the end! Given that Inktober is (as you all know) an art challenge, I found myself considering several times throughout the month what my goals are as an artist, as well as what results I can expect from my current artistic skills. Hopefully this reflection will be of some use to other artists looking to situate and assess their own techniques!
First, a bit of context: In years past, I posted my artworks to various art-hosting sites on an on-again, off-again basis, with quantity being my primary goal over quality; that is, I was more concerned with having a large gallery and posting regularly, even daily, than creating work that I was actually proud of. This led me to have a very negative perception of myself as an artist due to being unsatisfied with the majority of my works; thus, I ultimately abandoned many of my artistic pursuits once I left for university. It wasn’t until after completing graduate school this year that I felt compelled to return to my artistic hobbies and actually try to do something professional with them. However, after a couple of months, I once again found myself becoming more concerned with churning out artworks quickly. That, and I was focusing too much on making artworks that I thought would be marketable rather than making pieces that I truly wanted to create (that’s not to say that I’m not fond of any of the works I created during this period, it simply means that I don’t believe I was making art for the right reasons). I found myself getting burnt out from this process towards the end of September and wasn’t sure which projects to undertake next.
So, for me, Inktober came at just the right time! It offered me a chance to participate in something with other artists, and the medium it asked artists to work in (ink, obviously) eliminated virtually any guesswork as to what kind of art to create. Its daily prompts also set strict enough criteria for subject matter that I didn’t mull for too long over what to draw either, which was certainly welcome at the time. But I wasn’t as keen on these daily prompts when I started as I am now—at first, they seemed somewhat of a curse, putting extreme constraints on the time I had to finish an entry and leaving me feeling a little unsatisfied with some of the results (in my mind’s eye, I was imagining my ink drawings would resemble those of M.C. Escher… which was foolish, considering I’ve never made or even tried to make anything resembling his work). However, I soon learned that there was a lot of fun to be had in interpreting each day’s prompt in a fun and original way, and began to view Inktober less as an artistic challenge and more as simply a creative one: so long as I liked my idea for how to interpret a day’s prompt, I usually found that I liked whatever artwork resulted from it (though that’s putting it a bit too lightly, as there are several pieces I made for this challenge that I really, really like!).
All in all, Inktober taught me to be less of a perfectionist, to be honest with myself regarding my artistic abilities, and to focus more on having fun in the artistic process rather than be so concerned with marketability. I feel much more at peace with myself as an artist now than I did before and have much more confidence in my skills and ideas. I’m also happy to have a sizable collection of cohesive drawings that showcase my skills in interpretation, as well as in mediums of traditional art. There’s no denying that Inktober is a huge time suck, but, if you’re willing to undertake the challenge and forego a few (read: many) social events throughout the month of October, I think that it’s a great way to reassess your artistic and creative goals if you’re feeling a bit lost in them. I want to take one more opportunity to thank everyone who showed me support during this challenge! I hope that my reflections help you in deciding whether Inktober was something you enjoyed doing this year, or whether it’s something you’d consider doing in the future.
What were your experiences with Inktober, either this year or in years past? Additionally, were there any Inktober drawings from my own collection this year that you liked in particular? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share them with me in the comments!
For those interested, below are my top five personal favorites from my Inktober collection this year. I've chosen these five because each of them matches most closely how I envisioned them in my mind before I set to draw them, while simultaneously interpreting the day's prompt in a way that makes me feel the most satisfied. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of others in my Inktober 2018 collection that I love very much! I just didn't want to clutter my profile with a list of my "Top 31 Inktober Drawings", ya dig? 😜