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Inktober 2019 - Learnings and possibly some tips!

We've reached the end of another #Inktober, and oooohwee it's been a good one!

I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.

This is my third year taking part in Inktober, and it's definitely been my favourite - and probably the hardest.

At least, to begin with.

If you don't know what Inktober is (where have you been?!) let me quickly tell you. Inktober is an annual art challenge online created by the awesome artist and thoroughly nice chap, Jake Parker.

The idea is that each day you draw or paint (or whatever) a picture using ink and post it on your social media channels. Simples.

Each year a 31 day prompt list is provided, and you can either use them - or not.

I tend to stick to the prompts as it's part of the challenge, and this year some of them were fairly tricky!

For the first week it was quite a struggle coming up with ideas for the prompts, but I found ways to make the process easier, and hopefully these tips will help you in the future.

Here's a few things I learnt from taking part this year...

Planning ahead as much as possible makes your life easier!

As I mentioned above, some of the prompts were a little tricky this time round. I found that having the prompt list to hand at all times, I was able to think of ideas for prompts further down the list. This meant I could jot down or sketch out my ideas for them earlier on saving me time. A lot of time!

Missed a day? Don't worry!

Life is busy, and you might not always have the time, inspiration, or even the motivation to sit down on that particular day and come up with something.

In the past I'd get home from my day job and panic that I hadn't produced anything, and that I'd gone off track. The first year I found myself struggling to keep up.

This year I took a more chilled approach. If I missed a day, so what - I can do it whenever I have the inspiration, motivation, and the time. Don't be a slave to it. This approach really helped me to produce far better work. It also meant that once I started, I rarely wanted to stop. And by planning ahead, I even ended up having time to make colour versions of the majority of each drawing.

Experimenting is fun!

Did I mention that planning ahead is really helpful? I did? Good. Because another bonus of planning ahead means you have more time to mess around and try out new things!

This year my fun was found in trying out pretty much all of my ink pens (I have a lot!), playing around with brushes and washes and even some real ink nibs that I've had for many years but have never had the time and patience to experiment with.

Don't spill ink on the carpet!

This does not earn you brownie points with your partner. No matter how good your art turns out!

Digital is fine. If that's what your comfortable with... but...

The original point of the challenge was for Jake Parker to improve his inking skills. Personally, I like to do the challenge in ink too, because it pushes me out of my comfort zone enough for it to help me learn new techniques and to provide a nice break from what I'm used to and feel confident with - pencils.

I can see a vast improvement in my own work this year, in terms of how I use the ink, which inking tools I like the best (more on this later!) my compositions, and my creativity in terms of the prompt themes. Sometimes it's hard to think of an idea that isn't just a literal interpretation of the prompt. Thinking outside of the box when possible makes the challenge really fun! Surreal is good and often clever, and I've seen some really great interpretations by other artists that I follow on the socials for some of the prompts - so you might find that looking at others art inspires your ideas too. Wack in the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2019 and feed your eyes with wonder!

As I said, digital is fine, and there's a lot of people online that like to whinge about it being wrong or missing the point. But the real point is development, and most importantly - FUN!

Do whatever is fun for you, just don't be lazy about it. If you're already making amazing digital art, what's the point doing the same for Inktober? Try something you're not good at, and get good at it! And vice versa if you're already an awesome ink wizard!

I'd much rather see an amazing digital artist make rubbish ink art and see how they develop and grow than the same old stuff. Likewise the other way round.

Anything else?

I could probably sit here and write an essay on other things I've learnt this year, but unfortunately I've already waffled on longer than I expected to, but I think I've covered some of the main things that I got out of Inktober 2019, and I hope (if you've managed to read this far) that maybe these tips will help you for next year.

Finally... what did I use?

Mostly I used my Pentel Pocket Brush pen.

However, I also used a set of black Uni Pin Fine Liners (0.5, 0.3, 0.1) for different line weights, adding details and hatching.

I used a Pigma Micron 005 for small details and some hatching.

I used a dippy ink nib (no idea of the make - I'll find out if you're interested!) and Noodlers black ink.

I also used a Marvy Uchida brush pen, a Pigma brush pen, and some Prismacolor double ended brush pens.

My sketches were done as lightly as possible with an HB Staedtler graphite pencil.

All art was drawn on 200gsm heavyweight cartridge paper. The brand is Cass Art, a local art shop's own brand. It's good quality paper, however it feels slightly glossy and so I had a few issues with erasing pencil lines and ink smudging, and found if I didn't let it dry for long enough it would smudge. A lesson for next year!

To sum up

I had a great Inktober this year! To see all my art, click here and I hope you join in next year!

To see previous years, go here:

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