Thursday, October 31, 2019

Completing Inktober

I've completed Inktober! I can't quite believe it to be honest, I didn't actually have much hope that I'd complete the whole month. I figured I'd manage to keep up with the first week then fall behind, get overwhelmed, and quit. And I didn't! And what's more, I've really enjoyed my Inktober experience. Like I explained in my previous post, I haven't technically done Inktober 'properly' - I ignored the prompt list for two thirds of the month, and I've worked in more mediums than just ink (but I did mostly use ink). But mastering ink was never my goal, sticking to a prompt list was never my goal and was only there to fall back on. My goals were to simply draw every day to get back into a more productive workflow and just see where that took me, and hopefully through the act of drawing every day to become less of a perfectionist with my work. And now I'm at the other end of it looking back, I thought I'd share what the experience has taught me, along with a selection of the pieces I've created.

Top: 04 + 05 - Pruitt from Big Sky | Bottom: 02 - Inktober prompt 'mindless'

The biggest lesson of all this month was simply that sitting down to draw doesn't have to be a big deal. Often I'll procrastinate opening my sketchbook as I only have an hour or so and feel like that's not enough time, but I've realised that it is more than enough so long as I use that time wisely. I've also realised that even if I don't feel like drawing when I begin, I will once I actually start. And because drawing is no longer such a big deal, it's resulted in me drawing more. I've knocked out two portraits this month, which is usually something I'd think about for about a week prior and feel like I had to set aside a full day to create, but I just got on and did it and I really enjoyed the process. I guess I'm just learning to let go and doodle better instead of only drawing full-blown illustrations, and that's definitely a good thing!

07 + 08 - Inktober prompts 'enchanted' and 'snow'

Because my drawing time had been so sporadic and it had usually been a few weeks since I last drew anything, I'd always start by feeling rusty and unsure of my abilities and so wasted time warming up. This not only ate into my drawing time, but it also meant that I had to come up with ideas for a warm up sketch on top of what I already wanted to draw, and the whole process resulted with me feeling exhausted before I'd even begun. Getting into the habit of drawing every day has definitely loosened me up, and because of this ideas have been coming much more freely as I can just jump straight in with whatever I want to do. I didn't end up using too many of the Inktober prompts as they were only there for days I got stuck, and I didn't end up having many of those because the more I was drawing, the more ideas I was having, and because my work was looser I was able to crack out more ideas than I ever felt possible.

Top: 14 - Inktober prompt 'dragon' | Bottom: 17 + 18 - Joker inspired illustrations

I did find myself struggling for ideas here and there, but during those times I allowed inspiration to come from life and the things around me instead of going looking for ideas and becoming frustrated. For example, the Joker movie gave me a lot of inspiration this month as I absolutely loved it and wanted to draw fan art. And by allowing myself to draw things that I cared about, I wanted to draw more and more rather than feeling like I was only drawing because I had to. I'm really glad I decided to exclude social media presence from my challenge too, as that allowed me to be completely self-indulgent with what I was creating without any judgement!

I think the biggest surprise for me throughout this month is just how much work I've managed to create, which I know sounds a little silly as it was obvious from the very beginning that I'd have around 31 pieces of art if I managed to complete it, but saying that versus physically seeing that work in my sketchbook is an entirely different kettle of fish. I've never filled out a sketchbook at this speed, and it's an exhilarating feeling! I'm used to flicking back over my sketchbook and seeing work I've created months ago, not weeks or even days ago! I also like how it's helping me keep track of time. Often months pass by in a flash and I wonder where the time has gone, but I feel October has gone at a much slower pace as every single day I've been taking note of the date and been fully present as a result. And as someone who suffers with severe anxiety, that's been a really nice side effect and helped my mental health a lot!

Top: 20 - reference of vintage ballet dancers from Pinterest. 21 - Inktober prompt 'treasure'
Bottom: 24 - Illustration inspired by Joker

Parts of Inktober have definitely been a little stressful at times, but it was entirely self-inflicted. Part of the draw of the challenge for me was to fill up a good chunk of my sketchbook quickly, and that was actually a good drive as I was actively measuring my progress by how much I'd completed. But it also meant that I was getting a bit stressed when I had to miss days as I wasn't filling my sketchbook fast enough, and the pressure I put on myself to draw every day meant that other hobbies and interests had to be put aside.

I really want to continue drawing after October. Not every day, but I've shown myself what I can do and I don't want to lose these good habits that I've built. I'm a little nervous I'll run out of ideas, but I'd rather cross that bridge if and when I come to it! Plus I have a whole heap of things I want to digitally colour and turn into proper illustrations from all of this, so there's always that too!

Top: 25 - An OC. 26 - Fiyero inspired (I drew a lot of scarecrows, I guess I was inspired by autumn ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Middle: 27 - Autumn inspired motifs, and practising Cyrillic
Bottom: 27 + 28 - Joker inspired illustrations. I said there was a lot!
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