5 ways to enjoy Inktober – for a new artist

As I step into the New Year, I plan to spend more time exploring a new interest I discovered during Inktober 2019 – being an illustration artist!

I knew I had some basic interest in art and colors, but it wasn’t something I had pursued until October 2019, when I proposed to my family the plan of participating in the Inktober artist challenge.

I spent a good number of days during the challenge exploring different styles and mediums to find out what I was most interested in – and it was life-changing! As the month progressed, I found myself wanting to get back home quickly so I could get started with my illustration for the day!

Inktober 2019 Day 3 - Bait
Day 3 – Bait
Inspired by @maribede

Here are 5 things I did to enjoy the challenge even though I didn’t have too much prior experience with art.

Also read: Art is not optional for humans

5. Do it with others (that’s what she said)

Like almost everything else, Inktober is fun when you rope in a fellow artist to participate with you. An accountability buddy, someone to appreciate your efforts, someone you can cheer on.

Be careful who you choose, though. Someone who stresses you out, judges too critically, or has a negative vibe isn’t ideal when you’re just getting started with a new skill. You want someone who will help you improve but at the same time appreciate and encourage you.

Inktober 2019 Day 2 - Mindless
Day 2 – Mindless

4. Be consistent

Inktober has daily prompts. I personally found some of these prompts uninspiring, which made it difficult to get started. On some other days, life got in the way.

However, the more consistent you are with the challenge, the more fun it is as you watch your creation pile grow! Even within ten days, you’ll have a good collection of your own art that you can go back to. You’ll start to learn more about what you enjoy, and what areas you need to improve. You’ll also see how much you’ve grown in the few days that you’ve participated!

Inktober 2019 Day 10 - Pattern
Day 10 – Pattern
Inspired by @shreya.makala

3. Experiment

Set constraints for yourself, like using only three colors on one day. Make a black and white image. Make a pencil sketch. Use a paint brush. Try digital art. Work on your calligraphy skills. Recreate someone else’s work (and give them credit when you do). Draw someone you know. Draw a simple shape, and focus on texture. Play with light and shadows.

Don’t paint yourself into a corner (pun intended). There are so many things you can try, and Inktober is a great time to experiment everyday! Play with the options, make mistakes, get your hands and face messy!

Inktober 2019 Day 23 - Ancient
Day 23 – Ancient
Inspired by @veronicakosowski
Inktober 2019 Day 9- swing
Day 9 – Swing
Inspired by Kim Yewon

2. Do it for yourself

External validation can be amazing, but if you’re always looking for others to make you happy, then you’re losing control of your own happiness. In contrast, if you let their opinions affect and direct you, you might never find out what you really enjoy, or you might even give up on the hobby before you start to get comfortable with it! This goes back to why you should choose a close inner circle for accountability buddies.

Draw, paint, and create for yourself. Be your own boss. Do what makes you happy.

Inktober 2019 Day  - ripe
Day 31 – Ripe

1. Don’t judge yourself

Most importantly, don’t let a few wrong strokes or bad color choices get to you. I’m not asking you to be obnoxiously blind to your mistakes and call yourself Picasso. Acknowledge them, but only to the extent where you consciously improve the next day. Don’t be ashamed of your creation, and don’t talk yourself down. Come back the next day with the same amount of enthusiasm as the day before, knowing that it takes a lot of patience and time before you can see improvement in any skill you’re trying to develop.

Let go of your imposter-syndrome – call yourself an Inktober artist! And never let this be a game of comparison with others.

Laugh at your mistakes, and remember that you’re in this for the fun!

Also read: Art is not optional for humans

Inktober 2019 Day 25 - Tasty
Day 25 – Tasty
Inspired by @aliciasouza

0. Mind your posture

This one’s a bonus based on a lesson learnt during Inktober 2019.

If you’ve read my post on Focus Word for 2020, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with chronic neck pain over the last few months. My suspicion (and my physiotherapist agrees) is that my poor drawing posture as a new artist all through Inktober aggravated the pain.

I so easily lost myself in the creative wonderland of art, that I forgot to stay mindful. I’m throwing this one out there in the hope that it’ll help you enjoy Inktober without any negative side-effects!

Avoid side effects during Inktober
Staying up late to draw resulting in dark circles – another side effect to avoid!
Day 26 – Dark
Inspired by @aliciasouza

What are your thoughts on group activities like Inktober that has participants world-over? Do you get overwhelmed and compare your work to others’? Or do you use their work as inspiration to help you grow?

5 ways to enjoy Inktober even if you aren't an artist.

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