How to complete your first Inktober Challenge and survive
Today is 31 October. For some people today is Halloween, for others today is Homoween. For me, today 31 October 2019 is the first time that I’ve completed the Inktober Challenge, original idea of the illustrator Jake Parker.
I have accepted the challenge a couple of times in the last few years. But this time my big motivation was that I needed to go back to my creative workflow. I moved to London in March 2018, and since then I hadn’t been able to coordinate my job to pay the bills, volunteering and/or internships, social life and new projects all at once. But after last summer (2019), I am a full-time illustrator of male erotica. And what every illustrator need is ILLUSTRATIONS, lots of them.
I’ll give you some tips that helped me to survive this Inktober 2019.
As I mentioned before, a good start to complete the Inktober challenge is the need to find a motivation to go through it.
Portfolio: My motivation this year was the fact that I needed more illustrations and graphic art to show to people, to my fans in social media and to prove myself that I could come back to work on my artwork every day. So, my main motivation was enlarging my portfolio with fresh new illustrations. But your motivation can come from different sources.
Technique: Some people go through the challenge because they want to explore different ink techniques, especially those illustrators whose work is basically digital.
Engagement: Another motivation could be to create feedback and community in your social media like Instagram, having a full-month coherent purpose for communication with your fans is always great.
Prompt List: Back in Spring 2019, I had thought about the Inktober, when I was designing my programme of projects for the following months. I wrote it down on my calendar and I subscribed to the Inktober newsletter, so that when the Official 2019 Prompt List was published, it would be like a reminder to get ready for the challenge.
Brainstorming: When the prompt list was published, a few weeks before the start of the challenge 1 October, I went through it and had a first overview. I think that it’s important to do first a brainstorm as well because some people —like me— just can’t help to come up with different ideas for the same subject, or like working a lot on the conceptual aspect of illustrations and having too many ideas. That could become overwhelming, especially if you haven’t had enough time to make up your mind on any of them. If you do a quick brainstorm, you will have at least a slightly clear idea of what you’ll be drawing every day, and you’ll need to focus more on the technical aspects of sketching and inking.
Inspiration: It’s very hard to make sense of 31 different ideas/concepts that seem completely disconnected. In fact, you can only expect to have made your first approach. But in the following days, your brain will still be thinking about the Inktober words from the prompt list and your environment will inspire you and you’ll link different ideas to make a nice illustration through the challenge. Another suggestion is to talk about the challenge to your family, friends, partner(s), anyone, and they might come up with crazy and interesting ideas for you to draw.
Rebellion: There’s also the opt-out option. In that case, you accept the challenge to draw an ink drawing every day of the month of October but not to follow the prompt list. In fact, the actual challenge says: 31 days, 31 drawings, and before 2016 there wasn’t such a list at all.
You don’t need to follow the prompt list, but I insist in thinking beforehand about the kind of illustrations that you want to be drawing during that month. Otherwise, it can be a stressful.
Don’t be harsh on yourself. Be flexible for the challenge. The most important thing is to enjoy drawing every day. If the challenge stresses you too much because you don’t have time, simply do a small sketch and don’t worry about the finished illustration. Just draw it!
We have a life outside the Inktober Challenge and it’s important to enjoy it as well. If you can’t make a drawing one day, just do two drawings the following day. Or just skip the drawing for that day. I had to do it because I was travelling during last month a couple of times. Nobody will notice or tell you off. Be indulgent to yourself and just enjoy drawing.
Sharing is caring.
One of the things that I loved about this Inktober 2019 is that I’ve got in touch with other artists and illustrators, and a good bunch of new fans via Instagram. It’s always encouraging the fact that other people like your artwork and they leave nice comments, supportive messages and likes. There are always people out there who will like what you do, because of several reasons and a few of them will let you know it.
Therefore, creating engagement with your fans is great but it’s even better if new people find your artwork and they become your fans. A good way to do it on Instagram is with hashtags. Don’t forget to use the hashtags: #inktober and #inktober2019 (or the hashtag for that year) and others related to your themes and styles. I have also discovered the use of tags of shout-out accounts who are very keen to share artwork if it’s coherent with what they post.
You can find my last Inktober post on Instagram here as an example.
When you go through the challenge, prepare your illustrations for sale. You can set all the illustrations for sale or just a selection of them. It doesn’t really matter if you will actually sell them but it will help you to Keep those that you love the most or put a hight price, emotional price sometimes works very well, if you don’t have an idea of what prices you can set.
If you have already finished an Inktober challenge, congratulations! If you haven’t been there yet, don’t worry! You will have next year 2020 to give it another go.
Do you accept the challenge?