As we approach the end of Inktober, we mark another period of growth for artists all around the world. Scarlett Rodgers is a local artist who is currently participating. She discussed her thoughts on this challenge as well as how it helped out with her art.
Inktober is a 31-day challenge that starts every October where artists are encouraged to draw in ink each day. The artists are given a prompt of drawing ideas for each day by the official Inktober website, on their social media or they can even create their own prompts. Final illustrations are posted online with the hashtag #inktober or #inktober2020. It was created in 2009 by Jake Parker to improve his inking skills and drawing habits. Now artists worldwide participate in this challenge every year.
To use ink for Inktober, artists can use any kind of black ink pen, whether it be a Pentel Brush Pen or just a ball point pen used for school. They’re free to do a pencil drawing at first then line it with ink. Pen recommendations and tutorials on how to draw with ink are on the Inktober website as well.
The challenge originally started with and mostly focuses on traditional inking, but it now has expanded to digital art, whether it be on an iPad or computer. The drawings also do not have to be in black and white. Artists can use colored inks, watercolors, colored pencils and more. The options are limitless.
The main purpose of the challenge is for artists to see how much they can improve by practicing their skills every day for a month straight, as well as get inspiration from others’ drawings.
“Anytime I see art it, motivates me to improve and work on skills that other artists are great in, and I need work on,” said Scarlett Rodgers, a student from Cal State Fullerton.
Rodgers discovered Inktober in 2014 and participates in this challenge to have fun and play around with her art style. She mostly does traditional art for Inktober, but she has also done two digital drawings.
She has been following the prompts, but there have been times when she just let her imagination run wild.
She explained how she plans out her drawings, both digital and traditional for each prompt.
“Basically, I just think of an idea based on the idea of the prompt, and I do a really rough sketch,” Rodgers said. “I fix my mistakes, then color, lastly outline and add white gel to bring out details.”
Even though the drawing process is tiring, she still pushes through as she’s committed to going through this challenge until the end of October.
Inktober can also help develop good drawing habits as artists will most likely get used to drawing daily even when the month is over. It can even help overcome artist’s block with prompts being one-worded ideas of what to draw. These give direction but leave a lot of room for creativity. Newer artists especially may see something they’ve never tried before, so its a good chance for them to get out of their comfort zones.
“I have seen my style improve throughout the month as I’m testing new techniques,” Rodgers said. “I finally got to try animal fur and dynamic poses.”
Since Inktober is often displayed on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and other popular platforms, it’s obvious that over time the focus has turned to posting these illustrations onto social media.
Rodgers believes that it is important for artists to be able to interact with one another as they participate in these challenges. “They can learn from one another and discuss constructive criticism and the beauty of each other’s art.”
Though Rodgers isn’t very involved in the online artist community as much, she does go to Instagram for inspiration from other artists.
“I’ve looked at different artists’ work that shows up on my Instagram’s explore feed, and usually, it inspires me to get up and draw something, literally anything,” Rodgers said.
As Inktober marks its end, Huevember is the next big seasonal challenge. This focuses on drawing something that’s linked with a given hue all through November. Other popular ones include Mermay, where you draw mermaids for all of May, and Juleye, where you draw mostly eyes in July.
But when Inktober and any other seasonal challenges are over, sometimes random ones will come out of nowhere too, such as the Sailor Moon redraw challenge months ago where artists redrew a screencap of Sailor Moon in their own style using the hashtag #sailormoonredraw.
You can support local artists such as Rodgers on social media as they dedicate their time to doing what they love most. You can see their art improve on every post and give them compliments along the way. It’s also another way to discover more challenges to get involved in as well.
Follow Rodgers @yuhskyart on Instagram to view more of her work. She is accepting portrait commissions ranging from $10 to $60 plus extra for a background and added people.