By Amelia Grace Gossman
Whether you’re a first-time participant or a seasoned pro, the final week of Inktober can be both exhausting and exciting. As you get closer to the finish line, it’s essential to walk away from the experience having developed good drawing and creative habits. It’s important to remember that art is a skill, just like learning an instrument or playing a sport. With much dedication and practice, you will certainly become a stronger artist.
Inktober encourages consistency, which is key to strengthening any skill. Carving out regular time in your schedule to create at least one drawing every day is one of the good habits that daily challenges can help establish. If you have a busy schedule, finding that time can be a difficult task. One way to accomplish this is to take it one day at a time and set a manageable limit for yourself. How much time can you realistically set aside with your pens and sketchbook? 20 minutes? 15? Even 5 minutes a day can help you build your drawing skills and make daily drawing a regular part of your schedule. You could even set a daily alarm as a reminder to work on your drawing at the same time. After a while, you may even find yourself going beyond your set time limit, and spending more time drawing than you planned! And remember - it’s ok not to have a finished masterpiece every single day. Aim for finished - not perfect.
Another purpose of a daily drawing challenge is to help flex your creative thinking. Inktober is an example of how limiting your materials can encourage you to solve drawing problems creatively. One of the most daunting parts of completing a drawing when you’re running low on ideas is the broad expanse of white space in your sketchbook page or sheet of paper. As you get closer to the end of the challenge, hopefully the blank page isn’t quite so scary. But if you’re still uneasy, try this approach: eliminate that space by starting with a border. Sometimes it’s small, sometimes it takes up most of the paper. It can be square, or a circle, or any shape you can think of. Having something there to break up the white space can help it feel less intimidating to start. You could also try this idea with a swatch of color or texture to draw on top of.
As the month goes on, do you find yourself coming up short on ideas after the initial excitement? You can of course follow the inspiring prompt list(s), but if you’re like me, sometimes seeing all the options at once can be overwhelming. If you want to shake things up, you could try finding two prompt lists, writing the prompts on slips of paper, and pulling two ideas from a bag daily. See how you can combine the two words into one drawing! Similarly, you could create two lists numbered 1-6, and roll dice to randomly select a prompt combination. If you have gaming dice, you can have even more options! This is especially helpful if you have a hard time choosing which prompt list to follow - and it can be hard to choose with some many clever options out there. Not to mention, this can go back to the idea of creative problem solving.
At the end of October, whether you’ve completed 31 drawings or just one to two, the most important thing is that you’ve made time to do something that brings you joy. Art-making can be challenging, but it can also be a fun way to spend your time and express your thoughts and ideas. And remember, a daily drawing challenge isn’t limited to the month of October! Moving forward, think about your goals for yourself as an artist and your practice. What are you hoping to learn? You can create a challenge for yourself any time designed around whatever you are personally hoping to achieve. All this said, if you don’t do a drawing every single day - don’t be discouraged. You haven’t failed - there’s always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Progress is not always a straight line! Keep the momentum going, you’re almost to the finish line! Good luck, and happy drawing!
You can follow Amelia on IG @ameliagraceillustrationand and her website https://www.amelia-grace-illustration.com/