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Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Mucha Lucha Masks from... GARBAGE?!

I love OCTOBER! It's the month of my birthday, Halloween (my favorite holiday), and the reason why we're here, INKTOBER! And I love INKTOBER. But, truthfully, it's something I do, every single day. I draw, a LOT, and have done it professionally, for decades. So how is that supposed to encourage you? Let me tell you.

I STILL don't get a lot of it right. I sometimes watch videos of some people drawing amazing bodies in figure drawing, where they get all the hands and fingers and angles JUST RIGHT, and I'm like, aaaaaaah, THAT'S what I want to do. I taught a drawing class and had students who thought it was going to be an easy A, say to me, "You know what? Drawing is hard!!" And I said, yes, it's a lot of work. No matter how much talent you are born with, to get better, you have to work at it. And yet, to me, drawing is also a lot of fun. There are times it's hard, and feels like work, when I'm on a deadline, and I can't get that thing there to look JUST RIGHT.

One thing I notice about INKTOBER posts is that a lot of us are showing off. And I mean, we are drawing beautiful things, things which took hours to do, things which we want to share because we are kinda proud of them. But you know what? I want to share IT ALL. I want to share the stuff that didn't come out so great, or the thing I drew that day I was sick, and I want us to be a little more warts n' all, about it. Everything doesn't have to be a masterpiece. Because, the thing that I love about INKTOBER is not that I am supposed to come away with a gorgeous portfolio, or impress my friends . . . it's that it's that big piece of building the HABIT of drawing. Of drawing every day.

Miss a day? Who cares? Pick it up again.

For me, INKTOBER is perfect, because INK is my favorite medium. I want to encourage you to draw, no matter what, no matter that your 7th grade art teacher drew all over your pencil drawing in red ink, while insulting you (this actually happened to me), no matter that so many people got discouraged early on, they quit valuing art as a pursuit, no matter if your drawings NEVER come out like you want them to. I want you to learn to enjoy just the habit, the pursuit of it, this art-making you are trying. I want you to take joy in the doodle, learn how to make new kinds of marks, play with new materials, learn what you love about drawing.

I want you to develop the HABIT.

This isn't about trying to be in a museum, or having work to show off (though, feel free to do that!)

It's about being a living, breathing, habitual art-maker. It's about taking ink, every day, and finding something to do with it.

Now, get out there, pick up some inks, and jump in!

Notes on the video and the pictures: I love making art from stuff others would throw away. And to this end, I save grocery bags, movie tickets, parking validations, cereal boxes, old music sheets, pizza boxes (I once did an art show, with painted pizza boxes!), upcycled shipping boxes, and more. The mask images you see here, are hanging in our living room; they started out as the bags from my fast food breakfast. I just picked up a ballpoint pen, and a gel pen, and started doodling. I found a "Mucha Lucha" mask pattern on Pinterest, and traced it down, then figured out some designs, of sorts. I liked what I did. Enough to frame it! All from doodling on garbage. Don't be afraid. Don't judge yourself so harshly. ENJOY.

FOR MORE OF MY WORK, go to my website,, or follow me on Instagram, @LaughingRedhead, where I post daily.

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Great post! Thank you for sharing your process. I don't normally focus on drawing but dove in headfirst with this being my first Inktober. You're so right about repetition and not being too precious with each piece. I see a difference in my drawing already. Moving forward, I won't switch my priority from other things but I am not nearly as intimidated as I was before. Happy Birthday, mine is also this month.

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