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Surviving Inktober

We are past the half-way mark. A round of applause for those of you who have made it this far. Even if you were forced to skip a day. Or if you cringed as you posted something that didn’t meet your standards. ESPECIALLY if you had the guts to post a miserable scribble that you’d rather crumple than post. It isn’t easy to make something you will share with the world, day after day for a month.


For some of us, this is the most perilous point of Inktober. Even if you’ve managed to stay enthusiastic and productive over the past couple of weeks, it takes real effort to draw Day 16, and Day 17, and Day 18.... I’ve been juggling deadlines, family commitments, a nasty virus, and the frustration of mediocre drawings.

I’m determined to keep inking through Day 31, so I’m using a variety of strategies. Here’s a few.


First: Work-crastination. I have accepted that I can’t keep myself from procrastinating. Instead of avoiding it, I’ve learned how to use it. I have three picture books I’m writing, a logo/branding gig, a large art commission, and various personal projects going. I allow myself to procrastinate on each project...with the other projects. I satisfy that evil part of my brain that urges me to slack off, while simultaneously being productive. Sounds ridiculous, but it works. Inktober is tailor-made to suit this purpose.


Second: Pace. If you don’t have the luxury of time to start each prompt fresh on the day it’s due, pace yourself. Do rough pencils for several upcoming days. Keep them loose, make no commitments, and stop yourself before you’re tempted to ink them. Then on, the prompt-day, you can use them or erase them, but you’re not staring at a blank page.


Third: Avoid the hashtag until you’ve posted. Once you’ve posted your drawing, it can be fun to check out what others have done with a prompt. I never look at what others have done before I post, though. It’s like an actor watching someone else performing a role before they go into rehearsals. They will forever have that other actors’ portrayal in their heads, instead of finding their own interpretation. If I looked at other folks’ responses to prompts, it would taint my own work. Inktober is not a competition; it’s for us and our own work. Likewise, try to resist getting addicted to that endorphin rush that comes with each “like.”


So, let’s see if I can live up to my own advice. Onward!




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