Inktober is a month-long event in the global artist community and drawing challenge. Most Inktober participants communicate digitally, using social media hashtags, profiles, and portfolios. Still, many locations offer local support throughout the challenge as well.
The idea behind Inktober is daily drawing for a month. This allows the artist to abandon art fear and self-consciousness, while also improving their skills every day. The original Inktober challenge focused on developing pen-and-ink skills while stoking an artistic imagination with prompt-based drawing.
These days, however, the Inktober challenge has expanded to incorporate all kinds of art and media. There's no restriction on who can join the challenge or what they make. Additionally, many different prompts and styles of prompt have sprung up among artists. These alternative prompts personalize the challenge for different needs, communities, and artistic styles.
There's a lot that you can do with your Inktober drawings so that they won't sit untouched in an old sketchbook. For one thing, your Inktober drawings all take place in the amazing continuum of your artistic and creative development. Not to mention, prompts and restrictions can actually help you create some of your most inspired and interesting pieces to fill for your drawing portfolio.
If you're still not sure where to take your Intober journey, here are some non-traditional ideas to set you in the right direction.
1. Make It an Inktober Collage
An Inktober collage can be a great way to start fresh with Inktober. This is a great choice for someone who's never done the challenge before, or for someone who doesn't have enough time to create a finished piece or a full sketch each day.
To make the collage, start with a very large piece of drawing paper, bristol board, or mixed media paper. Then, for each day and prompt of Inktober, create a small sketch on the paper.
Each following day can build on this sketch, adding characters, environmental details, and odds and ends, as the prompts and inspiration strike.
At the end of the month, you will have one large and detailed piece made up of a bunch of smaller sketches. This practice will help you start sketching every day without taking all your free time. This also makes it less likely that the habit becomes interrupted by a busy lifestyle or creative burnout.
2. Create a Graphic Short Story
Have you always dreamed of using your drawing skills to create a graphic novel, webcomic, or manga?
The best way to begin developing one of these hobbies is to start with a small project that you will be able to accomplish in a limited time. Inktober presents just that opportunity.
Based on your skills and how long it takes you to draw, you could use each day to draw a page or even just a frame or two of the short story you want to represent. It might be useful to use the prompts to jog your creativity. However, this is likely the sort of challenge where you will need to set your prompts aside and just draw your story.
To succeed with this challenge, you'll probably need to start with a realistic plan. The plan should include some story-boarding. You'll need to know what happens in the short-story that you plan to tell. Drawing fanfiction or a retelling of a story can make this step a lot easier.
Once you have this plan, you can let yourself run wild with this drawing experiment.
3. Put Together 31-Frame Ink Animation
Another way to turn your Inktober sketches into a larger project is to make it a very short animation. This can make for a compelling option for digital artists to participate in Inktober.
This challenge, in particular, would help you to develop a sense of consistency with your drawing. It would also force you to practice the same forms many times in different poses. It's also possible for those who are more ambitious to increase the number of frames they can get done in a day by copying the previous drawing and altering them to represent the next movement or frame.
Since this is another project that requires coherence and consistency, it requires a little foreplanning and concepting. Keep in mind that whatever your style, it's important to keep the subject of your animations as minimal as possible, while still representing the style that you want. This is because lower-detail objects are much easier to animate than those with more details.
4. Make Your Sketches into Graphic Designs and Stickers
While some artists might choose to work the challenge into their larger projects, one of the great things about Inktober is coming out on the other side with a handful of great smaller sketches.
You can put these sketches to great use by turning them into reusable graphic designs. You can even scan and printing them onto stickers for your use or promotional purposes.
This is a useful option for traditional Inktober drawings, since the traditional black ink on white paper will make the design much easier to scan and print. Whether bold-inked or fine-lined, the traditional Inktober style also makes the design easily traceable with vector brushes in a drawing computer application, to be used in graphic designs and for other printing purposes.
5. Draw Your Own Coloring Book
Some of the best practice that you'll get from Inktober's inking medium is the opportunity to practice your line-work. This means that you will get to focus on lines and shapes, without worrying about color rendering.
While this might not be everyone's style, it can help to greatly improve your drawing ability and skills. Since drawing is the backbone of most artistic pursuits, linework makes for good practice for anybody and any style.
Then, if you find that you miss your colors, you can turn your black-and-white drawings and outlines into a digital or physical coloring book. To do this, make sure that your drawings have strong outlines. Then, scan the drawings into a computer.
To make more copies for traditional art, print the outlines onto art paper. To make them into a digital coloring book, save the images and then load them as a layer into your favorite digital drawing application.
6. Start Your Ink Art Portfolio
Inktober is not just for building skills, it's also a time commitment to dedicating yourself to your art and drawing. This kind of dedicated time can be a rare opportunity, and one of the best things it could offer you is the chance to build your portfolio.
TO start building your ink art portfolio, keep doing your best throughout the month. Try not to put too much pressure on each of your drawings. Instead, take care of yourself to avoid mid-October creative burnout.
Keep your Inktober practice fearless by drawing what you want, how you want. If you feel compelled to experiment or move away from your style, lean into it. You'll never know what you'll create until you try it!