One Week into Inktober: I Have a System!

It’s been one full week of Inktober so far. And while I’m loving it, keeping up is a struggle. As I mentioned in my last post, this is my first time doing Inktober. But the idea of dedicating one intense month to creative pursuits isn’t new to me.

For the last two years, I participated NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month, for those of you not in-the-know). Producing 31 ink drawings might seem more manageable than writing 50,000 words of a novel, but it all depends. In the end, both creative challenges seem to be about making time to pursue the art you love – which is far more difficult than the creating itself.

Inktober System One Week Title Image

My Approach

I do each drawing – usually late at night – and post them to my Instagram account. I’m a bit more verbose than I usually am on Instagram, because there’s almost always plenty to say about your artwork.

On Subject Matter & Prompts

I decided before October started that I didn’t want to follow the prompts. I mean, they’re cool, but there are plenty of topics I want to draw, and I didn’t want to be limited by a prompt. What if one day’s prompt just sounded really boring? I wasn’t going to lock myself into anything.

But now, seeing the Inktober drawings that the community is posting, I realize how fun it is to see other people’s interpretations of the same prompt. I’d like to try following the official prompts one year.

This year I do have a loose theme, which can and has already been interrupted by tragedy and holidays.

Sometimes I wish I’d chosen a theme that was more focused or more exciting, but the one I chose is “Home.” Hence the succulent and dog drawings you’ve seen recently. You can look forward to Colorado Springs scenery and other homey scenes. I have a long complicated rationale for choosing this theme but I won’t go into it today.

 

Self-Imposed “Rules”

As I’ve gone through this week of Inktober, I’ve had to think about how I want my system to work. So I’ve set guidelines for myself. For some artists, this probably seems strange and unnecessary, but sticking to system works for me and helps me take Inktober seriously.

 

1. No posting judgment.

I’ve found myself almost constantly wanting to criticize and explain what I view as shortcomings in my work. It pops up naturally, even something as simple as “oh this one isn’t that good.” The negative comments and excuses keep up a steady stream in my mind:

“I was too tired today.”

“I messed up on that spot.”

“The ink started to run out.”

“The material didn’t react how I expected, so it looks a little weird.”

And so forth.

Luckily I caught myself in this negative spiral, so rule number one is no posting anything critical about my work – nobody really wants to hear it anyway. But I’d be perfectly happy to hear others’ honest opinions and critiques.

 

2. If I made it, I post it.

This rule deals with insecurity too. It’d be easy to only post the artwork that’s “good enough” and of course, that makes sense. It’s what every artist does, isn’t it? But for Inktober, and just for Inktober, I’m ignoring my filter. I won’t skip a day because I don’t think my drawing for that day is good enough. A day with no Inktober post will just mean I didn’t make the time to draw that day.

 

3. Skipping days is okay.

Skipping is difficult for the perfectionist in me. I committed to this challenge, so I need to go ALL THE WAY! RIGHT? Well, maybe if I wasn’t planning on doing NaNoWriMo next month. A month of daily ink drawings followed directly by a month of roughly 1667 words a day sounds more painful than fun.

I have a confession to make. The drawing I posted for Day 4 may be dated 10-4-17, but I actually made it October 5th. I didn’t draw anything on October 4th, and to make up for it, I did two drawings on October 5th. You’re probably thinking, okay who cares? But this forced me to consider what I’d do when I missed more days. Did I always need to make up for them? Should I only post according to the number of drawings I made? Or post according to the true dates?

I decided I’d let myself skip days. But doing a quick, rough drawing is preferable to skipping a day altogether. I won’t get stuck in a mindset of having to make up for missed days like this is some sort of homework assignment. But if I find myself wanting to do multiple drawings in a day, I won’t stop myself.

 

Best of the Week

While I’m producing so much art, I might as well show it off. For each week of October, I’ll highlight a best-of-the-week piece. This week is Day 2’s zebra plant!

A post shared by Monica Heilman (@monicartsy) on

Leave Your Thoughts