So Inktober 2017 has come and gone and I'm happy to report that while I did not—I repeat, did not—create a sketch every day for the month of October, I did create 31 different ink sketches.
And it feels really good.
Here's what I learned
1. When I realized that there was no way I could create a sketch every single day, I created a system that got the job done. Somedays I penciled ahead, roughly sketching out ideas, and some days I "inked behind", redrawing those ideas into completed sketches. I caught up when I got behind. I did it.
I'm thankful that I didn't give up on myself
2. Some sketches are awful of course, some just okay--and some are nice—but they are best together. The the sum I think is greater than the parts—and did I mention I created a full series of 31 sketches? Oh yeah, I did. That fact just makes me so happy!
I'm proud of what I made as a whole.
3. I learned to draw a little better. They say practice is the only way to get better at drawing and it's true. Usually working with some reference image at least to start, I improved my ability to more closely produce what I see. I saw it start happening midway through the month, as I shared here, but thirty-one days later I really do feel I am better— better being relative to my own abilities and no one else’s.
(I’m a strong believer in non-comparison. It really doesn’t matter how I compare to others who are much more skilled and talented. What matters is that I moved my own ability further along.)
4. I learned that I like the fusion of art+words more than I knew. The lettering turned out to be one of my favorite parts of each sketch. I didn’t have to use the prompt words in the compositions, but I’m so glad I did. I enjoyed the doing of it (it's fun to draw a word), and I think often the words turned out to be an important graphic and meaningful element of a composition. That verbal meaning when fused with the nonverbal visual can be kinda cool.
5. It also turns out that my favorite drawings were imaginative. I enjoy using my imagination and as I mentioned before, the idea that I could draw ideas rather than just reproduce images I see or reference), was a big insight for me. I realized I don’t imagine enough and I intend to do more of it in my artwork.
Art+words+imagination: clues for my art journey going forward.
6. I learned more about drawing with ink, which come to think of it, I haven't done before! I've always drawn with pencil. Ink has more contrast on a white page then pencil, can't be erased and ink pens don't have a side edge for shading, obviously. I had to learn to use line widths and hatchmarks to create contrast and dimension. I have a lot more to learn but I learned some. Growth.
7. I learned that drawing adds energy rather than depletes it. I took someone’s advice and tried to draw at the same time each day, which turned out to be 4:00 after my work for the day was finished and before work for the evening began. I get up at 6:00am on weekdays and go full speed ahead all day, so by 4:00 I’m tired. I thought I might be too tired to draw, but these drawing sessions were very relaxing, a kind of rest time, and I actually felt energized afterwards.
8. I learned two areas in need of improvement.
First, my natural inclination is to work slowly and in detail—and that will probably never change, but I want to get to the point where I trust my hand enough to work faster and more loosely—and maybe without using a pencil first!
Second, I didn't share every drawing on social media as per the challenge. I'm still learning how to share and connect on social media. It's such a challenge for my non-millenial self! I'll work on that.
I will not be drawing every day, but I will keep drawing. It's fun, relaxing and of course continued practice is the only way to improve. So many people think they can't draw, but as someone who really couldn't draw before I am proof that anyone really can learn, and it's a skill worth developing. Inktober 2017 was a great experience and I think I'll probably be found encouraging you to join me next October...
Think about it!
Until next time--