For those who don't know what Inktober is, you can read all about it here. But essentially it is a challenge created by illustrator Jake Parker that anyone can take part in. It takes place in October of every year, and all you do is make an ink illustration every day of the month and submit it to whatever social media you prefer.

This was the first year I really sunk my teeth into Inktober and tried to make myself accountable to make an illustration each and every day of the month. I've tried my hand at it earlier years but haven't managed to stick to it. But this year I made it!

Below is the official 2017 propt list for Inktober taken from Jake Parkers website. I made an image each day based on the word of the day.

Leading up to Inktober I hadn't been drawing a lot at all this year, so I had to sort of grow into it from a very rusty starting point. But not only did that mean I was rusty at drawing, I also was not used to coming up with ideas for illustrations in that way, and was very uncertain of the style to draw in. My goal with Inktober was however not to make a "perfect" drawing every day, but to learn and improve and practice drawing every day. That meant it was perfectly okay to try different things and fail. You need to fail a lot to get anywhere with things worth doing.

The first week or so I struggled a bit trying to come up with things to draw. On day six I sketched ideas on three pages but was all garbage. Finally I just took one of the sketched and at least finished it up with ink. As I mentioned, the most important part about my Inktober was to finish an illustration each day, not to perfect an image each day. But with each day it got a little bit easier to find a composition.

About half way through the month my focus shifted from just trying to conjure up an image to both working on my hatchings (a way to illustrate shadow and depth) and putting stories into my illustrations. I wanted to break out of the single-character-illustration and instead create scenes and stories. During the forth week of October, all my illustrations had stories in them.

The illustration below is for the word squeak. My idea was some burglar sneaking past a sleeping dragon, but as he steps on one of the old floor boards it gives out a loud squeak and the giant dragon opens its eyes.

Looking back on my images over the month it's pretty clear I've made some big improvements in both technique and ability to tell stories with images. I didn't expect to learn as much as I did in this time. It's been a fun excercise and I'm sure I'll do it again next year.

Doing Inktober has also made me interested in taking some sort of illustration course. Maybe one of the courses over at SVS Learn. But I also have recaptured a bit of the joy of illustration, and gotten a little more confidence in my drawing abilities.

The idea for the illustration below is actually an old one for a childrens book (unpublished) I worked on a few years ago. A book I plan to rework in the future. But more on that some other time...