Sunday, October 4, 2020

Inky Hands

Every year since 2015
, I’ve participated in InkTober, an annual online challenge that encourages artists to draw with ink every day in October. The philosophy behind InkTober is to commit to a drawing by inking it instead of leaving it as an easily erasable draft. Better yet, make the initial drawing with ink – skip the pencil draft altogether (something I started doing after my first few months of sketching and have done ever since).

This year some controversy surrounds InkTober (Google InkTober and plagiarism to learn about it), and I don’t know enough about it to judge or take a side. But the part about InkTober that I’ve always appreciated is that attitude of indelibility – making a commitment to a drawing with ink. It takes a bit more courage – ink offers none of the equivocation or tentativeness of pencil – but that very boldness is what makes us more confident drawers. And leaving the unerased, restated lines visible helps us learn.

Devoting a month to ink also refreshes my appreciation for the marks that can be made with various pens – the variable line widths of fountain pens and dip nibs; the unpredictable, organic beauty of brush pens; the pencil-like shading properties of Bic ballpoints. So although I’m not using the InkTober hashtag this year, I decided to celebrate the parts of the challenge that are meaningful to me simply by drawing in ink all month.

I did not, however, want yet another thing to do every day, so the ink drawings I am doing are part of my daily hand series. After more than two months of drawing with my right hand, I’m relieved that my left is back at work. And although I started this series with Bics, I’ve been using mostly pencils and other dry materials since May, so it’s a refreshing change to use ink. I started a fresh sketchbook with multi-colored pages – also a fun change. I’m not sure whether the paper in it will hold up to all the inks and pens I have in mind, but I guess I’ll find out. (No testing ahead of time – another bold move!) Ink on!

Ink boldly!


  1. Good to see you dropping some ink on your pages. I applaud your not using the inktober hashtag. Jack Parker has abused the art world several times over the last few years and shouldn't be rewarded with support from that world.

    1. Who needs a hashtag, anyway? I'm getting all the inky fun and none of the drama. And my inkiness needs a workout -- I've been slackin'!

  2. I guess I'm out of the loop and don't know about the controversy. Will have to check that out. Good start to the month!!


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