Monday, October 31, 2016

#InkTober2016: Lessons Learned

10/31/16 brush pen, colored pencil
It’s Oct. 31, and that means it’s Halloween – but more important, it’s the last day of InkTober!

Last year I began InkTober without a theme or plan, but I ended up learning a few things anyway. This year I limited my materials and format, which was helpful, but I gave myself the added challenge of trying to draw more from imagination. InkTober definitely became more fun when a theme finally emerged, and I didn’t have to pull a completely new idea out of my head each day.

Paradoxically, it also became more challenging, because a rabbit reporting the weather could get boring fast! Coming up with a new single-image visual idea for a character every day is not easy. If I’ve gained anything from InkTober, it is a greater appreciation for daily newspaper cartoonists, who have to do it year-round, not just the 31 days of October.

After seeing the adventures of Weather Bunny, a few of my Facebook and Instagram followers suggested that I could try my hand at cartooning. I can’t see that happening – I love drawing from life too much to devote time to developing visual fictional characters. But I’m pleased that InkTober gave me an opportunity to discover what can happen when I challenge myself with something new and different.

And yet there’s nothing new and different about it at all. The little cartoons I’ve been doing this month are very similar to the kinds I used to make so easily and regularly when I was a kid. I remember writing and drawing entire stapled-together books of characters and their stories that I had created. Somehow during the next five decades, I lost that ability. I’m grateful that it took only a month to get it back.

For me, this is what the creative process is all about. (See all of my InkTober sketches in my Flickr album.)

How about you? Was InkTober a fun challenge? What did you learn? And are you relieved that it’s over? 

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