Friday, October 1, 2021

That Inky Time of Year Again


To begin, I'll be using my beloved Sailor Naginata Fude de Mannen
fountain pen, a Bic Cristal and a Copic Gasenfude brush pen.

October is the month each year when sketchers and artists worldwide focus on using ink. Last year, I was deep into my pandemic hand series and didn’t want yet another daily commitment. I incorporated the InkTober challenge by simply using ink every day to draw my hand. A participant in the annual challenge since 2015, I start out with a plan every year, but I always end up surprising myself in some way by the end. The important thing, though, is that the surprises teach me something – which is the main value of any drawing challenge.

This year, I’m keeping the materials simple: One fountain pen, one brush pen and one ballpoint pen. According to my own rules, I’m allowed to switch out the tool within the tool category (for example, a fountain pen for a fountain pen), but I’m not allowed to add to the tool set (Now there’s a rule made to be broken! 😉).

As for the sketchbook, I’m staying flexible, since frustrating paper can easily bring a daily challenge to a grinding halt. To begin, though, I’m going to try the timely Field Notes fall Harvest edition with John Burgoyne’s charming pumpkin illustration. (To really be charmed, you must see Field Notes’ video interview with the artist, who uses ink, watercolor and colored pencils to make his lovely drawings of produce – and he prefers to draw from life! He’s an artist after my own heart.)

Except for last year’s hands, I don’t usually stick with a subject theme, and I have never followed the InkTober prompts. This year, I have an approach in mind: I’m going to make small sketches that may look like “thumbnails” (I recently mentioned the principle when I wrote about Ocean Shores) but are really just small, simple sketches in their own right. (Of course, sometimes I do make actual thumbnails in the traditional sense – visual notes for reference.) I will likely do most from life, but when I can’t, this approach will enable me to use photos, too. My intention is to focus on studying composition and values. Simple enough, right? We’ll see how long any of these plans last!

Please follow me on Instagram to see the daily sketches. I’ll post them here periodically along with any observations.

What are you doing for InkTober?


  1. Inspired by you, I'm doing InkTober for the first time this year. Will be using my F-C Mark Bacas fude nib. Not following prompts but doing my own lauhala (Pandanus Tree, Hawaiian weaving) themed version. Very excited!

  2. Glad you have a plan of how you are going to participate. I did my first sketch today...will post it tomorrow.

    1. Looking forward to seeing your inky drawings, Joan!


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