How Inktober Encouraged My Mistakes
What the hell is Inktober? Jake Parker’s brainchild for 31 Days 31 Drawings. The very basics? Draw something in ink every single day and post it online for the world to see. It can be anything, but for those of us who aren’t regularly inspired, he provides a list of prompts. Others have drafted up their own versions of Inktober themes, from anything Halloween related, to specific genres of witches, to whatever the hell they want. Seeing as this was my first time participating, I went with the provided prompts.
The biggest take away for me was that all of my work will have at least one mistake. There will be at least one thing I’m not happy about, usually a misplaced brush stroke or inaccurate proportions. And you know what, that makes my art what it is. I learn from each consecutive piece I produce.
Ink, in most cases, is permanent. At the beginning of this month, that permanence legitimately terrified me. I just knew I was going to mess up, and then where would I be? Well, one stop closer to getting it right. The first couple of weeks, I didn’t really challenge myself in terms of what I was creating. I often went with the easiest thing that popped into my head because I didn’t want it to look like crap. Surprise, they generally looked like crap anyway.
Then about halfway through this month, I finally decided to just draw something I actually wanted to draw. Every time I chose to follow my interests, (Dragon Age featured heavily) I ended up progressively happier with the result. And each time that happened, I found myself excited to try drawing the image again at some point in the future. I was developing goals while accepting the fact that I was just starting. I looked forward to spending my “art hour” working on Inktober and understanding that the two didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I started taking risks. Going from faceless sketches to ones with expression. My first attempt at a chibi looked horrendous. I tried again a couple weeks later with the same character and loved the result. So I tried again for the “one dozen” prompt and spent several hours trying to figure out how everything was going to come together. I started adding simple backgrounds and playing with lighting.
I made plenty of mistakes over the course of this month, but eventually, I finally felt free enough to make them and not worry about the end result. You either leave it alone or you fill it in, and honestly, the first mistake helps you take it less seriously. That first mistake opens up your mind to say, “Hey, I screwed this up, but let’s see how I can turn that mistake into something I’m proud of.”
I’m definitely looking forward to participating in Inktober 2017. The amount of growth that occurred in a month’s time still astounds me, and I’m looking forward to more.