I made it to the end of Inktober! What a challenging and fun ride it's been. It's also a good time to take a short hiatus.
Well, it happened: the pace of Inktober caught up with me in this final week. It's a challenge for me to do a more-or-less completed piece of art every single day, so I was expecting to hit a wall at some point -- though I expected it to happen earlier in the month. But I finally felt the exhaustion on Day 26, and when it came, it almost brought me to a complete stop.
It was very tempting to decide, "Okay, this was fun while it lasted but I've had enough now," and quit Inktober on the spot. But a combination of "Quitting at the home stretch is lame" self-shaming and "C'mon, there's more where that came from" encouragement got me through the rest of the week.
And indeed, there was more energy and inspiration where that came from, though it felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel each day. My technique definitely suffered: this week's drawings are of much lower quality than the previous weeks', but I spent all my energy pulling out the ideas, and didn't have any left over to devote to drawing at better quality.
Days 25 to 31.
Prompts: 25 Splat, 26 Connect, 27 Spark, 28 Crispy, 29 Patch, 30 Slither, 31 Risk.
Days 26-28 turned into a mini-sequence. Full prompt list is here.
You can see my entire Inktober gallery on my website.
This is my first year doing Inktober properly, and it was both challenging and fun. I've drawn to prompt before, and vague/broad prompts like Inktober's stimulate me quite a bit. Furthermore, I was able to develop drawings that I'm pleased to call "my own". Even if I started with a generic idea (which was most of the time), I could develop it further in either the thumbnailing or the pencil sketching process, so that by the time the drawing was finished, it showed "my interpretation" of the prompt.
Regarding techniques and processes, I was able to figure out a rhythm that allowed me to create these drawings within a time constraint. I'm glad I limited myself to a smaller canvas and a time limit on ideation/thumbnailing, pencil sketching, and finalizing the pen work, because it kept me open to trying new things without worrying about failure or getting too fixated on "quality" or the end result. Even so, I had to keep reminding myself to not be afraid of failure, and I definitely had to lean into that mindset when I hit the wall this week.
Trying out different mark-making methods with pen. From top: Day 21 Fuzzy, 24 Extinct, 30 Slither.
I could've been more experimental though, especially with testing out different mark-making methods with the pen. I experimented a bit with the brush pen in Day 2 (Suit) and Day 13 (Roof), and with mark-making and hatching in Day 21 (Fuzzy) and Day 24 (Extinct), but I wish I'd done more of that.
Finally, I'm very grateful I did Inktober in community: the Drawabox Discord server had a channel devoted to Inktober, and I loved seeing that daily gallery, the huge variety of interpretations and skill levels. Furthermore, the atmosphere was very positive: people were appreciating each other's art and encouraging each other onwards. That community was my biggest source of energy and encouragement. It's such a blessing to do art in community.
I think I will do Inktober against next year!
While Inktober was great, the pace has managed to drain me completely of energy and will to do any kind of art, be it study/Drawabox or personal work. Furthermore, I've been drawing practically every day for a whole year (though I take every Sunday off as a "Sabbath"), longer than I've been writing these Weekly Art Dispatches.
So, now is a good time to step back from the art life, take a break, and also take stock of my "art career" and where I want to go in future. This will be the first time in a year that I've purposefully stopped drawing for any length of time. I expect to come back after this hiatus and resume Drawabox (I'm almost finished with the final lesson!) and start some new personal art projects...
...but if I don't come back, well, I've probably been sucked in by video games, or am AFK enjoying the end of COVID-19 quarantine in my city. So please, poke me in the ribs. :P
Topics for next time: The end of art hiatus, and hopefully, the beginning of new projects.
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