There are only two more days in Inktober this year, and as some artists have observed after fulfilling certain 30-day challenges, I’m just starting to get the hang of it. Contrary to the spirit of the month, however, I’ve found myself not making time to complete an ink drawing each day, as I have other business-related projects that pull me away from personal work. Instead, I have been inking most evenings in October, usually cranking out 2-4 decent sketches a night and then adding accents in pencil or prismacolor.
Some may suggest that this is a most unconventional and thus illegitimate way of observing Inktober, but I have found it to be beneficial overall. The time with my sketchbook in the evening has allowed me to better identify the times of day which I am most creative in. Usually, evenings cause my urge to create art to spike as my mind begins to muse over the day’s activities. However, since my body knows the day is almost over, I have a harder time creating anything more than some nice sketches in the evening. Some of my better detail work is done in the morning.
With that, I have also learned to create very specific objectives for my art in the form of a to-do-list every day. For instance, if I wake up and make it a goal to finish a commission piece for a client, I may become overwhelmed with the assignment and find that I don’t know where to start on the piece in order to make it complete. Therefore, to maximize my creative ability, I tried breaking big tasks that may take multiple days (finish commission piece) into smaller, manageable tasks that I can accomplish multiple of in a single day (draft lettering, lay first layer of color, ink figures, etc.).
To wrap up my lessons learned this Inktober, the challenge to create an ink drawing every day reopened my mind to the value of sketching recreationally and for personal projects. Because I was willing to put aside big projects to sketch more in my spare time, I was able to express any “leftover creativity” — creative energy that was suppressed to make freelance work — in a sketchbook. At this time, it helps me to have multiple assignments to bounce back and forth from during the day, as I have trouble working on one for very long before my mind needs to rest. The ink sketches help with this and have become very therapeutic. When complete, they also have a polished, simplified, finished look that I enjoy sharing on my blog.
And what of the My Fair Lady drawings I set out to make at the beginning of the month. I did a few more late-night sketches, but really found my wings this Inktober by letting my mind wander into uncharted territory. Sorry to all my fellow musical fans!
So, what’s next on my 30-day-challenge agenda? Dinovember, of course!