How Inktober helped me.
If 2016 wasn’t the worst, then it was definitely one of the worst years of my life but the month of October was a life saver thanks to the Inktober. I came to know about Inktober on October 2, when a couple of my friends posted their Inktober posts on Facebook and Instagram. I did a bit of research on what it was and sure enough it got me interested. For those who don’t know what Inktober is, it’s a challenge where artists around the world make an ink drawing each day for the month of October. So 31 days, 31 drawings.
Well not quite. You see, I’ve always loved art, all forms of it. I remember the first time I drew an elephant using grids which I learnt it watching my father do it. I was probably 6 or 7 years old then. I’ve since then tried to draw at every opportunity. But then like everyone else, I got lazy. I hadn’t drawn for at least a year before the Inktober.
I went home that day and made a digital illustration on Noises, the prompt for the day. I later realized that Inktober meant Ink-only drawings. I felt stupid for not seeing the obvious. But then again, I was just way too excited to make a design than to read the full instruction. I shared the design on Facebook. The response was mild to put it in simple words.
Not to be demotivated by the blunders, I made an ink drawing for Day 3 and shared it on Facebook. I decided to continue this everyday for the month of October. It ended becoming the first thing I looked forward to each day. I would look at the prompts for the next day only after I’d finished the day’s prompts. It took me a whole day to shuffle through ideas for the prompts in between my works. And more importantly, I only drew after office in the evening or before I went to sleep. I maintained a sort of habit.
Initially, Inktober was just an excuse to make something, to draw something. But as the days passed by, I felt sorted and generally at peace. Every time I sat down to draw I felt calm. I was completely immersed in the drawing and the concept of it. It was a meditative experience for me. There were days when I forgot to eat dinner until the drawing was finished. Drawing has always been meditative but it wasn’t enough of a motivation. What motivated me everyday for the month of October (and until much later) was the feedback I got.
It was motivating enough to know that people looked at those drawings you’d posted and liked them. But realizing that quite a few of them looked forward to it everyday meant a lot. I’m the kind of person that avoids social media whenever possible but I do believe I wouldn’t have completed Inktober if I hadn’t shared them on Facebook everyday. I wouldn’t have completed the series if I hadn’t received feedback, advice, compliments and comments. Inktober would have just been one of those I tried but I didn’t complete things.
Inktober was a way to channel my thoughts and experiences, albeit sad or depressing, into a drawing. Every time I unloaded one of those thoughts I felt lighter. I would interpret every prompt to reflect my experience thus every drawing I made felt personal. Every drawing I made told more about me as a person.
On the down side, by doing Inktober, I realized how much I lacked in technical skills in terms of sketching. Of course, the realization isn’t a bad thing. All these years, I had taken creative energy and art skills for granted. I had forgotten that like any other skill set, you need regular practice to be good at it. I also found a lot of my friends were really good artists during Inktober. That motivated me to learn from them and to practice.
I went back to old habits after the Inktober ended. On the hindsight it made me realize Inktober was just an excuse. What really helped me was the consistency through which I continued the challenge irrespective of how my day went. It was the peacefulness away from hectic work life that drew me to Inktober. It was the compliments and feedback from people I knew that kept me motivated throughout the challenge.
Thus, starting 2017 I’ve decided to make one creation every day. However, to keep things interesting I will include drawings, poems, blog posts, illustrations or any other form that I can channel my thoughts to.
I hope to be a better person by the end of this year. I hope to be more sorted.
And I really hope to be regular in this challenge. I’ll need all your motivation though :)
And this is my first creation.
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You can view my other Inktober designs here: