Inktober 2018: The drawing challenge hones artists’ skills

by Tyler Roman, Managing Editor

October is a month of favorites: Halloween, the annual pumpkin spice phenomenon, and Inktober.

Jake Parker started the Inktober challenge in 2009 by posting his art on Instagram, and the activity gained popularity. In 2013, a total of 100,000 artists posted more than 1.3 million pieces over the course of 31 days. This year, in the first three days alone, roughly over over 750,000 pieces pieces were posted on Instagram.

Each day there’s a different prompt for an ink drawing (or drawn in pencil and then inked later). Parker has recently started releasing the official prompt list a few days before Inktober starts, so participating artists can get an idea for what they want to do for each day.

The prompts themselves are usually nouns or adjectives, and are intended to be uniquely interpreted by every participating individual: eyes, animal, man.

There’s no real system to Inktober beyond personal conviction and the prompts. Partipants can choose whether or not they want to commit to a drawing every day.

Cara Bond is completely committed. “It can be a little hard to finish an entire illustration in one day, so I have to set aside a period of time to make sure that I can finish.”

While it is optional, many people decide to post their daily work on social media platforms, flooding the internet with ink drawings.

“I post my art on Instagram for Inktober because it’s a site where other artists also post their work,” Cara said.

A lot of people also use the challenge as an excuse to draw whatever they want, since the goal of the whole thing is to encourage creativity.

Of course, it’s easy to fall behind.  Even with the prompts, making something new each day is difficult.

Megan Baer said, “The stupid prompts. How do you draw thunder? I have to think so far in advance just to come up with something.”

She believes “chicken” is not a good promopt.  “My favorite thing about it is they way it promotes good habits, ‘cause that’s the whole point of it.”

Even if someone isn’t actively participating, Inktober still serves as a great way to check out artists on social media. With constant uploads, there’s always plenty to see.