Whilst I hadn’t intended doing Inktober this year as soon as I saw the prompt list ideas started forming in my head for what I could draw for the month.
In case you’re not familiar, Inktober is a very popular yearly art challenge that runs throughout October. The idea is that you do an ink drawing every day linked to a prompt word. It has a huge following so it’s easy to get sucked up into it.
I first heard about it in 2017 and it seemed a good excuse to do some “quick” sketches, the bonus being that with un-erasable ink it means that the drawings come complete with errors forcing concentration.
That being said, for 2018 I was more prepared and for the most part I made sure I did a light pencil under-drawing for each of them first. That definitely improved the end results.
In fact it’s easy to go overboard, I pushed myself quite hard last year. Some of the ‘ink’ drawings also ended up including paint, in some circumstances taking several hours to complete.
When you bear in mind this is supposed to be a daily challenge it’s a tough job to try and create a full picture every day. Staying sane for a full working day in the office became another challenge.
One of those paintings actually sold yesterday coincidentally. So I decided to load up one of the ink brushes and paint the Star Trek logo to accompany the painting as it beams to another part of the galaxy.
I’ve also loaded up the rest of the pens I’m using with new ink. Getting your shtuff together in preparation is key to completing the challenge.
From left to right these are the tools I’ll be using below. Not shown are the ink pots and dip-pens which I hope to use at least once or twice in the month.
It’s been an age since I’ve done dip-pen drawing so I’m looking forward to that. In fact the nib had actually rusted so I’ve got two brand new nibs on order.
- Pentel Ink Brushpen – this uses cartridges, very hard to control as the nylon brush is quite soft but it’s probably my favourite. If you’ve used a traditional Chinese ink brush then it’s very similar in operation to that, only a hundred times handier to use in pen format. Handier but not easier.
- Pentel Red Ink Brushpen – this is a squeezy body brush pen, it has long bristles and initially I hated it. It didn’t flow at all well, however even though it’s a couple of years old now it seems to be working better than it ever has. When the ink eventually runs out I’ve got intentions of refilling it with watercolour or W&N ink to try out.
- Hero Fude-nib Fountain Pen – I had high hopes for this pen when I was doing more urban sketching a few years back. However it was forever clogging regardless of what ink I used. When it works, it works well – for the most part though it refuses to give up the ink or it’ll flood onto the page. This could be challenging but as it hasn’t been used for well over a year I’ve flushed it out and recharged with some purple ink and determined to give it another go.
- Two Sakura brush pens with black and sepia ink. These are fairly nice, disposable pens with a proper brush tip. The claim on the side is that the ink is permanent and archival. That remains to be seen but the pictures I’ve done with them so far haven’t faded. The ink can be a bit shiny but no worse than traditional Indian ink.
- Two Kuretake brush pens with black and grey ink. These pens don’t have a real “brush” end to them, they’re more like a posh felt-tip but with very liquid ink. In fact the side of them is transparent so you can see the ink level which is very handy. I’ve used these on previous drawings posted here, the most recent being the llama, the Ferrari F40 and a few others shown below. I’m not likely to buy any more of this type as the ink remains wet for ages and isn’t even slightly water-resistant. That’s fine if that’s what you’re after as you can blend the grey and black if you’re careful or even pull out some of the pigment into water, for the most part though I’d rather stick with ink for ink and paint for paint.
If you’re interested in doing Inktober in 2019 and not done it before – I can recommend it as a challenge to push yourself. Even though I’ve only done it twice, and I get the end of the month glad that it’s over. I can honestly say that I’ve learnt something each time.
Preparation will definitely help. Unless you’ve got loads of time the don’t be too over-ambitious.
For me that will be key this year, I’m going to be setting myself a time and a size limit so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I’m also going to try and only use ink exclusively. That way I can’t possibly get waylaid with trying to create finished paintings.
I’ve read the prompt list several times and have ideas for most of the prompt words. There’s only about 8-9 which I’m currently stumped on. But again, this kind of prep definitely helps when it comes to the day to make your mark.