Plus how my plans went awry this year
So, we are in the final stretch of Inktober and this is the time when usually people start to be really stressed, fall behind and drop out.
Personally, this is the time when I start to feel a bit burned out – well, except on the years when I had more time to draw or I did a lot of stuff ahead.
But if you had a lot of stuff on your plate it’s now when you start to wonder if it’s worth it.
And of course, all good things require some sacrifice and the point of Inktober is to challenge yourself but there’s a point when you also have to consider your well-being.
With this article, I don’t want to seem like I have something against this challenge, because I don’t and I’ve already said plenty of good things about it.
Instead, I want to stress that things are not always what you see on social media.
People feel a lot of pressure and there’s a lot of it we don’t say or share.
I want to tell you some things that you might not know that I found over the years about Inktober – and probably other challenges too – that might make you feel less pressured to be the perfect Inktober artist.
*This post has been updated on 2020 but I’m staying out of all the Inktober drama of this year. I have my opinion but I don’t really want it influencing anyone or impeding anyone to participating in this challenge that honestly has been nothing but fun for me so far.*
1. MOST BIG ARTISTS DRAW THINGS AHEAD OF TIME – AND A LOT OF THE CONTENT!
Some of them will admit it directly, some might only tell you if they’re asked and others might lie, but most of them do it.
You can call it cheating all you want but think about it this way:
You are a professional artist who draws every day for work, you have your own projects and all – and then Inktober comes.
In your routine, you’re already drawing every day or mostly every day, you probably have a following and a client list so why pull yourself into all the stress of Inktober?
Reason 1 might be to get some sort of project/product out of it.
Which leads us to have to work ahead to get it out in the market by the end of it or people will forget about it, or it would be irrelevant by the time it’s out.
Reason 2 might be to grow your social media presence or try to find work / be in the eye of people and companies that are hiring artist – they usually keep a close eye on Inktober to find new talent.
You’ll want to keep your feed beautiful and cohesive and make your pieces really stand out, right?
Well, that requires more than 1 day.
Maybe if you have a really good organization, you draw really fast and you’ve planned things ahead of time – and really well – and if you are sure you have time to draw 3-4 hours every single day.
That’s a lot of ifs.
See where I’m going? It’s simply being practical.
Others might only do it because they know certain days they have no time or they have limited time to photograph their work in decent lighting, etc.
You’re only human, you’re allowed to do it too. I do a lot of work ahead of time and I always admit it.
2. A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL FORCED TO DO INKTOBER
Whether it’s because of social media or your own conscience, most of us feel somehow obligated to participate.
Maybe it’s because you really like the challenge or you’ve enjoyed it before and you want to feel that again.
Or maybe you want to challenge yourself or try a new project this year.
Maybe you’ve tried it before and didn’t complete it so you want to do better this time.
There can be a lot of reasons, one of the main is definitely social media/peer pressure. Seeing everyone do it sparks your illusion too, but you have to stop and think: “Do I really have the time or right energy to do it this year?”
Or “do I really want to do it or it’s just peer pressure?”
And as the challenge grows year by year – which makes me happy for Jake Parker, it’s creator – the pressure grows too.
With this I just what to make you think about it carefully and if you don’t want to do it then DON’T.
Nobody will burn you in the stake for it, I promise.
3. IT LEAVES YOU SERIOUSLY BURNED OUT
This is another thing people don’t say a lot, but it’s true.
Whether you’re working ahead or not, October it’s always stressful, and by the end of it has taken its toll on you.
I’ve been doing it for five years – this will be my sixth – and every time, and I mean it; every single time I’ve put out drawing completely for the first half of November.
Lee White, one of Jake Parker’s colleagues on SVS and their podcast says he created “Slowvember” – An entire month where you only do one or very few pieces, but really take your time with it and rest too. He says it half-joking as a response to all the stress of Inktober, you can read my post talking about this challenge here.
As a personal proof of this, I want to share that last year’s Inktober caused – amongst other things – a huge art block phase for me that lasted more than half a year after it.
Maybe it was more like “trigger it” because I was already feeling a bit weird with my art before.
I felt like it drained my creativity, and even though I was proud I got to edit and finish my own Inktober Zine, I couldn’t get myself to create barely anything in the next month. (Btw, here it is if you want to check it out)
So, take it easy there! And feel free to take the next month off drawing if you can and feel like it!
Are you going through a hard time or an art block phase? Grab my free art-block fighting bundle bellow! Or if you want to know more about it first read my article here.
5. THE PERFECT EXCUSE TO FINISH YOUR PROJECTS
Have you ever started a project you’ve been putting on hold forever? Or maybe it takes you some serious dedication to finish it…
Some people use Inktober to remedy this. Why?
Think about it, one whole month dedicated to the same project with some peer pressure to share it.
It adds up. And you end with a lot done.
In comparison with the others I’ve mentioned this one it’s actually a very good thing. Just something not many people mention.
On the other hand, some people use it also for learning something, but this one it’s something everyone says about Inktober, so I’m not adding that one as one of my points.
EXTRA – LITTLE UPDATE ON MY INKTOBER
This post came out as a result of my stress and dissatisfaction with my take on 2019’s Inktober. As I’ve been thinking a lot about it.
If it’s really worth it when I’m not even feeling happy about it.
I barely like any of the pieces that I’ve done so far – well, maybe just 3-4.
That, together with all of the workload I have and the fact that I feel very little creative this year it’s making me think about quitting almost every day.
Oh, and there’s also the fact that I ran with a bit – well, or a lot – of trouble with my marvellous handmade sketchbook.
I talk more about it in this video:
But in short, my sketchbook paper is not really suitable for any liquid media, brush pens and even has trouble keeping the fine liner’s lines clean. It’s like cardboard… Yay me for not trying it out before!
I’m still marvelled I got to do 19 drawings.
So yeah, I’m probably going to drop Inktober for the first time in 5 years but I feel it’s for the best.
I might make a few pieces more if I have a good day, maybe, just to feel less guilty about it. But just maybe.
One thing this years’ experience has made me learn about Inktober is…
IT’S INCREDIBLY HARD TO DROP!
I’ve been knowing since day 9 or 10 that I had to drop it if I wanted to keep my sanity. It was the best move possible, I knew it, my mind knew it and recognised it as the most reasonable thing to do in the case.
Did I drop it? No, I kept pushing it.
After day 14 I took a 2-day break. I did it casually, not really wanting to drop it but the thought was still on the back of my mind.
I came back, almost forced, and then I had a good couple of drawings and I felt motivated again. Well, it didn’t last, and the next day I was feeling tired and ready to drop it again.
It’s just so hard! I kept feeling guilty…
I posted a rant about it on social media and reflected it on this drawing.
That made me feel better, but also made me realise, especially after writing this, that it’s finally time.
I’M DROPPING INKTOBER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 5 YEARS!
Finally, yes, I said it.
Now it feels more final and maybe this is a good step to feel less guilty about it.
I’ve done 19 out of the 31 drawings and that’s not even half bad considering everything. And you know what? If I had done 2 drawings it would still be a win, so that’s how I’m taking it.
So, what? this was a bad year, there will be better to come!
If you want to see a tour of my work for 2019 I posted a video about it:
This last bit was a bit improvised but I thought maybe some of you reading out there might feel identified.
Every time I opened Instagram it made me feel bad about it. Wherever you are on your Inktober journey I wish you the best and I would love to hear and chat about it!
And I really hope this doesn’t keep you from trying but help give you some perspective!
I’ve been doing a series of post for Inktober this year, so if you want to read the opposite post of this and know some reasons why Inktober is good for you, or read my initial plans – gone quite wrong – click here. *also updated with my plans for 2020*