My Inktober 2020 Challenge: A Pen-tastic and Digitally Daring Experience

Kaisa Holsting art challenges behind the scenes inktober 2020 personal stories

Inktober 2020 blogpost header image

I've participated in the Inktober challenge for five years now (2016-2020). And you'd think that with every year, the challenge gets easier and easier. But for me, it's always been the other way around. Nowadays, I think it seemed easier in the first few days around…especially with all this added talent and buzz surrounding the whole challenge these days.

For those who aren't aware of what Inktober is, it's a month-long art challenge created by artist Jake Parker that focuses on improving skills and developing positive drawing habits. Every day for the month of October, anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online.

Over the years, the challenge and focus have shifted a little. Five years ago, there were a lot of true believers in Inktober who didn't accept any other approach other than creating something on paper with actual ink or a pen. But things have loosened up over the years, and people's creativity has soared.

Nowadays, you can come across a lot of different kinds of Inktober submissions: the traditional art kind, the colorful kind, the digital kind, the 3D kind, the typographic kind, and the list goes on.

Ultimately, it's a great chance to enjoy a lot of visibility on social media platforms, using the Inktober hashtag, as well as make new friends by following and engaging in conversations with your favorite artists. I thoroughly enjoy the buzz.

However, every year, after the mad 31 days, I'm kind of happy that it's over as well. And here's why…

It's a lot of work to keep up with this challenge. I've heard of artists who can take up to 8-12 hours to finish pieces meant for Inktober, and you can truly see that kind of detailed approach in their work. I also know that people who take Inktober really seriously nowadays have been heard to go a little nuts and start way earlier as well, just to keep up with "the Game."

But it's really up to you, actually, to see how seriously you take it all. The three years in which I've managed to complete the challenge (2016, 2017, and 2019), I've spent approximately 1-3 hours per art piece every day, and I've never done drawings ahead of time. Simply because I believe that the challenge shouldn't take over my life or keep things unfair for others out there.

I'm a firm believer in taking part in things that are fun and only taking part in challenges like this as long as it is fun. It's good to keep oneself challenged a bit, but this kind of "competition" shouldn't turn into another needy stressor in anyone's lives.

This year, I decided to mix things up and try out a digital approach. And boy, was it an experience! While it was different from the traditional pen and paper style, it was a great opportunity to experiment with different brushes and techniques. Plus, I didn't have to worry about ink smudging or running out of ink mid-drawing.

All in all, Inktober is a great challenge that pushes artists to improve their skills and develop positive drawing habits. And while it can be a lot of work, it's important to remember to have fun and not take it too seriously. So, grab your pen, your tablet, or whatever your preferred medium is, and join the challenge!

What happened with my Inktober 2020?

I've also always done it in a traditional art style, in other words - pen and paper. Except for this year!

Sadly, I have to admit that even though I reverted to participating digitally in the challenge this year, it didn't really save me much time. Due to my graphic design work schedule being extremely busy as well as a few other things interrupting my daily flow... I ended up finishing only 14 days out of 31. However, I do consider that still to be a huge success because the 14 pieces that I did end up finishing came out really cool and helped me train my set out skills tremendously.

This year my goal was to try and imitate watercolours and create realistic looking ink drawings using digital watercolour and inking brushes in Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. And I think I managed to do very well all things considered.

And last but not least here are a few of my own personal favourites. It was fun while it lasted, but thank god it's over now :)

Inktober 2020 personal top 3 favourites on a grey background

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