My journey in my first Inktober challenge
So I finally decided to tackle Inktober for once in my artistic life. And I’ve got to say it’s been a liberating experience. It felt very nice to accomplish the simple goal of just finishing inked drawings every single day. That alone has encouraged me with my ability to produce. It’s definitely something I might consider again next year. We’ll see.
As of now, I just want to go over the images I worked over the month and give a snippet of artist commentary for each one. To explain my thought process and the progress it took to make them each day. It’s just to show that it was certainly a challenge, but worth the growth of an aspiring artist. I hope my comments encourage you with your own art skills and growth.
Day 1: Children Grow Fast
I really like drawing children because of how fun natured they are to their core. So my initial approach to Inktober was an idea I had wanted to draw in a long time anyway. Finally getting around to creating a complete art piece of it. Just simply two children who try on grown up attire to feel more adult. It’s something I felt we all went though at some point in our childhood. Or at least, the inner desire to seek maturity in fun ways.
Day 2: Genie in a Magic Lamp
Another old concept idea I had lying around in my crude loose sketches I made years ago getting the attention I intended to give. I just drew up the illustration using shapes to stretch the design of the two characters. I was still getting my feet wet with ideas on what to ink exactly so went with something I had prepared a long time ago already from a familiar concept.
Day 3: The Mannamong
Shameless plug in of my two main characters of The Mannamong comic series. I figured doing some sort of promo for Inktober had to be considered doing sometime during the month eventually. But I just went ahead and jumped the gun for day three mostly because I was short on time and ideas. Inking the flames was different than how I inked them in the comic so it was also more of an experimentation for once.
Day 4: Under the Sea
This was an illustration that took inspiration from Jake Parker’s Inktober prompt for this year. The day’s subject was “underwater” so I went with the easy approach. Mermaids. Trying to set myself apart from most mermaids drawings however I experimented with giving my mermaid a more monstrous aquatic look rather than the serene human like ones you commonly see. This was also my first attempt at inking the bristol board vertically as I realized how Instagram takes pictures. And the previous three felt too small for me as I wanted the frame to take as much of the illustration as much as possible. So I hunched her tail into a curve over her arching back and tried to play with more of the environment she was in. Filling in blacks to contrast with the finer details like the scales was also my risky attempt to try and balance the image.
Day 5: Walking the Dog
Another old idea I sketched long ago finally getting inked. My early days were used to ink up ideas I’ve wanted to do for years but was a little too insecure completing with my inking skills at the time. I’ve had some practice drawing puppies after recreating a cartoon version of my previous dog Josie so the pup was a little fun to express. Not sure what breed it is though…
Day 6: Butterflies
This one started getting me a lot of attention on Instagram. I guess people like the artsy-ness of it. I wanted to draw the girl a bit lanky so her body looks a little elongated on purpose. The shoes were stylized in an attempt I hadn’t tried before but I like how her left shoe turned out. The butterflies were a lot of effort though. Trying to come up with the pattern was tricky enough but then filling them in to have them pop through the image was a little taxing on my energy once I finished. But I suppose it was worth it. Definitely the best in terms of contrast and inking approach I had then.
Day 7: Grocery Cart Girl
This was inspired by a real life child I saw at a Publix last year with messy hair, sunglasses, and a pacifier holding the steering wheel just like this! I just had to recreate the memory. It was adorable! I added in the mother through my own creative merits because I don’t remember who was with the kid. And I wanted to practice my car drawing skills for good measure so I added the daydream to spice up the charm of the image. Getting the right perspective for the cart was the biggest challenge; as I really wanted this particular angle rather than a birds eye, worms eye, or neutral view so badly. I managed to get it exactly how I pictured it in my head. That itself made it a success I was proud of.
Day 8: Crush
Back to horizontal framing, I had the idea of a boy being distracted by a cute girl. I wanted to convey a little humor to the love story though, so I went with the typical “watch where you’re going” message. Poor boy. I really began to crosshatch more comfortable starting with this image that will repeat itself later down the road.
Day 9: The Dragon and Fairy
Probably one of my most popular illustrations surprisingly. For me at least. I was worried I botch the dragon’s scales as I desperately tried to fix it with adding so much detail to it. I suppose that’s what made it work in the end. Nevertheless, the image speaks for itself. I wanted a daring small creature like a fairy boldly teasing a beast that could easily incinerate her. I find fairy tale like creatures would be far more interesting to look at if they play off of each other in some interesting way. Literally.
Day 10: The Daughter of Mother Nature
Another promo of The Mannamong, this time with another pivotal character Gisenes. I just wanted to draw her at the time. She’s a fun character with interesting ideas I have in mind for her in the series. Her hand glows because she possesses spiritual powers that I tried my best to convey with the effect I drew. Not sure if I’m satisfied with how that went… And yes, she suppose to have four fingers on each hand.
Day 11: Witchy Bond
I was a tad disappointed with how low received this one went as I was a little proud of the approach more so than my others that were far more popular on Instagram. But I guess the subject is common place so what can you do? It was a fun attempt at drawing some quirky looking characters by design alone.
Day 12: Tangled Mess
With the previous sketches having some fairy tale related subjects, I took inspiration from Rapunzel with this one. Probably not as obvious considering you can’t even see the girl. But yes, the long hair was more used to fill the board than to make it related to the fairy tale. Honestly, this is one of my least favorite as I had a real difficult time trying to decorate the hair with accessories I could think off the top of my head. I wanted to convey messiness if that worked out but eh, the hair didn’t go as messy as I could’ve made it if I went at it longer…
Day 13: The Last Piece…
I had that thought of siblings fighting over the last slice of…well whatever in my head, so I went with pizza. I played around with how I designed the two more so than being concerned with the pizza and the box.
Day 14: Negative Thoughts
I was genuinely surprised how this illustrated drew a lot of attention on Instagram after I posted it like with the dragon and fairy one. Especially considering it’s message is a little foreboding. The typical shoulder devil skit was stretched to have my devil looking character a little more fitting with my artsytle. I tend to attempt drawing existing concepts with a design I haven’t seen or tried before in order for it to stand out to me. I guess I succeeded in that as it was another of the popular drawings I made.
Day 15: Hope…
To contrast with the previous depressing image, I countered it with something a little more enlightening. Sadly, this one didn’t get much reception as the previous. I seriously wondered if people are just more drawn to the sinister dark imagery? It was an interesting insight as to how people favored my work at this point. But it did disappoint me a tiny bit as I was quite proud of this one. I suppose it’s because hopeful meaning and enlightenment encourage me and give me a little happiness inside so I wanted to convey that.
Day 16: Sweets For All
This was fun to draw. I started out with having a monster eating sweets in my head for some reason, to contrast with how tiny the food was to him but eats them regardless because he loves them. So I added in a maid minuscule to his size and played the idea of a tavern or something in a fantasy world where any creature could enjoy some nice food and service. I really liked how both characters came to be from that initial thought.
Day 17: Fiery Dancer
I was thinking of Lilo and Stitch at the time I drew this and decided to draw hula dancing for once. I liked the decor of a hula dancer so I went a bit further and combined it with fire dancing as well. Then turned the dancer into some fire creature with flaming hair for added effect.
Day 18: Nest
I’m not sure what inspired this idea. Probaby Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg and a Salandit from Pokemon Sun and Moon. Anyway, I just made a giant egg sitting in a branchy nest to practice how much detail I can add to something. The bird was fun to draw too, as I made him a tiny bit anthropomorphic with the wings being its arms. I added the lizard to show why the bird is surveying its surroundings on top of the egg. Not much else to say.
Day 19: Sharing is Caring
Working for Kilwin’s, an ice cream and chocolate shop, has me meeting with lots of different kinds of customers. This wasn’t inspired by a real occurrence I saw like the grocery cart girl, but I can possibly imagine something like this happening with siblings. Maybe. I overall just needed an idea to draw from and my job was the only thing I could think a topic on. And since the store I worked at was close to the beach I thought the summer attire was appropriate.
Day 20: Pucker Up
This was actually my father’s birthday so I had to come up with something quick and easy to draw that wouldn’t have taken so much of my time. I ended up going for another fairy tale inspired piece by using the frog prince. But I exaggerated the concept a little bit by having the frog look a little questionable in addition to a fairy godmother-like fairy goading the princess to kiss it. Made me think of interesting scenarios in how this story could’ve been approached with a begrudging mindset. It’s thinking beyond the norm like this that stirs my creativity every now and then.
Day 21: Upon Closer Inspection
I was really scrapping the bottom of the barrel with ideas at this point… The only thing I could look back to for inspiration were the ideas of children doing innocent stuff. I remember how inquisitive children can be when things new to them are accessible at a closer glance. So I practice my perspective skills to try and enlarge a close up view of a ladybug with a child, who’s gigantic in size by comparison, observing it. At this point, I was running dry with visual flair in my inktober approach so it’s not the most appealing to me personally.
Day 22: Lurking from Behind
I got inspiration for this piece after my mother suggesting drawing children in costumes for Halloween with one of their bags spilling candy on the ground. I added the dog and ghost for good measure to illustrate the creepiness following these children. I wasn’t sure how to detail the ghost however as I ended up crosshatching it messily until I stopped smearing it. Pretty tricky to figure out considering I already filled the sky black and wanted the ghost to appear menacing but I was running out of time as it was and had to submit it before the day ended.
Day 23: Vampire Beach Day
I was getting back in the creative groove starting with this. The idea of vampires on a grim looking beach with black water, undead fish, sea monsters surfing and a creepy looking sun was something that felt perfect to draw for Inktober and the upcoming halloween festivities. I made the vampires sickly looking with veins protruding from their bodies to remind myself and others that they’re undead. Giving the two and umbrella which one is burning also showed the kind of relationship these two may have…
Day 24: Hide and Fall
Autumn is my favorite season and I wanted to express that with the idea of children playing with the leaves. The approach of hide and seek using the trees gave this image more life than most of my previous illustrations to me. Giving the children warm looking attire also helped deliver the cool autumn atmosphere I wanted to present. This is another of my more proud achievements during the month.
Day 25: Shipment
Not exactly related to Jake Parker’s prompt of the day “ship”, but it was the key word that inspired another kind of “ship” I don’t believe he meant initially. Actually, it was a day which something didn’t go my way and I was really upset over it for a while. So I kind of vented my frustration a little into this piece. I can only imagine this is how some siblings feel towards each other since I’m an only child. But I guess the joke worked as it’s one of those most favorable posts on my Instagram that took me by surprised. And on a day which I wasn’t feeling my best. Funny, huh?
Day 26: Cards
Inking the thin cards was a little daunting at first. Trying to get them to look good without using a ruler demanded my full attention just like the girl in this image. I felt using ruler wouldn’t give the same affect I wanted and the nonlinearity probably helped convey the message of steady concentration anyway. Adding the little sister planing to topple all the hard work gave the picture a little cruelty to it I suppose. But making her bored and hunched was to convey how long she’s been waiting as is. I think of little details like this even when it’s not the focus to give my drawing a little more variety for people to look at. The thought bubbles were also added in the last minute because there was so much extra space left and I though it’d be doubly cruel to get an insight to both girl’s heads.
Day 27: Man’s Best Cushion
I just wanted to draw a big dog in contrast to a child at first. However, having the boy use it like a piece of furniture not only amplified the dog’s size but gave it a little story to tell, which has always been my main goal in coming up with these illustrations. Like the previous dogs in the other posts, I didn’t consider what kind of breed this dog was and made it up, to excuse it’s gigantic proportions too I suppose.
Day 28: Behind the Mask
Jumping the gun with another of Jake Parker’s prompt that was meant for the last day, I used the word “mask” and made an image about a mask of course. But I thought it’d be more interesting if it was only half of a mask and the other half expressing what the kind of person was behind it. Giving a child an innocent expression yet layered with subtle unsettling signs was the attempt of the image. The eyes especially were a last minute addition to make them pop out from the mask’s side of her face, but it complimented the creepiness I tried to convey.
Day 29: Calm and Storm
An idea of two mythical goddesses riding clouds with designs reflected on the type of cloud they’re riding on. I felt I could’ve stretch the design more if I had time but I was surprised by how well received this one got as one of the top three most favored on Instagram. I guess people liked the approach I was going for alone.
Day 30: Castle Besieged
Living in Florida constantly reminds you of the warm weather and the beaches near you so I easily came up with this illustration pretty quickly. I wasn’t satisfied with the simple prospect of having children build a sand castle however, so I added the seagull in as an intrusive guest to their construction. I wonder if such a bold bird would ever exist in the world but I bet it’d be pretty amusing.
Day 31: Meet Qwibble
And last but not least, I made a very quick doodle of my character Qwibble the Quivering Bag of Bones. I swore to at least have a drawing made for him every Halloween ever since I debuted him in the comic I made last year so he was saved for the very end of my creative ropes. Honestly, I wish I could’ve done something more elaborate like another comic but this first time experience with Inktober have taught me to plan ahead for next year. At the very least however, I intend to have Qwibble and his short stories be a tradition for every Halloween.
There you have it. Quite possibly, the longest blog I’ve done yet. And one that’s been overdue. Like I stated on day 27, my ultimate objective was not just to draw characters for Inktober, but to share little stories within them. It’s how I want my artistic direction to be viewed by my followers online. So this challenge was a great exercise in stretching my creativity and my skills. I probably would like to try it next year if possible. I definitely recommend any other artist to try it as well. And let me tell you; if you don’t give up and keep at it every day, it’ll without a doubt be rewarding.
Looking back on all the illustrations I made has already got me reminiscent. I can easily remember each day because of them and I’m just amazed at how fast it all ended… But it certainly was a lot of fun. Can’t wait for next year’s bout!