NOTE: This article was previously a guide for 2018 but has been recently updated.
This is going to be my first year participating, but I have been a fan of this event for a few years now. There are a lot of talented and creative artists that put out a ton of excellent work each year.
I have always been too timid to show my work to others. I never felt like I was good enough to participate. My friend and comic artist Chris Gregory T. convinced me to give it a go this year.
I want to return the favor by writing about Inktober. I hope that you become inspired to participate and take a step toward better artistic habits. Sometimes just jumping in and getting work done is the best strategy.
What is Inktober?
I am sure there are many other people, like myself, who want to participate in Inktober but need a little help getting started. I have prepared this guide as a reference for myself, but I also wanted to share it with you all.
Inktober was created in 2009 by artist Jake Parker as a way to hone in drawing and inking skills. As you could probably infer by the name, Inktober is an ink drawing challenge that runs during the month of October. This means that Inktober 2019 is the 12th year of this challenge!
People are encouraged to create and post an ink drawing every day, or at whatever pace works best for them. The rules are loose and flexible, which allows for all types of artists and creators to join in on the fun. Inktober is about building better art habits. Artists of all skill levels can benefit from this.
The Inktober Rules
Participants are to make ink drawings every day (or at whatever pace works best for them). This can be digital or traditional ink. Ink is not the only tool that can be used.
Creators can utilize their preferred creative process to make these drawings. This includes underlying pencil sketches and calligraphy/typography. Many artists use traditional pens, brush pens, or markers.
Next, the participants post their art. This is typically done through social media, but Parker says this is not necessary as long as we are showing someone our work.
Though the Inktober official prompt list is here to help, it is not required as part of the challenge. Creators can make whatever content they would like. I know a few people who randomly generate their own lists of prompts.
I am going to try to use the prompts this year. Since October is my favorite month due to Halloween, I am going to try to twist the Inktober prompts in a creepy/spooky way. Many other creators do this as well.
For those of you who have participated before, do you have any favorite Inktober Prompts? I really liked drawing for the word “tranquil” last year.
The 2019 Inktober Promp List has not been released yet, but stay tuned!
Many artists share their Inktober drawings on their social media pages. There are a few hastags that people use to bring attention to their work. The commonly used hastags are: #inktober #inktober(year) #inking
Other hashtags for Inktober are: #art #artist #comicart #ink #drawing #doodle #draw #micron #markerart
Head over to the official Inktober Instagram account for great artwork, Inktober prompts, announcements, and more!
The Inktober Facebook Page also has a ton of important information for those who want to participate.
What Do I Need For Inktober?
I personally use Sakura Micron pens and Sharpies for inking. I can’t explain to you why I like these products. Honestly, the Microns were the first inking pens I have used. Sharpies are extremely easy to come by. Many of my friends that prefer using ink brushes over pens.
I have not ventured into the world of inking products too much. I purchase my supplies based on recommendations from friends. Luckily, I know a lot of comic book artist. However, I wanted to increase my drawing skills before branching out my product selection.
I also use a Wacom Intuos for digital art and inking. However, I am still not completely comfortable using this tablet. Honestly, I am having a hard time getting used to not looking at my hand while drawing. I will typically draw a piece by hand and scan it. I mostly use the tablet for digital inking and vector drawing.
However, there are an endless amount of opinions and information out there. Each product has its own set of pros and cons. Some products work better for specific projects and situations. We should be using the products that best fit into our creative styles without breaking our budget.
Inking Pens and Markers
Sakura Micron Pens come in all shapes and sizes. They are fine point pens that operate similar to regular writing instruments. I think of them as falling somewhere in the middle of ballpoint pens and markers. These are what I use most of the time for my own art. I also used these pens for all of my Inktober drawings.
Pentel Arts’ Pocket Brush is Parker’s recommended inking instrument.
Though it is a pen, the tip is similar to a paint brush. This product is great because it eliminates the need to carry around traditional brushes and ink. The pen takes ink cartridges similar to a printer. I am not the best with brush inking, but I do enjoy this product a lot.
Prismacolor’s Manga Illustration Markers are another popular set of tools for inking. These markers are specifically made for making comics and manga. Much like Micron pens, they come in a variety of colors, sizes, and tips.
Copic Marker’s Multiliner Pens are another great choice for inking our art. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles. I have never used these extensively, but I have many friends that use them and say they are great.
Paper and Sketch Pads
Strathmore Drawing Pads are my personal favorite for drawing. Since I am left handed, I like that the spine is at the top of the pad. Though I still put something underneath the pages, I have not noticed a lot of ink seeping through the page. Also, these sketch pads are very affordable.
Strathmore Bristol Board is a great option for inking. This paper is often used for comic books and strips. This paper just holds the ink so well and the drawings come out looking crisp and professional. Bristol Board is one of my favorite surfaces for ink-heavy pictures. I plan on doing most of Inktober this year on Bristol Board.
Sax Drawing Paper offers an affordable alternative to loose leaf or printer paper. This product boasts to be great for many mediums. I have not used this paper myself, but I do have friends that say it is good. You definitely can’t beat the price.
White out – Everyone makes mistakes! White out and similar items can be used to fix any errors in inking. There are a variety of white out brushes, pens and tape available for purchase. We can also use the white ink to add a layer of white to our drawings.
Tape – Every artist knows the pain of having the paper move, bend and crinkle. Tape is our best friend when drawing on loose sheets of paper.
“Ink Catchers” – Ink will often seep through the paper, ruining whatever is underneath. I once painted my kitchen table by mistake, prompting my wife to compare me to a toddler. I have ruined notebooks by having the ink seep through multiple pages. To get around these issues I usually put something under the paper. I typically use junk mail and fliers. There is nothing better than defacing an AARP bulletin to make some great art.
Resources and Further Reading
Make sure you check out Jake Parker at the Inktober Official Website. The Inktober website is obviously the best resource for learning about the event. The site also has materials for recommended products and training.
You should also read Jake Parker’s Inktober Rules and Prompt List. While it is not required to use the Inktober Prompts, they do help get the brain going. Seeing as Inktober takes place in October, many artists prefer to make Halloween-related art. I have also seen a lot of arist make hybrid drawings that combine Halloween elements with words from the Inktober prompts.
My Modern Met has another great guide to Inktober. They also focus on the Inktober prompts and supplies.
Art Snacks offers monthly art supplies as a subscription box. They also have their own kit specficially for Inktober!
There are many other resources available around the internet that will help you with Inktober. Inking is its own art form and skill of its own. It has its own styles for shading and texture. There is so much to learn, but luckily the supply of advice and training is substantial.
Drawing and inking takes a lot of time and practice to learn all of these techniques. It can be overwhelming to get started. My best advice is to start small and learn one technique at a time.
One good way to practice is to scan and print a pencil drawing multiple times. The copies can be inked differently. This makes it easy to compare the inking attempts. You can try a different style every time.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for drawing and inking:
Alphonso Dunn – How To Shade With Pen And Ink 9 Different Ways
Julia Hutchinson – Inking Traditionally: 9 Tips for Inktober
Mark Crilley – 5 Ways To Ink The Same Drawing: Narrated Inking Tutorial
Tom Richmond – Inking Tutorial Part 1
Nate Lindley – How to Draw Dirt Bikes
Have Fun with Inktober!
Most importantly, we should be having fun with Inktober. Learning to draw and practicing art can be very frustrating at times. It is important that we remember why we are drawing in the first place.
Art is a great outlet for self-expression. It is how a lot of us make our ideas come to life. While we are always striving to reach the next level, it is important that we enjoy ourselves in the moment. Don’t be to hard on yourself!
Are you ready for Inktober? Give me a shout if you are planning to participate in Inktober this year so we can be in touch. I love seeing people’s art and creativity.
Do you have any additional tips or strategies for Inktober, or ink-based art in general? Let me know in the comments or on social media!
Are You An Artist?
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