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Inktober 2020

I’ve loved being creative since I was a child.

I used to get art supplies as gifts and spend weekends getting messy at the kitchen table with my mum and sister. I remember spending hours with my papa, drawing. He was the first person to show me how to sketch and its memories I still look back on fondly.

He would give me some of the pieces he drew, and we would go over the composition before he would give me the tools to try and replicate them. That’s how I first dipped my toe in drawing.

As I grew up, most of my spare time involved some form of creative outlet. My school subjects were based around art and design and I felt I was able to express myself though that medium when words sometimes felt difficult to put together.

As an adult I have tried to stay creative, but it was only last year that I submerged myself back into drawing, and that was mostly because of Inktober.

I had separated from my long-term partner and was at a loss how to process the pain I was feeling productively, till I started doodling. Then a few months later, on Instagram, I discovered Inktober and I really started to run with it. I went from drawing occasionally to drawing every day and often multiple times a day. The prompts making me think about different ideas that I would expand on. I started to notice that the more I drew, the more my noisy brain would be silent. Like I had finally found a way to quiet the mind goblins. It also became a way for me to process the feelings I had surrounding my gran being diagnosed and subsequently dying of cancer in December. My brain felt dark and drawing let me get the pain out on paper, rather than taking my sorrow and frustrations out on myself.

Since then I have enjoyed taking part in lots of different challenges. MerMay being the most recent, as well as the new additional Inktober52 challenge which is one prompt a week as opposed to the standard Inktober being the full 31 days of October. It’s something I look forward to. 

Some of my Inktober52 drawings

This year there has been some serious controversy surrounding the Inktober creator Jake Parker with regards to his upcoming book “Inktober – A Year Long”. Another artist Alphonso Dunn has came out saying that Parker has plagiarised a fair chunk of his book from books he has released and after watching the hour long video he uploaded, I can see where he is coming from. The art community was already pretty peeved when Parker trademarked “Inktober” as this was seen as a way to monetize a hashtag the whole community uses. Again, there is a point there. The whole Inktober scene is a mix of everyone’s contributions. It wouldn’t have been as successful just from one man drawing. All in all, Parker, as well as Inktober, is a touchy subject in the online artist community and as such there are many calling for Inktober to be boycotted this year.

I don’t really want to though and I’ll explain why.

For me, Inktober isn’t about Jake Parker. Not really. For me, its about trying a medium (ink) that I didn’t really use before and setting myself the challenge to draw everyday in October. There are many people who do their own Inktober prompt lists too which for me is just as much fun as the “official” one. While I don’t agree with what Parker done, and I have cancelled my pre-order of his book because of this, Inktober means happy things for me and I don’t wanna lose that. I still take part in the Inktober52 prompts and I do wanna take part next month too.

Wither I use the official prompt list remains to be seen. I have added that as one of my 101 things however as I will still be using the hashtag and following along with other artists like me who join in via the hashtag, there is nothing to say I can’t find a prompt list by another contributor and play along that way.

Being creative is an outlet for me and I feel it should be encouraged. I would hate to see the whole community disappear just because one guy fucked up big style.