InkTober drawingsIt’s November, and InkTober 2014 is done. I’m relieved that it’s done because the pressure of having to draw something everyday did sometimes get to me. I’m also sad though because I know that, without that pressure (that voice in my head reminding me to stay true to my commitment), I will be drawing less and less, if at all.

What I Learned from InkTober

1. Drawing is hard work! I’m not an artist. I am not skilled in drawing (I usually make stick drawings, if I have to draw at all). I had to read tips on how to draw, sketch, use brush pens, etc.  And I still have a long way to go. I don’t know if drawing comes much easier to those artists who are naturally talented, who were born with it. But I imagine that, gifted or not, drawing to produce beautiful art is hard work. My hat goes off to people who draw for a living.

Grimm Little Red Riding Hood2. Thinking of what to draw is also hard. At first, I tried to draw what I imagined, tried to pluck inspiration out of thin air.  There are just so many things one can draw, one can imagine, and trying to put them down on paper can be daunting. When I started to limit myself to themes or templates (like my Matryoshka doll drawings), I found it easier to choose and imagine what to draw.

3. Reproducing an image is easier than drawing from nothing. I don’t know if this is true only for beginners like myself. Over the course of this month-long challenge, I realized that my drawings came out better and I enjoyed myself more when I was copying an image. Looking at a photograph and trying to draw it on paper gave me a plan to work with and a gauge to measure its completion. Maybe this also my logical, organizational side kicking in, but drawing this way worked much better for me.

InkTober Day 4: Matryoshka Owl4. Some people draw fine; some people draw big. Both are okay. I experimented by using drawings pens and brush pens. Sometimes, I used only drawing pens or only brush pens. Other times, I used both. I learned that, for now anyway, big brush strokes work best for me. My daughter is very dexterous and can make drawings, paintings, clay art and nail art with beautiful, fine details. On the other hand, I prefer  to draw with big, colorful brush strokes. I’m not good with drawing in detail and in such fine strokes. I’d say it’s a matter of preference, of style. And whatever style works for you is fine.

5. Drawing takes practice and includes mistakes. At first, I thought I could just plunge right into drawing. I went straight for the pen. I made mistake after mistake. Then, I started drawing with a pencil, which allowed me to erase mistakes and draw again till I was satisfied enough to draw over with my drawing pen or brush pen. Several times, I had to make drafts and do-overs before I was happy with my drawing. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just like in writing, drawing requires practice and editing.

Many thanks to Mr. Jake Parker, who created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and to develop positive drawing habits. Thank you for replying to me on Twitter, and encouraging a non-artist like myself to join the challenge.

I’m glad I gave InkTober a try. It was fun to practice drawing, and it was a pleasure seeing the many beautiful InkTober artwork made by people from all over the world. Now I have 11 months to consider and prepare for next October.