Inktober- My Story So Far (Part One)

October 26, 2019 maddoctorartist 0 Comments

Hello everyone! It's been a while- just when I was getting the blog back on track with more regular updates it fell away from me again, so I'm going to try to get back to it. This month has been a busy one for me, as I decided to take on the famous Inktober Art Challenge!

So October is the month of Inktober; an art challenge made by artist Jake Parker in 2009, where you have to draw 31 daily prompts in ink-based media. This has evolved over time, with people taking more liberties and using their own prompts/ themes/ media, and every year I say I will give it a go and every year I neglect to...

But 2019 is different! I plunged right in (3 days late mind) and so far have been able to keep up with the daily drawings. So, as well as share with you each drawing I've made, I also wanted to comment and reflect on the experience, as it's been very eye-opening and has made me want to pursue the medium of pen and ink further.

Each drawing was made using Derwent HB pencil, eraser and Staedtler pigment liners drawn on sketchbook paper- no digital means at all (apart from adding the prompt title).

I'm going to split the post into 3 parts, as it'll be quite an eyeful to go through all 31 drawings in a single post, so this will cover prompts 1-10.

You can see all of my artwork from Inktober plus all my artwork on my Instagram, @maddoctorartist

Let's get into it, shall we?


I drew the first 3 prompts on 3rd October 2019, as I was away from home at the time and didn't have access to my art supplies. Ring seemed straightforward enough, but I wanted to take a little leeway with each prompt, so for this I drew Sonic the Hedgehog holding a ring.

Sonic was the first subject I ever drew regularly when I was young, and I still love the classic games and the brilliant Sonic Mania which came out more recently. The last time I drew Sonic was for a fanart contest- and he's actually harder than his simplistic design would make you think! His quills are a bit too short here, but I enjoy the pose and expression.


The second of my catch-up prompts. This prompt felt a lot harder and it was difficult to come up with an idea. In the end my inspiration came from my best friend- she'd recently taken in a stray kitten and let me name her. She looked adorable in the photos, and I knew cats have a tendency to do what we would presume are mindless acts, such as knocking off items from tables, so I went with this as the theme.

I was surprised at how quickly I drew the image- using a lot of reference photos for my bird art seems to have rubbed off and I find it easier to build forms, so this was a good positive!


And so this was the third consecutive image I drew to catch up to the daily prompts. Of course it wouldn't be long before I dropped a bird into it! Again it took a bit of thought to think it up, as I was initially going with the fishing theme (and to be honest I'm not a huge fan of drawing fish or fisherman), when I realised that worms are often used as bait and birds love worms we are! As I said earlier, I didn't want to take the most obvious route with each theme, and this is a good example of what I've been going for.

I was initially just going to do the raven, but then I added the robin as well, as the 'bait' is luring both of them to the same spot. I also made an attempt at a background- drawing the backgrounds for my colouring book (link here if you're interested) has helped quite a bit with my ability here.


This prompt actually came from my friend, as we both love the Monster Hunter games and she introduced me to the latest instalment, Monster Hunter World. A monster I particularly liked was the Legiana, an ice wyvern that gives good armour (the basis of the game is to hunt giant monsters and use their body parts to make better armour to hunt stronger monsters). I had always wanted to draw one of the monsters from this game but they are all so incredibly detailed, and thus were quite daunting to attempt. Yet here I bit the bullet and gave it a go, and it wasn't half bad!

This is another positive I've taken from Inktober- that no drawing needs to be perfect and you should not feel intimidated to try something because it looks hard. Even if it doesn't come out as intended, it's an important learning experience and this has only become more apparent during the challenge.


This was comically difficult- I spend a long while trying to think of something interesting to draw, and it was when talking to a friend that I came up with the exclamation that birds BUILD nests! So I was able to sneak in another bird, this time a bald eagle.

Now here was when I started to get a bit more experimental with the inking- as you can see the nest 'branches' have a bit of extra shading on them, which I enjoyed playing with. Inktober has made me feel more free to try new things, and it was at this point that I realised I wanted to get better with the medium and was starting to see the different effects you can create with different pen strokes.


For this one I couldn't really think of anything less literal, so I went for the most obvious choice which was the husky dog. However I chose to do a puppy just to be a little different. This was a chance to play with creating fur with ink, using some tips I'd found on Alphonso Dunn's Youtube channel. It didn't come out as I hoped (the strokes were a bit too short and not following a general direction) but it was very valuable to learn how different ink strokes make different effects (for example the cast shadow is different to the fur).


Again for this one I went with something simple and obvious- a dove and a magic hat and wand. Some of the themes have such a broad coverage that I felt overwhelmed with choice, so sometimes it was less tedious to pick something close to the theme's most literal meaning.

I was quite tentative with shading so stuck with just the hat and cast shadow. Black and white ink gives a fun dimension to drawings as you can both show shading in detail and different 'colours', and it was useful to practice here given that the hat is black and the dove is white. The dove however (and pretty much all the previous inktobers) did come over as quite flat however as a result.


My initial plan for this was to draw a different baby bird, but baby birds are quite hideously ugly so I opted to draw my favourite bird, the mute swan. Cygnets (baby swans) are born fully fluffy and they can swim straight away too, but they are still very vulnerable to predators and so they rely on their parents to protect them. Hence they are still considered 'frail'!

Again as swans have white feathers I was reluctant to add shading, though I probably could have done it for the cygnet as they are grey. Thus the images are still looking quite flat with mostly outlines only, but then again this was the point for me. When I started the aim was not to make magnificent finished masterpieces, but just to do simple sketches to fulfil the criteria each day.


Lara Croft is one of my favourite video game characters, though I've never drawn her before. I've lost some confidence in drawing people since I switched to birds, and I am still reluctant to go back to drawing faces as they never look realistic enough, but Inktober has been a chance for me to draw things I'm not very good at so I made an effort. It's highlighted to me the many areas I need to work on, but I was generally happy with the gesture.


This is one of my favourite pieces so far- I've found I quite enjoy drawing big cats and tigers are my favourite. I enjoyed making the furred outlines and stripes, and it's an improvement over the fur of the cat from day 2 and the husky from day 6, even after only 4 days of the challenge!

Again I'm still wary of adding any depth, but I did make an attempt with the background rocks!


The more I've drawn each day, it's made me feel braver to try new things and venture out of my comfort zone, and I've also not put any pressure on myself to get it perfect first time. This is especially true with ink as you can't erase anything if you make a mistake. I thought this would put a lot of pressure on me, but I've been quite lax with myself and even if I do make mistakes, I simply let them exist as part of the image and store it for the next time.

So that's it for Part One- the next post will cover days 11-20! See you then!

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