Inktober- My Story So Far (Part Two)



Welcome back to Part Two of my Inktober journey! I recommend reading Part One first.

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 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 11-20.

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

Let's get into it, shall we?

DAY 11- SNOW

This was another theme that had a wide range of possibilities, so I chatted with a friend again and she suggested an arctic fox. This was a new challenge for me, and it also made me decide that if possible, I would like to stick to drawing wildlife for each prompt.

Given the white fur of the fox, I was reluctant to add any shading so I left it blank, and added some snow. As a result it does look a bit flat, which is something I work on as we go on.

DAY 12- DRAGON

I didn't want to be too obvious with this prompt, and so in order to also stick to my general theme of wildlife, I chose a Komodo dragon. With this drawing I played with the different pen width sizes, which wasn't something I had done much until now. This was really useful to get the scales done, though it was also very time consuming!

I was very happy with the form of this one, and the detailing. Again avoided the shading so it's not quite as three dimensional as it could be, but I learnt a lot about pen strokes with this one. I also made a mistake on the left leg as I didn't follow the right contour, which was worth noting.

DAY 13- ASH


This one was difficult to come up with an idea, as it doesn't really lend itself to animals! However in the end I had a spark of brilliance, as I realised I could draw a mythical creature. Thus using a peacock base, I drew a phoenix rising from the ashes (or at least bursting from flame). It was tricky to get nice smooth curves, mostly because my drawings were in an A5 sketchbook and I usually draw in my lap rather than on a table! However this is something I made a note to work on in future drawings.

At this point my drawings were taking around 10-30 minutes, as I preferred quick sketches rather than full blown shaded pieces, but you'll see how that changes!

DAY 14- OVERGROWN

I already had an idea in mind for this prompt, although the type of bird I was going to draw changed when I saw photos of a Phillipines eagle. This was very interesting to draw as I started using different penstrokes to simulate different textures. I really liked how the feathers came out in particular, and how I could use broken lines to simulate the edge of feather strands.

DAY 15- LEGEND

This was another difficult prompt (and looking back, what I ended up doing for Day 23 'Ancient' probably would have swapped nicely with this one). In the end I decided to draw the constellation of my zodiac sign, Virgo. This depicts a young girl or maiden holding a sheaf of wheat. In ancient times she was often associated with the goddess of the harvest, Demeter/ Ceres, given that Virgo spans over the harvest season (August 23rd- September 22nd).

I kept this one simple, thus I didn't give her any facial features as I wanted to convey it as a more symbolic form.

DAY 16- WILD

I was happy to get this as a prompt, as it fit very well into my wildlife theme! Since I had enjoyed the tiger so much, I decided to draw another big cat, this time a jaguar with some prey. I added a bit more of a background to this one so it wasn't so stuck-on, and tried to contrast the prey with the predator by giving it a darker coat. I also tried to follow lines of fur, which I didn't really do with the Day 6 'Husky' prompt. It still looks artificial and not flowing like real fur, but it was a start as I didn't know how to simulate the texture at all.

DAY 17- ORNAMENT

As I mentioned in the last post, I tried not to be too obvious with each prompt if I could help it. I wasn't keen on drawing any inanimate objects, which made it tricky to come up with an idea for this one! Initially I was going to do a Diwali decoration, as the festival was coming up soon, but then I thought why not do something else? So I went with a bull with an 'ornament' of flowers on its horns. I was also tempted to go with a stag, but decided for a bull in the end. This ended up working out, as I used a stag and antelope skull in future prompts.

Again I left it quite plain, wanting to stick to simple sketches.

DAY 18- MISFIT

This was a bit of a special one for me. I'm sure there are lots of 'misfit' creatures in the animal kingdom, but ever since I learned about the Aesop fable of the raven and the swan, I've been fascinated by the two species as you don't often see them together (though I do have a photo of the two together on the river Thames!).

The raven and swan!

In the fable, the raven is jealous of the swan's white feathers and ability to swim. So it tries to swim and ends up drowning, while the swan muses that creatures should stick to what they are made to do. I didn't like this rather morbid ending, so I wrote my own story with the two birds. You can read it on my Facebook Page (it's also illustrated!).



DAY 19- SLING

Another prompt that took a bit of thought, and I did consult a thesaurus to see what else I could do with it. Sling can also mean suspend, thus that gave me the idea to draw a cat trapped in some vertical blinds!

This was very tricky to draw, as I didn't have a reference and I was trying to work out which parts of the blind would sink given the cat's weight. I also made a line mistake, but one thing Inktober has taught me is that I do not need to be scared of making errors. It is good to leave them there as reminders, especially with ink as it's not erasable. Overall though I was happy with how it came out.

DAY 20- TREAD

You will start to see a shift in the detailing after this one! This was fun to come up with, and very enjoyable to draw. I liked getting the detailing of the baby elephant's skin down, and I tried my hand at crosshatching to get some shading. This was the first time I committed to trying to shade with ink, and while I didn't lay down too much contrast I liked how it was coming out. Here I learned that shading with smaller widths gave different textures than shading with bigger ones, and is something I take forward with the next prompts.

And so concludes Part Two of my Inktober Journey! Next week I will post the last set of drawings 21-31, and you can see how my ink style evolves to the next level!

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