It’s October, and for the online art community, that means one thing: Inktober!
If you don’t know what Inktober is, it’s a month-long ink-stravaganza that challenges you to draw something every day in ink and then share it on social media. It was the brainchild of illustrator Jake Parker and has been going on for a few years now.
I first learned about Inktober on October 30th, 2015. It was a bit late to take part in it that year, so I vowed to do it in 2016. A lack of time, combined with my inability to build a daily drawing habit, meant that I only managed five drawings last year. So, it was a bit of a flop.
My situation is much better this year and, although October will still be a busy month, I’m generally in a better place mentally, and I am ready to do this.
Plus, I’ve even done a bit of preparation! Here are the things I’ll be using for this year’s Inktober:
Dedicated, distraction-free time
If there’s one thing that last year’s Inktober fail taught me, it’s that I need to create a dedicated time for drawing. Time is the most difficult art supply for me to find, but it’s also essential.
With that in mind, I’ve decided that the hour after Pumpkin goes to bed will be my time to draw – no matter what else is going on. No TV, no YouTube. Just me, my pens, some paper and a cup of coffee every night for one hour. This is a scary commitment for me, but I think an hour of screen-free time and silence will probably do me some good.
I’ve had this Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook for more than a year, and I’m pretty clueless about what to do with it. But I also love the results I’ve seen artists have with it.
Since I want to focus on my line work during Inktober, I’m hoping that the tinted paper will stop me from wanting to add colour to my pictures, and I can focus more on creating different tonal values without worrying about colour.
Now for the good stuff. I had a dig through my various art supplies and realised I have a lot of pens. I mean, obviously, I don’t have enough. There’s never enough. But I had a few to choose from.
I pulled out a “small” selection to use for Inktober – although I might need to find a bigger bag for them. Ha!
Dip pen and ink
For me, Inktober is a perfect excuse to get out my much-loved (and rarely used) dip pen and ink.
I usually use Higgins Black Magic ink, but it feathers like crazy on the Toned Tan paper. So, I bought this bottle of Sumi Ink – the only purchase I made for Inktober – and I LOVE it. It’s so thick that one dip lasts for ages, and it doesn’t tend to explode out of the nib when it first touches the paper. That said, it’s not waterproof (even though the Amazon description said it is), so I won’t be able to use it with watercolours later on, which is a bit annoying.
The dip pen and nibs all came from a Speedball starter set. I also havea waterbrush filled with an ink wash, and a brush that came from an Aquafine watercolour set.
I also have a bottle of Winsor and Newton ink in Nut Brown, which I forgot to photograph, but will be using.
Faber Castell Pitt artist pens
These are my favourite pens. I usually use the black technical pens for drawings and writing.
The sepia pens look great with my sketchbook paper and will give me something other than black to use.
I don’t use the grey brush pens much, but I thought they might be nice for shadows if I don’t feel like hatching or stippling.
White and metallic pens
My favourite white pen is actually the Uniball, but mine has disappeared since we went on holiday. So, I’ve been trying to use up the Jelly Roll and Posca – once they’re done, I can justify buying some new Uniballs.
There’s a Uniball pen in gold and a couple of cheap sparkly gel pens, which I thought might be good if I want something other than black or brown.
Other random pens
I’m really bad at using the Pentel brush pen, but I also think it could be my favourite if I practice with it more. I love the line variation you get from it. I’m going to try to make it my default pen if I’m not using my dip pen.
The Bic fountain pen and Uniball Micro are both good for thin lines, and the Pilot is nice and thick – good for filling in or a bold outline.
There’s also a Micron that I just need to use up (does anyone else have problems with Microns leaking, or is it just me? All three that I bought earlier this year seem to have ink randomly ooze out the side of the nib. Ugh.)
Oh, and a mechanical pencil for sketching.
Okay, I think that’s everything. I’ll be posting my daily Inktober drawings on Instagram, so be sure to take a look over there, and when it’s all over, I’ll do some sort of sketchbook tour.
Are you doing Inktober – or any other October challenges? What are your favourite inking/art supplies? Tell me about it in the comments below.