What I learnt from Inktober

We’re well into November now, and with a few days between the 2016 Inktober challenge and me, I thought I’d share some thoughts (in no particular order of importance) on it.

But before that, from top left to bottom right, are most of my drawings from Inktober 2016 in the order in which they were made.


Here are my thoughts:

  1. Challenges are hard for me! By day 4, I so wanted to not do a ink drawing. Just because. This is the very first time (I’ve tried at least a couple of years before this) I actually made it past that, and it did get easier. Well, relatively. There were still days that I felt uninspired to draw. It shows in the sketches. Still I’m glad I drew.
  2. Did my inking skills get better? That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t think you can look at the sketches above and see any linear improvement. But that would be silly, to think that 31 days could look dramatically different. In fact, any changes you see are really inspired versus not-so-good days. But what I did see is that:
  3. Over the month, I became more comfortable with relying on less color. Or using only selective color. Or no color. If you know my work, you know I love color, and lots of it. So mostly inking in black/grey is a stretch for me. In a good way. Does it mean I’ll be doing less color work? I doubt it, I love color. Every once in a while last month, when I missed color, I switched to colored inks and used it like watercolors, like the persimmons below. Or just did a watercolor piece and fitted in a little ink sketch into my day. persimmon
  4. I did become surer with my ink lines. I think. They’re not always my best sketches, but I can see I did something I might not otherwise do.
    In this first piece during my last week, I was lost for a subject, so I turned on the camera on my computer and made this self portrait. No pencil lines underneath, and no fountain pen either. Ink and a brush.Some white pencil at the end.

    In this one below, a little throwaway sketch of some medicine bottles, I  avoided the temptation to add color or tone to support the linework, all done with brushpen. Again, rare for me.

  5. Picking a subject to draw This one was hard, not because there were any constrains, but just because it’s hard to decide what to draw everyday. Often I just drew the same little object over and over. ( Notice how many times Walter the skull and pumpkins featured in my sketches?)   I didn’t use the challenge words or build in an extra challenge to sketch a particular subject or make a ‘significant’ piece. Those would have upped the challenge for me, and made it harder to stick with it. Perhaps I’ll do that another year. Baby steps.

Will I do the challenge again? Yes. Maybe. I think so. I’ll find out. Next year. Did you do the challenge? Did you try? What was easy? Hard? Impossible? Share your thoughts.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Close to home, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What I learnt from Inktober

  1. Lee Kline says:

    You are an inspiration to more people than you know, Suhita. These are wonderful and full of help for the rest of us inkers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harold Goldfus says:

    I found Inktober hard at first. It felt like homework . It became easier the more I did it, and giving myself permission to experiment with subject matter made it more fun. Carrying my pocket sketchbook everywhere became more essential, because I never knew when an Inktober opportunity would show up ( such as when I was out walking my dog.) I don’the know if I would do Inktober again. I do know it has enabled me to do a lot more quick sketching than I used to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rita Cleary says:

    I tried doing a drawing a day for one month several years ago. Not as easy as it sounds…Inspiration doesn’t (for me) flow in a steady clip like that, resulting in my feeling pressure to do something–anything–even if it was just a random pattern, which is never what I would choose to spend a whole space of precious art time doing. I also felt pressure because some days, I’m literally out morning to night, and too wiped out at the end of the day to do art. A personal aside: I’m finding it best never to do artwork at night (in studio). The light is never as good as natural daylight, and I need all the help I can get…not fight with indoor lighting skewing the color. My preference always is for plein air anyway, so probably that’s part of my night-light aversion. You did some very nice work during the Inktober challenge, Suhita. I loved your pumpkins!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita, you brought up some of the challenges I faced but didn’t mention here: yes, there are days when I can’t really produce a sketch. You can see in my photostream that I did a few just to not drop out, but honestly, I would have still been “doing the challenge” if I missed some days: it doesn’t matter, really. But i know what you mean: doing a challenge like this means you feel pressured to produce something. I also found that I mostly did little stuff in my studio, and sometimes that took away from working outside. And yes, working at night, I hate. That said, I gained something… but I am glad I am done 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts and comments, it’s really useful sometimes, just to know we all share similar experiences and obstacles.


  4. Elaine says:

    I decided to go with the daily prompts this time, and to try to stretch myself. I draw in ink all the time (eg on the bus), and I wanted this to be a learning experience. Around day 21 I dropped out because I had placed too many extra constraints on myself (plus work became extra busy). Not sure if I learned anything, but it was worthwhile challenging myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 21 days is a lot, using prompts! I find that if I’m trying to do something ( like improve my inking skills) then just that one focus is enough. If I also have to use prompts , I will probably give up a long time before you did!


  5. miatagrrl says:

    My Inktober goal was to try to draw more from imagination. It was a real struggle the first couple weeks, but once a theme emerged, it got easier. I really enjoyed the challenge, though. Here’s my blog post with my learnings: http://tina-koyama.blogspot.com/2016/10/inktober2016-lessons-learned.html



  6. miatagrrl says:

    By the way, I really love your selfie! 🙂


  7. rosjenke says:

    You are such an inspiration and your sketches are always a joy. I fell off the Inktober wagon after about day 10 😄 I wanted to do a blind contour then a “real” portrait for each day but too many other things got in the way. When life settles down I’ll get back to it as I really enjoyed doing them. Loved your portrait selfie 👍


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