Posted by Brian Wei

For anyone reading this, I’m sorry so many of these drawings involve sea creatures.

A lot of people might be familiar with the month of October—the 10th month of the year—but probably a little less familiar with Inktober, an online challenge that encourages people to make and share a piece of art every day for a whole month based on a daily prompt (Don’t get confused by the names: October isn’t the 8th month of the year and Inktober doesn’t have to be done only using ink). Personally, I had already wanted to try doing Inktober for a while, and it was also a really good excuse for me to go buy a bunch more art supplies that I didn’t really need.

Working hard or hardly working?

A steep learning curve waited at the front of my first Inktober.  First of all, I’ve taken a grand total of two art classes outside of elementary school, so seeing talented artists effortlessly spitting out amazing pieces every single day of Inktober would be intimidating. In the total scheme of artists, I definitely feel like I’m still only an artistic-ish beginner; still, the only way to get better is practice.

Building any daily habit is tough, and the day-by-day effort definitely made a substantial impact on my personal drawing habits. I may not be able to produce a drawing a day past Inktober, but after finishing Inktober with a full set of 31 drawings, keeping a weekly or even biweekly schedule doesn’t seem so out-of-reach anymore.

Inktober 2018

Tracing over a pencil sketch in un-erasable, irreversible ink, though, is still one of the most nerve-wracking things a person can do (and I don’t have super steady hands to begin with). On the other hand, there’s something almost meditative about getting into the flow of a good drawing. After going over equations and code in every class, it is remarkable how great it feels to have something different to unwind with at the end of the day.

My workspace/floor: because a clean desk is a happy desk

Now, on the other side of Inktober, I look back and see a lot of things I am happy with. Here’s a quick gallery of some of my personal highlights:

Some of my favorites: #3 (Spell), #5 (Chicken), #12 (Whale), and #30 (Jolt – which totally unintentionally ended up with two lightning bolt shapes, proving that happy little accidents really do happen).


A couple prompts I really struggled with: #2 (Tranquil – where I gave up pretty much immediately on only using ink), #6 (Drooling), #15 (Weak), and #25 (Prickly – there’s really not a lot of non-cactus, non-hedgehog options that I’m aware of for this one).


A collection of animals in containers they shouldn’t be in. Why are they so small? How did they get in there? My mom has the exact same questions. #18 (Bottle), #19 (Roasted), and #20 (Breakable – by the third one of these back-to-back, I realized that I should probably move on with my life).


Some of the more colorful ones: #11 (Cruel – I also didn’t see many options here and was distracted by TV), #21 (Drain – very happy with the straw pun here), #24 (Chop), #28 (Gift – I dropped my pen on the side of the paper and left a pretty big mark that you might not notice but I definitely do and it’s really annoying).

It didn’t take the whole month to realize that 31 days is a really long time. I’m not a professional artist by any means, and cranking out a drawing every day between exams and interviews was a challenge that I wasn’t able to meet all the time. There were days spent playing catch up, a whole lot of artist’s block, and chunks of time spent googling reference pictures. Plus, I’m pretty sure 90 percent of these drawings were done between the hours of midnight and 3 AM. Still, at the end of it the month, having a complete collection to leaf through—and the evidence of a personal milestone—is worth it.

I went back a little while later and painted this based on my drawing for prompt #12. It’s taped up on my wall.

One thought on “Art-ish

  1. I did Inktober for the first time this year too (though I used my own prompts), and I agree with you — drawing everyday for a whole month can do wonders for your ability. Lovely post, thanks for sharing!


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