In October of 2015 I saw #INKTOBER appearing around my social media feeds. I had never heard of it before. Every day artists were posting pen-and-ink drawings on their social media accounts and tagging them with that hashtag. It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on and I thought the whole idea was neat. I wanted to participate despite my late discovery, but I didn’t join in. There were two big reasons.
First, I was in the throes of a major bout of depression as a result of a falling-out with a large group of people who were, at the time, very dear to my heart. Their sudden absence from my life, and the extent to which some of them were willing to go to keep me at a great distance, tore a hole in my happiness and my confidence. I spent nearly a year struggling to repair my self-esteem, and October fell right in the middle of that very emotional time. It was a classic symptom of depression. I just sat there, looking on from a distance, unmotivated and unwilling to challenge myself or to even allow myself to have fun.
Second, I had not drawn anything since ending my previous webcomic, Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire, and (crippling depression aside) did not feel confident enough to join something even so informal and unofficial as Inktober.
Well. It’s October of 2016 now. And I’ve been participating in #INKTOBER for ten days. I know it’s the eleventh day of October, but when this posts I will not have done an eleventh drawing yet. In any case, I’ve got ten drawings under my belt, all posted to my Instagram and Twitter accounts, and while I still think my artwork is a far cry from the other amazing artists you’ll discover if you search #INKTOBER, what matters is that this feels good and I’m having fun. It’s been long enough since I’ve been drawing regularly that I’m able to shake off old habits and try new things. That October is my favorite month of the year and pen-and-ink is one of my personal favorite artistic mediums are huge bonuses.
The most challenging and fun thing about participating in #INKTOBER is that I set a rule for myself when I sit down to draw. I don’t do any pencil sketching beforehand. I just put the ink to the paper and I see what happens. I work with whatever mistakes are made. It’s become a kind of pen-and-ink-improv session and I’m in love with the process… until I screw up and have to start again, but that’s par of the challenge! I don’t know if this is part of the “official” rules for participating, but it’s something I’m doing and I’m enjoying it.
And that’s all that matters in the end.