This year's Inktober had a strict theme and intention- worldbuilding for 7" Kara, my watercolor comic. I'd hoped that doing daily prompts that explore the Lilliputian side of this comic would garner interest for my work and for the comic, give me an opportunity to improve my black and white illustration, and allow me to create a richer world for my comic. I wanted to explore storytelling in single standalone illustrations, and while not every page captures this spirit, most do.
|Inktober Day 3-Seamstress|
I didn't realize it at the time, but this was a huge amount of additional work to take on. Every profession required a great deal of research- into the profession itself, the tools of the trade, and deciding on outfits that suited the profession. Every day required fresh character designs- often multiple character designs, as well as set design and research. I've done worldbuilding for 7" Kara over the years, and could draw on that to an extent, but I also did a lot of additional worldbuilding and development that wasn't used for Lilliputian Living- the foods they eat, the festivals and holidays they celebrate, even folk sayings and medicine.
|Inktober Day 6- Weaver|
And then, once the illustration was inked (usually around 9 or 10PM, at the tail end of my work day), I needed to write a worldbuilding prompt to accompany the illustration. These were shared to my Instagram.
Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Visual Journal (34 Pages)
Pentel Pigment Brushpen (waterproof)
Pilot Color Eno- Soft Blue mechanical pencil and lead
Sakura Pigma FB
Inktober Day 1: Lilliputian Baker
Inktober Day 2: Timelapse Teacher
Inktober Day 3: Timelapse Seamstress
Inktober Day 4: Brewer
Inktober Day 5: Grocer
Inktober Day 23: Bunny Rancher
I found this year's Inktober to be exhausting and a bit overwhelming. While the worldbuilding prompts were fun, juggling travel and other projects, in addition to doing research and fleshing out a tiny world, was a lot to handle. Usually by the time I hit midpoint October, I'm feeling a bit burnt out, but usually hit my second wind by the 20th- this year I found myself wishing Inktober would end from the time I left for Charlotte (the 9th) until the 31st.
A big contributor to this burnout was the fact that I spent a week in Charlotte helping with a friend's wedding. Not only were two days spent in the car driving, but the remainder of my time was spent running errands, helping assemble things, helping plan events, and participating in the wedding itself. While it was a pleasure to participate, it made dealing with Inktober difficult.
|Inktober Day 9- Merchant|
Another reason why Inktober was so unrewarding for me is that engagement between artists and engagement between artists and possible fans seems to be down this year. I tried to cheer my friends and fellow artists on, but dealing with burnout made that spotty at best. Another part was the ridiculous amount of drama surrounding Inktober before the event even started. For years, artists have participated in Inktober in whatever way benefits their work and workload- traditional media, digital media, involved illustrations, quick warmup sketches- whatever helps them produce work is good enough. This year, common sense went out the window, as many artists railed against Jake Parker's stance that traditional is the true intention of Inktober. Many of these artists complained that traditional art is too expensive- which is frankly ridiculous, as many artists complete Inktober with little more than a sketchbook, a few brushpens, and maybe a Copic marker to add spot color. This is a pittance compared to the tablets, software, and computers needed to create digital art. Such discourse is tiring for me as a traditional media artist who utilizes digital techniques and as an art supply reviewer.
Many artists began Inktober with a chip on their shoulders, which negatively impacted engagement and interaction between artists.
|Inktober Day 11- Messenger|
These issues killed most of the fun Inktober holds for me, but finishing Lilliputian Living and sticking to my schedule was important to me, and I made completing each day's inks a priority. Of course, pushing myself to complete additional work on top of my regular workload results in burnout, and I was eager for Inktober to end.
To be fair, since regularly updating the Youtube channel, I find myself consistently taking on additional work. This year, I decided to do a handful of nib reviews for dip pens, since that's an area of the internet that is fairly untrod, and there are a lot of great nibs out there for artists to play with. There are a number of nib reviews now up, and this will continue well into November. I recorded two nib reviews per day, and released one per day, and this ended up adding a lot to my workload, without necessarily creating viable art. Hopefully these nib reviews will help other artists and eventually earn their keep.
Random Dip Pen Nib Overview:
Hunt School Nib Review:
Nib Review: Brause Steno:
Nib Review: Esterbrook 313:
Leonardt Hiro 41 Nib Review:
Nib Review Brause Rose:
Nib Review: Rubinato:
Nib Review Hunt Extra Fine Bowl:
Nib Review: Tachikawa Spoon:
My Inktober work isn't done- I still need to assemble my Lillputian Living Zine. If you're interested in learning how to turn your art into a zine, keep an eye out for that post!
You can check out all of my Inktober Illustrations over on my Instagram, or you can join my Artnerd community and get instant access to my Inktober sketchbook, as well as my Lillputian Living zine.