(I realize October has already started, but I recently switched from another blogging site, so please forgive me…)
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
It’s October, so are you ready to get your ink on for InkTober?
…what is InkTober?
InkTober is a month-long challenge (much like National Novel Writing Month, which I’ll be diving into in a few weeks). During InkTober, participants create a new ink drawing per day, and share it (either online, or not). It’s that simple. You can find out more at the official website.
I’ve done InkTober for…honestly, I don’t remember how many years. At least a few. So I thought I would share some tips. When it comes to art, it’s different for everyone (like anything), but I can tell you what works for me, at least.
(For anyone interested, in a few weeks I’ll be sharing some NaNoWriMo tips, too. Please look forward to it!)
Tip #1: Set A Realistic Goal
Any challenge comes with its own challenges (no, I’m not trying to be funny), but for me one of the biggest hurdles to cross with any challenge is to not expect too much of myself.
Now, I don’t mean that in a lazy way. Challenges exist to, well, challenge us. But if you’re like me you’re a perfectionist, and if you set the bar too high you’ll either 1) hate yourself when you can’t reach the bar, because you’re human and need things like breaks, food, and sleep; or 2) you’ll kill yourself reaching the bar, and will be out of commission for the next month (which happens to be NaNo, so that’s not an option).
So, do yourself a favor: set a realistic goal. If a drawing per day seems like too much for your schedule (I’ll be honest, I’ve never managed it), then try a drawing per week, or every other day, or three per week. Whatever works for you.
I am working on a manga, so I hope to get at least three pages of it done this InkTober, with some other drawings on the side. I’m not sure my schedule will allow for much more, but I’ll try. I’ll be posting (non-manga) drawings here.
Challenge yourself…but don’t cut off your own feet, okay?
Tip #2: Decide On A Theme
So, you’re going to do InkTober? Great!
Now…what are you going to draw?
You can use this handy prompt list that I filched from the InkTober website to give you some ideas (though I never do), but it’s also good to go in with a plan. (Also, on a note, they have this list in Japanese! I’m not talented enough to read it yet, but seeing it made me happy.)
To come up with a plan, think of what you would most like to draw, and try to be specific. Superheroes? Great. Is there a certain team you’re wanting to ink, like the X-Men or Avengers or Justice League? Want to draw some flowers? Cool. How about you pick a certain color, or flowers that only bloom in the Winter (do those exist?).
Going in with specifics will help you keep yourself on track and drawing, because you’ll spend less time wondering what you want to draw. Of course, if you do pick a broader topic, like say Jurassic Park (as opposed to simply Velociraptors), you’ll have plenty to choose from.
I use InkTober to draw my own characters, with a few of my favorites from other media on off days. This year I’ll be focusing on Kieros Chronicle, which you’ll see the first chapter of…Saturday!
Knowing what you want to work on and work with ahead of time makes things just a little easier. Create your own prompt list!
Tip #3: Have Your Supplies Ready
This one might seem obvious, but hear me out.
Make sure you have your supplies on hand so you don’t have to take a trip to the store in the middle of a drawing. There is a list of recommended supplies on the InkTober site, but I’ll share a few of my personal favorites.
Note: You don’t have to sketch out your work in pencil first, but I do, just for sanity’s sake…and because I like to see how it transforms after inking.
– Plain, cheap pencils you have to sharpen, with cute prints on them. (They actually work well, though sharpening isn’t for everyone. And I like having cute designs on my pencils, like superheroes or leaves or Halloween prints. Good places to look are the Dollar Store, Target, and the bookstore.)
– Bic’s “sparkle” mechanical pencils. (Another inexpensive option, these come in packs and are very easy to find. You can buy them pretty much anywhere. My favorite are the purple ones.)
– Zebra stainless steel mechanical pencils. (These are a bit more expensive, but they’re super light and are refillable. Also fairly easy to find.)
– I also like the Sakura mechanical pencils that come in their “Manga” micron pen set, and Faber-Castelle’s traditional sharpen pencils.
Personally, I prefer Sakura’s micron pens over Copic’s multiliner. I have both, but Sakura is my favorite by far. They’re both good products, though, so either will work just fine.
That being said, you can use pretty much any pen you want, even a normal ballpoint pen. I like the Sakura/Copic because they’re archival quality, but if that doesn’t matter to you, don’t worry about it.
When it comes to colored ink pens, I am a fan of Faber-Castelle over Copic, though both, again, are good. Copic can be pretty pricey, though, and if you’re not used to blending, it may be too big a price to practice on. I personally don’t like the Prismacolor pens because they smell awful (why I also don’t care for Sharpie). I do recommend buying a blend pen for whatever colored pens you choose, though.
If you’re looking for white ink, I recommend Sakura’s gellyroll gel pens, which cover black ink fairly well.
I am a personal fan of Canson paper, either the “sketching” paper (which holds up surprisingly well with ink pens), or their comic/manga paper. I sometimes use their mixed media, but it isn’t my favorite for ink.
Pretty much any paper that is closer to 60+lbs is pretty good, I think. But I tend to go pretty heavy on the ink, and I love to do washes, so having heavier paper on hand is good.
My other, biggest bit of advice for materials: pick something new to try.
And this is why I say do it now, before InkTober starts. Take your time to look around, and find something new that you want to experiment working with. Trying new things is part of the challenge!
This year, I am trying out Winsor&Newton’s drawing ink. Typically, I don’t do as much color, but I wanted to try using color more, and I like ink wash much better than using ink pens like Copic. Plus, I’m working on a cover for Kieros Chronicle, and I think color would really make it pop. I’ll let you know what I think!
I hope these tips have helped, and that you have a great time doing InkTober! I’ll be posting my work here to the blog, and on my Pinterest. Happy inking!
Do you have any tips for InkTober? Share them below!
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