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October is here, and it’s time for every artists’ yearly emotional rollercoaster, Inktober. Inktober is a challenge to do 31 drawings in ink during the month of October, preferably, one per day. Here are a few things that the average artist goes through as the season is about to start and check out my own tips on how to survive the month.

Seeing the Prompt List Months in Advance and Getting Overly Excited

Fall overall is exciting. The season of warm sweaters, warm drinks, and if you’re into spooky stuff like me, Halloween. Inktober just adds another reason to love fall; it is just exciting to see the list of vague prompts and start thinking about how you are going to tackle them. 

Getting Slightly Overwhelmed at All the Types of Medium that Can be Used

Any type of ink is allowed, and there are so many to be able to include them in this article. Pens, markers and I would even argue printing digital drawings counts!

You go to your local art store (I recommend Gomez Art Supply in Lincoln, Nebraska), Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby, and you find yourself in front of an enormous selection of inks that you don’t even know what do pick. Don’t be hesitant to ask for assistance and ask what ink works best for what you are trying to do. I’ve explained my art projects to the employees, and they have given me suggestions to what can I use, bless their souls! I recommend Sumi ink, you can get a pretty big container for around $10-$15. It is possible to water down some inks and create different shades as if they were watercolors, and at the same time, it reduces the amount of product you’re using. 

Getting Slightly Overwhelmed at All the Types of Paper Available

Just when you thought you were done selecting a type of ink, you face yourself with an extensive amount of different types of papers you didn’t even know existed. If you decide to just use a regular pen, this might not even be an issue for you, but if you choose to use markers or ink, you need a type of paper that will resist the wet media. As I said, feel free to ask for assistance, it makes life so much easier! For ink and markers, I recommend smooth Bristol. Watercolor paper is okay, but there is also several types of watercolor paper, I would go for smooth watercolor papers rather than the ones that have more texture. Choosing the wrong paper can cause for it to break in the middle of your drawing, it can absorb too much ink so you use more product than needed, or dry out your markers faster.

Inktober Day 1. The First Drawing

Your creative juices are flowing, and you have a pretty clever idea of what to draw for the prompt. It is exciting, and you jump right to it. Leaves outside are starting to fall, and you are sipping your favorite tea as you begin to draw, you’re in the full Inktober mood now and everything is well.

Inktober Day 2. When You Start Falling Behind

You have a huge assignment due soon, therefore there is no time to work on a drawing today. The challenge has barely started and you’re already falling behind, but you know what? Inktober should be fun, not stressful. As college students, we already have enough deadlines to follow, so if it fits your schedule better, catch up on the weekend, or even skip some days. Draw at your own pace and enjoy the month!

Comparing Yourself to Other Artists

You upload your masterpiece to all your social media accounts and add the hashtag #inktober. Then you think to yourself “I want to check out what other people drew for this prompt!”. You click on the hashtag and see a drawing that you think is 1000 times better than yours. Do not let this bring your artists’ confidence down. For once, art is subjective, and different styles have a different aesthetic that makes them unique and wonderful. Someone might bump into your drawing and say “Wow, this person did such a good job!”. Plus, people are at different stages of their artistic growth, and everyone starts from somewhere. My advice to all artists is to focus on their personal growth.

 It is not too late to join the challenge; I highly encourage you to start drawing. Whether you started drawing years ago, or just yesterday, you are an artist, don’t stop creating!

Karen Sotelo is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student with a minor in Art. She spent her childhood in Mexico but immigrated to South Texas and has been living in the U.S. since 2011. She has worked in a research lab since her freshman year, and it is part of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Aerospace Club at UNL. In her spare time, she likes to draw and paint, thrift shop, dance cumbias, and play videogames with her younger brother.
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