Inktober is always an experiment for me. This year I wanted to explore a bunch of techniques to make a huge mess but have some control over it. I decided to make a bunch of spontaneous ink blobs and crazy brush strokes, explore some printing techniques, and revive some experiments that I left unfinished last year. I made a list of options and then I made a plan. And then abandoned/adjusted and transformed it on the go. But having a plan was crucial to enjoying the process and making it without a glitch through all 31 days.
My plan had two pillars: structure and maintenance.
- Keep my subject matter very simple: plants; Have a list for all the days and go through it.
- Use only black ink, two particular brushes that I wanted to master, and one printing technique (stencil and ink pad).
- Stick to the same amount of time per day to make these (under 30 min) and post whatever you have within this block of time. No analyzing within those 30 minutes.
- I found a particular notebook with ink-friendly paper with enough pages for the whole project;
- I put all my materials in the same box so that there would be minimum friction at the start of each day;
- I created a bunch of tags to use on social media and copy-pasted them instead of re-typing every time;
- I wanted to see if I can start with the plants I have at home and then see how it will go. Just in case I made a list of plants to draw and got some wonderful books from the library to use as inspiration.
- I planned to make some images in advance but then decided against it - the rhythm of working on this project, same amount of time, every single day was very helpful.
Next, I started working and almost every day I would change something :) I sincerely thought that I would put all my notes on how I did my inktober illustrations in this post but now that I uploaded them all in one place and looked back - it is impossible to list every single step/technique/experiment - some I don't even remember!
Here are somethings that I do remember:
- I changed the subject matter to the plants that I had in my home, drew them from life in my sketchbook, and then made an illustration after.
- I introduced other printing methods (monotype, stamps, linocuts) and other inks (water-based stamp inks, india ink, thick acrylic paint) and tools to make marks (cloths, sponges, fingers, and objects dipped in ink).
- I made a shortcut to make posts without opening social media sites which saved a tone of willpower and time.
And after I was done with my inktober illustrations I would normally make a variation of it (and post it with the original) and with many I kept going making more versions on the same theme, writing notes on what I like or what worked or did not work - next to my usual daily sketchbook notes. It was a great month of experimentations!
You can find all the original inktober illustrations:
You can find all of my inktober explorations from 2020 in this folder on Flickr: