This October I wrapped up a month of daily ink drawings as part of #Inktober, a collective drawing practice shared on social media through the month of October. After Really Big Prints wrapped up in July and we moved in early August, I’d not spent much time in my studio. Inktober, and the oddly satisfying accountability of daily posts, was a great shot in the arm and return to drawing.
For the hundredth time I was reminded that drawing is kind of hard. Or rather, that the pursuit of a specific vision, produced by your hand, is challenging and rewarding. The daily prompts supplied by Inktober creator Jake Parker gave me good parameters to brace against. This year I pushed myself to respond to the prompts within the context of my ongoing series Plants to Know: each drawing featured a plant whose characteristics, traditional uses, or history were suggestive of the prompt. Unlike previous Plants to Know pieces, many of the Inktober-drawn plants were not commonly found “weeds” like mullein or jewelweed, but more exotic and historically significant plants like star anise or vanilla. It was great fun to research each plant and to share some of the weirder facts and common names of each.
By the time October 31st rolled around, I was eager to set down the daily drawing practice. Despite the fact that it helped keep my drawing mind fit and generally soothed my soul to draw a little bit every day, I found it onerous to crank out the daily images. Especially because I tended to leave the task until the literal eleventh hour. In that regard, the whole experience was a helpful and timely reminder of what it feels like to be a student with work deadlines looming. For me it was best to crank something out and be done with it– some of those drawings had a liveliness and energy that more patient and accurate drawings lacked. All this is good for me to bear in mind as I prepare for the Illustration course I’m teaching next semester. I’m thinking we’ll try to draw through #Sketchuary.