October? #Inktober.

October? #Inktober.

Everyone should make a drawing every single day for a month

When October rolls around, I think about ink: ink stains, ink spots, and ink sketches. And, as ink drawings start pouring into my Instagram feed, I am reminded that I am not the only one. For artists the world over, October is the time to put away their paints and get their pens ready for #Inktober.

In 2009, Jake Parker picked up a nib and challenged himself to create one ink drawing a day for the month of October. He started it as way to improve his skills and develop good drawing habits. Eight years later, #Inktober has grown into a yearly event.

Frances Esenwa | The Ontarion

Here are just a few reasons why I participate in #Inktober and why I think you should too.

You can join a community

It’s a gateway to a supportive online community of art lovers and art makers.

The beauty of #Inktober is that anyone can take part — all you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and a little passion for drawing.

Search the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see hundreds of artists’ ink work. Use the hashtag on one of your posts and you’ll probably be met with likes, follows, and encouraging comments from artists all over. That’s what happened when I joined in last year. Just like me, other artists were challenging themselves. And, their support helped to keep me motivated.

You don’t need to be an artist

#Inktober is not about being good at drawing. The spirit of #Inktober is personal growth. If you’re even a little interested in drawing, inking, or art, then this challenge is for you. If you just want to test yourself then #Inktober is also for you.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to draw, there’s a convenient prompt list on Parker’s website to help get you started. And, if you can’t commit to drawing every day, that’s okay too, just do the half marathon and post every other day or once a week. The important thing is to be consistent.

Frances Esenwa | The Ontarion

You will learn a hard lesson

As it turns out, being consistent is hard. Last year, I went big and committed to making a drawing for all 31 days. It was day 14 when I finally bowed out. I was motivated at first, but then suddenly four days passed and I hadn’t drawn a single thing. School, work, life — they all got in the way.

However, I learned something that has stuck with me and has helped me improve not just my art, but also other areas of my life.

What I learned from last year’s #Inktober is this: creativity and motivation can only get you so far; nothing is accomplished without a little discipline.

This year, I’m approaching #Inktober with a greater appreciation for discipline.

Making something every day is its own reward

I don’t need to tell you how good it feels to accomplish something. Now imagine that feeling every day for a month. That’s #Inktober. The challenge isn’t just one big goal, it’s 31 parts of a whole.

As you finish each drawing, each day, you’re hit with a growing sense of accomplishment. As you look back on drawings from the days before, you get to see your improvement. By the end of the month, you could have 31 tangible markers of your efforts. All of them proof that you succeeded.

Frances Esenwa | The Ontarion

As I write this, I have eight drawings done. When you read this, I hope to have four more. I’ll make it to 31 this year…I think. But even if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter. The rewards I’ve gotten from trying to make something beautiful every day are significant to me.

Why don’t you join me? You can start at any time. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper.

Image by Frances Esenwa/The Ontarion