Inktober started as a challenge illustrator and cartoonist Jake Parker set himself in October of 2009, to draw 31 ink drawings in 31 days.
The goal, as in any exercise of this sort, was to get better end develop a more consistent working practice.
He repeated the idea the next year, promoting the notion that others should join him, and since then it has grown into a worldwide endeavor.
If you search on Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms for #inktober, or #inktober2017, you’ll find the stream of those currently participating.
There is a lot of variation in style and level of ability, from novice to professional, and that’s part of what makes it such a great practice. There is no barrier to entry.
It’s not a contest, there are no real requirements or central authority deciding who can participate.
The rules, such as there are, are simple: do an ink drawing and post it online with the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2017 — repeat every day in October.
Even though this is the fifth day, it’s not too late to join in, I see lots of posts that say “late to the party” or “just joining in”. If you want to, you can throw in a few extra drawings along the way to come up with 31 by the end of the month.
You don’t have to use a dip pen or anything fancy; anything that makes marks in ink counts: ballpoint pens, markers, brush pens, whatever. The drawings don’t have to be elaborate or finished, and you can add color or not as you choose.
If you need suggestions for subject matter, there is an official prompt of 31 subjects on the Inktober website.
You don’t have to follow it, though. Lots of people make their own prompt list, or choose to do a single subject (e.g. cats, cars, portraits or monsters….), or just do whatever comes to you.
You can look through the social media feeds to see what others are doing, or simply for the enjoyment of it.
You will encounter a lot of work by beginners, and this is a Good Thing; part of the value of the practice is encouraging folks to get started. If you’re looking through with the thought of finding professional work, you might do better to seek the more curated experience of following Jake Parker’s Twitter feed, or the @inktober feed.
The images above are just some examples (mostly by professionals) that caught my eye. I particularly enjoy those images in which the artist has included their drawing tools in the photo with the drawing.
(Images above [some of these names are just Twitter handles]: Jake Parker, Moemai, Max Dunbar, Meredith Dillman, Abbe Branberg, Camille Marie, Chordephra, Loish, Alyssa Tallent, Jason Chan, Mack Chater, Sweeny Boo, Yuko Shimizu, Paul Heaston, Nick Nikopoulos, Stoaty Weasel, Ian McQue, Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde)