On Instagram this month, you may find more artwork than selfies. This isn’t just a mass purchase of new ink pens (though certainly many inks have been purchased). It’s an artist-wide event called Inktober. The premise is simple: complete one ink drawing a day. While it’s harder than it sounds, people from all over the world post their own artwork with hashtags like #inktober2017.
There is currently a slightly heated debate in the community over whether digital inking counts, but most members are trying to move on to the year’s pressing issues, like deciding a theme.
Though professors of the sequential art department (SEQA), one of the majors closest to Inktober, differ on how the event works, they agree it benefits the community, both the individual participants and the industry as a whole.
Some professors have a more aggressive take than others. Dove McHargue, the SEQA chair, believes it’s not a celebration- it’s a fight. “It’s a slugfest,” he said. “Artists need competition, they need to see each other’s work, and make themselves better.”
Tom Lyle, another professor, agreed. “I’m not doing Inktober this year because I want to kick people’s butt. I don’t have the time enough to dedicate to kicking people’s butts. It’s also a promotional thing, getting your stuff out there. That’s how people get discovered. That’s the hardest part for an artist. Just getting discovered.”
“What did Dove say? A slug fest?” Professor Dave Duncan shook his head, “I think it’s a community thing where artists can grow together and support each other. It also just gives you something to sell. In my mini-comics class, my students are required to do Inktober and then put it in a booklet to sell at Mini-Comics Expo. And they can be sold as individual prints, too.”
Whether or not you want to feel better than everyone else, Inktober can help your inking improve. It’s not too late to start, either; look up the hashtag on social media for inspiration. All you need is a sketchbook and an inkbook.
For those who are a little more aggressive, check out July’s event. It’s called Artfight.
Written by Sydnee Brashears.