I told my talented sister-in-law about this ink drawing challenge called InkTober Initiative by Jake Parker - a challenge where artists from around the world make one ink drawing every day for the 31 days of October. We both got really excited about the challenge and we said we’d do it.
I was really excited to do it because I’ve been wanting to challenge myself. I had all these crazy little ideas and plans of what tools I was going to use. It was a good excuse because I’ve been wanting to practice character elements for a children’s book that Lisa and I have been wanting to make. And then October 1st came.
And then, I froze.
I did not want to do anything. My courage level was zero. Thirty-one days? Every day? My internal dialogue was like a fierce battle. "But it’s just a tiny little doodle for the day and that’s it! Why are you fussing?" the Voice gently asked. “If it’s not going to be great, then it’s not going to be worth my time,” I replied. I had no ideas. I had no inspiration. I have not consistently made art that I thought was good in a couple of years now. How am I going to make a masterpiece? How am I going to end up illustrating that children’s book I’ve been wanting to make?
So I slacked.
My tools were waiting for me on the table like friends who wanted to take me out, yet I kept myself busy with other things. I ate. I checked Facebook. I ate again. I walked in circles. And every time I came back to facing the emptiness of the blank paper I kept finding other “more important” things I needed to take care of.
“Why is this little step so uncomfortable and painful?” I yelled in my internal dialogue. “People are going to see it. No one is going to be impressed. Can’t this cup be taken away from me?”
“It’s going to be painful either way,” replied the Voice. “But the question is, which pain would you rather go through? The pain of risk in putting pen to paper, or the pain of bitterness of hiding in the shadows?"
Okay. I get it now.
The theme for today was FAST. So I pulled out a piece of paper and my ink and made this.
“This is going to be funny,” I said, because I did it quickly and today’s theme was FAST and all. But all my pens and paint started looking at each other and me like, “Aw come on. Don’t be a poop du jour! You just got here. We just got here. We haven’t seen you in a long time and now you wanna leave?”
So I exhaled and asked myself what would happen if I took my pen and decided to keep drawing without lifting the pen and see what comes up? And then I made this (retouches were added after).
I felt relieved after I finished it and I felt a little bit more confident. I know it's a simple step. But sometimes the burden is not the masterpiece, the burden is to show up and do the work that may eventually make a masterpiece.
I'm curious to know how much change and discovery I'll be making by the end of this challenge.
"Why don't you write about your process during this challenge?", the Voice asked playfully.
Make sure you check out the hastags #Inktober and #Inktober2016 to follow what's happening.