Inktober Delight

This is the first year I have tried my hand at Inktober, a month-long sketching challenge created by Jake Parker years ago. Urged to draw by the friend who told me about it, I mainly just share my creations with her, but this is so much fun that you need to know about it too.

As last’s month’s post discussed, I have a need for whimsy. Inktober definitely feeds that need!

The rules are simple:

  1. draw to the daily prompt
  2. anything goes
  3. share it with someone

I guess I would add, for  my own benefit:

4. don’t take it too seriously!

Here are the daily prompts for 2020:

To add to my cheeky thrill, I decided to illustrate potential scenes for a story my daughter and I are creating together. She gifted this collaboration as a birthday present (brilliant, Clara!) with a long first episode that made me positively giddy. To give a hint to the fun this inspires, here’s her first paragraph to this sky pirate adventure:

“The sound of wood creaking, the flap of canvas. People shouting at each other across the deck, stoking the furnaces that feed the balloon, keeping the boat in the air. Far below, the poison sea waits for unlucky vessels whose balloon cannot keep them at a safe height. Things churn in the deep, things with enormous tentacles and too many eyes, and they are always hungry.”

After her nine pages of real adventure and character study, there was so much glorious potential that I didn’t know how to start. So I dithered–until Inktober came  to my rescue and helped give me some ideas. I didn’t–and won’t– use them all, but they got me “in.”

My first “Ink” was  “Fish”:

A very creepy character Clara created popped into illustration when  I misread the third day’s prompt to be “Bulge” (instead of bulky):

Inking also helped me refine details as I wrote.




How small does that small ornamental box they stole have to be? Ah, now I  know. And I know its gems are very sharp.



Now that I’ve handed it back to Clara for her next installment, the continued illustrations are keeping me  grounded in the story world until it comes back to me.


Maybe the main character has to take care of the rats so they don’t chew the ropes tied to the big balloon keeping the ship afloat.



Regarding the quality, I have to remind myself that this is not any sort of competition! I’m not a creative artist–the best I can ever do is to copy from a photo I find on the internet or one I  have taken myself. But to be honest, I think real artists do that too! So if it’s cheating, it’s a well-established cheat.

Not all of my sketches are illustrations. I don’t always feel inspired. I find I bounce mostly between current life “commentary” and the illustrations.




Self-portrait while traveling



Sometimes the commentary is political–hard to avoid these days!

Sometimes, like today,  it’s personal.

Inktober reminds me that even very short forays into creative output feed my soul. Plus creativity feeds creativity. Don’t you find that? Makes me want to draw a bunch of delightful monsters gorging happily on themselves, growing, amassing into some STORY, but I don’t know how to draw that.

You can do it. 🙂

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