Upon the urging of Hannah I decided to take part in this years Inktober. For those that don't know, it's a month long project where you post a drawing made with ink every day for the month of October. You can follow the official prompts, prompts made by other people or use no prompts at all like a wild child.
I have done daily challenges before and completed them, and this was less a chance to see if I could do it. It's more to see what I can do with it.
We're only on day 20 and so I still have a little way to go but so far it's helped me realise a few things that are important when taking your work seriously.
It's a daily challenge. You have less than 24 hours to complete any one piece of work. So it does not have to be your best stuff. When you put something into perspective you realise how much time and commitment it deserves. Done is better than perfect.
For example: if you're commissioned to make an illustration for a newspaper you know that the next day it's going to be ripped out and laid on a floor for a pet to poop on. You don't have to give it the same commitment and time as the commission for a personalised art piece, which you sincerely hope does not experience the same fate.
Mostly I've tried to use the project to test out ideas I've had in my head, either for a while or that have come to mind while creating other pieces. Some have turned out ok, and some haven't turned out quite how I'd liked. I've, again, re-learned the benefit of continuing to produce work. Whether it's good or bad; you are more productive and move quicker in your ideas if you are consistently churning it out.
It's actually been a really good experience to share work I'm not 100% happy with at the time. It's been good to see what I like and what I don't, and what I want to develop and what I don't.
When you're working on your illustration game on the side it can be very hard to be productive all of the time. Some days I get in from work and want to do nothing. Following a project like this is very good at teaching yourself commitment and motivation as a freelancer.
There is an idea that as artists we lay around waiting to be inspired and having dark periods where we just can't create anything. To be big in the game, to even be in the game this simply can't be true for you. Milk(wo)men don't get Milk(wo)man block. You have to go to work. This project, and the ones I've done before, are good at honing that self discipline.
I know it isn't realistic to have the same level on 'switched on' every day while I work full time. Once this month is over I'm sure I'll have days where I don't put pen to paper but put face to pillow instead. I think these projects are good bursts of mind training if you will.
These reasons are why I think projects like this are beneficial. Added to the fact you're joining in with a community that's creative and working towards the same goal, getting to be exposed to a whole load of new contemporaries and being able to receive the same level of exposure.
Hope you're enjoying the project if you're taking part. You can search inktober on instagram and tumblr to see all the work getting shown daily.