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You ink you can do this?

In 2009, American illustrator and animator Jake Parker created Inktober, a 31-day art challenge held every October, to improve his own inking skills. A decade later, it has grown to become one of the most popular art-related activities on social media with over one million followers on Instagram.

To participate in the challenge, one has to basically create a drawing every day in accordance with the official 31 “prompts”, which are essentially random words for each day. For instance, the first prompt for October 1, 2020, was fish. So, people have to artistically interpret this via a drawing in ink and hashtag #Inktober. If you haven’t signed up for this already, fret not, for the month hasn’t ended, and you can still put out your art. To help you ease into the process, we invited two artists who have been busy with the challenge — city-based Yogesh Bhusare and Akanksha Agnihotri, an illustrator from Delhi. Here are tips they suggest you keep in mind.

Bhusare's doodle on the prompt 'dune'. Pic/@ yogesh_bhusare on IG
Bhusare’s doodle on the prompt ‘dune’. Pic/@ yogesh_bhusare on IG

Force yourself to think: Spend time thinking about the prompt. “These challenges help you come out of your comfort zone. As an artist, you often develop your own style and stick to that but here you are forced to think of other subjects because of the prompts. So, start with a hopeful attitude,” says Agnihotri.

Think creatively: If you want your work to stand out in the sea of entries, Bhusare thinks that the key is to not interpret a prompt literally. So, for the prompt ‘dune’, he drew a camel instead of a sand dune. “You could play with the form, too. For instance, ‘slippery’ was a prompt and so, a lot of people ended up drawing bananas. But I decided to draw a tongue because of the idiom ‘slip of the tongue’,”
he shares.

Yogesh Bhusare and Akanksha Agnihotri
Yogesh Bhusare and Akanksha Agnihotri

Keep it simple: The process of making an Inktober artwork, for Agnihotri, first begins with a sketch which is then refined via a digital inking process. “Start simple because if at first your style is too complicated then you won’t be motivated to set aside so much time for it every day. Even spending five to 10 minutes on it is enough, and at the end of the day, it feels good to complete the challenge,” she says.

Choose the right material: Bhusare suggests using 300 GSM paper because the thickness is suitable for inking. A thickness of 150-250 GSM, he says, may not be able to take the weight of the ink — it may turn soggy, especially if you add watercolour. “You can choose a standard black gel pen that you get for Rs 10 or Rs 15 to start with, instead of micron pens. But see that you apply about 30 per cent pressure on the paper only so your artwork is fluid,” he adds.

Log on to @Inktober on Instagram (IG)

Also check out

Many art challenges on the lines of Inktober have cropped up. They include:

Log on to @thealiporepost on IG

Log on to @charlyclements on IG

Log on to @drawtober on IG

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