Hello dear readers!
It’s that glorious time of year where one of my favorite art challenges surfaces once again: Inktober!
Inktober was started by Jake Parker, a talented illustrator and animator who lives in Utah. As he states on his website, “I created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.” Here’s a little video he made to explain what Inktober is, for those of you who don’t know:
I really love participating in Inktober and I love seeing all the amazing, imaginative, beautiful things people create over this period of thirty-one days! It is truly inspiring, and it really does rekindle that fire of wonder around artmaking that I sometimes have a hard time finding. And, it really does improve my inking skills! Bonus!
This year my theme is “Little Things”. Over the past handful of years, I have really resonated with recognizing and appreciating small moments and finding beauty in easily-overlooked things. This theme played a big role in my thesis as a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts student, where I chose to make copper etchings of crumbling old barns, of junk on my kitchen counter, and of lonely places I found beautiful.
This theme continues to echo through my life drawings and paintings to this day. Whenever I take the time (well, have the time these days) to go outside and draw or paint, my gaze usually falls on something mundane, something initially unremarkable, something forgettable. In this year’s Inktober, I’m honing in my focus from easily-overlooked things to little things that bring joy if one stops to take notice of them. Moss growing between bricks. A simple cup of tea at the end of a hard day. A plastic unicorn figurine.
[subtext: if you want to follow my Inktober adventure, check out my Instagram! Link!]
On this blog, I’ve talked a bit before about my struggles with my anxiety disorder. One of my coping mechanisms when I’m in a bad head space is to focus on something that makes me smile. If I’m outside, I’ll look for tiny flowers or a cute bug. If I’m at home, I’ll hold one of my smooth, pretty rocks or focus on one of my Sailor Moon figurines. In those moments I need to find something that makes me smile to start building my ladder. If you’re familiar with the YouTubers Simon and Martina of EatYourKimchi in Korea and now EatYourSushi in Japan, you’ll have heard of Martina’s phrase #BuildALadder. It’s her method for pulling herself out of depression on days when her chronic pain is overwhelming, and it has become adopted by many of their fans (myself included) who struggle with anxiety, depression, chronic illness or pain, and a variety of other situations. I highly recommend checking out her video and blog about her struggle with depression over here: http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/an-open-talk-about-my-depression/ It’s very humble, very emotional, and very hopeful. She does her best to find ways to push through and focus on the positive, and to give tools to others to help themselves on dark days. Martina’s #BuildALadder has inspired me to do focus on my positives with this year’s Inktober. My hope is that it will help center me this month when I have bad days, and when I have bad days beyond October I think it will be helpful to look back on the drawings I did that brought me joy.
Whoo! Got a bit serious there. I hope you don’t mind, but I believe it’s important to have discussions about mental health and to share our stories. Thank you for giving me space to unravel why this particular Inktober is significant to me. I’m excited to see where this goes! I hope it’s lots of fun and I hope I learn some new things about myself.
Are any of you doing Inktober as well? Link me to some of your work, I’d love to see!
Have a wonderful week, all!