Inktober, a month long experience


Courtesy of Lilly Kennedy

A photo of a bat that was drawn for an Inktober prompt.

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

The annual occurrence of Inktober is here. Every October, Inktober features 31 days of drawing prompts for people to complete and share. 

Photos of the prompts are shared across various social media platforms. Traditionally done with ink, Inktober can be completed with any artistic medium.

Every year, Inktober draws in artists from a wide variety of places and backgrounds. At NIU, an avid and passionate art community places great value on art and challenges such as Inktober.

“My favorite thing about Inktober is how it brings the art community together. Initially, it was just for traditional artists, but now it evolved into something different,” said Nyree Ford, a junior time arts major. “Any art medium can participate, whether that be digital or traditional, and that’s really cool.” 

Ford said that they like to do the challenge every year for the guided structure and routine that it brings. This year, they find it a bit harder to balance drawing with school work and midterms coming up.

Ford said they like to personalize the Inktober experience by forgoing the assigned prompts and making their own. Prior to 2016, there were no assigned prompts for the challenge. They explained that sharing art with others is a great feeling, and they enjoy seeing something they made themself.

“Good luck, have fun, don’t stress out about your art,” Ford said to others taking part in the challenge. “Don’t compare yourself to other artists, be a better artist than you were yesterday. Draw what you love because at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and being the best you can be.” 

While many people who participate in Inktober consider themselves artists, that shouldn’t discourage people who just wish to join the challenge for fun.

Alex Bridges, a graduate student in fine arts with a focus on printmaking, said the spirit of Inktober is about bringing people together, whether or not they consider themselves artists.

“I love seeing everyone’s interpretations of each word and all the outcomes it brings. Seeing how other people respond visually is always interesting to me,” Bridges said. “It reminds you that not everyone thinks the same and can come up with infinite artworks based off of one or two words alone.” 

Of the prompts this year, Bridges’s favorites are flame, heist, tempting and empty. She really enjoyed how random the prompt themes are this year, although she admits that most are pretty on par with an event that takes place in the same month as Halloween.

In terms of drawing techniques, Bridges said her go-to tool is a ballpoint pen. She explained that she enjoys using ink as it can’t be erased and requires creativity and problem-solving skills to fix if she makes a mistake. Bridges said she has been passionate about art since middle school, so she loves opportunities to grow and practice her skills and evolve as an artist.

Lilly Kennedy, who majors in anthropology and English, said Inktober is a fresh and new experience for her.

“I have not participated in Inktober before, but I’m excited to try this year. I’ve always wanted to participate but could never find the time,” Kennedy said. “I love that it’s forcing me out of my comfort zone and making me draw things that I normally wouldn’t. It’s also making me get into the habit of drawing every day.” 

For Kennedy’s drawing techniques, she uses pencils, charcoal and ink pens. Kennedy explained that these are her favorite tools to use because she likes the way charcoal creates a lot of dimension without a lot of effort. 

“I love that I’m my own competition,” Kennedy said. “It makes me want to try harder to be better than I was before. Inktober for me is a community of artists from all different backgrounds and skill levels challenged with the same goal: draw every day.” 

Kennedy went on to explain how brilliant the whole Inktober experience is to her. Kennedy said she has been doing art seriously for four years, but after her time participating in Inktober and finishing her current program, she might eventually get an art degree.