As Inktober continues, artists, everyone should push themselves to participate without pushing their boundaries


Olivia Childress

As we move through October, we are reminded of all that comes with this time of year: pumpkin spice, scary movies and changing leaves to name a few. However, if you are a frequenter of the art hallways like myself, you know that October brings one of the year’s greatest challenges: Inktober. For the uninitiated, Inktober is a challenge to draw following a prompt each day during the month of October. Though there are no strict guidelines to artists’ drawings, most artists comply with the namesake and create 31 pen-and-ink drawings to go with each daily prompt.


Sounds simple, right? To some, maybe. But I, as well as many others, dread the coming of the first day of October. Keeping with the challenge becomes a daily task, and it is far too easy to fall behind. I believe a lot of this has to do with the pressure of perfection. 


On top of the stress of keeping up, the materials of pen and ink can be daunting for most artists. The materials themselves force you to accept the permanence of mark making. Many artists who specialize in creating with pencil, paint or digital media can have a difficult time adjusting to not being able to cover up mistakes or simply blend them out. It is not uncommon for this to stop artists in their tracks and turn them away from the challenge. 


Inktober should be a time for artists to exercise their creativity and push themselves even in the face of difficulties. However, it is not always advertised as such. Instead of a fun activity to participate in when you can, as a way to get your creativity flowing and create just for the sake of it, I’ve seen Inktober morph into a task that forces artists to create full-scale works of art every day. This creates the Inktober burnout that so many artists know so well.


This year, as each day of the month passes, I am trying to turn away from this mindset and I hope you will join me, artist or otherwise. Push yourself to keep drawing and keep creating, and do not forget to give yourself grace when it gets tough. Do not pressure yourself to create showstopping art every day; use this month to be creative with your portrayal of prompts, to think outside of the box, and to just keep practicing. Not every day will be perfect, but perfection is not the goal. Happy Inktober, and keep drawing!

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Olivia Childress at [email protected] Read more of her works here.