How Inktober taught me the power of drawing daily.

Inktober 2019 has come and gone. While I missed one day, I feel like my Inktober was a huge success. I filled the same number of pages in my sketchbook last month as I did the entire ten months previously! I also learned five lessons about my drawing process. But most of all, I am eager to keep drawing daily.

The clamped pages are my drawings from Inktober 2019.

To track my progress, I put a sticker on my calendar every day I drew. While I only skipped one day, there were two days where I didn’t draw for ten minutes and allowed myself to count a doodle made in a minute or two as drawing for the day. On the other hand, some days I drew for a lot more than ten minutes because I was doing exercises for an online class.

I gave myself a sticker for every day that I drew.

What did I learn from Inktober 2019?

Keep the bar low. Counting doodles and blind contour drawings towards my Inktober goals made it possible for me to draw on days when I was exhausted, busy, or both.

Drawing daily gives you the practice you need to improve. I often felt as if I cheated on the days that I “just” doodled or made a contour drawing, but it was clear to me as the month went on that these days helped me keep my hand in, so that my drawing improved.

Drawing while watching TV is better than nothing. While I don’t often do my best drawing in front of the TV because I am not paying as much attention, it is much better to draw something, even if it’s doodles, than nothing at all.

Black and white drawing of a border collie sleeping. Sketch by Kit Dunsmore
Another Border Collie Sketch. Drawing by Kit Dunsmore

Schedule drawing early in the day when possible. Waiting until the end of the day to draw is a bad idea. I don’t enjoy myself as much if I’m tired or feel rushed because I need to get to bed.

The most important lesson of the month has already been mentioned, but I’ll say it again: drawing something — anything! — is better than not drawing at all. You can’t get better if you don’t practice.

Black and white drawing of a CPAP machine. Ballpoint pen sketch by Kit Dunsmore
Sketch by Kit Dunsmore

Even though it’s November, I’m still drawing daily, and I hope to keep going. Some days I will doodle, some days I will do exercises. Other days I will attempt more detailed and “correct” drawings. I am particularly interested in getting outside and drawing the natural world.

But the most important think I can do to improve my drawing is to draw. Any kind of drawing done daily is a big help.

Grand piano drawn with ballpoint pen. Sketch by Kit Dunsmore.
Grand piano drawn in November. Sketch by Kit Dunsmore.

How was your Inktober? Did you learn anything surprising? Are you eager to keep drawing?

6 thoughts on “What Inktober 2019 Taught Me”

  1. I admire what you have done Kit! And I’m a little ticked off that, even though I’m retired now, I still didn’t do it. Your art has improved significantly this past year! You are very talented and put your talent to excellent use! I really admire that about you. You’ve set a good example, but I can’t quite jump that high; I’ll have to settle for doing a fraction of what you have done. — Dave Daley

    1. Thanks for your kind words! It’s validating to hear others can see the progress I feel I have made. Inktober isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of other ways to get your drawing done. You just need to identify what works for you!

  2. Well done you!
    As you know I didn’t inktober as I’ve only just started drawing, but I have been aiming to draw everyday. I think you’re absolutely right, creating a habit of drawing every day – however little you draw some days – is so important.
    I seem to recall doodling is supposed to be very good for our brains aside being helpful in building our drawing skills. I also think doing a variety of sketching activities i.e some short and sweet, some more focused etc helps us learn more than diligently doing a set time/experience every day.

    1. Thanks! I’m so excited to have come away with this new passion for drawing daily. It feels like a real gift. It’s making me more aware of the world around me because I am on the look out for a moment to draw and something to draw. And I’m telling myself it’s all practice, which keeps me from feeling pressured to produce something amazing or perfect. It’s FUN. Go figure.

      1. So exciting when your passion is (re)ignited. You’re absolutely right the trick is always to take the pressure off when you’re creating – whatever your medium. Look forward to seeing your future results.

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