5 Things That You Should Do Before Inktober

A peice from last inktober

It’s almost that time of the year again, when black and white drawings will reign supreme! Any ideas? That’s right it’s Inktober!!

I did Inktober last year and I learned a lot. A particularly important thing I learned was, don’t decide on October 2nd to start Inktober… So, from experience, I have 5 things that you should do before Inktober!

  1. Have your supplies ready. I ran out of ink twice because I didn’t realize how much I would use. If you’re going to use pens make sure that you have multiples in case it goes dry, I recommend pigma micron pens. I mostly did dip pen and ink, if you’re going to go that route have a backup bottle of your favorite ink, I used Bombay Inda ink by Dr. Ph Martin, but I’m going to be trying the Black Star matte and hicarb (also by Dr. Ph Martin) this year.
  2. Have your prompts picked out. Whether you’re following the official Inktober prompts, making your own, or following someone else’s, have them ready. Print it out or have it on multiple devices so that you can always see it.
  3. Work small. I made the mistake of using huge pieces of watercolor paper, it made it really difficult to sketch, ink, and finish in one day. So try to work on smaller pieces of paper or in a small sketchbook that can handle ink.
  4. Get your references together. If you’re like me, and you like working from a reference photo, try to collect them ahead of time so you’re not on your computer or phone when you have time to draw.
  5. Have extra supplies handy. There are a few things that I found indispensable last year and a few things I’ve found since that would have made my life soo much easier.

Here are some examples:

A Uni Ball Signo

The Signo is extremely opaque gel pen, I recommend the white one, which is great for extra bright highlights and when you want something brighter than the paper, unless you’re using extra bright paper.

A Gelly Roll Pen

This is also a gel pen, but it’s more transparent. I use the white one to get more subtle highlights and to get transitions shade. If you smudge it while it’s still wet you can get different effects.

Tombow Sanded Mono Eraser

This thing is amazing! (Review coming.) It erases right through ink without damaging the paper. (Make sure you test it on a scrap piece of the paper you’re using, just in case.) I know the point of Inktober is to work through your mistakes and to form good drawings habits, but if a bit of erasing is the difference between you liking a piece and hating it… then do what you have to. Sometimes just having it can make you more likely to try things because you have a back up.

Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen

I found this really usefully for large areas of pure black. It’s waterproof once dry so it works perfectly with the India ink.

Dip Pen

I started with a set of 5 Prismacolor pens sizes .005 through 8. three of them dried up within 2 days. I happened to have a dip pen on hand with black Bombay India ink which is why I was able to continue. I ended up using the dip pen the rest of the month because I really enjoyed it.

A Pallet And Brush

I used a watercolor type method of diluting the ink to establish values in some of my drawings last year. It turned out monochrome of course, but it’s the base of a grisaille* painting which I really want to try. (grisaille is a method of painting where you put in all of your values with a waterproof black or neutral tint, then glaze over the top with transparent color, such as watercolor or ink.)

Other Colors Of Ink

I love India ink in all colors and even though black and white are the colors that people associate with Inktober I think it’s a great opportunity to try others as well! I found white and red especially useful because I was doing Mythtober last year.

One last thought..

If you’re going to participate in Inktober, whether you’re doing all 31 days, every other day, or, one a week. Remember that its about artistic growth and good art habits not creating a master piece every day. I know that not everyone will have the time to do all 31 days, but I learned a lot* and I think it was truly beneficial to make something from start to finish everyday and move on from it regardless of whether I liked it or not.

So I hope you try it, have fun, and create something today.

* What I Learned From Inktober

What did you think? Leave a comment!