Friday, 31 October 2014

#Inktober - The Benefits of Participating in an Online Challenge

Inktober is a drawing challenge to make one ink drawing a day for the entire month of October.  Inktober was started in 2009 by an artist called Jake Parker, who set himself the challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.  This, 2014, is the first year that I have taken part in it and my own motives were similar to Jake’s, they were:

    • to get better at drawing with ink
    • to produce a drawing a day
    • to generate images for my Facebook art page

I am pleased to say that I completed the challenge as this video of my Inktober drawings shows:

So what were the benefits of doing this?  Firstly in my work, I got comfortable drawing with ink, without a pencil sketch as a foundation.  My main discovery is that it’s best to draw what is closest to you first, that which overlaps on your subject rather than starting with the general large shapes as you would when drawing in pencil.  This one touch way of drawing was scary but liberating.  I found it easier than I thought to produce a drawing a day, so much so that I plan on keeping the habit up, but not necessarily using just ink. The challenge also served the purpose of content for my Facebook art page and Twitter and Google + too.  The drawings were often of things I did that day so they became like a journal.

There were benefits to doing Inktober in Social Media rather than just through my blog or website.  I don’t currently have many likes for my art page (just under 150) so these numbers won’t sound impressive but according to Facebook I had at least 50 to 200 people seeing individual drawings.  I’m not sure how many saw them on Twitter and Google +.  I would on average get 6 likes per drawing Facebook, a couple of favourites on Twitter and a couple of +1s on Google +.  The Facebook and Google + likes and +1s tended to be from friends and acquaintances but strangers favourited on Twitter.  Best of all I have been approached to produce some prints of some of the drawings and commissioned to make a drawing in my “Inktober” style.

Some lessons learned are that:

    • Popular drawings were the ones that feature pop culture such Day 11 of my son dressed as Darth Vader and Day 28 of Michael Jackson in Thriller.  

    • Two hash tags (including #inktober) in Twitter would often get retweets and favourites. Tweeting someone specifically generally didn’t.
    • Next time I will embed File Info from Photoshop rather than uploading from my phone and I will include a visible URL back to me as some images have turned up on various blogs and have been shared.

So overall it was a really worthwhile challenge and I will definitely do it again next year.  Next up is Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo - Picture Book Idea Month.