I’m just sneaking sheepishly into my BOOK blog to make an apology for the lack of books lately!! Here’s why. You see, over on Twitter, some crazy custard started a thing. This human renamed October to Inktober and challenged people to post an ink drawing every day throughout the month. This year, I decided, with foolhardy abandon, to take part.
Well, it’s been a bit of an eye opener if I’m honest. I’ve always been a frustrated artist. I’ve always wanted to be able to sketch, but just found it SO difficult. Most of my artwork, therefore, has been computer based. It’s my comfort zone, feels safe. My computer will help me straighten wonky lines, get the perfect colour or allow me to duplicate elements so that I don’t have one huge bulging eye and a tiny creepy one. Actual, real life drawing daunts me. Once marks are on the paper, it’s not that easy to remove them, even with ALL the expensive erasers!!
So, over the past month, I committed to the challenge of inktober, and most importantly and most frighteningly, posting every single one publicly on Twitter, Instagram and (when I finally got the courage) Facebook, regardless of how good or bad they were.
I chose to do all my drawings in one notepad so I couldn’t keep practicing them (my expensive erasers are now just stubs!!!), and as a result have been forced to post a lot of drawings that I’ve been quite unhappy with, or really hated in some cases. But here’s the funny thing, in every instance, no matter how good or bad, people have greeted my inktobers with warmth and enthusiasm, lovely comments, likes and sometimes been prompted to share their own stories. Every single comment and nice reaction has gone into my heart and given me the confidence to try a little harder. To maybe not worry quite so much about achieving perfection, or trying to become as good as the great ones I happen across daily.
And, interestingly, my most successful inktobers, were not the best drawn ones, but the ones that were inspired by people I love, even if I didn’t actually mention the people in them. It seems that when you inject a piece of yourself into your art, it makes a splash and causes a beautiful ripple effect.
I know many authors and illustrators through blogging, and I quickly witnessed that so many artists, whether story writers & tellers, poets, musicians or illustrators are fighting constant self doubt and inner criticism. Despite appearances creative work doesn’t come easily to ANY of these people. They work bloomin hard at it, and I realised that just maybe they question themselves as much as I do.
Taking part in inktober has taught me that art does not have to be flawless, we may not always be happy with what we produce, but if it evokes feeling, or smiles, or memories in even just one person, then it has done a good thing!
So thank you, to all those kind people who have liked, shared, commented on any of my inktobers, or just generally egged me on. I love you for that. The self doubt monster will always lurk on my left shoulder, but on my right are people who will occasionally gag it, and to those gaggers, I’ll be more grateful than you’ll ever know.
Just a few more days to go, and book blogging will resume as normal (I have missed it and have an exciting book backlog). However, thanks to inktober and good friends, drawing will also continue!
So, if you ever come across some art, in whatever form, which makes you react, laugh, smile, cry or feel, then please, if you can, tell the creator, whoever they are. I believe, in fact I know, it will mean a lot.
I will, sometime soon, be adding a page to Book Monsters, showing all of my inktober efforts, good and bad, so watch this space for that if you’re curious.
Thank you for reading this. Book people, authors and publishers, thanks for bearing with me while I’ve played with pens!