How To Prep For Inktober

Now that I sit here making the first words, it's frightening to begin. It will probably feel the same for Inktober in a few days. All this building enthusiasm, until the first day comes, and then suddenly it all turns into fear, then paralysis.

How can we make sure the fear doesn't win?

For me, it’s an issue of too many possibilities, too many options, clashing with this need for perfectionism. No matter what I choose, it feels like something else is better, so I stay stuck on deciding what to do, but never actually do anything. An anxiety treadmill. Or more like my thoughts are locked inside one of those hamster balls.

A few ideas in my head: relying on prompts, instead of just winging it. At least in the beginning, until something clicks. A forum that I help mod, r/sketchdaily, will be a primary source for ideas when I feel stuck. Another old favorite, r/redditgetsdrawn, will be good to pull from too, and nice to participate in again after illness and stress have kept me away from posting for so long. Of course there’s the ‘official’ list of themes for Inktober.

I’ll avoid color choice dilemmas (so many to chose from! All full of possibility! All a constant distraction!) by sticking with plain black ink, so I can focus on the linkwork itself, the simplicity of clean crisp lines. The linework is what Inktober is supposed to be about anyways, so double-win.

My paper will be all the same size, heavy pre-cut watercolor paper. No need to pull out of a sketchbook, just grab a sheet and go. Hot-press paper is smooth, should take ink easily without buckling, and even allow a quick wash of watercolor to fulfill that need for tone novelty and give some depth. Provided I don’t let myself get carried away, and keep layering it, ruining the effect… One wash of color! Only one!... Unless it’s already the next day, and it still definitely needs more.

So, that gives me a simple plan to work from and a short list of supplies to have ready:

  • Waterproof Black Ink (starting with the bottle of Higgins’ on my desk)
  • Dip Pens (my trusty cheap speedball set)
  • 30+ Pages of Watercolor Paper (using my favorite Strathmore 500 Series Hot Press Ready Cut, in 5”x7”)
  • And, two forums bookmarked for daily themes

Only two days away. My heart is pounding, but we can do this. See you there!


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