As many of you in the art community know, October is when Inktober happens. The internet challenge to draw a pen and ink illustration every day of the month. I participated last year and had an absolute blast! I completed 25 of the illustrations, often with multiple drawings a day as I kept falling behind. I accrued a small following, had print requests that I’m still working on, it has been a fairly successful venture.
This year I was only able to complete 4 illustrations. The biggest contributors for not being able to draw more were a trip to a concert that was rescheduled(worst week ever), my day job starting a project to switch over our entire point of sale system which has been very time consuming, as well as physically draining, I had an out of town craft fair that didn’t go as well as I had hoped… Needless to say It was a long and exhausting month…
I think the immense pressure I put on myself to do well and complete as many pieces as possible is the only reason I feel the need to call my attempt a failure. I had planned most of my illustrations to coincide with the prompt list in advance. I had also planned to have a running theme through the pieces.
(My prompt ideas list)
The story I had hoped to convey through these pieces was the forecasted effects of climate change and how they will affect our children, and our children’s children.
The pieces feature innocent children lost in the wilderness with the image of the home they will never know always in the back of their minds.
“Poisonous” day 1
“Tranquil” day 2
“Whale” day 12
“Scorched” day 19
For this series I used photos I have taken of my daughter throughout her childhood as reference. Making this series all the more meaningful and close to home for me. I didn’t want them to be exact portraits of her. I wanted them all to flow naturally from my hands.
Though I wasn’t able to finish all 31 illustrations I’m hoping to turn the pieces and all of my favorite prompt ideas into graphite, watercolor, or mixed media pieces. I think this series is important to finish and put out for the world to see, but I want to do it right. I want to include pieces that weren’t necessarily on the prompt list, and I want them to be more visually intricate. More powerful.
The failure of Inktober this year is the perfect example of why I feel it’s time to start a Patreon. To carve out the time to commit to my passion, as I continually struggle to support my family simultaneously, is nearly impossible it seems. It’s heart wrenching to me. It’s as though I’m a bird with clipped wings perched in her cage… and I’m so worried I’ll never feel the wind carry me to new heights.
– Jessie Smith