It is officially Fall, and as the great pumpkin gods rain spiced lattes upon us it is also time for the biggest social media art challenge of the year, Inktober. Inktober was created by artist Jake Parker where for the 31 days of October, artists around the world create works using ink as their primary medium and post it each day to social media. The challenge has grown quite the following with #inktober boasting over 12,401,882 posts to date.
Normally, I am extremely wary of month-long art challenges because there are so many of them now, but I believe Inktober is the outlier for many reasons, the most exciting of which is the community it creates and fosters. Artists who have completed Inktober range from new artists or hobbyists, all the way to top talent with massive social media followings including Elsa Chang, Brian Kesinger and Jake Parker himself. This breadth of talent and inclusion creates an amazing opportunity for artists to be discovered, make new connections, and engage and invigorate their own social community. Ultimately, Inktober creates the chance for your art to be relevant and have a greater impact.
Here are some tips in order to make the most of Inktober:
Think process over output
A big mistake I see people make during Inktober is focusing on creating 31 drawings that mean nothing to their current work or portfolio. This not only does a disservice to you as an artist but also your current social media followers. Spending 31 days on something is an investment and it should have a payoff to your overarching artistic goals. Take the challenge of Inktober and show how you bring it into your current workflow and process. Create content about the artistic process to highlight what got you to the final product (tools used and timelapse videos). This helps create a more robust post and tells a more holistic story.
Make it something you and your audience will be passionate about
If you are already an artist whose work utilizes ink, it might be useful to use Inktober’s prompt list. However, I think for those who have other interests, mediums, and brands they should hone in and celebrate their form.
For instance, I am a HUGE dog person. My audience knows this from all my dog illustrations and my weekly post of dogs under the hashtag #fridayfluff. It is clear that my audience also cares about dogs. I also know this because my followers have liked, commented and shared more around these posts. So in 2018, I focused Inktober on drawing a friend/coworker’s dog each day. I would show my drawing, show a picture of the actual dog, and a video of me drawing that dog. It was a wildly successful campaign for my social channels, I was able to engage with and grow my community, and lay an anchor down as an illustrator who draws dogs This led to more projects from clients around dogs.
Think about where your passions align with your audience’s interests.
This will allow you to show the best parts of you and your work Clients look for those interests and passions for new projects (i.e no one is going to a dog filled project to an illustrator that hates dogs.) This year I will be focusing on children’s literature and picture book formats using classic stories because my community’s interest is in children’s books (kidlit) and I love working on children’s literature.
Run a marathon, not a sprint
The worst thing I see over Inktober is when artists do not finish the 31-day challenge. I think this says a lot to someone who follows your work if you promised 31 days of something and failed. It may impact their decision, later on, to buy one of your pieces or a new book. People remember not getting what they were promised and in order for this project to be most successful, you need to complete it for 31 days in a row.
Avoid burnout by prepping and starting early. Always have an extra drawing ready to post in case of an emergency. There is a difference of a campaign strategy vs a singular post: planning is key. Also by planning and posting each day, you create a daily drawing and social media habit that allows you to grow as an artist. They will become second nature and a much bigger part of your process overall.
Be sure to follow me @robsayart on Instagram and join me all month long for Inktober.
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Hurry! Giveaway only lasts until 10/31 !