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  • Kate Lentz

{Inktober...Drawlloween...err...October Drawing?}

What happened to October?! Summer decided to drag its feet for what seemed like 30 years but when we finally get to the good stuff, it's over in seconds. Ain't that just the way?

Since I am currently still working for myself, I knew that October, Halloween, and all of the magic that goes with those things, had to be epic. I have participated in the October drawing challenges for the last four years and while it's tough to balance, I did finish them. This year I decided to really take my time with the drawings, so I planned a little bit ahead.

I wanted to create my own 'prompts' and focus on line work, clean designs, creative compositions, improving my skill with ink, and having a very strong cohesion with all of the pieces. I also wanted to follow two or three 'official' prompt lists using a variety of media. (*spoiler alert: I did NOT do that in the end.)

I never really like to full-out draw ahead of time, but since I was really counting on getting some traffic on my social media accounts, I ended up being about two weeks ahead before the month even began. It felt a little weird at first, but working ahead actually saved my ass a few times. And since I was still technically drawing everyday, I figured it wasn't completely cheating. I started thinking about prompt ideas back in February, actually. I would have a neat idea but after trying to come up with 31 designs to fit the theme, I would hit a wall. Once August rolled around, I thought I'd just stick with a traditional prompt list. But that's when I decided to just draw what I wanted, but making sure I was careful with line work. I thought the idea of making my compositions almost look like tattoo designs would be a great way to improve my technique, but also having an overall goal of making things look cohesive.

Once the idea was settled, I remember sitting out on the porch on a humid Sunday morning with a huge cup of black coffee and a notebook. I started sketching thumbnails of different images that I would be excited to draw and challenged me at the same time. Within about an hour, I had all of my ideas loosely sketched out. At the time it was still summer and I had made up my mind that I would NOT work on final drawings this early. But I did start to gather my materials: Gold acrylic ink, black acrylic ink, red acrylic ink, black ball point pen, pencil, and finally, I prepped all of the paper. I had a huge watercolor paper pad from when I was taking drawing classes, so I ripped pieces into relatively similar sizes. I loved the idea of having rough edges. I felt good about my materials...simple and traditional.

After a few weeks went by, I thought of many other projects I wanted to explore in October and that's when I realized...I would definitely need to work ahead. I had Art Bar commitments, commissions, a shop update that required lots of time, an outfit of the day project, and finally, Inktober. So I finally started drawing. Because I had everything loosely sketched out already, I managed to knock out 3 or 4 drawings in one setting. When I did the second drawing, I remember being over the moon with how things were looking. It was a style I had always wanted to achieve, but could never quite figure it out before.

It was tough, however, not sharing what I was working on. There for a while, I had about 3 or 4 projects all going on at the same time, but I wasn't able to share anything for nearly two months. It's also why I haven't really updated my website or blog in quite some time. Artists now a days need to be visible constantly, otherwise they are forgotten, or people assume that they aren't making anything. But it's the opposite. If artists are not being seen online or at events, it almost always means that they are knee-deep in projects. While I wish I was sharing videos and photos of behind the scenes work during the crazy times, it just gets in the way and takes you out of the moment.

Currently I am preparing for a holiday market. I've been creating products and gathering everything I need for months. The big event is tomorrow. And while I've shared some of what I've worked on over the last few weeks, there's just so much that I haven't documented. Maybe one day I'll get the balance right, but for now...I will just dive in, create what I need to, then debrief on here when I can!

I am proud of the work I created for Inktober this year. Here are a few of my favorites:

And if you're curious, there is also a YouTube video on my channel that flips through all of the drawings. Hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

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