Inktober and the great learning curve

InktoberI never did blog about the Open Book Festival, I know. I never mentioned how incredibly surreal it was to watch Chris Riddell draw, in person. It was amazing. The man is as talented and delightfully British as I thought he would be and I will treasure the drawing he did for me, forever.

But a funny thing happened when I came back from my glorious Cape Town trip…

I’ve always loved doodling. I’ve always loved the great talent out there and I’ve slobbered over their genius on Instagram and all over the great-inter-web. I’ve kept doodle books and I even made my main character in The Dreamer’s Tears a sketcher. But I’ve never thought my pictures are any good. Maybe they aren’t. But you see, I no longer care too much about that. I just can’t stop drawing.FullSizeRender_3

The school I went to would not allow me to do drama and art as final year subjects – something about them being heavy learning subjects because of all the theory – and so I chose drama over art. I’ll never regret that. I learned so much about storytelling from those years of acting. But I do wish I had been able to do art because there are so many fundamental skills I don’t have – skills I have to learn from scratch. Thankfully I am quite at ease with failure – or so I keep telling myself – so I keep bumbling through.

Due to this sudden inclination to draw, I joined the multitudes of artists who are participating in #Inktober. Daily I have to force myself to draw something. Anything. I found a 30 day doodle challenge list so that I wouldn’t get bogged down trying to decide what to draw, and I set off drawing something every day. Some of the drawings are silly and bad. Others I am very proud of. But here is what I am learning…

When you do something every day, you grow.

Fancy that.

IMG_3819Chris Riddell said something similar at the Open Book Festival. He said drawing every day is what got him into this business of illustrating books. Now, I’m not in any way wanting to trade writing for drawing. I prefer words over images any day but I am enjoying giving myself permission to just make art without any goal in mind. I spent many years copying artists whose drawings I liked but I think I am beginning to find my own style. It’s not worthy of accolades or praise but they make me happy as I draw them.

It’s reminded me of the writing process too… a little bit every day, sentence upon sentence, eventually makes a book. You build, albeit slowly, each time you sit down and do the work. Those little bits feel insignificant but they aren’t – they add up. I think this Inktober challenge is going to spur me on to write more consistently too.

I’m trying to be brave with my doodles, so although I’m not sharing all of them on my Instagram account I am going to post the ones I really like. Feel free to come and have a look. Also, search the hashtag #Inktober on Twitter and Instagram and find loads of artists and their glorious drawings!


Keep Writing (and drawing…)




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