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Inktober Recap Days 8-19: Tools, Tips, and Lessons Learned

Inktober may have ended, but the lessons learned will live on. Enjoy this recap of Artful Pursuit’s drawings, tools, tips, and lessons learned throughout October.

Inktober is a month long art challenge created by artist Jake Parker in 2009 that is focused on improving skill and developing positive drawing habits. Every day, for the month of October, anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online. For more information on the challenge, check out the previous post introducing Inktober.


I followed the official Inktober prompts of 2019. I combined some prompts and did some out of order, but in the end, I completed a drawing for each of them.

Inktober Recap:
Tools, Tips, and Lessons Learned

The official Inktober site has a nice list of tool suggestions. I’m a proponent of use what you have, so here’s a recap of the tools I used throughout Inktober and a review of their effectiveness (or lack thereof).


As for paper, I love Fabriano. I buy the large 22×30 sheets in bulk and create my own journals. I made an accordion journal from one sheet of Fabriano cold press watercolor paper and used it to complete the challenge. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting a video tutorial of how to make the journal, so check back!

For the recap of Inktober Days 1-7, see my previous post.

Inktober Days 8-19

Day 8: Frail

Tools — On day 8, I used a .005 black Micron pen for the drawing, some black india ink diluted with water for shading, a Uniball signo white pen for details, and a red posca marker for the accent color.

Tips — Try some characterization on a piece to add depth and impact. I saw an impactful drawing by and wanted to expand on the concept, so I determined what year my character was born if she was 91 years old today (1928). Some research, imagination, and life experiences then led me to create a timeline of her life events to pile atop her back.

Lessons Learned — After I had inked the drawing, I began to wonder if color would help it. I didn’t want to mess up what I had done so I scanned the piece and began to digitally experiment. I tried color on her dress, different accent colors, and variations of shading. Those trials led me to the red, shading, and white details you see in the final. Digital experimentation is great before committing changes to unalterable artworks.

Days 9 & 10 : Swing & Pattern

Tools — The drawing was done with a simple, waterproof black pen, Uni-ball .5mm black. The circus tent pattern was painted with Daniel Smith watercolors and the sparkles on the trapeze artist are courtesy of Kuretake Gansai Tambi Starry watercolors.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Sometimes combining prompts makes things interesting and more efficient. Also, short pen strokes work well for hair texture.

Days 11 & 13 : Snow & Ash

Tools — On the camping piece, I used the black Uni-ball waterproof pen, a Sharpie, diluted India Ink, a touch of Daniel Smith watercolors, and  a Uni-ball Signo white pen.

Tips / Lessons Learned — For a gradient effect, use a light grey, then layer it up for the mid-tone, and layer it on again for the darker layers. Use the magic of 3 for a more impactful composition. Note the 3 areas of yellow and 3 areas of dark black.

Day 12 : Dragon

Tools— Only 2 supplies were used on the dragon: a waterproof pen, Uni-ball .5mm black, and diluted Black India Ink for the shading.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Look to children’s books for inspiration. Dragon was not an inspiring prompt for me. It took me several days to come across my daughter’s book and come up with this idea that suited me and my style. Sometimes creativity doesn’t happen on a set timetable. Allow yourself some flexibility when possible.

Day 14 : Overgrown

Tools— For overgrown, I only used a Uni-ball .5mm black waterproof pen.

Tips / Lessons Learned — I had several ideas for overgrown. On a hike with my husband, I bounced my ideas off of him. He came up with some great ideas of his own and the discussion led me to combine some concepts to create this flowery hipster guy. Talk your concept through with someone to get fresh ideas.

Day 15 : Legend

Tools To illustrate the legend of gold at the end of a rainbow, I used a Uni-ball .5mm black waterproof pen, Daniel Smith watercolors , diluted India Ink for shading, and a gold gel pen.

Tips / Lessons Learned — The proper way to do highlights with watercolors is to actually leave the white paper showing through. Plan white space before you begin to add color for maximum effect.

Day 16 : Wild

Tools— Only 2 supplies were used on the character from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: a waterproof pen, Uni-ball .5mm black, and diluted Black India Ink for the shading.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Recreating a character from a famous children’s book illuminated the number of textures used in the illustration. Since the beginning of time, artists have been studying under the masters. To learn new tricks, try to emulate an artist you admire (and of course, give credit where credit is due).

Day 17 : Ornament

Tools— The waterproof  Uni-ball .5mm black pen was the only supply used for the ornaments.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Try to create with odd numbers, vary the contrast and line weight, and mix and match patterns.

Day 18 : Misfit

Tools— Only 2 supplies were used the misfit: a waterproof pen, Uni-ball .5mm black, and diluted Black India Ink for the shading.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Throughout the first two weeks of Inktober, I used stripes repeatedly in clothing. Repeating the pattern again makes the album more cohesive. Try to repeat elements throughout your book for cohesion.

Day 19 : Sling

Tools To illustrate the motivational slingshot piece, I used a Uni-ball .5mm black waterproof pen and Neocolor II watercolor crayons.

Tips / Lessons Learned — Adding hand lettering is a fun way to turn a drawing into a motivational piece. Try to add a quote to a drawing.

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I’d love to hear your final impressions. Leave me a comment letting me know if any of the inked pieces, tools, tips, or lessons resonated with you.

Tags: art challenge, Inktober, instagram challenge, sketch

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