Inktober is here!

I didn’t really plan to do this…but when you live a creative life you never really know what you might be doing next. So I’m doing Inktober this year. With a twist 😉

Inktober is an art challenge that has taken place every year since Jake Parker began it in 2009. The goal is to use a pen (or any kind of ink) every day for the month of October to improve your ink skills and develop a daily drawing practice.

I’ve tried it once in the past and didn’t complete it successfully. If you are the kind of artist who likes to create finished, detailed artwork every time you sit down, you’re going to need a lot of time to do this every day. For a month!

However, this year, I boldly chose to follow the Inktober Tangle Challenge, kind of a subset of Inktober, which has daily Zentangle prompts instead of the word prompt list that comes with the regular Inktober challenge. It was a last-minute decision, since I’ve been focused on improving my watercolor skills recently and I didn’t want to get distracted from my studies.

The Tangle Challenge will be easier, I told myself. I only have to do a doodle a day. The doodle is provided. I don’t even have to think about it!

Yeah, right.

October 1 came around, Day 1 of the challenge, and the prompt was a tangle called Rain. I looked it up, saw how to draw it. Pulled out my tangle sketchbook. Opened it up to a blank page. Looked at the sample tangle again. Gee, it looked kind of…boring.

I got out my gel pens and found some pretty blues and greens. But hey, my watercolors were right there next to me, already pre-wet, it wouldn’t take much to put some color on the page first, right? Oh and I really should add more tangles around it…and some colored pencil…and…and….

Many hours later…

I couldn’t help myself. It became complicated. But I’d had fun, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

Day 2 arrived. New prompt, very simple tangle, clean page in the sketchbook. Again, it took half my day to finish, but I was super happy with it:

Lots of glitter gel pen and gold Uni-ball in this one. It was something my nine-year-old self would’ve loved. Again, I promised myself that tomorrow I’d try to keep it simpler.


Here’s Day 3:

I know I won’t be able to keep this up for 31 days. I know I’m setting myself up for a big fall. My expectations are way too high for what I really need to do to satisfy the daily drawing requirement.


Today is Day 4. I woke up early, got my daily writing finished, and looked up the day’s Inktober Tangle prompt. It looked super easy, and since we planned on being away from home most of the day, I decided I would keep it simple by using just a pen. (I don’t know how I was so proud of that decision when that’s what we’re supposed to do! DUH!) We went out for exercise and to run errands, stopped for lunch, and by the time I got home I had only 3 hours available for completing the challenge.

A normal person would say “Three hours? That’s more than enough time.”

But I never said I was normal. I did, however, pick up one pen to use for today’s tangle, just like I promised myself. It just happened to be an Elegant Writer pen, a special calligraphy pen that goes down black on the paper, but if you put water on it, it turns color. Sort of like the paint by water coloring books we had when we were kids.

Yeah, it wasn’t a simple black pen. Go figure. Two hours later, I had this:

Not very pretty, but I learned from it, so that’s okay. But where did the time go??

For anyone who’s interested in using the Elegant Writer for tangles, here are a couple of tips: don’t try it on a small paper that has lots of linework, and do use a lot of gold on it. Oh, and yes, salt does work on it in a similar way as regular watercolor, only it brings up a brown color that adds to the jades and pinks you get with the water application.

Anyway…tomorrow will be Day 5 of the Inktober Tangle Challenge. And tomorrow I won’t try to make it so complicated.

(Yeah, right!)

Are you trying out Inktober this year? If you are, how’s it going?

Scroll to Top