Today marks the beginning of Inktober, an annual art challenge. I explained in 2017 why I, a writer and a truly terrible pencil/ink artist, would try this, and how it is good for me. This year I’m doing it again.
Today’s prompt was “poisonous,” so I drew a cute little snake. I was actually pretty happy with my pencil sketch; Inktober and Sketchtember really did a lot for me.
I was thinking so hard about the next step of inking that I misspelled venomous. Sigh. And then, well, inking is not something I’ve practiced a lot, okay?
But hey, I did a thing, and I kind of liked it. Yay! So I snapped my pic and went to upload to Instagram because that’s what you do.
And as my pic loaded, the next item in my feed appeared, an Inktober entry from one of my many professional artist friends. It was gorgeous. Amazingly well done. And I looked at my plain little snake with his shaky outline and his screwy eyes and I suddenly felt really bad.
And that’s wrong of me.
I am not doing Inktober to compete. I am not doing Inktober to impress. I am doing Inktober to have a good time and to practice something I’d like to be able to do better. And I have gotten better; I only have to look back to see that. To compare my fledgling efforts against someone who has spent thousands of hours in practice is stupid. She got there via practice; my time is better spent in practice than in whining and unfair comparisons.
The same is true for my writing friends who have not spent as much time yet in the craft. Someone commented this week that I had a relatively clean rough draft. Yes, I’ve definitely gotten better at rough drafts after putting literally millions of words on paper. But I’m also right now revising an old rough draft from years ago when, I can assure you, it was aaaaaanything but clean. (Let’s be honest, it’s a hot mess.) The difference is practice. And when I look at someone else’s writing and think, Wow, I want that? Yep, still practice.
So that is why I’m doing Inktober; it’s good for me as a baby artist and as a writer. I hope you can have fun practicing something difficult for you!