An artist’s Iron-Man challenge: Inktober


Anirudh Chaudhary

When senior Daphne Ying first heard about Inktober, she thought it was about getting tattoos during October for Halloween. When she saw the hashtag on people’s artwork, she decided to take on the challenge herself.

For every day of October, millions of artists around the world draw ink drawings, following a different, self-assigned prompt for 31 days. All one needs is a pen and paper.

The trend was started by artist Jake Parker, who came up with the idea for Inktober in 2009 as an idea for him to brush up on his creative skills. As he started posting artwork with the hashtag, many of his followers began asking about the rules and participating too. It wasn’t long before the challenge has it’s own rules, tutorials and millions of people participated in it this year. Parker says he puts months of consideration into the prompts he selects for each year, as Inktober has become more and more popular.

“You don’t have to follow the prompts, but it helps, especially if you keep drawing things everyday,” Ying said. From October 1 through October 31, Ying said she saw a definite improvement in her artistic skills and says that going forward with a lot of her artwork she will benefit of the practice she got from participating in Inktober.

Sophomore Naomi Desai says she enjoys drawing, yet didn’t participate in the challenge.

“I didn’t have an art Instagram or anything like that, so I didn’t really have any following to post to,” said Desai. “Some of the art accounts I follow participated in Inktober, but I didn’t. I think it’s really cool that [students] participated in Inktober because it’s fun to look at what other people are doing.”

Photography and multimedia teacher, Tyler Cripe, is familiar with the the challenge, yet does not participate himself because he believes he doesn’t have too much of an online presence. He encourages others, however, to venture out of their comfort zone and attempt the challenge.

“You should, within reason, always try things that you’re not good at because how would you know [you’re not good at it],” Cripe said. “It gives you a parameter. You have to draw in ink, and it gives you a time limit, and that’s a good thing because you can’t get out of those parameters. I think creating those artificial parameters can let you be more creative.”

Ying herself participated in the challenge, following the official list of prompts published for 2017.


“This year, I was mentally preparing myself to [commit] to this project for an entire month,” Ying said. Even with the occasional delay or late midnight posting, she got through the entire challenge and inked a drawing for every single prompt by the end of the month.

“Get yourself all the inking supplies — you’re going to feel so happy that you have them — and get yourself a non-photo blue pencil, because it helps to start sketching in a different color,” Ying said. “In that way, it helps and it’s less intimidating. If you fall behind, it doesn’t matter — everyone does,” said Ying.

Scroll through the photos below to see the works Ying produced during Inktober.

Daphne Ying Inktober

To be able to put one’s self in the public spotlight is not easy, but the Inktober hashtag helps people be more comfortable with their artwork and be a part of a larger activity where they know everyone is trying to do the same. Desai thinks those who participated in this challenge and post their artwork online are not only talented, but brave.

“ [I] wouldn’t be able to put myself out there like that everyday,” said Desai.

Teachers and students alike recommend all to participate in the Inktober challenge, whether they participated in it or not. From the sense of community that it brings out in artists to the goal setting mindset that it appeals to, Inktober continues to grow and improve as more choose to participate in the artists’ Iron-Man challenge.