013: Inktober 2017: Why I abandoned it (and why I’m okay with that)


Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017


Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins

  1. Self-initiated projects are fun, but it’s okay to reprioritize them if you have to complete something that you’ve committed to do for someone else.
  2. Reprioritizing something doesn’t mean you’re giving it up forever; you’re just giving it up right now.


Have you ever had an art school project or a freelance project for a client that was due, but the thought of completing it (or even starting it) wasn’t as appealing as doing a character design contest or illustrating something for social media?

I think it’s safe to say that we all have.

I think why it’s so appealing is that it’s fake work. It’s a sneaky form of procrastination. When you’re just loafing and playing video games or watching a movie you know you’re procrastinating. However, when you’re creating something that really isn’t for anything other than your own satisfaction instead of on actual (paid-for) work; it feels like progress. This is the Creative’s version of jogging in place; you’re doing a lot of work, but not really going anywhere.

The reason I bring this up is because for an entire year I was planning what I was going to draw for Inktober this year.

Inktober is a 31-day drawing challenge created by Jake Parker. The idea is basically what it sounds like: draw one picture a day (preferably in pen & ink) everyday during the month of October and post it online somewhere.

I had a good start and a lot of self-imposed challenges to make it more interesting and I got about 9-days in. I then got a few urgent and big client work and had to make a decision to abandon the challenge. Abandoning it wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I realized that even the 30-40 minutes I was spending on each drawing was not the best use of my time.

I bring this up for a two reasons, one of them is that I want to stay accountable to those that I’ve announced that I was going to take part in the Inktober challenge. When there was a huge lag in my progress people wondered what happened; there was an expectation of sorts. I abandoned this challenge, but I did so in favor of being responsible. I would probably say a more apt description of what I did was reprioritize.

The other reason I bring this up is because I want to encourage you to think more about time and responsibility. The most difficult thing about being a working professional Creative is that you have to make professional decisions. It’s counter to how we think (for the most part); we excel at daydreaming. I would venture to say even when we’re doing projects we like and that are dream projects there is some other personal creative venture that is lulling us away like a Siren at sea.

If you have to give something up to get something done, or reprioritize it for later,  you’re doing a good thing. You’re doing the responsible, professional thing.


Postscript: Below are all 9 days that were completed for Inktober 2017. The theme I chose was iconic horror monsters/villains from film and television.


(from Right to Left, Top to Bottom) Bubba Ho-Tep, The Thing, Warlock, Demogorgon, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Michael Jackson, Djinn, George A. Romero, The Creeper