I finished Inktober 2019!
When I started it this year, I really wasn’t sure if I could finish it. This past month or so was one of the busiest in recent memory. However, I did it. Not sure how I succeeded, but I think that putting all my other blogs on hold was pretty much the only way I could.
Just like last year, I’m going to write some sort of debriefing with some final thoughts about each drawing. You’ll see that time often was a deciding factor for quite a few drawings.
All the drawings can be seen on the same page there:
Otherwise, links to each specific post are below, along with
a few thoughts about each drawing
1 – Ring – It was the first drawing, so I didn’t want to draw something difficult, fail and then lose the little confidence I had gained right at the beginning (I’m really at that stage where I have gained some confidence about drawing, but not enough to actually be “confident” about the whole thing). I also didn’t want to draw a ring (the kind you put on a finger), so I chose this simple design of an alarm. In retrospect, the design was maybe a bit too simple, but that’s probably what I needed at that moment. I remember being very afraid to struggle and fail from the beginning.
2 – Mindless – One of my first attempts at doing a caricature of someone alive and famous (well, I did another one in 2018). When I finished it, I was happy that I managed to do it. Now, a little bit than a month later, I think it could have been much better. Does it mean that I improved and gained confidence during this month? Maybe.
3 – Bait – I was still finding my footing I guess. I found this simple – but not too simple – design (really two drawings I merged into one). I wanted to keep things easy because I knew some challenges were coming.
4 – Freeze – First real challenge. I used a video tutorial for most of the drawing. I’m glad that I managed to do it, but I find the final result a bit stiff and lacking life. However, it is fitting due to the topic, so not a huge problem.
5 – Build – Who would have thought that my first big trouble would come with a few geometrical forms? I feel that I’ve drawn blocks many times in the past, but that probably was in high school, about 30 years ago! Or maybe that’s because the paper was not lined paper? I don’t know, but they gave me one hell of a time, and the final result is a much more simplified version than what I originally had in mind. The result is “cute” though.
6 – Husky – The first drawing of this year’s Inktober that I’m actually proud of. Sure, it doesn’t exactly look like the real thing, and there are some parts I wish I had done differently, but overall, I consider it a success.
7 – Enchanted – The previous drawing took quite some time to draw, so I decided for a much quicker design for this one. It actually turned out much better than planned. So, great, I guess.
8 – Frail – What took me a long time was to find what to draw. I’m not even sure this drawing fits the prompt well. When I finished it I was pretty happy with it (but it’s probably because I managed to draw something), but now, I think that it’s a bit too simple, not sure.
9 – Swing – Last year, I drew a smurf quite successfully (with a video tutorial). Could I draw another famous cartoon character? Without a tutorial this time? Well, I guess I can (even if some scaling is a bit messy).
10 – Pattern – When I say that I almost didn’t draw in the past 20 years before last year, it’s not completely true. From time to time I like to doodle some abstract designs. This was the occasion to include one of them to Inktober. Also, I “know” how to draw these and they don’t take too long. I knew I would be needing a lot of time for the next one.
11 – Snow – I just can’t draw people in a realistic fashion. This is probably the drawing I like the least this year, and it’s a shame because I spent a lot of time on it, and I thought the sketch I drew before inking it was kind of OK. Oh well. Still, I need to learn how to draw people, but I will probably need a certain number of tutorials.
12 – Dragon – Two difficult drawings back to back but I’m actually impressed how well I managed to draw this one. It’s probably the drawing I’m the proudest of this year. I never thought it would be a success, especially right after the disappointing previous one.
13 – Ash – Back to a simpler design from lack of time and ideas. It’s actually not bad at all, don’t you think?
14 – Overgrown – I had no time at all for this drawing, so it’s a simplified version of what I had in mind, which was basically a landscape made of rocks and/or concrete with one single flower surviving and growing no matter what. The idea is there, but I feel that this drawing could have had a stronger impact if I could have spent more time on it.
15 – Legend – Not really a drawing at all, just an idea. I had no time and no idea for a drawing that I could actually do, hence this replacement “map.” You can call it a cop-out, I won’t disagree.
16 – Wild – This is one of the drawings I’m the proudest of this year (except for the tail). I find the technique used by Maurice Sendak very interesting and I tried to reproduce it. And I think we can call it a success. I especially like it, because despite not being the original intent, I found myself using hashing quite often when doing various shadings and this is all the wild things are about in terms of the way they’re drawn.
17 – Ornament – I find this one quite interesting and, in retrospect, much better than my original feeling about it. I just talked about using hashing for shading, but for this one, I wanted to try another technique. I started with a youtube tutorial for drawing a sphere. The tutorial was only using pencils. I tried to figure out how to do something similar but with inks. The result may be a little too dark for a Christmas ornament (or maybe it’s for a gothic Christmas), but the result is actually not bad at all. Ironically, I’m usually not a big fan of drawings with a painting feel like this one.
18 – Misfit – I did have a few ideas for this drawing but no time at all, so I just did this in a few minutes. It’s neither bad no good. Of course, it’d be better if I had spent more time on it. Also, today, I regret not doing the opposite. A “weirdo” among many normal “boring” faces is almost a cliché. One normal boring face surrounded by weirdos would have been more interesting when thinking about it.
19 – Sling – For this one, my time constraint kinda played in my favor. As I didn’t want to spend time looking for an original or interesting idea, I just drew a literal sling. And the result is quite good actually.
20 – Tread – This is pretty much the only idea that came to mind. The drawing could be better, but as there was no model to follow, I had to “design” it myself. In any case, I’ve always felt iffy about this “don’t tread on me” thing even before it was taken over by fascists and white supremacists. Now? Yes, we need to do all we can to tread on them, indeed.
21 – Treasure – Another map. This one was one of my two original ideas for this prompt. I meant to detail it much more (as far as treasure maps go), but I totally failed my first attempt (it was OK until I started adding colors) and – as often – I didn’t have the time for another complex attempt (especially as it could have been a failure too). One small disappointment, no one “got it.” Yes, this map is some sort of easter egg (albeit a quite obscure one, I admit) and no one noticed on social media. 🙁 Oh well… (I’m not going to tell what it is, just in case someone finds out one day).
22 – Ghost – After drawing Jon Snow earlier, of course, I had to draw “his” Ghost (he’s not a pet, I know). I used a tutorial to draw a wolf. I’m glad I managed to do it, but it does look stiff and lacks life, like the baby from “freeze”. Oh well. Something to keep in mind with these tutorials.
23 – Ancient – I’m glad I got to draw this. Take it as my homage to some of the most amazing drawings ever. I’ve always been fascinated by Lascaux and other prehistorical caves, and not only because I grew up nearby. Those are some of the first artworks ever, and of course, we’ll never know who did them. If we could meet them, we’d be unable to communicate with them. And yet, their art speaks to us, tens of thousands of years later. Nothing symbolizes the power of art more than this. If I had been a better artist I would have drawn the actual wall and all, but I like the idea of only reproducing the painting itself.
24 – Dizzy – First I had no idea what to draw. Then, the idea of drawing Lucille 2 from Arrested Development came to mind, and I knew she was the right thing to draw. Now, I’m totally incapable to draw Liza Minnelli in a satisfying fashion. I found a caricature of her younger self and tried to age her a little bit. One friend recognized her, so I guess it’s not so bad.
25 – Tasty – Around this time, I knew that if I wanted to not fall behind and still do all the other things I needed to do, I’d have to go the fast and easy route. I could have chosen to just be very late at finishing Inktober, but actually trying to make acceptable drawings fast was an interesting challenge in itself. A useful one too, one reason I didn’t draw as much as I wanted to during this past year was that I rarely had the time to spend a couple of hours or more on a drawing.
26 – Dark – I struggled to find ideas for this one when I remember that my kids are always scared of walking through this corridor at night without turning the lights on because it’s dark, even when the rooms are lit. So, that’s what I draw. I didn’t try to be totally accurate and had fun with the hashing, and it worked out quite well in the end.
27 – Coat – Another difficult prompt. I didn’t want to draw a coat, that’s for sure, so I thought about the other meanings of the word and ended up drawing my hometown’s coat of arms. It looks strange in black and white. I’m not exactly satisfied, but it was the last stretch, I had little time and I wasn’t too interested in this prompt. I should revisit later the idea of drawing coats of arms, though.
28 – Ride – Probably my most “ambitious” drawing this year. Well, I had to drastically simplify it compared to the original, but in the end, I didn’t mess it up, so that’s a win.
29 – Injured – One of these drawings where for a while I simply have no idea what to draw, but when I suddenly found it, it became the only choice. I had to draw the scene from another drawing, not from the actual picture; for some reason, it seems almost impossible to find a good quality picture of that scene on the internet. I think I did alright. Oh, a weird anecdote; on Instagram, a preteen commented “OK boomer” on that drawing? To what I can only answer: “dafuck?”
30 – Catch – Another uninspiring prompt. I drew it in a few minutes, just trying to get it over with. At least I didn’t mess it up with colors this time. I thought that was the end of it when a little surprise awaited me shortly after posting it on Reddit. You’ll see in a few paragraphs.
31 – Ripe – I’m actually very pleased with this drawing. Some friends told me that I have improved a lot since last year. Looking at last year’s drawings, I think they’re right, and this final one is the perfect example. Sure, I still need a model – there is no way I can draw this from scratch – but it is a decent drawing indeed. And even more important, for many drawings, I just try something and hope it works. For this one, I feel like I knew what I was doing the whole time, so yeah! A great ending indeed.
We’re “almost” finished. I told you what drawings I liked or disliked. I’m also curious about what you think. Do not hesitate to tell me in the comments.
Also, as they were posted on various social media, they have been ranked by people.
Let’s check those rankings.
I’m not sure “upvotes” on Reddit are an accurate way to rank drawings for a bunch of reasons. Upvotes will depend on many random factors (what time the drawing is posted, what is posted at the same time, and so on). Also, you may have noticed that a lot of my drawings this year are inspired by pop culture. I didn’t plan it this way, it just happened. However, it’s true that it makes it easier to find ideas, as well as visualize them, not mentioning finding decent models. Of course, Reddit being what it is, some drawings will get more upvotes, not because they’re better or more interesting, but because they’ll depict things that are popular on Reddit.
I’m very surprised by the success of this drawing, but I really think it comes from the popularity of Pokémon Go on Reddit and not anything else.
I also think that Ride has been overrated because of its subject. The other ones probably deserve their stop in the top five.
Let’s see what my followers on Instagram think. It may give more “accurate” scores, as people liking the drawings are a mix of my followers (note that my Instagram account is Japan-heavy in terms of content) and people who have found my drawings through hashtags.
It’s not a surprise at all that Dragon was the winner on Instagram. First, it probably is my best drawing this year, but also – as mentioned a few lines above – most of my followers follow me for my pictures about Japan.
And if my followers follow me mostly for pictures in Japan, they especially follow me for the Setouchi Triennale, so it’s totally normal that Husky arrives in the second position. I am surprised to find Catch again near the top, I guess people really like this drawing after all.
I posted my drawings on Facebook and Twitter too, but they didn’t garner many likes, shares or retweets. One reason can be that I didn’t actually post the drawings but links to the posts here. So what we could check is the traffic for the posts. There is a major caveat. The number of views doesn’t reflect in any way whether people liked the drawing or not. More often than not, it reflects how well ranked in search engines the post is. So, with this in mind, let’s check what my Google Analytics tell me.
And indeed the results are very different from anywhere else:
Indeed, I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the top five is composed of the first three entries as well as two prompts for which one can easily imagine people googling for ideas. One interesting thing is that my old (and out-of-date for some) “Ask a Frenchman” posts usually hog the top ten for most viewed pages on my site, but in October, all of those five drawings were in the top 10 (with Frail placing number two). Interestingly, some of those posts do rank on Google’s page one when you search “Inktober frail” and so on.
I guess that’s all for this year’s Inktober “debriefing”. The blog is going to be quieter in the coming weeks, I do have a lot of catch up to do with Setouchi Explorer. However, sooner or later expect activity here in the form of drawings, pictures or something else.