Written by Malak Nour

Dear readers, as always, welcome back to Art Bits! Opposed to last time’s Blank Pink Paper, this time we’ll be talking about a pretty filled up, inked, white paper. We’ll be talking about Inktober. Inktober is the reason your Facebook and Instagram timelines have been filled with sketches since the beginning of the month, and why they’ll continue to be filled up with them till the 31st of this month. Speaking for myself, I’ll fill you in on the current trend, the beauty of it, and maybe persuade you to actually join!

Inktober’s logo

“Anyone can do Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.” That was said by Jake Parker; the Utah-based illustrator who started off the Inktober challenge in 2009. Parker decided that he wanted to go on a personal challenge to develop his inking and drawing skills, so he created Inktober. Little did he know that this personal project of his would turn into a worldwide trend where visual artists, for each day of October, dedicate a portion of their time to make an ink drawing as well.

Like Parker said, it’s actually really simple to do Inktober. The rules are that for each day of October, you do a drawing in ink, post it online, and hashtag it with #Inktober, then the same hashtag with the year number. There’s also a prompt list of 31 words which Parker came up with to help people find ideas for what to draw each day. For example, the prompt for day 1 is “swift,”; day 2 is “divided,”, and etc. The list has been part of Inktober only since 2016, and it had different prompts from those of 2017.

What’s interesting about Inktober – at least when it comes to artists following the prompt list – is that the exact same prompts (for example: shy) trigger very different images in different artists’ minds. The drawings, although share the same prompt, can look and feel very different. Some artists hover in the abstract, some tell a story with the imaginative, others get creative with doodles; the possibilities are endless. The result is that each artist imbues his/her drawing with a part of who they are. You see a glimpse of them through their work.

Here’s what three Egyptian artists had to say about how they feel with regards to being part of Inktober:  

“Inktober helped me realize that if I challenge myself to do something, I’ll find time for it. There’s always time for a sketch even if it’s a simple one no matter how busy I am. It also taught me that practice makes perfect.” Amina Farag. Follow her Inktober journey on Instagram: @byamiina

Photo by Amina Farag for Inktober 2017. Prompt: teeming.

“My Inktober journey till now has been truly inspiring and one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done for myself. Every prompt challenges me to think of ways to visualize and express words that I wouldn’t have ever really thought of expressing, which surprises me every day because I never know what I’m going to draw! It’s just so rewarding, beautiful and exciting! It gives me something to look forward to every day.” Farah Mohamed.

Photo by Farah Mohamed for Inktober 2017. Prompt: teeming.

“Inktober has really been a roller coaster. It has challenged me on so many levels; the idea of drawing something relevant to the prompts and still making it your own was, in itself, a beautiful daily struggle. Some days, I wouldn’t have any idea about what to draw and others, it would just come naturally. On both days, I was committed to the challenge. To say the least, Inktober really did get me out of my comfort zone and silenced that voice that tells me to keep doing what I know best.” Nada Khaled. Follow her Inktober journey on Instagram: @ngdsketches

Photo by Nada Gamal-Eldin for Inktober 2017. Prompt: teeming.

Personally, I’m not participating in Inktober, but seeing the different drawings out there by my friends, relatives, and artists I’m following, adds something special to my day. It’s inspiring for me to see how ideas come to life through people’s drawings; how what was originally on their minds takes forms that are available for all of us to see. Again, I’m not participating in Inktober, but I’m already getting inspired. Not just by the drawings, but by how doing something very simple that you’re passionate about everyday can really push you forward; both in terms of skill, and personal contentment. Growth and getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t  have to be achieved by going to extremes; they can simply be through taking up an ink pen, a white paper, and drawing away.


Are you or any of your friends or relatives taking part in Inktober? What do you particularly love about it? Is there anything that you dislike? Let me know in the comments below!