Inktober 52 – A Weekly Illustration Challenge for 2021

For the past couple of years I have taken part in the annual Inktober event. Running every day from 1 October right through until Halloween on 31 October, Inktober challenges drawing enthusiasts from all over the globe to share their creative responses to a series of daily prompt words.

Want to skip my chit-chat & go straight to the art? Click here.

A worthwhile challenge

The Inktober format is brilliant, but it’s also a thirsty beast. 31 days of back-to-back daily drawing can really feel like a marathon. It’s not just the drawing part that makes it so, it’s the daily race against the clock to come up with a fresh idea, or browse through your lifetime of photos to find a suitable reference picture. Usually I’d check the word in the morning, let it mull over during the day, then create the drawing at night. By the final week of October I feel like a car that’s running on fumes. After the event’s done and dusted, I usually don’t feel like picking up a pen for at least a fortnight. It really wipes me out.

Despite this, I still think Inktober is absolutely a worthwhile challenge to get involved in, and I’d recommend it to anyone at the drop of a hat. I’ve learnt so much from my taking part in it, especially about my own creative processes and (let’s call it) artistic ‘self-care’ (i.e. managing your limits so you don’t blow out!)

What’s Inktober 52?

Inktober52 takes all the good stuff from the regular Inktober, but spreads over fifty-two weeks instead. YES PLEASE. Every Thursday, a new prompt word is announced, and you have exactly seven glorious days to think of your response, draw it, then post it on Instagram. For me, Inktober52 is the perfect fit for my 2021 doodle journey – combining the surprise of random prompt topics with a time limit that’s not going to squeeze the love out of creating.

My primary focus for this lighter version of Inktober is not so much on practicing my drawing technique (although I’m sure that will just happen as a given), but on relishing the extra time I have in between prompts to really think about and creatively develop my responses.

Explore my Inktober doodles

Scroll down to explore my Inktober 52 creations. If you have an Instagram account, you can like your favourites via my #doodlher_inktober52 hashtag.

1: Fresh

January 5 2021 

As soon as I read the prompt I thought of the garden. I’ve seen a lot of…

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 … mushrooms over the past few months, so despite their association with decay, they’re probably one of the freshest things around right now.

2: Home

January 12 2021 

“Home is where the heart is”. Drawing houses is something I do quite a lot as…

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… part of my commission offering, so I wanted to break from the obvious with this week’s theme and draw something I wouldn’t usually do.

3: Reflection

January 18 2021 

I’ve never drawn a spoon reflection before so making this doodle was quite a…

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… bizarre process. I could definitely improve on capturing the contours of the spoon’s shape, but I think I did alright for my first attempt. Perhaps next time I should try and take the reference photo in a less-busy room. There were so many reflections in the spoon it was pretty mind boggling!

4: Ancient

January 25 2021 

Why a table stacked with food?! The answer sits with the Ancient Egyptians…

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… They were masters at recording details of events in their (now iconic) wall paintings. They prioritised packing their paintings with content over making their subjects look totally realistic. So when the time came for them to paint a dinner scene, they simply drew each of the foodstuffs stacked on top of each other like a tower of playing cards. This way the viewer would know EXACTLY what they had to eat.

I got really into Ancient Egyptian history (and their art) when I was 9 years old. I’ll always remember seeing their representation of dinnertime for the first time and feeling conflicted about whether it was funny or a stroke of pure genius. Anyway, I had fun making my version of an Ancient Egyptian inspired feast, complete with modern food. Lobster and banana anyone?

January 25 2021

5: Remote

February 1 2021 

The past 12 months has been a rollercoaster ride for anything and everything social…

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… I’m sure we’ve all felt some kind of effect from not being able to meet up with friends and family like we used to do. Remote socialising is the current ‘norm’. My doodle exaggerates it somewhat (I’m sure most of us only use one phone!), but I had the weird idea of illustrating a virtual hangout like a game of cards, complete with cat. I mean, how often do you usually get to bring your cat to the party?

6: Monster

February 9 2021 

Fantasy, horror and the supernatural are all genres that are way out of my…

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… usual doodle scope, so this week’s Inktober prompt was a huge challenge. I’ve spent the time between Thursday last week (when the prompt was announced) and today thinking about what to do. Honestly, it really had me stumped. I don’t watch horror at all, and keep away from most actual scary things because I have a VERY active imagination so the last thing I need to do is feed it terrifying images… Anyway, half man, half wolf, that was enough for me. Looking forward to the next prompt. Hoping it’s butterflies or something nice.

7: Dragonfly

February 11 2021 

I’ve always thought that dragonflies have a magical air to them…

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… This one is enchanted in the best way possible for inktober52. Doodled in ink, this fella is almost like a quill, but a bit more fluttery. I wonder how good it would be at crosshatching?

8: Camping

February 22 2021 

Have you ever been camping in the wilderness and felt just soooo small..?

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… Engulfed by nature, surrounding by giant flora, the wild is in charge and you’re a guest in its house. My doodle for inktober this week was inspired by that feeling, except the setting for this camp is in a plant pot, surrounded by spring flowers.

9: Egg

February 26 2021 

What’s your favourite way to cook an egg? Boiled? Scrambled? Something else?

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… This week’s prompt word is short, but sweet, and for me was another excuse to draw a hand. Seems I simply can’t get enough of it. I drew this week’s doodle with Micron pens and Posca on a nice thick sheet of canvas paper.

Learn more about the Inktober drawing event at www.inktober.com

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