My 3 years of Inktober – Part 3


What I learned from 2017

Comparing 2016 to 2017, there were a few surprises:

  • Working on a larger paper was much easier than I expected. 2016’s drawings were between 3×5” and 5×8”. 2017’s drawings were 9×12”. I thought I’d be struggling to fill so much space with ink, but I found it much easier to make fluid lines on the larger paper.
  • I loved using the brush pen. That said, I found using only the brush pen to be a real challenge. Last year I used Copic markers to add value to my drawings. This year I wanted to keep things simple. Even with that goal in mind, I struggled with whether or not to add values with cross hatching. Some drawings felt like they really needed it. Some felt overworked once they had it.
  • I found I liked using black square to help simplify backgrounds. The ability to focus the composition on one area helped me from getting overloaded (and it saved on ink!)

What’s next?

With a few Inktobers under my belt, I see that my process keeps me on track to complete 31 drawings in the month. Now I’m starting to think about how I can improve the quality of my work for the month. I want to experiment not only with how I work, but what I draw.

For next year’s Inktober, I know I want to keep the nature science theme. I want to keep managing my ideas in Trello. I’m happy with how these two elements are working out. As I look back on the last 3 years, there is one very clear area where I could challenge myself.

I could stop relying on photos and create all original work.

😱 [screams of terror]

For some artists, this is no big deal. Heck, they’ve been doing that this whole time. I’m someone who draws what they see. Although I draw from life regularly, drawing from photographs is a way to draw conveniently on a schedule. Now that I have 2 successful years (and one semi-successful year) under my belt, I want to push myself to do more than what’s convenient and comfortable.

I could draw my 2018 Inktober sketches from life. That means practicing sketching in the wild. We have many great resources in the Bay Area like the Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Zoo, the Oakland Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Bay. If I were to create thumbnails from my museum experiences, I could put those thumbnails in my Trello board instead of photos.

Another idea I’ve had is to try to focus less on realism and really experiment with different mark-making techniques. How little can I draw and still communicate a recognizable plant or animal species? How can I add an element of chance to my work? Does this inkblot say “anglerfish?” Can I keep on schedule if the subject of each day’s drawing is left up to chance? There’s a lot to think about, but I’m confident I’ll be ready to take on the challenge next year.

Angler fish made from an inkblot

Less realism, more element of chance!


A big thank you to Jake Parker, for starting Inktober and thank you to all the artists who participated. Your work is inspiring!

Many thanks to everyone who followed along. I appreciate your support and all your feedback. Did you have any favorites this year? Do you have suggestions for animals or plants for my 2018 list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1 and Part 2 where I talk about my Inktober process in more detail. Otherwise, stay tuned! I’ll have news about upcoming shows as well as more blog posts with my in progress work.

Updates on Upcoming Shows and Sales!

I have work in the upcoming TINY show at STUDIO Gallery

I’m proud to announce I will be exhibiting work at the “Tiny” group show at STUDIO Gallery! The exhibit runs November 10th – December 23rd, 2017. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, November 12th from 1-6pm. The show features all local artists with works of art under 7×7” and on sale for under $500. I hope to see you there!

I have prints for sale at The Great Highway Gallery

I have two signed, limited-edition prints for sale at The Great Highway Gallery. The prints are of of the Sierra Valley and the Bolinas lagoon. The gallery also has prints from several local artists for sale. Stop by and check them out!

My Etsy Store is up!

I have select originals and prints up on my Etsy Store with more work on the way for 2018.

Let’s keep in touch!

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