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Inktober: A Viral Challenge

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Every October, thousands of artists worldwide take on the Inktober drawing challenge. It entails creating one ink drawing a day throughout the month of October, and posting the drawing online through the hashtag #Inktober. Besides improving their inking skills and developing positive drawing habits, artists find it a great opportunity to have their art seen by everyone.

The Inktober challenge is about seeing what artists can create with a white sheet of paper and black ink. By the first of September each year, Inktober posts its official prompt list online to help spark artists’ creativity, as well as to explore the creativity and the variety that lies inside of a single word.

Watch this short video on “How To Do Inktober!

The month-long challenge was initiated by artist Jake Parker* in 2009; since then it has gone viral. It initially focused on traditional inkers, and every year it becomes more open for everyone creating art from different fields. “Anyone can do Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing,” says Parker on his official website. The challenge now includes digital inking, calligraphy, typography, and lettering. Even writers take on the challenge by crafting poems or short stories daily following the Inktober prompt list.

In 2014, over 100,000 drawings were tagged on Twitter by artists participating in the Inktober challenge. Every year the participation continues to rise and the challenge has become a very popular phenomenon on social media. Not only talented or amateur artists take on the challenge, I also find some of my friends who have never been into arts giving the challenge a try, which raises a question in my mind: how could a person commit to any of those internet challenges?

Being an art lover, I tried to take on the challenge, but could not do more than two drawings the entire month. I draw and keep the drawings for myself, so I realized then that the answer simply lies in “motivation”.

If we trace the source of motivation, we will find it starts up there in our brains, where neurotransmitters send chemical messages to keep our brain and bodies alert to do a certain task. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that play an important role in motivation. Scientists found that people who attempt to work hard have higher dopamine levels in the striatum and prefrontal cortex; the areas that impact motivation and reward. When your brain anticipates that something important will happen, an increased amount of dopamine flows.

Let us get back to the Inktober challenge, think of it as an amateur artist, who knows very well that it is a great opportunity to share your art with someone worldwide using a simple hashtag, rather than posting your drawings on your refrigerator. Dopamine starts its real job by encouraging you to draw. Sharing your art daily on social media with your friends and other artists worldwide, and hearing their feedbacks, whether positive or negative, means that your work is recognized.

31 Days, 31 Drawings

Motivation is tricky to be achieved; yet, it is not impossible. Inktober is a great way to challenge yourself and inspire the artist in you. It is simply all in your head; “That is it! Now go make something beautiful!”*

Glossary

*Jake Parker is an illustrator and writer, who has worked on several projects including comics and animated films, and contributed to movies, such as Rio and Horton Hears a Who! For additional information, please visit Mr. Jake Parker’s official website: www.mrjakeparker.com.

References
inktober.com
mrjakeparker.com
en.wikipedia.org
blog.idonethis.com

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