Inktober – Favourites & Further Thoughts

Inktober - Favourites & Further Thoughts by Karolina Szablewska

The past couple years, I’ve done the Inktober art challenge. The first time I tried it was in 2016. Legitimately, my art practice was kind of non-existant in the fall and so it was a good motivator. It’s fun to think about how much life changes from one autumn to the next.

I never got around to making a blog post dedicated to what I did, so I’m going to make on this year as I decided not to do the challenge. Usually, when artists do Inktober, it’s to be more productive and create art daily. For me, that’s less of a problem…I feel like I make enough art now. So my other motivator was to play with inks, but I’ve been using oils more this year than usual and want to stick to working on my series. It was definitely fulfilling to see that I can indeed organize myself and get pretty far, especially if some ink drawings were taking most of the afternoon to pull off and I didn’t always feel on top of the world like it’s common not to during the change of seasons.

One issue I’ve had with the art challenge was the prompts. The first year, I didn’t use any prompts. The second year, I used the official prompts and found them somewhat repetitive. If I were to do a challenge such as creating for 30 consecutive days again, I would probably plan exactly what I’m going to do. One of my ideas was to do figure drawing, then use the base as a pose to design a character on top of. Another idea is to plan a comic book I can draw in 30 days.

The biggest benefit from the art challenge was forcing an idea to happen. I think I genuinely came up with some unique ideas I would have otherwise not have created at all had I not done the challenge. I would not have experimented with inks and learned new techniques and tricks.

A few of my favourites Inktober sketches:

yellow pepper cross section drawing
9″x5.5″. Ink on bristol paper. PRINTS

This pepper you may have seen before. My favourites I scanned immediately. Apparently it makes a great wall tapestry because some people bought one on Society6 (have a look).

inktober teeming nova scotia watercolour sketch
5″x5″ watercolor and ink sketch on 140lb watercolor paper. Inktober Prompt for 2017 – Teeming, as in teeming with trees in the wilderness of Nova Scotia.

Whether others do or do not, I really love this little sketch. The colours, the texture, the simplicity, and the memory it brings back for me. This is one of those I’d love to blow up into a huge print to emphasize all those qualities. I really like that the sketch is essentially one type of line and hand movement, over and over.

inktober crab
6″x8″, ink, 2016. Drawing of crab for Inktober 2016. | PRINTS

I remember this crab well because I never quite played with colour inks before. It feels very fresh and simple, and I like that. There’s different shapes, textures, lines, colour, organic marks.

Inktober - Favourites & Further Thoughts by Karolina Szablewska
A small sketch with ink, gauche on top of a streak of acrylic paint. Inktober 2017 – Swift

This one is fun because it’s completely an experiment. I like to put old paint in a sketchbook like this and sometimes draw over it. I haven’t quite found the right medium that sits on acrylic paint, since this didn’t work so well. It was hard to control and cover with.

 Hippoglossus Hippoglossus watercolor
7″x10″ ink, watercolor on bristol paper. Comic about the confusing existence of a Halibut. Inktober 2017.

I was in Nova Scotia, so it seemed appropriate to think about fish. I was reading about halibuts since I remembered they are a type of flat fish, and the whole situation of their existence became somewhat funny.

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My Last Several Pieces Made on Twitch

hello twitch streamer watercolor portrait

When I started streaming, it was an experiment to see if anyone at all would show up. Just even 1 person I don’t already know as a friend, or family, or someone else. I didn’t expect anything from it. Everyone’s asking me how I can tolerate having a camera pointed in my face when I can barely tolerate giving a presentation to a room of 3? Good question, because the truth is: I don’t know. I’m not psychologist and I can’t explain it, however I talked to some other streamers about it and we concluded it’s basically an introvert party where we get to control exactly how much socializing we get and with who. Anyone can leave at any time. If I don’t like someone and they’re being awful, I just ban them. No one has to make awkward eye contact. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. But I think there’s something more to it than that, because the other day I volunteered myself to go on a talk show I found filming downtown and asked questions on camera, which would otherwise have made me run and hide had streaming not been there to condition my shyness away.

It’s really helping with having an art-producing schedule; I can’t just keep putting off making art for some other seemingly important thing because I promised my viewers I’d be there so&so many times a week. It really makes me realize how much I do put off making art, when I always thought I didn’t. The span of time between two intervals when I create is a lot longer without a schedule to keep me in check. Generally, I’m not good at perceiving time… a month can go by and I won’t notice, or a day goes by and feels like it’s been weeks. So, I’m not really surprised. It’s not that I consciously procrastinate, it’s that I don’t notice how much stands in the way. My streaming computer broke for about 2 weeks and I felt pretty unhappy I couldn’t paint, and in that time span I realized that is usually how infrequently I painted. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. If I want to work on my style and have a new body of work that stands out, that can’t be happening.

So here are a few pieces I’ve completed since I started streaming! If you don’t count me goofing around with experiments, then I think I started in November of last year. As I’m selecting these, I’m realizing I made more than I thought. Some of these I already posted about, so I will talk about the ones I haven’t. All but 2 of these are in my art store as prints. If you’d think you’d like to watch one day, you can go here.

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