Last month brought with it the annual Inktober event - a challenge for artists to try and stick to a discipline of regularly producing an ink drawing throughout the month of October.
It encourages self discipline and time management, with a happy side effect of filling the world with more art for a month (go check out #inktober or #inktober2018 on Facebook if you're interested).
For me, Inktober has a little extra meaning as it was due to me taking part - on a whim - that I ended up seeing art as something I could actually do.
I received such an enthusiastic response from friends and family throughout that first October, it encouraged me to push myself and produce bigger, more elaborate work by the end of the month - and then people asked me for prices.
That was a huge thing for me - it's one thing to have friends and family say 'oh wow that looks cool', it's another thing entirely to have someone genuinely enquire as to how to purchase your work. If I hadn't seen Inktober that year and thought 'hey why not?' then the last few years would probably have been a bit different!
Anyway, that's enough reminiscing, let's get back to this year's Inktober summary! I started out with a plan to follow the official prompt list this year (last year I did my own alphabestiary thing). I was going to try and draw each weekday, allowing myself a break at the weekends to avoid burnout.
For the first week, the plan seemed to work. Then I got hit out of the blue with an anxiety trigger (yay brain weasels! Oh wait no). Now for me, art is something I turn away from when the weasels of Anxiety and Depression get loose - any confidence I have in my own work flies out the window, and any attempt to draw tends to turn into a moody half hour of staring at a blank page, amazed at my own sheer audacity for even thinking I could draw anything remotely worthwhile.
Yeah. Brain weasels suck.
So that killed about a week. Feeling frustrated, but still wanting to keep at it, I managed to get drawing again. I had a rough sketch for one of the prompts that I'd redrawn half a dozen times over the last week - so I redrew it once more, told myself 'enough' and inked it.
I made it through a couple more prompts, and then the October weather got me. I went pretty much overnight from 'ugh, I feel a bit bunged up' to 'hmm, pretty sure my chest is not supposed to make bubbling noises when I breathe...'. The last two weeks of October I had a horrid chesty cough that took my drawing plans (along with everything else I had going on), laughed at them, threw them in a bin and set them on fire. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say I had no energy and my daily thought processes made about as much sense as the proverbial chocolate teapot.
This last week the Lurg has been drying up - I'm down to a bit of a sniffle and a tickly cough that likes to strike randomly a few times each day. I could try to go back and do drawings for all the prompts I missed... but I think that would kind of be missing the point a bit. On this occasion I am choosing to accept that my plans failed, and to move on. I still tried, I still produced a handful of drawings I'm fairly happy with, and I think perhaps most importantly I did manage to pick up my pen again after the weasel attack - something I might well not have managed a year or so ago.
So what now? Something I haven't really done much this year is just produce individual bits of art. I've done a fair bit of leather work, and I've done art for specific projects... but I haven't really just drawn what I felt like. Over the next couple of months I'm going to try and just finish one piece a week, with no particular theme or purpose other than to make art. Let's just hope I've fulfilled my annual lurg quota with this horrid cough!