From Pen to Paper


A look into Inktober and the impact it makes

October rolls around and for most people we think of Halloween, but for the creative minds, this is a time to put your art skills to the test. Inktober as it’s affectionately called, is a month of daily artistic challenges focusing primarily on Instagram.

It began in 2009 when Jake Parker decided to create a series of challenges to improve his skill and drawing habits. The challenge for him was to draw something different every day for the month of October and he invited people to join in on his journey.

The large-scale challenge initially came to be by loose construction, where people created their own prompts and posted their creations online.

In 2016, there came the first official prompt list due to the growing interest and high demand for a guide. The rules are simple, as per; make a drawing in ink, post it and hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2018, and repeat for every new prompt.

This is an interesting concept for a myriad of reasons, not only is it an encouraging practice for artists globally, but it reinforces the development of new and strong habits. This movement can also carry the power of messages, user @ tiuladokow on Instagram makes her work known to be indigenous, Palaun specifically, related.

The idea is expression and, in a time where voice is becoming increasingly restricted by governments and media, this presents an opportunity to demonstrate the different ways that voice can be expressed.

The Mi’kmaq people, as an example, are known for their artistry; decorating objects with intricate patterns of different coloured porcupine quills or making beautiful regalia, their authentic expression comes through the art.

Artistry is still prominent in the Mi’kmaq community today. Alan Syliboy and Leonard Paul are two examples of local artists who highlight aspects of indigenous culture.

Paul’s works feature legend drawings, powwow dancers, and nature, and Paul has also published works for other indigenous peoples such as the Cree.

As Inktober gains even more popularity, I think it will present itself as a very powerful means of message. I emphasize indigenous expression and artwork because of its lasting tradition and rich history.

Angela Miracle Gladue from A Tribe Called Red says, very poignantly, “It wasn’t that long ago that dances were outlawed, and our culture was outlawed, being indigenous was illegal and so for me it’s really really important to represent these dances outward and in the world on stages and in spaces where we once weren’t welcome.”

Photo: Instagram @tiuladokow

Photo: Instagram @tiuladokow

Gladue brings forth how times have shifted and what the arts can mean to an individual and to a group.

It is important to recognize how individuals have suffered and had some of the most basic aspects of their lives removed from them, and how only recently has that been reinstated, but the journey towards truth and reconciliation is still on-going.

Inktober as an online platform brings the arts to the center stage offering recognition for all artists. It is the opportunity for artists to bring forth their cultures and express the adversity they have faced and what it means to them through unique art from prompts.

Originally, Inktober was meant to strictly be ink based, but as popularity has built, they have opened the platform to different art styles and have even seen the expansion into writing in the forms of poems and short stories based on prompts. Inktober is for the arts, so however you want to express yourself, take part. It’s an awesome way to gain some recognition for yourself or whatever you choose to represent.