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The start of Inktober 2018

My, October already! I can hardly believe it.

These last few months have been focused on buying/selling my house and preparation for a move into Norwich, punctuated with regular illustration deadlines for clients in Japan this summer – virtually all of my commissioned work this year has been outside the world of children’s publishing. Because of that, I leapt at the chance to have a go at the House of Illustration’s 1-inch drawing a day challenge last month, it was exactly the tonic I needed! I’m immensely honoured and grateful to the House of Illustration and John Vernon Lord to hear that my work was chosen as one of the winning three entries.

Well, that was September, and now here we are in October, and another daily drawing challenge – #Inktober! I wasn’t sure I’d participate in this year, after last months’ exercise I have a lot of stuff I need to concentrate on, not least my own story ideas, as well as those regular overseas deadlines… I love Inktober, but there is a fine line to tread between these commitments being an inspiration and focus, or a burden, a procrastination or distraction from stuff you need to get on with.

Last year, Inktober gave me a tremendous boost, it really helped to revitalise my pen work, giving me fresh stimulation, determination to focus on the type of work I really want to undertake. By the end of the month I was spending more time on Inktober drawings than I was on my other work – it really took over! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to contribute this year, straight after the September challenge, but it was of such value to me last year, if John Vernon Lord can draw 1-inch images for an entire year, I can at the very least manage 2 months! So yes, I am doing it again this year, and here are the first week’s images!

I’m so far keeping closely with the official 2018 prompt list. Some of those prompt words may be an awkward fit for my genre of work, but half of the challenge of Inktober is in exploring ways to interpret the suggestions in a manner that inspires you to create interesting images. Illustration is not just about drawing a literal rendering of a prompt, it’s only partly about drawing, with these kind of exercises half of the challenge is the way you expand, or commentate on proposals to portray wider feelings or concepts.

Scattered through this post then, are my first week’s worth of Inktober drawings for 2018. Each was drawn on the day I posted, I’ve made no preparation at all for Inktober this year, and am trying to narrow the time spent on each image… for the moment anyway! You can follow my daily postings on Instagram and Twitter @StudioNIB, or on my Linked-In profile. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to finish the month!

#Inktober #inktober2018 #sketching #artchallenge #penandink

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All illustration images © John Shelley, not to be used without permission scribblatosis(at)gmail(dot)com