Inktober 2018 and How I Approach Art Challenges

October is upon us, which means Halloween, colorful leaves, cooling weather, and INKTOBER.

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For those who do not know about Inktober, it is a drawing challenge created by Jake Parker where artists create illustrations using ink and share them throughout the month of October. (You can learn more at the official site HERE.)

There is an official prompt list provided, but usually I use my own themes. One year, I did little pattern doodles on index cards, and another year, I worked on my brush lettering. This year, I've decided that I want to focus on learning about types of flowers and plants. If you know anything about my work, you know that I LOVE to work with floral designs. However, I usually make them up as I go. I've always been meaning to dive more in depth into the structure and forms of actual species of flora.

I thought I might take this opportunity to further explain my personal approach to art challenges. I love to participate in various art challenges across the web and social media. (Some of my favorites include Homwork and Spoonflower.) Many of these challenges are daily or weekly. It is such a fun way to engage with other artists, learn new skills, build habits, and get your art seen. However, it can be overwhelming, especially with all the different ones out there!

I've really been focusing on making creative habits this year, so art challenges really help with this goal since it gets me drawing and painting on regular basis. The thing is, it's easy to fall off the wagon. These are some of the guidelines I follow as I participate:

  •  Don't be discouraged if you miss a day/week. It's not the end of the world. In fact, I really only participate in those that inspire me personally. And if I miss one because of time, I just continue with the next. Don't feel the need to "make up" the ones you miss—that just adds unnecessary pressure.

  • Find a way to be productive with your art challenges. In the past, I haven't been great at this and just did whatever. Now I am realizing there's a better approach. Yes, you can just use challenges for routine sketching exercises and social media exposure, but why not go further? Use your daily sketches to work on a skill you want to improve, or develop an illustration or collection idea you’ve been wanting to work on. Perhaps even aim to sell your original artwork or prints. Have a purpose going in. For instance, I am using this year's Inktober to study plant species. I have an end goal that is specific to my work.

  • As always, follow the usual advice: Plan ahead and set aside a specific time—the basics to success with art challenges.

  • Oh, and have FUN!

So with all this in mind, I've come up with the following list for Inktober 2018 and mapped out each day with the various plant life I want to explore. And because it's October, I'll be adding some Halloween elements as well!

In addition, I took the extra step to hand craft a sketchbook specifically for my Inktober drawings. I used THIS old tutorial from my sister Dani Jones. I decorated the cover with floral scrapbook paper and added in some spider details with ink. The paper is heavyweight Bristol, so the ink won't bleed through. I might have gotten some blood on the pages when I poked my finger while sewing up the signatures, but that just adds to the whole Halloween theme, right? Haha.

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Follow along daily on my Instagram (@nicolejonessturk). I'll be adding my own unique hashtag #njsinktober2018 as well. If you use any of my prompts, please tag me so I can see!

Happy October!
Nicole

Everything is Made Out of Magic Available Now!

It’s here! Today is the official release day for Everything is Made Out of Magic: A Seasonal Creativity Journal. You can find it HERE on Amazon.

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(You can also go to THIS blog post to learn more about the book, view preview images, and read the official description.)

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Sincerely, Nicole

New Shop Page

I’ve added a new section to my website to make it easier to shop for the various products I have for sale in various online shops. There are links to go to my specific shops—such as Spoonflower, Society6, Shutterstock, and Amazon—as well as direct links to featured products. Take a look by going to the SHOP link in the navigation menu or click HERE!

Sincerely, Nicole