As the month has rolled out, I’ve done double-duty creating Inktober art under my own name and creating Inktober art as my fictional 9-year-old character Missy Barrett. Whereas most people are doing one piece of art every day to meet the daily Inktober word prompt challenge, I set a more arduous task for myself to that end.
This year’s word prompts for Inktober have been more difficult to interpret visually than in previous years, but that only means I have had to put more effort into accomplishing the goals I set for myself within this challenge.
Day 19 brought the word prompt LOOP and while loops aren’t that difficult to find or draw when defaulting to the popular definition of what constitutes a loop — from shoelasses to traffic configurations — I went with the music recording program definition of what a loop is.
That word prompt was followed by SPROUT on the 20th and while that also had its popular default visualization, I considered other definitions for the word. I finally decided on drawing a toddler who as many of you know is sometimes lovingly referred to by grandparents as sprouts.
When it came to FUZZY the day after that, I was stumped. Upon reaching FUZZY, I struggled as myself and as my fictional character to some up with something that would work well, not just work, with that word prompt. Of course, Missy Barrett came up with her idea first, and it turned out as anticipated. Who wouldn’t believe a 9-year-old could draw fuzzy lights outside while looking at them from behind a window on a rainy night?
My piece took longer as I wound up taking to the Internet to tease something out by way of research. It took some time and then I came across a number of articles about the Fuzzy Mystery plant, and drawing one of the leaves of the Fuzzy Mystery plant — while insanely detailed — was what I decided on creating.
I realize that a great many people participating in Inktober are setting aside an hour or so to creating their artwork every day, and that’s a good amount of time to practice anything every day. I also realize that a handful of people participating in Inktober are putting countless hours into their artwork every day, and that results in amazingly detailed pieces. Some people are lumping four and five word prompts together into one piece, and there’s nothing in the Inktober rules that says that isn’t allowed. Others are creating art well ahead of Inktober based on the Prompt List from previous years and waiting for a word to pop up that fits what they have drawn. It’s not the way Inktober is supposed to be done, but it’s how some people are doing Inktober.
But Inktober isn’t about how other people choose to meet the challenge. While it’s interesting to notice how different people undertake the challenge, it shouldn’t reflect on how I undertake the challenge. This challenge is, after all, inwardly directed, not outwardly focused, so the only person that I need to pay attention to in this undertaking is myself.
It’s up to me to do what I have set out to do, and to be open to the possibility of failure between the successes that happen throughout the month and across the challenge. Some pieces I like better than others, and a very few have sorely disappointed me for any number of reasons.
One thing I have noticed is that regardless of whether my art turns out as envisioned at the onset of each new piece, it has allowed me to sit with myself and listen to the sound bites all of us carry with us from childhood. It’s a chance to reset the negative inner parent and embrace the positive inner parrent, and to learn to tell the difference between a fair criticism and a hurtful comment.
No, not everything you do in life will be to your satisfaction, nor should it be. But not everything in life needs to be viewed through the critical lens of “could have been done better.” The question instead should be, “Is this the best I can do at this time with the skills I have, the talent I have, and the knowledge I have?” If the answer is yes, then be proud of what you create even if it isn’t as perfect as you had hoped it would be.
Then set out to do even better with the next effort.
22 October 2021