I went to art school a million bazillion years ago (in 1998) because I could draw, and I was the best draw-er that I knew at the time and I was pretty terrible at everything else, and I wanted, more than anything, to be good at something. When I got to school, I realized that I was surrounded by all the other kids that had been like me in their hometowns, and it turns out that I was the slowest, most mediocre draw-er in the group. My drawings weren't realistic enough, and they were too small and stiff, and I hated charcoal and all the other squishy soft drawing materials because I craved perfect, clean lines even though I didn't know what to do with them when I had them. I quit drawing, or hid my drawings, and took a sculpture class, and then a woodworking class, and I fell in love with building things.
When I got out of school, I didn’t have a studio or tools anymore, and I was traveling around a lot, trying to figure out how to make a space for myself in the world. I had a sketchbook and pens, and I started drawing again. I let my drawings be funny, wonky, silly and sweet, full of pirates, monsters and strange buildings. I let them be bad. I kept grocery lists, numbers, and notes in my sketchbooks. The sketchbook became my studio. It became the space I made for myself in the world, or at least the start of it. I have been keeping the same size and style of book since 2003, and I love looking back and seeing how much I have grown, and what hasn't changed (I still keep grocery lists in it).
My sketchbook is an honest record of where I am in my life, and some of the pages just get to be ugly and that’s ok. I love my Koh-I-Noor pens, but if I am stuck and all I have is a pen I seem to have nabbed from a bank for unknown and possibly nefarious reasons, that’s what I’ll use. Some of my favorite pages are the ones where I was stuck somewhere and wound up using crayons at a restaurant or drawing something random and great because I was deeply bored and had NOTHING ELSE TO DO.
So, my advice to young draw-ers, new-to-drawing draw-ers, and anyone else taking up the Inktober challenge is: Just. Draw. Keep a sketchbook, keep it with you. Let it be what it becomes without trying to make it something it’s not. Make your own rules. Don’t worry about prompts if they’re uninspiring, heck, use the same prompt over and over if you love it! Don’t worry about posting a picture everyday - share when you want and can. Don’t let missing a day or two defeat you. You are building a space for yourself in the world, and that takes time.
Love from me and the Monsters,