Celebrating InkTober and the Creative Process of Mixed-Media Art

We’re two days into October, which means we’re two days into InkTober–a fun challenge where artists post their ink drawings daily on social media with the hashtag #InkTober.

Celebrating #InkTober at ClothPaperScissors.com
InkTober was started by Jake Parker
in 2009 to inspire artists to draw more.

I’m guessing that you incorporate drawing in some way in your mixed-media art, whether it’s illustrations that are part of a collage, fanciful lettering embellishments, or doodled marks on an art journal page. I encourage you to participate in #InkTober with us by sharing your work!

There’s little you need to get started, just some inspiration and a pen and paper. To make it even more convenient, the Interweave store has a special bundle comprised of a Handbook Travelogue Journal and a Sakura Pigma Micron® .08 black pen. Want a set for free? See below. But first, gather some inspiration with this excerpt from Melanie Rothschild’s The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking, and see why you should “eat the whole pie.”

Mixed-media art inspiration from Melanie Rothschild | ClothPaperScissors.com
From The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking

Eating the Whole Pie: Independence Day for Artists by Melanie Rothschild

I once met a tailor named Raul who told me that the very first Friday night he lived in his own apartment after moving out of his parents’ house, he went to the store, bought a pie and ate it for dinner. Why? Because he could.

That story has always stuck with me. It’s a very short story, but it says a lot. Living on his own for the first time, he claimed his territory. He announced to himself that there was a new sheriff in town–him. I see this as a huge lesson for artists.

Creatively, what things would we do differently if we freed ourselves from the rules that bind us?

Step one is figuring out just what rules are in fact binding us or in some way holding us back from roaming into “forbidden territory.” This is a formidable task, without a doubt. But spending time considering what work you do to please other people, and then considering what work you do to please yourself is a worthwhile exercise.

The joy of being an artist is that the artistic equivalent of eating a whole pie for dinner is not just “okay” to be doing, but actually, it’s absolutely exactly what artists should be doing—all the time. It’s the artist’s job to step out, explore and bring back the spoils from that excursion. For me, that’s what makes art exciting (or why sometimes art may not feel so exciting). Certainly, I don’t always like everything I see or I do myself, but there’s something exhilarating about work that in some way says to the viewer, “I just ate an entire banana cream pie for dinner, and I just might do it again tomorrow.”

What a joyful position to be in. Artists get to have fun and indulge in ways others only dream about but with no horrendous downside. Using the “wrong” color, shape or texture isn’t going to land you behind bars or in the emergency room. Even if you think you’re “wasting” materials, if you test something out that you decide really isn’t what you want, those materials aren’t wasted. They were instruments used in a lesson to teach you something about refining your creative sensibilities.

The major obstacle in eating a whole pie every day with your art might be concern about the judgments of others. “What are people going to think about this?” That’s something that can be tough to overcome but very possibly worth the effort.

Ultimately, the decision to eat that whole pie or not is up to you . . . whenever you decide who the sheriff in your town is. ~Melanie

Breaking through rules is such an important aspect of the creative process, and every time you’ll come out on the other side with a sense of pride and confidence. One of my rules for pursuing my personal artistic endeavors is create things as if I didn’t have a specific audience. I don’t think about who might see my work, or what they may think about it. It’s liberating, much like jumping in a pool of refreshing water, then floating, your hair drifting in different directions, as you savor the beautiful moment of solitude that is just you and the water. Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

So create, friends. Draw, paint, splash your ink, and enjoy every bite of that pie. Comment below with your favorite drawing tool(s), and we’ll choose a random winner* to receive the sketchbook and pen. Share your InkTober drawings with us in this special gallery by simply uploading your art. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Happy drawing!

*Winner will be chosen October 7, 2015. Must be a U.S. resident due to international contest rules and regulations.

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