There are many ways to boost your mental welllbeing but did you know that the popular craze of Inktober is one of them? I hadn’t heard of Inktober until this month when I started noticing a lot of my Instagram feed was filled with people showing pictures of inky drawings they had done. I then did some research and discoverd just what Inktober was and for the first time decided to share some of my own art work online. Not only has it boosted my confidence to put myself out there and then receive some lovely comments and likes, but it’s also boosted my mental health as I feel happier and more calm than before thanks to the effects of freeing the mind and focusing on creating art. But what exactly is Inktober you may ask and how exactly is it beneficial to our mental wellbeing?
What is Inktober?
Although Inktober was establised about ten years ago, I’d only just heard of it and you may not know what it is either. For those that don’t, Inktober takes place every year during the month of October where people, anyone, whether you’re very arty or just starting out, can attempt to draw something using just black ink. The event was begun by artist Jake Parker and it’s since turned into a big global thing with artists all over the world encouraged to try to improve their drawing skills by trying to draw something each day in the month of October.
Although you can draw anything, there are many prompts out there if you are stuck for ideas including the official Inktober prompt list which I’ve been attempting to have a go at myself. There are no strict rules to Inktober though and people have been free to draw how and what they feel, adding colours to illustrations, pencil drawing beforehand and using different forms of ink. As long as you try your best and attempt to draw something, and be bold by doing it in ink rather than just pencil, then you can take part and enjoy the many benefits to trying your hand at some art.
Why is Inktober good for you?
Inktober encourages everyone to try to draw every day and for many an event like this can be the push they needed to stay motivated and continue drawing. When you do something every day, like at least one illustration a day for Inktober (which doesn’t take long to create), it not only becomes a pattern that you can slowly work into every day life but it also slowly improves you skills with every day. For people who are arty and want to improve their artwork this can be a real boost to keep you going. But even if you aren’t the arty type, taking some Ink to paper (even a biro pen like I did) for a few minutes a day can help you tap into your own creativity and feel good.
Activities that are creative are always good for your wellbeing and you don’t have to be a super brilliant artist to enjoy some creativity. Inktober is no different and I’ve experienced this boost in my own wellbeing simply by attempting to take part in Inktober as often as I can. I’ve suffered a lot mentally over the years with my health taking a turn and me deteriorating into a very deep and dark depression. Colouring has been my escape for a long time and the benefits on mental health of something as simple as colouring is now well known. Colouring and doodling focuses the mind on the present moment and you don’t have to think of anything else while doing it. The mind is focused on this one actity at this present time and it helps stop your mind wandering through all the crazy negative other things it usually focuses on. This is called mindfullness, which is a term you may have heard a lot which is a good thing to help aid lots of mental health problems including depression (even SAD syndrome). Being in the present moment and just focusing on the activity you are currently doing can make you feel better about yourself and just in general. An added bonus is that at the end you’ll also have a piece of artwork you’ve created and even if you think you’re not arty so it looks rubbish, you’d be surprised just how many people think your art is better than you do.
How’s my Inktober going?
I didn’t know about Inktober to begin with so I haven’t done many sketches yet but those I have done, I have shared on Instagram and to a lesser extent on Twitter. As well as having fun trying to come up with an idea in the mind for the propmt word, I also have had a lot of fun simply drawing in biro ink. I wanted to draw in proper ink but I couldn’t find an ink or fountain pen, in fact I couldn’t even find plain paper but settled on some square maths paper I’ve found in an old notebook. Despite these limitations it hasn’t stopped me from creating something fun for the day and I’m enjoying the freedom of being able to do nothing but concentrate on the drawing in front of me as I create something new.
Drawing has been one of the activities I ceased to do after school. although I continued to do some art work, the odd doodle here and there, I never felt confident enough to do as much as I did before. Drawing though has been something I’ve always done since a young age and I know I used to be so good at it. I used to have the confidence to attempt still life, abstract and all kinds of different drawings. I used to draw without caring what people thought but that all changed after my secondary school experience. My art teachers at school rarely praised my work and the futher I got into my last GCSE year at school, the more and more they criticized everything I did (I was doing GCSE art which I now regret as it stopped me doing history!). I went from someone who felt confident drawing (but who still wanted to improve my work) to someone who hated it and felt that every attempt I made was awful.
That lack of self-confidence and self-esteem plagued me for so many years and it’s only through colouring books that had doodling parts in them that I started to draw at all in the last few years. But with Inktober, to create a picture from scratch every day, has really boosted my confidence and getting some praise from some lovely people out there when I took the plunge and shared my images on Instagram has just made me feel so wonderful again! (so far I’ve found Instagram a good social media platfrom for me and little to no negativity compared to others – you may enjoy it too if you are arty or book oriented)
My own artwork is not always brilliant, I’m pretty proud of my door illustration you’ll see below but the other two were more spur of the moment and much simpler. Whether you are doing something simple, starting out or trying to seriously improve your art abilities then I recommend you take part in Inktober. You can always give it a go, you don’t have to post up your work if you’re afraid to do so, or feel too unconfident at this time. But you’ll definitely feel a boost if you take the activity for what it is and just have fun with it 😀 Check out my three latest Inktober illustrations below that I’ve done so far, and let me know what you think! Also follow me on Instagram to see more illustrations coming soon (as well as a few other pics of stuff), in the rest of the month 🙂 🙂 🙂 (You can visit my Instagram page even if you don’t have an account to view my cat illustration and some of my bookish pics – just scroll down! 😀 )
For more information on Inktober please check out the official website: https://inktober.com/
Are you arty? Are you or would you take part in Inktober? Have you found drawing or doodling beneficial to you mental health and wellbeing? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂