Inktober, the Big Draw, and why you should pick up a pencil this month

Doodles are good for the brain! Zentangle-style artist trading cards by Meg Winikates

Doodles are good for the brain! Zentangle-style artist trading cards by Meg Winikates

“But I’m not an artist!”

“I haven’t drawn since, like, fourth grade.”

“I so can’t draw.”

Is this you? 

“I just doodle, you know.  Edges of meeting notes, that sort of thing.”

“I never show people my drawings, but I’ve got books of them.”

“My parents still hang my stuff on the fridge, but that’s about it.”

Is this you?

“I love to draw.  I don’t even need an excuse.”

Is this you?

If  you answered yes to any of the above, then October, the month of Inktober and The Big Draw,  is the month for you. (Yes, all of you.)

inktoberWhat is Inktober?  The brainchild of artist Jake Parker, it began in 2009 as a personal challenge: draw every day to improve skills and develop good habits.  Now, it is an international celebration in which thousands of artists, both amateurs and professionals, participate.  According to Parker’s website, the rules are simple:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it on your blog (or tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr, Pinterest or just pin it on your wall.)

3) Hashtag it with #inktober

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.

That’s it! Now go make something beautiful.

As directions go ‘now go make something beautiful’ is definitely one of my favorites.  Check out the link above for pen reviews, templates for ‘inktober’ branded pages, social media links, and archives from previous years.


And how about The Big Draw?  Billed as “The World’s Biggest Drawing Festival,” it runs for the month of October every year (this year through Nov. 2), and it too is an international celebration of drawing at all skill levels and for any and all purposes.  It began in the UK and each year they have a wide-ranging theme to help event organizers etc. pull together a range of awesome programming.  This year’s theme is “It’s Our World,” and we’re celebrating it at PEM on October 11 at our own Big Draw Festival.  The Big Draw not only celebrates drawing, but works with cultural institutions of all sorts to promote visual literacy and draw attention to drawing’s role in communication and creativity.  They are backed by the charitable organization, The Campaign for Drawing, who have assembled quite an impressive set of resources for teachers, parents, students, event organizers, and more.  (They also have a very active Pinterest board.)

Need more convincing?  Even the Wall Street Journal reports that doodling can improve your memory.

Doodles by Jim Henson, click for source.

Doodles by Jim Henson, click for source.

Plus it’s fun!  If it’s good enough for Jim Henson, it’s good enough for me.

Do you have a habitual doodle?  What about a favorite art-making memory?  Share it in the comments below.