Inktober 2023 is coming up and what’s better than to be as best prepared as you can?
Inktober is a 31-day art challenge in which you must create a piece of art every day during the entire month of October. The artwork must be done in ink. Each year an official prompt list is released so that artists can draw inspiration from it.
Learn all about Inktober’s rules, how to participate and even learn about a scandal surrounding this challenge. Let’s go!
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What is Inktober?
As you probably already guessed, the name Inktober is a combination of the word ‘ink’ and October, making it Inktober.
Inktober was created in 2009 by Jake Parker. Parker originally designed Inktober to challenge himself to improve over the course of 31 days, using inked-based illustrations.
Now, years later, the online art community has picked it up. With thousands of participants each year, Inktober has grown into one of the biggest art challenges online.
Inktober is so much more than just a challenge. It’s a great way to meet fellow (hobby) artists and connect with new art friends.
Due to the intense nature of creating 31 pieces of art in 31 days, the creator of Inktober recently developed a second challenge: Inktober52.
Inktober official rules
Unlike the MerMay challenge, Inktober does not have a contest. There are no prizes to be won. Instead, Inktober wants you to post your artwork on social media and get satisfaction from the fact that you created artwork, and most likely improved your skills, in 31 days.
The official Inktober rules are as follows:
- Every day during the 31 days of October you draw an ink-based illustration
- You may also post once a week or every other day. Consistency is key!
- Post your artwork to social media and use #inktoberand #inktober2023 in your caption
- Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. or share with someone in real life
- You can use the official Inktober prompt list
- You may also use a different prompt list or come up with your own topics
To participate in the Inktober challenge you don’t have to use the official prompt list. You can make your own, or find one online.
It’s only advised to use a prompt list because
- It’s easier to have to work around a certain prompt
- It’s interesting to see how others interpret the same prompt
With the focus on improving oneself, Inktober’s official rules are quite forgiving. Since we’re all artists we want that artistic freedom.
Additional Inktober rules
According to Inktober’s official website, a participant of Inktober may also:
- Work digitally
- Use digital brushes that simulate real ink
- Use mixed media
- If you want to use a pencil first, and then go over it with ink that’s totally fine
- Skip certain days
- Post as much as your schedule allows you to: Once a week or every other day. As long as you post consistently!
- Mix up the prompts of the official Inktober prompt list
- You can do prompt 5 on day 1, prompt 21 on day 2 etc.
- Use an unofficial prompt list
- Come up with your own prompts or use someone else’s
Inktober 2023 official prompt list
The official prompt list of Inktober 2023 was announced on September 1st:
You can also save my Inktober 2022 prompt list if you’d like:
The Inktober prompt list that I have designed is based on the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.
I took song lyrics, quotes and characters to make up the prompts. Feel free to interpret them any way you like!
Even when it doesn’t have anything to do with the movie itself :)
I’d love to see your work so tag me @oleandered (Instagram) or use the hashtag #OleanderStudios. I’d love to give you a shoutout!
Inktober’s official Instagram page
To keep up with Inktober you can follow Inktober’s official Instagram page. Here they post artwork done by participating artists.
To be featured on their Instagram page you need to let them know you’re out there. Here are some tips to get noticed by them:
- Use the hashtags #inktober #inktober2023 in the caption of your posts
- Use the current day’s prompt as a hashtag
- E.g. #Inktoberday5
- E.g. #Raven #InktoberRaven (Raven was last year’s prompt on day 5)
- Write a caption and tag the official Instagram page @Inktober
- But don’t be spammy!
Just note that doing this is not a guarantee they will repost your work. These are just some tips on how I would handle it!
Inktober official prompts of previous years
Since you can participate in Inktober with any prompts you like I collected the official prompts from previous years. Feel free to use them!
Official Inktober prompt list 2021:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2021:
Official Inktober prompt list 2020:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2020:
Official Inktober prompt list 2019:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2019:
Official Inktober prompt list 2018:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2018:
Official Inktober prompt list 2017:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2017:
Official Inktober prompt list 2016:
Here you can download Inktober’s prompt list of 2016:
Drawing every single day for 31 days is hard. Very hard. So hard that I miserably failed my first ever MerMay challenge.
I’ve done a few monthly challenges and I’ll tell you what to keep in mind before starting Inktober.
Tips for Inktober 2023:
- Start BEFORE October
- Starting before October ensures you have a buffer of premade illustrations if life gets in the way
- Consider scaling down to every other day
- Having to post fewer illustrations allows you to spend more time on a single illustration, resulting in better artwork
- Create (thumbnail) sketches before you start Inktober
- Having fleshed out an idea of what to draw leaves more time for the actual drawing
- Keep a station with your art supplies ready to go
- Create a space (on your desk) with your sketchbook open and lay out your art supplies. This way the threshold to start another illustration is way lower!
Inktober isn’t about creating realistic artworks. It’s totally a-okay to just doodle every day!
Doodling is great because it stimulates creativity. Don’t feel like you have to deliver a masterpiece every single day.
Products to use during Inktober
During Inktober you use, surprisingly, ink! But what ink is good ink? And what kind of paper should I use?
Paper for inking
I always recommend the Arches watercolor paper line. This paper is superior to other brands in my opinion. This paper brand is excellent for ink-based illustrations because it’s:
- 100% cotton
- Available in cold pressed (rough texture), hot pressed (smooth texture) and rough (rougher texture than cold pressed)
There is no difference in quality regarding hot or cold pressed paper. It’s all about preference. I tried both the cold and hot pressed paper and my preference goes to smooth (hot pressed) paper.
Best Ink to use
The Speedball India Ink is one of the best India inks out there. India inks are known for their intense black color. The ink dries waterproof and is a must if you’re a frequent inker!
As for acrylic inks, the Liquitex Professional Acrylic Inks are excellent water-resistant beautiful inks. They come in quite a few sets, but I personally love the muted set. This brand is used by many great artists like Dina Brodsky.
Best digital brushes for Inktober
If you’re doing Inktober digitally you may find the following brush pack for Procreate interesting. The brush pack is based on the minimalistic stippling Pinterest aesthetic.
Just note that this brush pack was designed for HD canvasses only (2048x2048px).
You might have heard something about the Inktober controversy. There are 2 main parts to it. Here’s a short overview of what happened.
Who does Inktober belong to?
The controversy surrounding Inktober began after artists were contacted by the lawyers of Jake Parker, the creator of Inktober. Some artists have collected the work they made during Inktober and combined them into a book or zine. But after publication, these artists were told they cannot use the word Inktober in the title of their own artbooks.
Turns out, Parker has trademarked the word Inktober. This is where the controversy began.
On the one hand, the online art community thought it was fine, Parker is the creator of Inktober after all. But on the other hand, part of the art community thought it was a shady move because Parker created Inktober 10 years ago. Why trademark it now?
In the past couple of years, Inktober has grown to be one of the biggest online art challenges out there. Because of this, Inktober has become profitable. But the sole reason it became profitable is that thousands of artists participated, not necessarily because of the hard work Parker has put into it.
This causes the debate: Is Parker rightfully trademarking the brand, or belongs Inktober to the art community because they made Intober into what it is today?
Parker reacted to the controversy and said he only trademarked Inktober to make sure it wasn’t abused by bad actors. But the logo and word are reserved for his own merch and sponsors.
Is Inktober stolen?
The Inktober challenge itself is not stolen, it was created by Jake Parker. However, Parker created a book called Inktober All Year Long which looks like a plagiarized version of a book by Alphonso Dunn.
Alphonso mentioned that the techniques explained in his book are logically similar to any other book teaching similar techniques. But the thing is that the way of teaching these techniques is suspiciously similar.
Here you can watch the video by Alphonso Dunn about this controversy.
The art community is divided because some say it wasn’t Parker’s intention to harm any artist. Others say that Parker became a money grabber.
What do you think of all of this? I encourage you to read both Parker’s statement and the art communities opinions.
If you after all of this decide to stop participating in Inktober you might find solace in other challenges.
Some Inktober alternatives include:
- Sketch your way through October
- Create Halloween-inspired artwork in October
- Draw your way through October
- Create gore-inspired artwork in October
- Create kitties all through October
All of these individual challenges take place in October and a lot of people are using them as an alternative for Inktober.
These challenges all have the same goal: creating 31 days worth of artwork based on prompts.
Frequently asked questions about Inktober
Can I sell Inktober art?
You can sell your Inktober art, but there are a few rules you must follow:
- You may not use the official Inktober logo (unless you have written permission or a license to do so)
- You can use the word Inktober together with the year of participation as a subtitle, not as the main title
- E.g. ”Oleander Studio’s 31 days of art – based on Inktober 2023”
This means that you may not use the word Inktober. This is trademarked by Jake Parker.
Can you skip days in Inktober?
You may skip days during Inktober because it’s up to you how frequently you post. This can be every day, once every week, or every other day. Deciding to do so won’t eliminate your chance to participate.
Who invented Inktober?
Jake Parker invented Inktober in 2009 as a way to improve his art skills in 31 days.
Can you use color for Inktober?
You may use color during Inktober. Just keep in mind that the challenge is based on ink-based illustrations, so it’s best to incorporate some black ink as well. But feel free to do as you please.
Can you use a sharpie for Inktober?
You are allowed to use a sharpie for Inktober. It’s best to keep your illustrations black and white, like how ink looks on paper.
Can you use a normal pen for Inktober?
You can use a normal pen for Inktober, preferably a black ink pen. Another option is to go for black fine liner pens.
Can you use anything other than ink during Inktober?
Whilst Inktober is designed so that artists could work towards one goal: improvement of their art skills using ink, Inktober allows you to use any art supply that you want. To keep in the Inktober spirit it’s advised to use black and white only.
Are you only allowed to follow the official prompt list?
You can follow any prompt list that you like. Or come up with your own prompts!
Can Inktober be digital?
You are allowed to participate in Inktober digitally. Just make sure to keep the Inktober spirit by using digital brushes that simulate ink.
Can you skip days in Inktober?
You certainly can skip days during Inktober. Go with whatever your schedule allows you to. Even if you don’t do the entire 31 days, you’re still part of the challenge!
Is Inktober cancelled?
It’s very unlikely that Inktober is going to be cancelled, as most people will participate this year. A lot of people are unaware of the controversy or see Inktober as a separate thing from Parker.
Here you find a list of inspirations for Inktober. Follow my Pinterest board: Inktober 2023 or browse the pictures below. Click on the image to be taken to the artist!
Feel free to leave your Instagram handle in the comments down below so that we can all follow and support each other throughout Inktober. I’ll be sure to participate so I’ll see you in the #inktober2023 hashtags!