Ah, Inktober. The annual cartoonist holiday/challenge where artists will post a daily drawing throughout the entire month. The rules are pretty loose but it’s usually expected that one will do an actual ink drawing on paper as opposed to something digital. Some artists will use the prompts and do a drawing off that, but some don’t.
This is my third year doing Inktober and I have a lot of fun doing it as I try to do something that is a little different than what I usually do. I suppose I could do a Retros or an Uptown Girl character each day but I like having an excuse to draw something, or someone, I usually don’t.
The first year I did Inktober I drew characters from ‘The Hobbit’, my favorite novel. This was a lot of fun and I loved taking the characters and drawing them as I saw them. The book is a really simple, straightforward and small story and it was satisfying to go against the ultra-serious and epic-ness of the movie trilogy that was out at the time.
It made me want to attempt illustrating the whole book, as evidenced by this drawing I did earlier this year.
Last year I wanted to continue doing characters from stories I loved and I chose characters from Jack Kirby’s ‘The Fourth World’. Although there was a ton of material to work fun, and drawing Kirby stuff is always fun, I thought, for the most part, it was not executed well. Kirby’s stuff looks pretty simple at first but when you have to start drawing Mister Miracle or Steppenwolf, you really see how complex and detailed their costumes are. My strength as a cartoonist comes from simplicity and Kirby’s characters go against that. I did some stuff that month I liked, but for the most part I could have done better.
I wanted do Inktober again and I wanted to do more characters that I did not create. Although I don’t make much time for video games these days, I enjoy watching mini-documentaries about them while I draw. I am always impressed with how programmers, artists and composers were able to do so much while working with so little in the 1980’s. Hard,ware and software limitations required so many compromises back in the 8-bit days but still managed to create really fun games.
Because of the limitations, character designs were simple and deliberate. Mario had a mustache because it helped define where his nose was. Mega Man is blue because there were more shades of that color than any other.
While thinking about this, I decided that this deliberate and necessary simplicity would be perfect for Inktober. I thought it’d be fun to do characters mostly from the first few Super Mario Bros. games. So, that’s what I did. These drawings are much quicker than the Kirby stuff and between The Retros and the Norah book, I don’t have much drawing time to spare. Growing up in the Nintendo generation these games and characters had a huge impact on my life. There’s a reason why the Norah book is basically ‘The Legend of Zelda’ but set in the town I live in.
This has been a lot of fun and I think it fits my style and strengths better than last year. I’m already thinking about next year’s Inktober.