Inktober is a fun sketch challenge created by Jake Parker and widely used to increase sketch skills the month of October and beyond. He creates a list of prompts to sketch each day of the month or once a week for a year. I don’t use the prompts, but do my own version: sketch from life every day. And I keep track on a calendar, which helps me stay accountable.

I began sketching more frequently at the end of September, to get myself in the mindset. Here is a sketch I did while sitting at a Dunn Bros coffee shop. I started with the two women in the right corner, and went from there, using Sailor fude pen, watercolors, and Posca white pen in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Here is the finished sketch…

Another coffee shop sketch was done last week at Caribou.

Coffee shops are a great place to watch and sketch people, and when they are standing in a line waiting for something, they are fairly still. I did quick sketches. The barista was very busy, so I had to add him to the sketch too!

Another fun place I sketched was at 3rd Act Brewery in Woodbury. They have an indoor area with lots of seating where they brew, and also an outdoor area a friend refers to as “the adult play pen.” It has outdoor seating and space for lawn games, and of course a place to buy beer. My friend got a giant pretzel, which I just had to sketch! I added a bucket of lawn dice, then went out to the “play pen” and sketched a barrel and tent. I used a brown Micron pen because I forgot my Sailor pen. But I like it.

Early October found my urban sketching group at Como Lakeside Pavilion in St. Paul. I sketched the bottom front of the pavilion by the dock and water while sitting on a picnic table. Then I got up and sat on the other side of the table and sketched the shoreline across from the lake and merged the two sketches together. It was a fun way to capture a wonderful afternoon!

Here’s the finished sketch:

A tip I have for Inktober if you don’t follow prompts, is to be OK with sketching ordinary things too. I don’t always have time or the inclination to go special places to sketch, so I sketch things around my house and neighborhood.

The first day of Inktober found me sketching my husband fixing a leaky faucet. I had to work fast!

Each sketch I do, I get closer to the end of a sketchbook. But I also work on valuable skills, like sketching people, designing compositions, trying different color schemes, and more. I hope you’ll give Inktober a try, it’s lots of fun!

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