Leigh and Jon did Inktober

Leigh and I decided to do our Inktober together this year! The idea behind Inktober is simply to do an ink drawing every day for the month of October, on whatever subject you like. There are optional prompts on the official website if you need ideas, but Leigh and I decided to do ours by riffing off each other instead. So each one would be linked in some way (visually, thematically or loosely) to the last. You can see the all of the results by looking at the #leighandjondoinktober tag on Instagram.

These days, either iPad Pro & Pencil or MacBook & Adobe Illustrator are my comfort zones. Anything I’ve drawn that’s more than just a quick sketch, has either been in paint or (nowadays) digital. Ink isn’t something I’ve used particularly for about 28 years! So I made a deliberate decision to avoid the iPad, and use ink pens and paper.

Pencil wrap case with ink pens and mechanical pencils

Tools of the trade

One of the key differences to this process is that there’s no going back. On the iPad you can keep changing, erasing, moving and resizing to your hearts content, but using ink means thinking before making a mark. This had the effect of slowing me down as I do try and rush to get things done as quickly as possible. Taking a deep breath and considering several steps ahead, and when it goes well, it can be very calming.

The results ranged from ones I was ‘quite happy with’, to those that I was absolutely appalled with. It didn’t matter though, as the key takeaways were developing a regular drawing habit, and enjoying the challenge of thinking up concepts.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • Inktober Day 9, as the crow flies
  • Inktober Day 14
  • Inktober Day 23
  • Inktober Day 17
  • Inktober Day 18
  • Inktober Day 12
  • Inktober Day 27
  • Inktober Day 19
  • Inktober Day 22

Here are some of the things I learned by doing this:

  • Planning out in pencil was a must. I’d love to be one of those people who can skip the prep and go straight into it, but I’m not.
  • I worked best on a table/desk, rather than trying to be all relaxed and doing it on the sofa. I couldn’t support my sketchbook and draw properly at the same time.
  • The best results always came when working from reference, rather than from my imagination.
  • I experimented with grey markers and diluted ink applied with brush, as well various styles of ink pens. My favourites ended up being a brush pen (for large areas of black), and much thinner pens that I expected. My 0.4mm was used the most, and was best for cross hatching. Anything larger started to look clumsy.
  • On the last day, Leigh and I both realised that we should’ve been scanning them in, rather than taking a camerphone snap of them. Doh.
  • Thematically, we kept coming back to fish, tea and birds a lot :)

It’s been really fun for a month, but I’m quite glad the pressure is over! The most enjoyable part was the fact that it was a joint project, both halves of Hicks working together :)


Call Jon Hicks on +44 (0)7917 391536
Tweet @hicksdesign

Hicks Design
Hexagon House
Avenue 4, Station Lane
Witney, OX28 4BN
United Kingdom