What The F Inktober? You too?

“WTF?” Digital Illustration by Melissa Whitaker

In 2019 I participated for the first time in Inktober 2019. I was nervous yet determined to draw every day for a month and I did it. The energy and exhaustion of it made me sick for several days in November but I was excited because I accomplished it. Some days I used ink and other days I drew on my iPad. The point of inktober is to create every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, just create something.

In 2019 I was not creating art full time, so I dove into Inktober head first and put all my energy into each day. The simple idea of creating an image-based off on a word produced some creativity that I did not know I had. It also gave me the courage to try something new and to fully commit to being an artist full-time. I quit my day job.


2020 has been a GREAT year for my art and I am drawing every day. However, I started looking forward to Inktober in August. I couldn’t wait. Because all though I draw every day and use my imagination, it is geared towards what someone else wants. It is not an unfettered imagination. I started counting down the days until September 1st when Jake Parker would release the Prompt word list for 2020. That day I poured my coffee and pulled up the list with a Google search. CRASH!! Amongst the Inktober suggestions on the google page, there was controversy. I should have known, it is 2020 after all.

2020 has been one brutal year of sucker punches. You would think everyone would have abs of steel by now. Then to find out that the one thing I looked forward to is embroiled in controversy was heartbreaking.

The creator of Inktober, Jake Parker, has been accused of plagiarising by Alphonso Dunn. In today’s world a side must be chosen, Parker vs. Dunn. The one place I can escape controversy is in creating art and I did not want to have to choose sides. Throughout September I debated with myself, should I or shouldn’t I participate. Another voting decision strife with conflict. UGHHHH!!!

I gradually started hearing from people who follow my posts on Facebook and Instagram that they were looking forward to my posts for inktober. They wanted and needed to see what I would create each day. No pressure though.

The thing is 2020 has taken a lot from all of us. I think that is the one thing we can all agree upon. 2020 SUCKS and we all need something to look forward to because it gives us a feeling of hope for the future. With COVID-19, politics, protests, racial tension, economy, food shortages, lack of entertainment, lack of social interaction…I could go on, but it’s depressing.

I have not written much this year for several reasons but mainly because everything is decisive these days and can cause anger. Scrolling through newsfeeds on social media is enough to make the blood pressure rise to unfathomable heights and cause anxiety-ridden trauma and I did not want to add to that. Thus, I was looking forward to inktober to put something positive in the atmosphere.

This morning I decided to go ahead with Inktober because it feeds my soul. It provides me with the ability to stretch my mind and explore areas that I may not have ever considered before. I may use some of Jake Parker’s prompt words or I may do whatever my imagination leads me to do. The point is Inktober is not about Jake Parker or Alphonso Dunn, it’s about creating. Today’s prompt word was “Fish” provided by Jake Parker.Tomorrow’s word may supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or even Covfefe. It really doesn’t matter where the prompt word comes from, it matters what you do with it.

If you’re interested in watching my journey through Inktober please follow my Instagram or Facebook page:



Artist | Illustrator | Photographer Writing about art, life, inspiration, and the journey of self-discovery. https://melissawhitakerart.com

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