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Time Is Imaginary


Do you ever get so determined to pull something off, so desperate to prove that you’re capable, that you obsessively plan every little detail of a project months in advance only to burn out halfway through the task in question?

It’s soul crushing to not have any more umph in something you were once so passionate about. In this case, I return to my yearly nemesis. Inktober.

For those not in the know, inktober is a month long drawing challenge created by Jake Parker – in which one illustration is created per day. Originally the challenge was only traditional ink based, however it has expanded over the years to include digital media and all manner of materials.

In October 2019 I set out to complete 31 traditional illustrations, aiming to film each and every one and upload it to youtube on it’s corresponding day. I had chosen the pokemon theme back in august, cut out the trading card size sheets of paper and done complete pencil sketches all through september. I had gone through youtube’s free music library and painstakingly set up each filming day well in advance. I was pumped. I was READY.

I only managed fourteen illustrations. Of those, I only uploaded ten, and almost all of them late.

I hadn’t realised what a monumental workload I’d taken on when I started. It wasn’t even the illustrations that had me stumped, but the editing. It was an enormous drain on my time and energy and I did not have the time to spend all day at my desk, much to my displeasure. I tried recording three cards a day in order to have some cushion time, but to no avail.

It was frustrating and heartbreaking. I had been so ready to smash the challenge for the first time that year, and to share my success online. I was disappointed in myself.

It’s the not-often acknowledged part of any challenge, but especially online art challenges, that without a strong social net of support failure is often more cutting than if we hadn’t tried at all. We have a great internal and external pressure to perform and rack up likes on social media that it eclipses any fun that may have been squeezed out of it. I’ve sadly known a few people quit art for weeks or months as the pressure mounted and they caved to misery.

It’s now 2020, coronavirus has effectively axed any and all time I would have hypothetically spent outside. My unfinished pile of cards is still sat on my desk and I hate it. I wanted to finish it, but…

...But what?

It was like a slap to the face when I realised there was literally nothing at all stopping me from continuing the cards and uploading them. Literally nothing. Why did I have to stop just because it wasn’t October? I had everything set up and knew I enjoyed the project, there was nothing holding me back.

To that end I hope you will enjoy my spring 2020 Inktober uploads. Next time you’re faced with a time restrictive challenge (though not one you’re being paid for, please), remember that time is imaginary and fun is forever.

To quote Neil Gaiman - ‘Make Good Art.’

See you soon.


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