It’s October. Why Aren’t You Drawing?

If you’re looking for an excuse to draw (on top of your usual deadlines or ongoing projects), this is your month. October is marked with annual events that let you put ink to paper (or stylus to tablet) to get your art on.

24-Hour Comics Day

The first Saturday of October is traditionally 24-Hour Comics Day. An international challenge first initiated by comic book stalwarts Scott McCloud and Steve Bissette, the goal is to create 24 pages of comics within a 24 hour window. While usually an in-person event hosted at comic book stores or libraries, it went online like the rest of our COVID-infected 2020. Even if over Zoom, Discord, or Google Meet, 24-Hour Comics Day is a chance to network with other comic creators in a shared creative flurry. Also, while a page an hour is obviously a daunting task, that’s part of the fun. It’s a good opportunity to flex your artistic muscles and experiment to overcome the tight time frame. To meet the page/hour rate, you might simplify your style, or rethink the dimensions of a “page” for the project. Some 24-hour comics end up more like comic strips or mini-comics in page layout, or straight to inks with no underlying pencils pre-work. Some notable projects borne from 24-Hour Comics Days of years past include Erik Larsen’s Herculian and Zander Cannon’s Heck.

“-tober” Art Prompts

If you’re looking for more than a single day deadline, you can explore the variety of drawing-a-day challenges throughout October. In addition to the original Inktober, there are a number of alternatives that follow the same prompt-a-day format. For example, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor’s Cartoonist Kayfabe issued their list of comic book-themed #KayfabeTober prompts, including artists like Alex Toth and Mike Mignola and creations like the Crow and TMNT. Regardless of the challenge, you join artists on a daily basis by drawing—excuse the pun—from the same topic of inspiration. While you’re not drawing side-by-side (in personal or virtually) with other creators, it’s still a good networking opportunity. Be sure to share your daily output on social media, using the applicable hashtags to ensure others taking part can find—and share—your work. 

Your Own Thing

Even if your schedule impedes your ability to dedicate an entire day or a little of every day to these challenges, use this heightened level of creativity in the air to your advantage with your own deadlines. As someone who has multiple weekly deadlines throughout the year in addition to other ongoing projects, I often take a pass on these October challenges. But seeing the others’ outputs from these events still serves as a nice inspiration and creative boost. Creativity, it is infectious but in a good way, given the rest of 2020).

Are you taking part in an October art challenge? Share your experience in the ShoutFyre forum!

Steve Stegelin

Editor, Artist, Letterer, Colorist Steve is the long-running cartoonist at the Charleston, SC alt-weekly Charleston City Paper, where he skewers politicians and criminals (and criminal politicians) alike with editorial cartoons and police blotter illustrations every issue. Steve was best known his indie comic book (and subsequent webcomic)  BOONDOGGLE