And So It Begins

Welcome to October, and welcome to Inktober. My little monkey mind and I have been looking forward to this day ever since the official Inktober prompt list came out. I have a nice little collection of these prompt lists now, having first attempted Inktober in 2016, the year the first prompt list was created.

I didn’t fare well in 2016. I might have attempted a drawing or two, but for the most part I gave up before I even started. Pen and ink was far too challenging for me, and my drawing skills were still in their infancy. Doing Inktober was an interesting idea, but I wasn’t ready for it.

In 2017 I managed a few drawings during the month, including one or two that made me proud. I didn’t make it through the entire month, though. It was still a bit too challenging.

Last year, in 2018, I completed 31 drawings. They were mostly “mythical monsters” and over the course of the month many of them came together as an odd sort of dysfunctional family, telling a tale of murder and mayhem. I wrapped it all up with a happy ending, and set about pondering ideas for Inktober 2019.

I considered several different ideas, and finally settled on TREES as a theme. I love trees, and I can always use more practice on drawing them. For me, the biggest weakness in the trees I draw is that they’re simply TREES. They’re generic. With the exception of a few birch trees I did in watercolor, none of my trees are recognizable as any particular species. You can’t look at any of my drawings or paintings and say unequivocally, “Oh, that’s a maple”, or “Look, there’s an old oak tree.”

So, I wanted to work on drawing trees of many different species. And, this is when and where I first met “Cheeky”, that silly little monkey mind inside my head that loves jumping around here, there, and everywhere. Cheeky and I both love creating things in a nonsensical, random way. Well, it’s not nonsense to us. It just sounds a bid odd when we try to explain our serendipitous little journeys.

To make a long story short, Cheeky came up with a truly crazy idea. Put all the Inktober prompt lists together, use those words, and search for something among the many trees of the world.

Yes, that resulted in a lot of ridiculous searches, but it also turned out to be hilarious fun. I loved seeing what came up in my searches, and after a time, Cheeky and I had compiled a lovely list of thirty-one species of trees, one for each day of Inktober. Some may not neatly fit with this year’s prompt list, but… so what? Using the official prompt list isn’t a mandatory part of Inktober, and besides, Cheeky and Iย did use the prompt list — but in our own rather unorthodox way.

So, based on our first search — fast, swift, poisonous, ring, tree — we came to a question in a forum from a man who wanted to get rid of a hugeย amla tree. I’d never heard of such a tree before, and Cheeky and I were off and running.

The amla tree, we learned, is also known as Indian Gooseberry.

Inktober 1 - Indian Gooseberry Tree (2)
Indian Gooseberry – Pen and Ink drawing by Judith Kraus

I started with an HB pencil and drew these branches and fruits. Once I was satisfied with the overall look, I grabbed an XS pen from my Pitt Artist Pens and set to work inking over the drawing.

For me and Inktober… well, I liked what Cheeky and I had accomplished. I should have gone back later and erased my original pencil marks, but I decided to leave them. I was happy with the drawing and didn’t want to risk spoiling it in any way. I thought, too, of using a bit of watercolor on it, but Cheeky quickly disabused me of that notion.

So Inktober has now begun, my monkey mind and I are truly having fun swinging from one tree to another, and what’s coming up tomorrow?

CheekyTomorrow’s prompt words:

  • Noisy
  • Divided
  • Tranquil
  • Mindless
  • Tree

Any guesses what that tree might be?




  1. This is great and I love how you are interpreting the prompt list to suit yourself. I honestly think that sometimes the prompt list can be a bit of a block when it comes to sitting and drawing – if a particular work just means nothing to you then you (and by that I mean me!) don’t feel a pull to draw anything. I shall enjoy following along with your Inktober journey this year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I have to put a little “silliness” into the challenge so I can just kick back and have fun with it. I want to tell you again how much I loved your bright, bold colors and your approach to Day 1. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your creations!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure I’ll enjoy seeing each of your drawings, no matter how they’re done. To me, the best part of Inktober is seeing what other artists are doing and learning as much as I can from them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, and no. I have an Instagram account and was planning to use it for Inktober, but I’m not sure how to do it since I’ll be scanning and uploading to my computer each day. (Old great-grandmother here. Technology sometimes gets the best of me.) No idea how to get my drawings on my phone. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      3. I don’t have email set up on my phone now. It’s always turned out to be a nuisance when I’ve had it on my phone, so I took it off. But maybe I could do it with the gmail account I really never use. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll see what I can come up with. And I’ve had fun browsing your blog and seeing your other alcohol ink posts. And I slipped over to Jill’s blog and saw the “splodge” family. Loved it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember, it’s not just a “mindless” tree. It’s a “noisy, divided, tranquil, mindless, tree” and I think what our search found is quite fitting, actually. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. The trees my monkey mind and I found don’t necessarily fit every prompt word… we just used those words for our silly searches each day as we put together our list for the month. We have some interesting trees coming up. ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, I love your ring–tailed lemur. I left a comment on your post, but I didn’t see it. Maybe it’s still pending. Or maybe I did something wrong. If the comment isn’t there, let me know and I’ll try it again. ๐Ÿ™‚


      2. Thank you, yes I just had to approve the comment, I’ve been getting a lot of spam. Future comments should work straight away ๐Ÿ˜

        It’s good to see everyone’s interpretations of the prompts.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Trees is a great theme idea. Nature is always my safety blanket, but actually thereโ€™s so much you can do with it and itโ€™s such a good opportunity to refine your skills. Looking forward to following along!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have to have fun or it’s not worth doing. That’s my husband’s motto, really. “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.” It’s really crazy to take all those words and see where a search engine goes with them LOL. As long as I was able to find a tree… I was happy. So I already have my list of trees for the month, and I did have a lot of fun with the searches.

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