Botober 2020

Since something like a decade this guy called Jake Parker takes the month of October and draws in ink, daily. This started because he found he lacked the inking skill and needed consistent practice so the hashtag was born. Over time, this became very popular with many people joining in on social media and posting their own creations, often in black ink. Jake would hype things up and post a prompts list in September. And everyone was having a good time.

As is to be expected, with so many people participating some folks thought there was money to be made and Jake did a few clumsy attempts to monetize on the hashtags’ success. A special art supplies box here, some trademark disputes based on very little there, lawyers being lawyers and the internet being full of righteous disapproval. But hey, other people can make prompt lists too and tons were made, each one cheesier than the other. There was also some thing about a book or something, people got really upset about something they were meant to enjoy for free, I did not really get it.

And then the brilliant AI (Artificial Intelligence) scientist Janelle Shane used computers to generate a list, first in 2019 and this year again. You can read all about it here, this is also the page that the image below came from (all rights to Janelle Shane).

And from all the lists that came forward this was by far the best, especially because it often makes no sense at all. The list worked well for me, lots of things or clear ideas instead of vague concepts such as “Fear”, because drawing fear for sure requires the ability to draw creatures with expressions and hey, I am trying to have fun here.

Going into the month long drawing challange, I set a few simple rules:

  1. 60 minutes max
  2. post every day the 60 minute result
  3. quantity over quality

Basically the goal comes down to: “Show up and do the work.”

An anecdote that I have seen coming up a few times now, first in the book “Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland, goes like this: An art professor divides his photography class in two groups, one group is to make the perfect shot and has the whole semester to produce a single photo. The other group has as a goal to make as many pictures as possible. At the end of the semester, it turns out that the best photographs come from the group that had to take as many pictures as possible. So yeah, practise makes perfect or at least better pictures.

And to be fair, this is an approach I discovered only a few years ago, it is an enjoyable one. So just show up, do the work and to quote Jake from Adventure Time: “Sucking at something is the first step to being kinda good at something.”

In the end, the only one I really struggled with was “22: Shookswobbler”, so I just drew what I saw.