5 Lessons I Learned from Inktober

You get a lot from producing 31 projects in 31 days.

Now with October over, that also means Inktober has come to an end as well. This was the first year I took part in the month-long daily challenge and I really enjoyed creating a new piece every day for 31 days. So, for this week’s post, I want to share with you a handful of lessons I learned from Inktober creating a new Iconoflage piece for each day of October.

1. Short deadlines force you to weed out the time wasters

When pursuing your passion on the side, you should be eliminating the things that are wasting your time so that you can utilize that time to work and improve in your passion.

This was already known to me, but what I didn’t realize is how these daily deadlines would actually force me to do that even more. I evaluated every moment of my time during the day and optimized it to allow me to have time to create and complete a project each day.

2. Get more sleep than <6 hours a night

Although I had utilized my time, I didn’t realize how often I would be staying up late to complete and post each project. This led to me getting to bed after 11 PM, then waking up before 5:30 AM so I could have as much time during the day to get my work done around my day job.

Needless to say, as I write this, I now have a head cold, which I’m sure is a consequence of me not taking care of myself during the last 31 days (but, hey, I definitely learned something from it!).

3. Daily output allows you to experiment without focusing on the shortcomings

Let me explain. With daily output, you’re forced to be thinking ahead while taking on the current project. So, as I was creating one piece, I was already planning out what I was going to do with the next.

Once I finished a piece, I would photograph the final product and share it on social media. As I would edit each photo (cropping and color-editing), I would look at the piece and take note of how it came out.

Some were rougher than others and I would try to understand what made the lettering and/or icons more difficult to comprehend, but this was as far as I got.

I didn’t have time to decide if the piece sucked, or if I should redo it. I just moved on to the next project with the goal of trying something else that would make it better than the last.

4. Your skills will improve with daily practice

This one might be a bit of an obvious one, but it really stuck with me. As I pointed out in #3, I was noticing what made a piece not as good as it could have, and trying something different the next time. Through this experimentation and a lot of time with the same pens and paper, I was able to learn how long to wait for the ink to dry, what style of letters worked best, what style of illustrations came out clearer, and what combination of the two seemed to muddle up the entire piece.

All of these things that I learned from each daily project merged together at the end of the month to make me better at doing something I love.

5. I’m really enjoying Iconoflage

Prior to October, I had been strictly curating my content to branding and logo design on my website and social media. Iconoflage was something I shared a couple of times on Snapchat just for fun, but ended up receiving some great feedback from it.

When I found out about Inktober, I knew it would be as good of time as any to share something I had been doing for several years.

Little did I know that even with such a tight (and sometimes stressful) deadline, I really enjoyed doing it. I loved the process and outcome of each piece and I was looking forward to working on the next Iconoflage project.

You should try it if you think you’re passionate about something

This past month was a real blast! I would say that being sick was worth it because I now have 31 final pieces in my portfolio and 62 new posts in my Instagram feed sharing something that I truly enjoy.

If you have thought about participating in one of these month-long projects, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to get your feet wet to see if you are truly passionate about a hobby and are willing to put in the effort to really do it.

With that being said, and me coming out of the test with a satisfactory pass, I’m going to continue to create more Iconoflage work. Which brings me to the topic for next week…

WTF is Iconoflage?

I’ll tell you soon.

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