My Inktober 2023 Rules and Prompts

The ritual of making


I started doing Inktober back in 2014. I have no memory on how I came across it, but since then I’ve stuck with it year after year. Some years I commit a lot of time and effort, other years I barely get through it each day.

This year I’m leaning towards “spending a lot of time and effort”. I love ink and it was what got me into art. I got into the brush pen because of EmiTown and just ran with it as far as I could.

My Supplies

My Rules

The Inktober rules mostly follow the original website, but each year I tack on a few extra rules in my own head. In no particular order:

  1. Finished pieces are on 9” x 12” Blick Hot Press Watercolor blocks (love having separate originals)

  2. The creation of the final piece, pencils and inks on paper, must be started on the day of. I.E. I can only start penciling and inking Day 1 on October 1st, Day 20 on October 20th, etc.

  3. Thumbnails are not subject to rule 2. I start and plan them when I want and as far in advance as I would like.

    1. Theoretically I could do all my thumbnails and plan all 31 days on October 1st. Likely won’t, but I could.

    2. I added this rule a few years back to give me breathing room to get ahead when I have the time. Ideation and composition are the hardest parts of Inktober, everything after that is just reference gathering, pencils, and inking, which is closer to rote work than the brainstorming I do at the beginning.

      1. I do my thumbnails in Procreate, one of the rare times I use this app. I don’t use it often for a few reaons, but that’s for a different post.

  4. Make my own prompts.

    1. It’s way more fun this way.

  5. No plein air or self-portraits.

    1. To force me to come up with illustrations.

  6. Post the finished piece each waking day.

    1. If I’m up late and the clock rolls to the next day, I’ll give me up to when I sleep to count it as “that day”.

Allen’s 2023 Inktober Prompt List

Wondering how this list came about? Nothing special, I just came up with random titles that sound good for pieces.

  1. The Beginning of Our End, Forever

  2. Fractured Enlightenment

  3. Clarity

  4. We Can’t Chase Each Other Anymore

  5. The Breaking of a Universe

  6. Wild Waves

  7. Celebration

  8. We Won’t Be Here When You Come Back

  9. Farewell Heaven, Farewell Hell

  10. Into the Deep Dark

  11. Gentle Hands

  12. The Reading Nook

  13. Only With You

  14. Burning Sunset at the Edge of the Sea

  15. Love and Everyone

  16. For You, For Them, Not For Me

  17. Impossible Dreams

  18. Extraordinarily Ordinary

  19. A Long Journey Ahead with You By My Side

  20. I Love You and You Can Never Know

  21. The Smothering of Death

  22. Flames Over Us

  23. Happiness in Hard Work

  24. No Freedom without Labor

  25. A Life Worth Living

  26. Aftermath

  27. The Castle of Eternity

  28. The Next Page

  29. A World Unknown

  30. Effervescent Ebullience

  31. Hallowed Dreams

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