October brings to mind Halloween, black cats and for some, black ink.

For more than a decade, artists around the world have turned October into Inktober. But what is Inktober? It’s a drawing campaign started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker that challenges artists to create an inked drawing every day of the month using a series of prompts suggested by Parker.

With the rise in popularity of social media, hashtagged Inktober posts made it easy for artists to showcase their talents and enjoy the creative camaraderie. Parker’s rules were simple: make an inked drawing each day based on his prompts. You could start with a pencil drawing then ink it — but the final product needed to be inked. Creating a new drawing every day of the month can be daunting, but the purpose is to challenge oneself. The prompts are open to artistic interpretation, and part of the fun is seeing the wide assortment of approaches and styles in relation to each prompt.

Inktober has turned into a much-anticipated international event. So much so that Parker trademarked the name under his business, J.P. Creative, LLC. Though that action was not without controversy, it has allowed Parker to regain control of licensing. Inktober is now a registered trademark of J.P. Creative, LLC.

This October, the Norfolk Arts Center has officially teamed up with J.P. Creative, LLC to host our own local Inktober event. The competition will use Inktober’s official prompts. The hope is to encourage artists of all abilities to draw every day in October and make connections with other artists. Whether you are a hobbyist, professional, or absolute beginner, Inktober is a fun and inspiring way to be creative. What’s more — the NAC has sweetened the deal by offering prizes for the top three pieces. If you’d like to participate, visit the official Inktober website or the NAC website for the list of daily prompts.

You will need to post your creation to social media, preferably Instagram, where the largest participation of artists generally occurs, but you can also post to other social media. Just be sure to hashtag your work with the NAC’s and Inktober’s official hashtags. Please visit the NAC website for full details. Three pieces will be chosen weekly to compete for the end-of-the-month prizes.

Inktober isn’t the only program NAC is launching in October. The Passport to Art program is back again as well. Passport to Art offers free art classes exclusive to all area fifth grade students and gives them access to arts events. Call the NAC to register your fifth-grader for the program.

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