Being an artist is hard. Figuring out your style, finding your audience, choosing your path. There are a lot of resources out there to help us figure the art game out, but I think one of the best free resources that everyone has access to are… hashtag challenges.
There are eleventy billion hashtag challenges available to choose from, and weirdly most of them see to happen in October. I don’t know what it is about this month that artists are drawn to creating hashtag challenges. (Get it? DRAWN TO? What I’m hilarious) These challenges, especially the big popular ones, bring in a lot of new followers because people will search the hashtags to find cool art. If your art is cool, they’ll share it, especially on Twitter!
In this post, I want to talk about how an artist can use a hashtag challenge to completely renovate or further accelerate their body of work. I will use Inktober as my base, because that’s the challenge that made the world of difference for me personally. Later in the post, I will compile as many hashtag challenges as I can remember and find.
So let’s get started. What is a hashtag challenge? These challenges crop up throughout the year and encourage artists to participate in a cohesive art experience using the same hashtag. Inktober specifically began because Jake Parker wanted to challenge himself to improve his ink work. It is a 31 day challenge in October wherein the artist is to post a drawing every day in ink and tags it #inktober. It has become its own beast, however, and many artists change it up to suit their own style and needs.
One major point to remember with all hashtag challenges is: There are (usually) no judges, this isn’t a competition. The purpose is to improve our art and have fun.
In 2014, I discovered #inktober and decided to play along. This was my very first Inktober drawing:
Part of remolding my studio earlier this year involved putting in new shelves. I wanted a space to keep all my skulls, weird references, and toys. I wanted white shelves to go with the neutral gray of the room, but found that I could spice it up a bit by using fancy wall mounts to hold the shelves. Here’s what I learned…
Still wiping the sleep from my eyes after a long greyhound bus ride, I stumbled into the city of Atlanta early Thursday night. It was Dragon Con and the city had sprung to life with heroes, villains, celebrities, and artists of all kinds. Everywhere I looked there were bodies rushing from place to place, eager to celebrate in the overflow of geek culture and festivities. I was excited to finally be a part of it all, in my own small way.
I met artist Sam Flegal and his wife Loraine Posadas Flegal at a nearby bar to go over our game plan in person. I would be assisting them in a roomy 10x20 booth on the second floor of the vendor hall. My job was to help sell Sam's Fateful Signs artwork and books to Norse mythology enthusiasts. My husband Tad was also present to help bring us food and drinks during the event.
We've recommended switching to a thermal printer for order fulfillment numerous time on 1FW. Main reason is to ditch the ink. Without ink the majority of the expense and hassle ink jet printers create when trying to ship lots of product. Earlier this year I finally took our own advice, and got one. Through the process I chatted with the amazing artists that participate in our Facebook Group, and got feedback on what thermal printers people had purchased, if they liked them, and why.