What did I learn from #Inktober2017

What is #Inktober?

Inktober was created by Jake Parker back in 2009. Jake is a well published artist who has some very well known works and clients. (‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’, ‘Epic’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who’, to name but a few…)

Jake says,

Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

Jake created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.”

I have a long history of art, design and creativity and many published works myself. This year I decided to take part in #Inktober and take on the challenge to draw 31 images in 31 days, firstly because I love drawing and it had been an absolute age since I had put pen to paper (or Apple Pen to iPad in this case), and secondly to see if the challenge would improve my creative skills too.

#Inktober17 #FALL

The first few day were tough as I struggled to make time and get into the swing of things, but after the first week #Inktober had become one of the highlights of my daily routine.

I decided not to forward plan what I was going to draw that day and all some spontaneity to take place… let the pen do the thinking.

Being spontaneous is almost an alien concept in the Industry of Corporate/Internal Communications.

Every piece of content, be it article, event, email, poster, magazine, app etc. is designed to be a piece of a much bigger picture/strategy.

Providing detailed planning, strategic alignment and air traffic control as well as the actual content creation to deliver corporate messaging, employee engagement, change programmes has become my norm.

Having said that, being naturally creative has been very useful, there’s no doubt about that. It does provide me with a foundation that allows me to visualise the bigger picture and put the meat on the bone. It has absolutely helped me define, apply and strengthen the corporate brand while ensuring that everything is visually pleasing.

The freedom

#Inktober2017 set my spontaneous creativity monster free again.

That poor thing had been locked away in a dark place for years, only allowed to peep out every now and then, when I felt there was justification to add a little spice to the brand guideline.

I have looked forward to relaxing with my slippers, ipad and unleashing the creativity. No boundaries, no brand guidelines, no rules.. well only one. Each day had a prompt that would loosely guide the thought process.

Each day I shared the finished product via my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and soon began to see a great increase in my follows, direct messages, page / post views and organic website traffic. But the really awesome thing was, without explaining what I had drawn or why, viewers were being influenced.

For example, the image above was drawn from the prompt ‘Fall’ for Day 28 and as soon as it was posted, my inbox was full of messages from ‘how it had stirred emotions from safety managers who strive to prevent falls in the workplace’ to ‘a heartfelt thanks from someone who had viewed the image and it had made them rethink the value of life.’

#Inktober17 prompt list

So what did I learn?

  1. Images are one of the most powerful tools we have as communicators.
  2. We communicate more than we think through images.
  3. Our emotions are stimulated by visuals far more than words.
  4. Including appropriate images into the mix can considerable enhance the success of delivery..
  5. I still have a love for drawing and being creative

Advice

  • You don’t need to be able to draw to include powerful images in your communications strategies.
  • The same image can invoke very different emotions from individual to individual – Make use of a pilot panel when considering image use to learn how images are perceived.
  • Creativity is an important and essential ingredient to any communication strategy.

A few of my #Inktober creations

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