A new art challenge pops up on Twitter seemingly every day. March of Robots, Mermay. Inktober. Slow-vember. In reality, there are only a few quality challenges created with the truest intentions.

Take Inktober for example. This month long challenge germinated from Jake Parker’s desire to improve his inking skills. He shared his experience online and over the next few years participation grew exponentially. In fact, #Inktober2018 racked up over 4,725,000 Instagram posts. That’s just insane.

So why do I participate in challenges? It’s quite simple really and it goes back to the reason the popular Inktober was created. It’s to improve myself and my skills. I’ve completed 4 Inktobers so far and I can see the improvement in my ink work. This past year I started using a brush and ink/ink washes for my pieces. It was fun to introduce this new element to my arsenal. I’ll undoubtedly expand this skillset this year. I’m already gathering up more bottle caps.

Another challenge I’m working my way through is my Heroes 365 day challenge. It’s supposed to be a picture a day, but, in my world, that’s not possible at this time. So it’s stretched out past a year and to be honest I’m not sure what day I’m at for completing the challenge.

I do know, however, that this challenge was not approached (by me) as a picture, or portrait, a day type of challenge. My intent was to improve my skills with headshots, a typical comic convention commission request. In that respect, I’ve been successful. Would I like to be done? Yes. I have a hundred more portraits to do. Will I finish all 365? In due time.

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