Inktober

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This article documents a currently unfolding situation within the fannish realm. Content may change quickly, and the page structure itself may undergo major revision. New details are very welcome.


Challenge
Name: Inktober
Date(s): 2009 - present
Moderator(s):
Founder: Jake Parker
Type: fan art
Fandom: Multifandom
Associated Community:
URL: Official Inktober website
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Inktober is an annual drawing challenge where artists draw one ink drawing for every day in the month of October. Jake Parker originally created the challenge in 2009, with the intent of improving his inking skills and developing better drawing habits. Although the challenge was originally focused on traditional inking, digital inking is acceptable as well.

As well as the offical inktober prompt list, fandom and/or character specific prompt lists are common, with prompts and art often shared on Tumblr.

"Spinoff" challenges for the same month have sprung up since, such as Kinktober, Fictober, OCtober/OC October, Whumptober, Angstober, Linktober, Writember, Writober, etc.

Trademark issues

In October 2018, Jake Parker trademarked "Inktober", and since then, disputes have been filed against sellers of artbooks with "Inktober" in the name.[1][2] In December 2019 several social media posts circulated informing people of this, such as the following tweet:

ATTENTION ALL ARTISTS! No longer participate in #inktober. Jake Parker (person who started the tag) has Trademarked it and their lawyer is shutting down ANYONE who is selling things like sketchbooks of their OWN artwork using the word.[3]

In response, Parker claimed on Twitter in 2019 that this was "my overzealous lawyer" and he was "Trying to get this sorted out."[4] He later wrote a blog post with clarifications:[5]

Inktober is and will always be free to participate in. The hashtag is free to use (as are all hashtags). Every artist is free to sell the drawings they made during Inktober if they want to. Contrary to misstatements recently made on social media, I am not trying to stop any artist from profiting from their own artwork, and I am certainly not trying to steal your work, nor receive back payments from work that has been sold.

[...]

However, as the Inktober challenge got bigger and bigger with each passing year, it started being invaded by individuals outside of the community trying to make a quick buck. These people are not artists like you and me, and have profited off the popularity of the challenge, with no concern for the Inktober community.

One of my biggest worries is that something I’ve created as a challenge that promotes creativity and community could be used to promote hate or violence. For example, one of these people could sell a horrible racist inktober shirt. That not only affects me, but people could then associate racism with the whole inktober community. As the creator of the challenge I feel responsible to legally protect it.

[...]

It is not my intention (and never was my intention) to hinder the very artists that made Inktober so popular or marginalize the creators that Inktober was intended to support. I did ask my lawyers to take action against those wrongfully profiting off the Inktober brand. I did so to protect the integrity of the brand, and to protect the investments made by my sponsors, which help make Inktober possible year after year. And in that spirit, I encourage all artists to protect their creativity.

If you are a pirate, making money from the sale of Inktober merchandise (such as t-shirts, mousepads, mugs, books, etc.) and confusing the public into believing that you are somehow officially affiliated with or sponsored by me, my lawyer will contact you and I make no apologies for this.

[...]

If you are an artist, I am NOT trying to stop you from participating in the Inktober challenge or even from selling your Inktober drawings. Yet, there is a right way and a wrong way to reference Inktober. As a participating artist, you CAN certainly sell your Inktober drawings. As a participating artist, you CAN reference Inktober in the sale of your drawings, but I’m asking that you do so in the following manner:

  • Please don’t use my INKTOBER logo—this is reserved for sponsors.
  • Totally cool to use the word INKTOBER together with the year of participation (i.e. INKTOBER 2019).
  • Use INKTOBER + Year as a subtitle, not as a leading title on the cover of your sketchbook. For example, it’s ok to use the subtitle “based on INKTOBER 2019 prompts” or similar reference. The public needs a way to distinguish my stuff from your stuff. It is no more complicated than that.

If you are an artist and your book is not currently consistent with the above guidelines, please contact me and I will work with you. I am not trying to stifle the creativity here, but rather I am simply trying to maintain the integrity of the challenge.

My lawyers and I are in the early stages of this enforcement. It is possible that we may have cast our initial nets too broadly in some cases, and inadvertently blocked legitimate artists. This was certainly not our intention. If you believe that your use of INKTOBER is legit and consistent with my above requests, again, please contact me. I will certainly work with you.

External links

Tumblr tags: inktober, inktober2019

See also

References