For people who draw and share their work online October is arguably the most important month of the year. It’s the month of Inktober. Started I don’t know how many years ago by superduper pen and ink artist Jake Parker, it’s the biggest monthly drawing challenge of them all. The challenge is to make a drawing in pen and ink and share it online with the #inktober hashtag every day of the month. Jake posts a set of daily prompts every year at the beginning of September, but you don’t have to follow them, and Inktober is now so huge that there are many, many alternative prompt lists and drawing challenges if Jake’s doesn’t appeal (my favourite alternative is Mab’s Drawlloween Club which you can find on Instagram – follow @mabgraves for that).

I have completed Inktober a couple of times but last year I took a year off. But I felt like I was missing out. So this year I’ve decided to take a relaxed approach and do some days but maybe not everyday. And instead of drawing in my sketchbook I’m going to use it to explore all the digital ink brushes I’ve got but have never used. So this is a portrait of Thiago and is today’s suggested photo for the Sktchy Inktober group and today’s prompt “mindless”. I used the dry ink brush that comes with Procreate to draw it.

If you want to do Inktober or simply find out more about it you can you can visit the Inktober website at If you want to see inktober art just search for #inktober on Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest. I’ll only be posting my faces here; if you want to see the rest of my Inktober art head over to my Instagram account @helenlp.


What a great face! One of the things I love about the Sktchy app is that it gives portrait artists the opportunity to browse through many thousands (probably millions now I think about it) of photos to find faces that you want to draw. I have over 2000 in my queue waiting to be drawn and just looking through those to find the one I want to draw today can be a major exercise! But most days it’s easy. I usually know what medium I want to work with on any particular day and that guides my choice of photo.

Today was an iPad drawing day and Lil’s photo called out to me as soon as I saw it. I used Lisa Bardot’s pencil box brushes in the Procreate app on my iPad Pro.


This is Sktchy muse Hannah. I drew her on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app and Lisa Bardot’s wonderful Copicat brushes.

I’ve uploaded a Procreate timelapse video of my drawing process to my YouTube channel – if you’d like to watch it you can view it here.


This portrait of Sktchy muse Meghan is for this week’s Old School Sktchy Wax challenge theme “figure study”. I’m always fascinated by bodies that can move and hold positions that my body hasn’t managed for at least 20 years. Even standing or lying straight is a challenge for my body these days so I’m intrigued by the idea of skeletons and whole musculoskeletal systems that can move into and maintain postures like Meghan’s in the portrait above. My own body’s limitations have made me more, rather than less, interested in the biology and physics of how we move – and the aesthetics of it too. As my movements have become more crablike I love to see fluidity and absolute ease in the movements of others. And to draw it.

I drew this on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and Procreate using a Blackwing Pencil brush.


This portrait of Sktchy muse Lilo was a real challenge. I finished it in coloured pencil and then decided I wasn’t at all happy with it, especially with the angle of the head. So I imported it into Procreate, chopped off the head, seated it at a better angle, works on the whole portrait some more in Procreate and I’m much happier with how it now looks. This is one of the many benefits of using both a sketchbook and an iPad for drawing – it’s possible to meld the two drawing methods together for a better result.

Coffee truck

I know, it’s not a face. It’s a coffee truck for a Sketchbook Skool “Draw This!” photo challenge. I’ve always loved drawing vehicles and this truck is so gorgeous – it’s an irresistible drawing challenge for me. I drew it on my iPad Pro in Procreate with an Apple Pencil using a whole range of brushes but mostly my favourite Blackwing Pencil brush and a watercolour brush.


I have a slight obsession with images that make me think of space. Lilian’s Sktchy photo that inspired this image was possibly derived from a motorbike helmet, gloves and jacket (and some ivy :)) but it immediately made me think of space and astronauts. As I was drawing it I was most definitely drawing an astronaut, or maybe now I think about it I was drawing Jules, hero of Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy and probably my favourite science fiction character.

I drew this on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.