My artober challenge is done! I'm really chuffed I actually managed to post every day on Instagram for 31 days (I posted about the challenge at the beginning of the month if you'd like to know more!). I know it's not as impressive as 'Inktober' because I didn't create new inked artwork each and every day - but I tried my best. Some of the photos are of books that I wanted to share and some other behind the scenes photos that are still art related. It's been another hectic month so I'm glad I didn't add extra pressure. There were a few times I wanted to throw in the towel but I knew from day one that I didn't want this to be a half-hearted effort.
I always thought challenges like this would be a fab way to grow your audience and become part of a community. Unfortunately, I think Inktober is now a bit too large for that! Whenever I checked the hashtag on Instagram, there was literally a new image appearing every second, and it was crazy to keep up. Unless your image already had a few hundred likes and was featured in the popular section (at the top of the screen when searching a hashtag), or you’d just posted an image that second, it will easily get lost amongst the rest. I tried my best to comment and like any of the images I saw on the hashtag, but I did find it hard to discover new artists I loved, but weren’t already super popular. I love the YouTube videos and watching processes of the art being created, but as I’m not a YouTuber and don’t have enough experience in video editing, this really wasn’t an option for me.
Even posting an image every evening was hard enough with various life stuff happening anyway. I have huge respect for vloggers and artists who share content on the internet regularly, if not daily. I changed the original challenge to ‘Artober’ – so I do wonder whether the lack of engagement I had on Instagram was because not everything was following the ‘Inktober’ theme (of things being created using ink only). I shared various images, including book and art material reviews, photos of past projects and my desk space, as well as creating fresh, new artwork that did follow the ‘Inktober’ idea. Despite the little influx of followers I gained at the beginning of the challenge, I noted that this fluctuated every day and, after 31 days of posting daily, my follower count has only gone up by 8. My photos started with a good number of likes, but slightly disappointing by the end of the month, and certainly less than before when I posted only once or twice a month. This could be because the hashtag was followed less as the days went on and people lost interest (though, as I said, the huge amount of photos still being uploaded to the hashtag certainly didn’t reflect this). Perhaps the new Instagram algorithm has affected me – perhaps it was naïve of me to think that simply posting more regularly would help gain likes and follows. It would be good to hear if you did it both this year and last, before the new Instagram algorithm, and whether your engagement was the same or reduced compared to this year. I’d be really interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this, and if you’ve done a challenge before and have had varying results.
It's a huge boost to my self esteem that actually I can create something daily, whether it's a post from my creative archives or not. I'm really pleased that I did it because I feel more confident posting more in the future, and pushing myself to create new artwork more regularly. Lookout for some more regular content on my Instagram in the future (though not everyday, I need a little break!). If you participated this year or you have an arty insta, leave a link in the comments!