Jake Parker, INKtober art challenge creator releases a statement

Here is Jake Parker’s post about INKtober.

Read the press release


Back in 2009 I created the Inktober art challenge as a way for artists to:

  • Get better at drawing

  • Find other cool artists

  • Grow an audience for their work

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.

I love the Inktober community, and am so grateful for the outpouring of creativity that happens every year in October. It’s been amazing to think that something I used to do by myself has gotten so big.

Since 2009, Inktober has grown into a world-wide event with hundreds of thousands of people participating each year and millions of drawings being posted online during the month of October. Every year Inktober takes more and more of my time, resources, and attention to lead the challenge and engage with the community.

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.

I could have let these bad actors win, eventually taking over Inktober and diluting its purpose, or I could have chosen to fight back. I have chosen to fight back using my intellectual property rights, which is why I registered the trademark that I have been using since 2009.

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.

Over the years I have encouraged artists to sell the drawings they made during Inktober, to collect those drawings into books or make prints out of them and sell those too. I still think that’s a great idea.

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. Wreckless rants on social media serve no constructive purpose. Currently there is tons of misinformation floating around social media. I ask that if you’re reading this, please help be part of the solution, rather than perpetuating the problem.

As artists, we are all in this together. I want all artists everywhere to have success with their work. And every artist has a right to protect the things they have worked hard to create.

I will keep using the Inktober platform to inspire artists to draw and create, to spotlight artists who are doing amazing work, and to teach people to get better at drawing.

I hope you’ll join me.

Thank you,

Jake Parker

Link: https://www.mrjakeparker.com/blog/2019/12/20/inktober