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Inktober 2023

The illustrations and a colouring-in sheet from their website was what ultimately guided my decision for Inktober.
Inktober 2023
Freckled duck drawing for Inktober 2023

Yes, Inktober is nearly over for another year, and I didn't share my plans for it before it started! 😲But I did participate and I'm excited to share how it went, so read on to find out what this year's project was for me, the materials I used and the revealed final creations!

2023 Project

To describe how I arrived at this year's goal for my Inktober challenge I need to go back in time a few months. I'd just moved house and started working casually at the Herdsman Lake Discovery Centre. One of the ways I wanted to settle in to my new digs was to sign up to my local library and loan some books. I searched their online catalogue for "nature journaling" and came across a recently published book called A Guide to the Creatures in your Neighbourhood by The Urban Field Naturalist Project.

The Urban Field Naturalist Project

I immediately fell in love and promptly bought my own copy for future teaching reference (and a few others too). I'll likely review it in a future post, however I mention it because the illustrations and a colouring-in sheet from their website was what ultimately guided my decision for Inktober. My idea was to create a similar colouring-in sheet of local birds in time for Birdlife Australia's annual Backyard Bird Count that also happens in October.

Aussie Bird Count
Celebrate National Bird Week by taking part in the biggest citizen science project to hit Aussie shores. Join thousands of people from across the country, heading out into their backyards, local parks or favourite open spaces to take part in the Aussie Bird Count.

This brings me back to my new workplace, Herdsman Lake. It's an incredibly important place due to it being the largest lake in the Perth Metro region and for breeding and nesting sites for birds.

So my goal for Inktober was to make a daily ink drawing of a bird from Herdsman Lake, then create colouring-in/count sheets and share them at the Centre for the bird count during October 16-22.

You can see the individual drawings on my Instagram and the completed colouring in sheets are below (free download for personal use from my Ko-fi shop).


Keeping it simple has really worked - I've just been using a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (lusciously dark and expressive, but tricky) and white paper (initially a sketchbook but then I changed to Canson bleedproof marker paper). To create the colouring-in sheets I use Canva.


Occasionally I start with a pencil sketch, but for most I just launched straight into drawing in ink. It can take me multiple tries before I feel I've captured the bird and am happy with the drawing. They're not supposed to be super finished or accurate, almost more of a scribble drawing. This keeps it low stakes for me during the challenge (so I'm more likely to keep it up and complete all the drawings on time) as well as accessible for younger or less confident artists who want to draw their own birds on the back.

The idea of leaving the page blank on the back and keeping the birds simple came from the original sheet from the Urban Field Naturalist Project website. The artist Zoë Sadokierski featured more scribbly drawings than polished illustrations in the book and colouring-in sheet and I wanted to follow that to create a visually similar and aligned resource.

After two weeks I had drawn enough to compile the birds into four A4 sheets using Canva. When deciding on which birds to draw I chose 'common' visitors to Herdsman Lake and loosely grouped them based on their family. However there are many more that call Herdsman Lake home or just drop by to visit - over 100 species have been recorded! How many of these 31 birds have you seen before, are they in your neighbourhood too?


Download and print the A4 sheets for personal use, via my Ko-fi shop:

Aussie Birdcount Colouring Sheets

Download and print these sheets to colour in OR do your own Aussie bird count! These 31 water birds were seen at Herdsman Lake, Perth - but how many are in YOUR neighbourhood?

FREE Download

Previous Inktober posts:

Inktober 2022
Updated 5th November Inktober is over for another year. This year I did struggle a bit more motivationally but managed to keep up by shifting the rhythm from a daily drawing to chunking two or three every few days. I realised that the pressure of completing a “good” (polished) drawing
Inktober 2021
October is here, and the annual drawing with ink challenge is back. Will I succeed this year in completing all 31 drawings in 31 days? Follow my progress below! Or jump to the materials I’m using. What is Inktober? In 2009 Jake Parker created what is now a global drawing