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Blacktober and #DrawingWhileBlack Are Launching Together Today and My Twitter Timeline Is Ready

Let's gooooo!


October is a time when social media becomes a creative landscape of various “tober” challenges and prompts. Challenge is, of course, a term used as gently as possible, as there’s no pressure to actually complete a prompt for 31 days in a row – but it is fun to try.

Enter Blacktober, an October event that highlights Black artists and their work – both fanart and original – created by artists CéliCel, and the Black Card Member Community with graphics by Apple.

I’ve written about Blacktober before, more specifically, the free zine that was released after the event was over. Last year was a particularly heavy year for the Black community, and the rising trend of only highlighting us through tragedy didn’t help matters much, either. However, for the month of October, this event brought a lot of joy to our timelines. Artists came together to share their work and it really did help to offer some positivity in an otherwise bleak year.

I’m happy to see the event returning with the same vibe it had last year. Participation is easy – share your work with the hashtag if you’re Black, share and uplift Black creatives if you’re not.

This year, the folks behind the event are working to give Black creatives more ways to share their work. Not all of us are artists, but a lot of us are out here creating content. Cel has come up with a content ideas list for Blacktober that includes things like writing, streaming, cosplay, and other creative avenues that we take part in.

Along with that comes the collaboration of another Black-centric art event: #DrawingWhileBlack.

#DrawingWhileBlack was created by illustrator Abelle Hayford back in 2017. In an article from SyFy Wire, Hayford says, “I was really inspired by #visiblewoman and #blackout when I came up with #DrawingWhileBlack last month! Giving marginalized artists visibility and recognition is very important to me because I didn’t really ‘see’ myself in the art world when I was younger.”

#DrawingWhileBlack will begin today and go on throughout the weekend while Blacktober will be throughout the entire month of October. If you’re wondering how to go about participating in both events, Hayford breaks it down in this tweet:

Honestly, there isn’t much difference between the two events, and they both serve the same purpose of making Black creatives more visible. You can draw whatever you want for either one, really, but as Hayford says, Blacktober is more prompt-based while #DrawingWhileBlack is similar to a “Portfolio Day” post.

Personally, I’ve used #DrawingWhileBlack to connect with Black artists for indie book projects I’ve had over the years. I wanted illustrations of my characters to put inside of my books, so I went through the hashtag, took notes of the art styles I liked, and reached out later.

At the end of the day, both Blacktober and #DrawingWhileBlack are a positive way to put Black creatives in the spotlight. It’s also a good way to see some REALLY great art for an entire month, and who knows, find an artist (or several) to collaborate with in the future.

(Image: Tiana Conyers)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)