Ink Wars is a battle and a party: Eight creative warriors draw in front of a crowd for 60 minutes, to a theme that gets picked seconds before the timer starts. Creative South puts the battle on a bridge, and throws in fireworks. It's a darn fine way to kick off Creative South every year.
When you're drawing spontaneously in front of a live, beer-swilling crowd of your creative peers—against a timer—it's draw or die. Think fast, draw faster. How do you get through? You draw what you know. You pull from that (hopefully) deep well of artistic muscle memory and draw objects that, in some form, have flowed from your hand in the past.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Anything that ejects you from your creative comfort zone is good for your heart and your brain.
I've competed in two Ink Wars, my first at Creative South in 2016. It was nerve-racking—my hand was shaking when the timer started. The theme: "Faster than a speeding bullet." I drew this to win the championship belt:
At my second Ink Wars at Cleveland's Weapons of Mass Creation, I choked. Sat in front of a looming blank canvas wondering what to draw...for ten minutes. Eventually, I filled the canvas (and had fun). No championship that night, but it inspired this creation:
Last week, I traded markers for a microphone and emceed Ink Wars 2017 at Creative South. The competition and the crowd were fantastic.
The only casualty of war was me, falling between platforms while yapping my emcee flapper, and losing a chunk of flesh to a sharp metal ledge. Thankfully, dark denim hides blood.
But enough words. How 'bout some Ink Wars 2017 photos from the talented eyes of Kate Howard:
Do yourself a favor—get your butt to Creative South. And sign up for Ink Wars. You won't regret it...