The best October art challenges, from Inktober to... er... Orctober

 An image from the Arttrober October art challenge on Instagram.
An image from the Arttrober October art challenge on Instagram.

It's October, and that means one thing. No, not Halloween (although that does form part of it). October has become the ultimate month for art challenges.

From Inktober to Arttrober and even Orctober, the month ahead provides no shortage of Instagram art challenges to get involved in and to put your creative skills to the test. But with so many now buzzing around, which should you take part in. Here's our roundup of some of the most interesting options, complete with the hashtags to use and follow. If you're looking for points, see our roundup of essential sketching tips.

The best October art challenges on Instagram

01. Arttrober

Originally created by Stanley Artgerm Lau as an alternative to Inktober (without the Ink rule), Arttrober is an art challenge that involves drawing your favorite characters – accordingly to a prompt list. There's one prompt for every day of October, so – there are 31 prompts total. The list contains prompts from 3 genres: Anime, Comic and Game. Hashtag: #Arttrober

02. Inktober

Perhaps the best-known of the many artober challenges, Inktober proposes a list of prompts for artists to take on using inks. Jake Parker's move to copyright the Inktober name has been controversial, but the challenge remains popular amid the various newcomers. The Inktober 2023 prompt list includes such testing prompts as 'scratchy' and 'rush' in the latter days of the month. Hashtags: #inktober #inktober2023 #inktober52.

03. Oct-LotR

Also known as Tolkientober, Oct-LotR challenges artists to create a Lord of the Rings-inspired piece of art of each day of the month. Yes, that's a lot of LOTR art. It's a very specific challenge, but then Tolkien's world offer plenty of subjects (check out this incredible Lord of the Rings poster if you're in need of inspiration). Prompts range from types of landscape to specific Tolkien species and even a kiss. Hashtags: #tolkientober #octlotr.

04. Batober

Chris Samnee's Batober art challenge is dedicated to Batman, a character he can draw again and again and still have a lot of fun with. He says anything related to the Batman universe is on topic, so you could also play with other characters. Some of the prompts look challenging. Hashtag: #batober.

05. Drawlloween

Not all October art challenges end in 'ober'. Drawlloween is a classic that's been running for a decade and is still going strong. It encourages participants to push their creativity and not stick to literal interpretations of the prompts. Due to a typo, this year's prompt list features the same prompt on two days, so the topic will be relaxed a little for those. Tag @drawlloween and use the hashtag #Drawlloween to feature.

06. Poketober

Poketober should be fun for Pokémon fans. Devised by Kat G. Birmelin and Lucas Durham, it challenges participants to draw spooky pokémon, from Perrserker to Impodimp, Morgrem and Marshadow.

07. Plastober

Back for a fourth year, Plastober is an art challenge with prizes up for grabs. Huion has given founder Stefan Große Halbuer a Kamvas 12 drawing tablet to give away, and he'll be raffling some of his own prints too. And this is an October art challenge that even allows participants a few days off. As well as the prompts, there are also some more detailed suggestions for how to approach each week to encourage participants to challenge themselves, from experimenting with complementary colours in week one to taking inspiration from Hollywood compositions in week 2. Hashtags: #plastober, #plastober23.

08. Drawtober

Drawtober is another spooky-themed art challenge for the run up to Halloween. Now in its seventh year, it's challenging artists to create with the theme of exploring different rooms in a haunted house, along with the creatures or mysteries within them! All mediums are welcome, from pencil to clay (but not AI)

09. Orctober

If you thought Oct-LotR was challenging, this art challenge is even more specific. Yes, Orctober is a thing, and it challenges 'orctists' to spend the month drawing nothing but orcs. And yes, the prompt day 6 does say 'sexy'. Tag @orctober and use the hashtags #Orctober and Orctober2023.

To explore other platforms where you might be able to share your work, see our roundup for the best social media platforms for artists.