So this challenge took a little longer than I anticipated, but I did finish (I’m going to slowly upload the results over the next few days) and I’m so glad I gave this challenge a go. Not only is it so nice to look back through the sketchbook and see so many pages filled over a relatively short space of time, but it was really fun to play with different media knowing it didn’t matter if it didn’t work out as I intended. On top of that it was so good to be able to sketch animals I wouldn’t necessarily be able to fit into my other work, and into the bargain it gave me a better understanding of animal anatomy too!
So first up, here’s days 8-14, featuring dogs, hares, hedgehogs, monkeys, hummingbirds, lizards and badgers!
If you’d like to see the drawings from this challenge, and the most recent stuff from my sketchbook, you can check out my instagram page here: Rowena James Illustration
Well, I’m still going! Although I’m having far more fun doing it than I’m sure I should be (The first 3 days I managed each set of drawings in about an hour, the last few days…well, let’s just say they took a little longer…) I’m really enjoying experimenting with different media and I’ve found myself thinking a lot more about which medium to pare up with each animal (so far I’ve found fluffy animals much easier in pencil, and animals with more form/interesting shapes more suited to pen or ink), but then maybe mixing up some unexpected animal/media combinations could be my next challenge!
Okay, well so far so good! This is actually proving a lot easier to sit down and do than I thought it might be (which I guess is a good thing). It’s actually been really nice to just draw for fun/without any specific purpose. So here you are: squirrels, polar bears and deer!
So once again I seem to have found myself in that end of project blues. You know, that feeling when you’ve been working on a project for so long, any spare moment you have, you’re working on it, and then even when you’re not working on it, you’re thinking about it. Literally, all the time. And then suddenly, you’re almost done, and your brain’s like ‘whoa, hang on a second, what the heck am I meant to do now? I’m staring into this black hole of nothingness, come on, you’ve got to give me something!‘ Anyone else get that? Or at least know what I’m going on about? It’s annoying right?
I have to say this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened pretty much every project since university. Except at uni there was always another project round the corner to get me going again. But now it’s all just me.
Buuuuut, I have a cunning plan to try and kickstart my brain before it falls too far into the black hole of nothingness. I tried and failed with Inktober again this year (I’m going for next year as 3rd time lucky), so to make up for that, I’m going to give myself a new challenge. It suddenly hit me as I was flipping through some old sketchbooks earlier, searching for inspiration. And I came across this:
I did this sketch over 3 years ago when I was trying to fill up a sketchbook to take to my interview for my art foundation course. Along with this sketch were a load of other animal drawings, and I suddenly realised something- whenever I’ve had a motivational slump, and for whatever reason can’t figure out what to do next, animals always seem to get me drawing again.
So, for my new challenge, I’m going to try and draw a different animal for the next 30 days (I already have a mental list of some of the animals I want to try and draw, but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know!) I also want to try not to use the same media for 2 days running. Basically I want to experiment, but I also want to get my productivity going again. They don’t have to be big or complex pieces (actually I really seem to struggle with just staying simple, so the simpler the better), but mostly I just need something to make me sit down and draw (it’s weird, you wouldn’t think it would be so hard to do something you love!) But I’m hoping this will be the kick I need. And hey, it might even be a useful starting point for some character development and a new project!
As a starting point I’ve got these sketches below, which I did when we visited an animal park over the summer. It was so refreshing to draw from life because I didn’t have any other option but to draw quickly (hence I stuck with the rhinos for quite a while!) and everything felt a lot more natural (I always fall victim to over-working my drawings, trying to make them ‘perfect’ and often lose some of the original character and energy of the drawings) so I guess the images I’ve got here is kind of what I’m going to be aiming for with my sketches over the next 30 days. Although, if I feel the urge to develop an image into something a bit more finished, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say no…
(Okay, so this last one was drawn from one of the photos when I got home, but doing some preliminary sketches from life first really helped).
Right, let’s do this!
As I think I mentioned in a previous post, when we were in France a couple of weeks ago we visited an Insectarium, and one of the creatures I didn’t realise they had there were geckos and lizards. I’ve never really thought too much about them in the past, particularly when looking for animals to draw- I’ve always gone with the more fluffy varieties, the sort you would probably call traditionally cute. But after 5 minutes or so of watching these little guys, I found myself hooked. I don’t know what it was exactly, whether it was the way they moved around, keeping an eye on me at all times, or their slightly ungainly interactions with each other, or just the details of their bodies up close…I just found myself wanting to learn more about them, to study them, to draw them. I was, I guess, inspired! The day we got back from the Insectarium I started sketching around some of these images, and I just loved exploring something different. There’s definitely a challenge to them, but at the same time it’s nice to be able to see a clear structure, and also not to have to draw fur! The final piece I worked on was a colour pencil sketch (again something I wouldn’t normally do) of the gecko at the top, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s finished.