Monday, September 30, 2019

#Harvest Tales + New Shop Items

There hasn't been much activity from me on the art front lately as August was mostly spent planning, preparing for and then travelling to New York, followed by being terribly ill for a full month after I got back! So I haven't really felt much like drawing and have been trying to ease myself back into the habit while I got better, especially as I plan on doing Inktober this year for the first time ever.

Inktober's not something I've ever taken part in before as I'm usually put off by how competitive and commercialised it's gotten, I'm really not interested in any of that side of it and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In fact October is probably my least favourite time to be an artist on social media as I'm so bored with the whole concept after three days of it filling up my entire feed! But I happened upon the prompt list and for once I actually felt quite inspired by it, and as I've had such a dry spell it feels like a good way to improve my practise and build good habits. And when I think of it like that, I'm really excited for it!

I don't plan on sharing all of my illustrations throughout the month as I think it can be toxic to share everything and I think that's why so many turn it into a competition, whether intentionally or not. My biggest learning curve this past year has been that not everything I create has to be up for public consumption, and it's much more liberating to create things for my own eyes only. When you don't have that pressure of needing to share, you're more inclined to take risks and experiment, which is exactly the point of the Inktober challenge to me, not to pre-prepare 31 perfect illustrations in advance which I see no artistic merit to.

Throughout September there's been an art tag on Instagram called #HarvestTales which felt right up my alley, and as it only required one artwork per week it felt like a perfect way to ease myself into designing illustrations around prompt words. I tried to keep it themed by having a central character of a Scarecrow (who may or may not look familiar from my Fiyero drawings...), which I liked as having that allowed me to think of the prompts within that character, and I hoped it might feel a bit more narrative driven than by simply having four separate illustrations. One of my favourite works I've created so far is my Folktale Week sketchbook from last November, and I think a big part of why it works for me is because it has so much cohesion. I didn't want to turn this into as huge a project as that was though, as that wouldn't be easing myself into things at all!

This was my first illustration, with the prompt "flowers and herbs". To be honest I don't love it. I was determined to work traditionally as I didn't want it to be as polished as digital, and also as my previous Folktale Week artworks had been traditional and I used the same methods. But honestly I don't like how this illustration came out that much!! I don't know if I've over shaded it or tried to be too detailed, but it feels like I've taken 10 steps back in my style into territory I've tried to get away from. This year I've really worked on simplifying my work away from the realistic perfectionist mindset I was trapped in before and I really love where it's taken me, but this just isn't it. I still like the idea of the sunflowers comforting the sad Scarecrow (I was inspired by the Pink Floyd song Scarecrow, especially the line "The black and green scarecrow is sadder than me, But now he's resigned to his fate" which I've always related to Fiyero's story arc) and the general idea, just not the execution in this case. Even the colours just don't feel right.

I actually skipped week 2 which had the prompt word "Scarecrow", partly as I was really ill that week, partly because I was feeling kind of disheartened from the previous week, so technically this illustration is week 3 which had the prompt "night creature". I wanted to really take advantage of the challenge being called harvest tales, whilst also making it slightly spooky as I felt the prompts were leaning in that direction (and honestly "spooky harvest" sums up my whole aesthetic!). I stripped the style right back to absolute simplicity, and was inspired by a video by DrawingWiffWaffles where she'd drawn with a coloured ballpoint pen and coloured it with pastel Copic markers to create a monotone effect. And it proved to be just the inspiration I needed as I love how this turned out, and used the same method for the final illustration but knocked it up a gear.

The prompt was "spirits", and I added a little white gel pen and yellow colouring pencil. It's definitely my favourite of the lot! I'm even thinking of only using ballpoint pen for the whole of Inktober as it's ink, and I've really fallen in love with the versatility and simplicity of it. Who needs overly expensive Inktober targeted art supplies when you can just use a 50p biro!

I've also had an exciting shipment of products I ordered! I've wanted to create charms for a while, and my Wicked illustrations felt like they'd lend themselves perfectly. They're 6cm tall acrylic charms with holographic effect on one side (so as not to obscure the illustration too much, but still keeping it sparkly!) I'm delighted with how they've turned out! There's 5 designs in total, and I have a limited quantity right now because it's kind of terrifying plunging money into stock when you don't know when you'll earn that money back! So the more I sell, the more I can invest back into my shop with even more exciting products. I hope you like them as much as I do, they're available in my Etsy store now!

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