It’s been an intense month-and-a-bit here in my studio. When last I wrote, I had embarked on a daily challenge to make art every day. Now, it’s not an unusual thing for me to make art most days, but I was in the mood for another challenge (the last one I did was Inktober) and it had been just long enough for me to forget that nothing else really gets done when I take one of these on.
When I have a lot of art to do, I get pretty single-minded about it, and live on tea and English muffins and wear the same clothes all week. Fortunately my dear hubby is as introverted as I am (maybe more) and doesn’t mind too much. But by the end of it, my poor body was squeaking and creaking and begging for me to do something besides sit in a chair and draw. I guess I sort of became an art zombie! I’m still craving brains, I mean, art, but I took a day off the day after it ended, and took another day off today.
Besides my vow to finish my little Moleskine book, I also had several other projects I was working on: a small series of book illustrations for a regular client, an eight-page story for an anthology, and of course, I’m chugging away on pages for my webcomic, Mermaid Music, as I plan to have another print issue out this spring (although you can keep up with the story weekly online — if you haven’t read it yet, click here; I’ll wait for you to get back!). I was also writing an article for a magazine, and making the art to go with it — more about that soon!
At the end of the month, I had 29 charming little drawings in my Moleskine Japanese Album (it folds out like an accordion). I posted them all in an album on my Facebook page, here. I tried to connect them together, as it’s essentially all one page, but sometimes that didn’t work. There was a prompt word every day, in each of which I tried to find some humour or a little twist, and I stuck to a limited palette of ink plus a blue and a red pencil for the whole book. I found this quite challenging, since as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following this blog, I like COLOUR! But I also found it strangely satisfying; it was pleasant to have a small, finish-able piece of art to do each day, since many of my other projects tend to be large, ongoing things. Here’s a few of my faves from the album:
The comic for the anthology turned out to be quite a rabbit hole for me, as I tried a number of things I had never done before, including a bunch of Photoshop stuff (which is a whole wormhole-vortex unto itself). It took me about three to five times as long as doing the same pages by hand, but I was happy with the result. Here’s one of my favourite panels; I’ll give the making of the thing an article of its own soon, and copies of the anthology will also be for sale (We’re doing a limited run, and I’ll only have a few, so if you want one, let me know through the “drop me a line” button at the top!).
My other main project was a magazine article, in which I describe how to do a comic page in coloured pencil. Now, I’ve done a lot of comic pages, and I’ve done a lot of coloured pencil, but up until this time I had done no comics in coloured pencil (unless you count quickie sketch comics). I wanted this to look like a children’s book illustration, as it is going to be a story for children — it’s from a script I did back when I was going to comics school. This is another one of those projects I’ll have to write about in detail later, but for a taste of what it will look like, here’s a little test drawing I did:
Despite the fact that my laundry piled up, the floors need washing, my garden needs weeding, and I need more sleep and exercise, I found driving myself to make such a huge amount of art in one month very fulfilling. I know I need to find some balance to this, but I also needed to kickstart myself into habitual working patterns again (I’d gotten kind of slack over the holidays). I needed to love making art again, after kind of burning out last year on too many projects.
I think I succeeded: I can’t wait to get back to work!