Art Zombie!

All the art I made in February, with the exception of a few small pencil sketches that forgot to come to the gathering.

All the art I made in February, with the exception of a few small pencil sketches that forgot to come to the gathering.

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!

Although Mermaid Music is a sea comic, Root had to ride overland, so I got to draw a horse! I should put more horses in the story, it was fun.

Although Mermaid Music is a sea comic, Root had to ride overland, so I got to draw a horse! I should put more horses in the story, it was fun.

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:

I really was feeling kind of glum, and it was pouring down rain, but I was much happier when I got done drawing this!

I really was feeling kind of glum, and it was pouring down rain, but I was much happier when I got done drawing this!

I think this one is my favourite of the whole album. Might have to translate it to a bigger painting.

I think this one is my favourite of the whole album. Might have to translate it to a bigger painting.

I love those movies where you know the guy and the girl are going to end up together, even if they hate each other at the very beginning.

I love those movies where you know the guy and the girl are going to end up together, even if they hate each other at the very beginning.

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!).

The story is about Root from Mermaid Music, in her younger days. I got to draw a whole lot of octopus tentacles!

The story is about Root from Mermaid Music, in her younger days. I got to draw a whole lot of octopus tentacles!

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:

This is for a story called "The Dragon's Birthday", which I'm very much looking forward to working on! I was testing two kinds of coloured pencils here, wet (watercolour) and dry (the regular kind).

This is for a story called “The Dragon’s Birthday”, which I’m very much looking forward to working on! I was testing two kinds of coloured pencils here, wet (watercolour) and dry (the regular kind).

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!

 

 

 

12 responses to “Art Zombie!

  1. Wow, you have been busy – great stuff too. They are all so good. You are a very talented girl.

    When I am on a creative binge, and the dog fluff is mounting up in the corners of the room, I am often asked, “how do you find the time, what about all the normal things, like housework?”. I usually reply with “housework, oh, that happens to other people”.

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    • Thanks, Alita! I get asked the same thing — I used to just embarrassedly mumble about the housework, but lately my response is pretty much the same as yours! Probably fodder for a whole blog post there… I wonder if creative men get asked the same question?

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  2. Pingback: Spring Forward—Ack! I Tripped! | Mermaid Music·

  3. Ha! I can relate with the cave-woman alter ego when you’re in the manic artistic state of mind. I love your blog… so lucky to have stumbled upon it. Keep them coming!!!

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  4. Pingback: Taking a Break | Mermaid Music·

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