This year I joined in with the Inktober challenge again, which involves making an ink drawing every day (or as often as possible) during October and sharing each one on Instagram.
In the past I’ve stuck to black ink and last year I just used a fineliner for the whole month. This time I decided to add some colour so I used liquid inks – mostly India ink and occasionally acrylic ink.
I used a pen once or twice for lettering and black areas but otherwise I used inks and brushes. Here are my 31 drawings from the month. You may recognise a few of these as the new postcards which you can now buy in my Etsy shop.
A few more are (or are going to be) available as prints too.
For April’s MATS Bootcamp assignment we were asked to design organisational trays/cups on the theme of sewing accessories, or sewing notions. I tried a few different ways of drawing and colouring my ideas and eventually decided on these designs for a tray, some trinket dishes and 3 different storage cups.
For the design of the trays and cups I was inspired by a few things I’d spotted on Pinterest and also in online shops like Anthropologie. With the drawings I decided to stick with simple line drawings in ink which I coloured digitally.
Making patterns is one of my favourite ways to play around with my drawings so I also created 2 repeat patterns using the same images – one using all the drawings I’d made and another that used just the buttons.
This was probably my favourite assignment so far in Bootcamp because the work I made felt very ‘me’. I felt like I was learning new things but at the same time using a style that is familiar and comfortable. We have one more month to go and I’m curious to see what that assignment will be, but in the meantime we have an extra week before that work starts so I’m enjoying a little break and resting as much as possible.
Until the end of May I’m taking part in the MATS Bootcamp run by illustration agent, Lilla Rogers. I really enjoy learning new things and feel that there’s always room for my work to develop. We’re given a new assignment to work on each month, which starts with a ‘mini’ warm-up assignment before the main assignment comes out. In January we started by drawing the contents of our bags.
The main assignment was to create a cover for a children’s book, showing what we imagined a particular well-known person/character might carry with them. There were 12 different people (fictional and real life) assigned to the group and I had the task of illustrating what I imagined Lilla Rogers (the agent running the class) might carry in her bag.
It was a challenge and it was also interesting to see so many different styles and approaches to the same assignment. The gallery of our work is now public so you can have a look at the full range of work on the MATS website.
In January I joined in with Lisa Congdon‘s brand new CreativeBug class. A couple of years ago she taught a class on CreativeBug which was a daily drawing challenge. This new class was similar but instead of making a drawing each day we created a painted pattern. As you know, I love making patterns and I’m a big fan of Lisa’s work so this was right up my street . I also really enjoyed getting more familiar with gouache paint.
My main piece of creative work over the past few weeks has been a single drawing. I originally estimated that it would take me 2 weeks to complete but it’s actually taken 3 weeks from start to finish and sometimes that’s felt a bit frustrating.
During this year’s 100 Day Project I often spent hours each day working on a single illustration. It wasn’t good for me but it became a habit and finding a balance again is trickier than I expected.
Because I’m trying to work at a slower, steadier pace again, I’ve been quite strict about how much time I’ve spent working on this drawing each day. This probably skewed my judgement about how long I’d take to get it finished but luckily there wasn’t a hard deadline.
To help keep myself in check, I’ve got back to following the example of my friend, Michael Nobbs, and setting my timer for 20 minutes at a time, with my goal being to spend 20 minutes each day working on the drawing.
Sometimes I’ve done 2 or 3 short work sessions in a day, but more often than not I’ve just spent 20 minutes each day on this piece of work. Not only has this meant that the paint can dry between layers but it’s also allowed me to come back to it each day with fresh eyes, which has probably helped me to avoid making mistakes. It also helps me to keep a gentle sense of momentum with my work so that I can see progress without falling into the unhealthy cycle of boom and bust with my energy that I have a tendency towards.
It can feel really satisfying to work on a piece of work from start to finish in one day. What I’m now realising, though, is that the work I made earlier this year would probably have turned out better if I hadn’t tried to produce quite so much of it, or if I’d at least done what I’ve done in the past and set some sort of boundary in terms of the pace or size of my work.
I’ve now reached a point with my current drawing where I’m feeling ready to start a new piece of work and I’m pleased with the way I’ve approached this one. I think it’s been good for me and also good for the person who will own this drawing.
Now the challenge is to maintain this pace and not slip back into unhelpful habits!