Most years when October rolls around I take part in an October art challenge. This year I chose to go with one that was hosted by a site online called JustTheZoooUs, an animal review podcast by Ellen and Christian Weatherford. They called it “Animal Artober”. There are many prompts posted by people which is nice because you can pick one that you feel interested in doing, or even make up one of your own! You also don’t have to be bound by doing one in October.
That being said, I found the one I chose to do to be a lot of fun and interesting. Although it took me a while to get into the flow because I had a lot going on, and on a few of the prompts I veered from the animal theme. But they did mention in the challenge that it’s OK to do your own interpretation :).
Here is the prompt list.
I thought I’d make a little game out of it and mix up the pictures, and let you the viewer decide which picture goes with which prompt. I think most of them are pretty obvious, but it should still be a fun little diversion. If anyone would like, I can do a match up list sometime, so you can see how you did. Let’s go!
This is a color pencil portrait I did years ago of a much loved cat that we had. When we adopted him, he was about a year old. Out of all of the cats that we saw, he was the only one that wasn’t reaching toward us, or shrinking away, he was just…watching and was so cute. But also there was just something different about him. When I walked up to him he let me pet him, started to purr and rubbed against my hands. We brought him home to our other pets. He was so interested in them, and calm. Someone had named him Bic, (after the pen?), kind of silly. Being a Tuxedo cat, I get it but… We were going to change it, but eventually decided that it suited him. He was very human like, and even people who said that they didn’t like cats, loved him, and his strong personality. He was smart, and sweet, and welcomed anyone to our home, human or otherwise. Years after he passed, when people would get together, they would still talk about him, everyone loved him.
At the time that I did this portrait, I was very into using color pencil. It can be slow, and tedious, but also somehow satisfying. I used Prismacolor pencils which have a rich, creamy texture. Looking at this, it gives me the feeling that revisiting color pencil would be fun.
I hope you and yours are doing well, and as things “open up” again, remember to continue to be careful as you enjoy getting back to it.
As a quick recap, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Inktober is a fun art challenge that lasts through the month of October. It was started in 2009 by Mr. Jake Parker. An artist who said that he started it as a “way of challenging himself to improve his inking skills, and improve drawing habits.” It has become a fun, (sometimes stressful) way for many other artists to do this as well. Mr. Parker posts a list of words to be used as prompts to get you thinking about something to draw. He does mention however, that people can draw whatever they like, and many people do. I usually try to stick to the prompts. I did post the first two drawings of the challenge last week, so I thought I would stick some older Inktober or Drawlloween (another great challenge), sketches here as well to keep it interesting. (You can see these, and more from a past Inktober challenge on my blog post from July 9th, 2019, “Challenge Me”)
Some, maybe most of the one’s I did last year, had a decidedly more sinister aspect to them. I did this in keeping with the whole, Halloween month theme. I may do some in this vein this year, who knows? The following are the images I’ve done for the first seven days of this year’s Inktober, beginning with Day 1 “Ring”.
As mentioned in my last post, I decided to start out with a simple, easy picture for the first prompt, “ring”. (above), no pressure. You might ask yourself, ‘pressure? Why is there pressure’? Is there a prize involved, (no). Fame, fortune? (Nope). So why do literally thousands of people join in this challenge? Of course I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I will give you my reasoning. I have no reasoning. No just kidding. I do like a challenge. It makes me think, often way outside the box, and gives me a chance to stretch my artistic chops so to speak. For me there is some stress involved though. And from different comments I’ve read on the Inktober twitter page, I’m not the only one. When I commit to doing something, I like, nay, I am compelled to follow through. Even though I do it basically for myself, I sometimes put pressure on myself. But then I remember the spirit of it, and find it is fun to do, and to interact with other artists and to see what they come up with. Day 2 is “Mindless” I decided not to go into the whole reason of why I ended up re-using an older sketch, as I explained it last week. So if you’re interested and (gasp) didn’t read last week’s post, you can find out why there. 🙂
For day three the prompt is “bait”. Trying to avoid the obvious, I went way out on a limb and did something that is maybe a little too sweet. But I was happy with it, so that’s all that matters, heheh.
Day 4 is “Freeze”. You may notice a little running theme. I had had it in mind to try to do all of my pieces with elephants as central figures. I’ve already missed a few on that. But again, no big deal. I did receive a very thoughtful compliment on this one, and that is always really appreciated. Like I mentioned folks doing this are extremely nice, and encouraging.
Day 5 is “Build”. Again, maybe I’m being a little corny, but this is a subject close to my heart, and if I can influence even one person to be kinder, and to want to help animals, then that’s OK.
When I’m doing any of these challenges, I don’t look at what others have done for prompts until after I’ve done my own so as not to be influenced. Drawings run the gammit from very simple, to extreme crazy-amazing work. I won’t lie, I do feel sometimes that I have to “up my game.” But that’s only for my own benefit. As an artist, I am always striving to stretch. These challenges aren’t a competition, and people are kind and honestly enjoy each other’s work. I highly recommend it for anyone. We are a week in, but you can jump in at any time.
Day 6 “Husky” This was a total “gimme” for me. I have a husky, and she loves to pose. (Really she just lays around a lot.) This is Kota.
Other than when I am painting abstracts, I’m mostly a realist painter. I have always admired fantasy paintings, and the artists who have the ability to bring that to new heights. So this last prompt for the week, “Enchanted” was a little trickier for me. I didn’t want to do anything trite, but again, it isn’t my usual style. After thinking about it a bit, I think I came up with a good mix of realism, and fantasy. Many times when I’m drawing or painting, time slips by me. I have often looked back at a piece and thought how it didn’t seem as if I’d done it, as if my paint brush, or my pencil is… “enchanted”.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe learned a few things. See you next time!
Due to the Memorial Day weekend, and various and sundry other things that have come up this week, I am again posting some drawings “From The Sketch Book”. I hope to have time next week to regale you with a more in depth post, but for now I hope you enjoy this short post for your viewing pleasure. While flipping through my sketch book, I decided to share some sketches I have done of various birds. Gliding Swan, above is my favorite. Which do you like?