I've mentioned before that it was taking part in the 2015 Inktober that got me drawing once more. For those unfamiliar with it: Inktober is a month long drawing challenge for anyone who wants to take part. I happened to come across it via Facebook, but artists share their work through other social media. Essentially, it's a challenge to help develop good art habits, and also an opportunity to just create and share a month's worth of art!
This year I wanted to take a determined stab at drawing daily, as I feel like it's something I should generally be aiming for anyway but am not yet doing. Having forgotten that there is usually a prompt list provided on the Inktober community page, I declared an alpha-bestiary theme for myself. There were a few thoughts behind this - it was a good excuse for attempting lots of different things I've never drawn before, and also I figured with 26 letters to cover in 31 days I could allow myself a day off each week if it was getting to be a bit much.
So! The first thing I did was fail to notice the month had started on Sunday 1st October. Me, observant? Actively aware of the passage of time? Nope. Oh well. Sigh and carry on...
'A' had to be for Aardvark, because it was the first thing to pop into my head and refused to leave. Well that was fine, it was an interesting shape to draw, even if it did feel like the obvious choice for the letter somehow. However I realised after sharing it on my Facebook page that I had neglected to draw any sort of floor for the poor thing to be standing on... so it shall forever be the Space Aardvark in my mind.
The first week went smoothly enough, and then due to a pre-arranged trip at the weekend I allowed myself to skip those two days, knowing I had some breathing room.
Unfortunately come Monday I ended up skipping the drawing again due to a rather pointed headache. Still, I caught up by doing two drawings on the Tuesday, and then stayed on top of things through to Friday.
This second weekend I just never seemed to find the time to draw, and fell into the trap of thinking 'oh well I have a few days to spare... so I'll just catch up later'. This was unfortunate, as the third week was when I really started to struggle. It seemed such a small thing, to say 'I shall do a simple no-pressure drawing each day'. Turns out that's a lot harder than it sounds if you aren't already in the habit of drawing regularly, and certainly if you tend to feel pressure when there's no need (oh hi there Anxiety. Could you maybe, y'know, not?). Till now I've tended to draw when the mood takes me - and to go very easy on myself if I don't draw for a day or three because I 'wasn't feeling it'. This is something I'd really like to change - hence taking on the challenge of daily drawing in the first place.
I found myself getting caught up worrying over which thing to draw for each letter, and then how to compose each drawing, even though when I started I told myself these were only going to be simple drawings. Nothing fancy, no fussing over little details, just drawing for the sake of practice. By Thursday that third week I had lost track of that thinking and was fighting myself just to put pen to paper. I made it through 'N is for Numbat', but come Friday I was feeling burnt out. I ended up just switching off for the weekend, reminding myself that this was a voluntary project in the first place and that getting so stressed over it was a bit daft.
Monday 23rd rolled on. I spent the morning working on another project, but had some other plans get changed which threw me off a bit. By the end of the day I realised I'd forgotten about the Inktober drawing, so promised myself to double up each day that week until I had caught up. This worked on Tuesday, but utterly failed on Wednesday. On Thursday I firmly set myself to starting earlier, and got another two letters done. On Friday the Anxiety Weasel got loose, but I managed to chase it off and at least get through 'S is for Starfish'.
This last weekend of October then became the first weekend during which I managed to keep drawing, covering 'T' and 'U', hurrah! Yesterday I made it through 'V' and 'W', although I did resort to Wyvern as a slightly easier option due to usually drawing dragons.
Today I'm looking at 'X' in puzzlement, and mostly just wanting to throw big splashes of colour all over something. I wanted to get this written up before the end of the month - originally I thought it'd be a nice job to summarise in those spare days at the end of the alphabet, hah!
So, setting aside X, Y and Z for the moment, what have I learned?
1. Drawing every day is currently a challenge for me. Ok.
2. Drawing at the weekend is the really awkward bit though, so just drawing during the week going forward shouldn't be too terrifying.
3. Turns out I can draw a whole range of things to an adequate standard... huh... that's actually quite a pleasing discovery. Also a bit of a relief, as part of me was worried I was just a dragon/fish artist, and that the first request for something else that came along would spell my doom...
4. Horses are evil and made of crazy proportions that just don't go on paper and argh wtf how do their legs even work?!
5. I am clearly in the habit of drawing things facing to the left. Should probably try to fix that.
Next year I think I might try the provided prompt list, see how that goes. Yes, I still want to take part again next year. This has certainly been a challenge, and I slipped up and missed days and got stressed by it, but I also feel like I drew at least a couple of awesome things. I learned a lot about my own approach to daily drawing, and found new ways of motivating myself to keep at it. I've got inspiration for a number of new bigger (and colourful!) pieces... I just might settle for a day or two of light sketching before getting stuck in!
If you would like to see the rest of my alpha-bestiary work, it's all on the Giddy Minnow Facebook page. I might even make it all the way to Z by the end of the week!