I guess technically we aren’t quite at the end of the year, but lets face it, it is unlikely I’ll post again before we hit 2019!
What have I been up to since August? Well, as well as continuing with a few watercolour ink portraits, I visited the Lake District at the end of September for my birthday.
As usual we had a great time visiting Grasmere, Whinlatter and Coniston Water, and this time we finally made it to Buttermere too, (it was a gloriously sunny day!).
For my actual birthday we visited The Lake District Wildlife Park; that wasn’t gloriously sunny, it was grey, damp and drizzly, but it didn’t matter because we booked a Lemur Encounter - I highly recommend everyone stroking a lemur on their birthday!
Once we were back home I hit the ground running with Inktober. I failed miserably on my first attempt last year, but this time I was organised. I used Jake Parker’s Inktober prompts and sneakily completed my sketches before we went to the Lakes, so all I needed to do was trace and paint them… The only snag was that I would be starting a five week MATS course mid-October and I didn’t want to be trying to juggle both, so I traced and painted all 31 in the first eleven days of the month.
I tried to keep everything simple, so I stuck with the same little character, a witch called Hattie who is always getting things wrong. I hadn’t intended to stick with one character throughout the whole month initially but she appeared in the first sketch and it just seemed the most obvious thing to do after that - less time spent coming up with ideas, less time thinking about palette, less time wondering how to draw a panda juggling on broken bike etc. (although maybe I’ll do that next year). I think maybe there were memories of Mildred Hubble seeping out from my subconscious, I used to love the Worst Witch books!
During those eleven days I also decided to throw in another Gish challenge about fears, so I decided to create a two page comic strip on the subject. I haven’t actually done any kind of comic strip before, but after listening to Dan Berry’s ‘Make It Then Tell Everybody’ podcast I’ve been inspired and have become really curious about using it as a way of telling stories. It is definitely something I would like to look into and experiment with.
My last main task of the year was the five week ‘Make Art That Sells’, ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ course. I’ve written a separate post about it which goes into more detail, but basically the course helps you develop a series of images that can be used in your portfolio to help pitch your illustration work. I guess the course is as intense as you make it, it is up to you how much work you do, but I tried really hard, getting up early, working all day and also a majority of evenings, other stuff like cleaning, some cooking and life in general got put on hold. There has been a lot of information to absorb, I need to go back through it all, but mostly I was surprised by how much I could produce in what was a fairly short space of time.
I’ve now caught up on all my Christmas stuff, I’ve tried my best to buy from as many local businesses and independent makers as possible - I love seeking out individual gifts that people may not have come across before. If I remember, I want to take pictures of the things I’ve bought so I can share a bunch of creators in a post in the new year, (I can’t do it now because it will spoil all the surprises). So until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!