If you've been following my Facebook page or AndreaEnglandIllustration on Instagram, you'll know I successfully completed a month of sea monsters- that's 30 monsters! Here they- the first dozen are on my previous blog post.
So what have I learned from the one month challenge?
Daily practice really does help your skills- my hatching and stippling abilities improved greatly over the month. I also found that I began thinking more about how to add depth and drama to each monster, and how to show texture. I think a monster a day really did help my ability as an artist.
Daily monstering also changed the way my brain worked! The stories for each monster became as important as the design, and they began to develop together. I started to think through little details which enriched both. Sometimes the story was the first stepping stone, other times I thought of a physical feature.
Inviting people to give monster suggestions on social media gave the challenge a whole new dimension. I was rewarded with a host of rich concepts and enjoyed chatting to everyone about their ideas. Sadly I didn't have time to draw all of them but I sent a digital image of the monster to the people whose ideas I chose. If I’d have thought of this earlier, I'd have done it once each week of the challenge!
A final thought is that size matters. I was drawing these ridiculously detailed monsters on A4 paper. It allowed me to get those details down but did take a lot of time (which fortunately I have). If you're contemplating a challenge, think carefully about the size and media you choose! Or consider building in flexibility so that you can allow for time-poor days. And allow yourself a bit of leeway- I'd sometimes sketch ahead or start inking ahead of time if I had a good idea or knew I had a busy day coming up!
And where to next? I'm working on additional illustrations for a book of monsters, and also have received a monster of a commission! It's Secret Squirrel at the moment but is very exciting- I'll try to give you some sneak peeks soon!
In the meantime, I'd love to know which monsters are your favourites- leave me a note in the comments!
An Artist Afloat- Painting the world one anchorage at a time.