I had been practicing my digital illustration with a normal cheap stylus and had been able to create a few acceptable drawings. In December I bought Pencil by FiftyThree during their annual sale and it turns their app into something else!
In January I joined the #patternjanuary challenge organized by Anika Starmer. I’ve only tried on such challenge before. In 2015 I tried the 100 day project only to abandon at around day 60 so I was reluctant to join this one and say it out loud.
I’ve never really explored pattern making. Maybe because I rarely use any patterns myself, or at least not all-over patterns. And when making clipart I usually make a pattern after I create all the little bits.
This time, Anika made a list of prompts and we were on our own. She also wrote a helpful post about how to prepare for a successful creative challenge
So I joined and started to draw on paper only to find that preparing my material and thinking about the idea took me a while and I could only do this in the evenings. Being in Montreal means that it gets dark at around 5 PM and working under artificial bright light isn’t my thing. So I only did a few patterns with watercolor and I was about to abandon the challenge when I thought, why not use the iPad? In fact, that’s Anika’s advice: you can change mediums when you need to.
I was reluctant to go digital. As with many other aspects with this path of mine, I’m a purist and I felt like it was cheating, but this challenge is purely for fun, for exploring, for letting go, for not putting too much pressure on myself and just let things fall out from my pencil or stylus.
Turns out that Paper the app and Pencil their stylus are really great tools for this type of challenge, for exploring and playing and dropping all worries about wasting paper.
I got so into it that one of my patterns was featured on FiftyThree’s Instagram!
There are so many daily challenges going on right now on Instagram and after attempting the 100 day project I learned that to keep at it you really have to find the limit your medium and limit your topic.
Daily creative challenges are great because they allow you to create a small body of work, they allow you to see your progress and most important, since you do them fairly quickly, they let your style come out without forcing it.
I know I’m still obsessed with watercolor but lately I have been very frustrated with it, I can’t seem to make any kind of progress. It is easy to “color” in watercolor but it’s not easy to use it in it’s full potential, so I’m allowing myself to step away from this and try my hand at what seems to work better for me.
Sketchbook Skool has a video about Digital Illustration.
France Belleville van Stone, a teacher, was sketching on the street on her iPad and people were watching, needless to say she’s a great artist, but the people asked: what app are you using? As if the app was going to make them draw like that. I think this is what happens, either digital or analog. I know I’ve made the mistake of buying tons of different types of watercolors believing one brand over the other was going to let me do what I want to do, but in art what counts is practice and evolution, not the tools at first.
Do you create digitally?
How do you feel about creative challenges?