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Friday, 9 October 2015

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly"

(Robert F. Kennedy)

Earlier this year I joined a Facebook Group called the "52 Week Illustration Challenge" which was set up by author Tania McCartney and is managed by a host of exceptional illustrators. I joined the group on the recommend of another illustrator and enjoyed watching lovely illustrations pop up on my feed each week under a weekly theme.

As with most illustrators I know, I draw most days. Sometimes my drawing is for client's commissioned pieces and sometimes the drawing is for myself. If I sit and watch a movie at home at night there's a very good likelihood I will have a sketchbook on my lap and be pushing my pencil around the page for a creative workout. If I am on a train I will also pull out my little travel pad and lose myself between stations as I scribble and scrawl. On my lunch breaks when teaching youth theatre on the weekends I always open my art book and continue to make and create. I have never known to be bored when I am left to my own devices. To me, a blank page is a new world waiting to be born.

When I first started this illustration path two years ago I was involved in a Twitter drawing challenge every week but after a while the challenge stopped and I just went back to my own work. It was only about six weeks ago that I decided to actively join in on the 52 Week Illustration Challenge to push myself and my skills as an artist. So I thought: why not use all these personal drawing moments to respond to the challenge of drawing for a theme with this lovely Facebook group? I have nothing to lose. But the gains are wonderful: learning to respond quickly to a theme, developing style, honing skill, networking with other illustrators, having my work "out there" for positive commentary from the creative community.
And having a reason to draw even more!!

I started the challenge in week 35. Yes I came into the challenge later in the year! Better late than never though right? 

The themes I have participated in so far:

I created this on a lunch break with pencil and pen. Here is a little time lapse video of me drawing this that I took on my phone:

I love to dance! Every week I am a student in an adult contemporary class (lots of 80s music and power moves!). The emphasis of this class is on fun and community. I think that moving the body is like a shower for the soul. Sometimes in class I get so happy that I have to breath a bit deeper or I swear I will start crying happy tears! Regardless of age or circumstance I hope that I will dance throughout my life. 
I created two versions of this illustration: one without a background on one on a stage (to honour my theatrical roots!) I was very proud to discover that this illustration made it into the weeks pics on the official blog page for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge - Dance

I got right into the zen zone drawing this! I love fine liner work and hadn't really put a lot of this "out there" in the world.  I was really happy with how this geometric bird turned out.

I really enjoyed this particular theme. Being an Aussie girl, I knew I wanted to illustrate something that celebrated Australian Fauna. I started researching Australian mammals and ended up seeing just how many are disappearing forever. The more I read about endangered animals the more I wanted to create a statement that would catch people's attention and alert them to this issue. This illustration also was featured on the official blogs picks of the week 52 Weeks Illustration Challenge picks - Fauna

After more than a few requests I am happy to announce that I have uploaded this illustration to my Redbubble shop. 
"Endangered Australian Animals" can be purchased on quality prints, apparel, bags, stickers, stationery and more.

Illustrate the city I live in? Yes please! I spent a lot of time mulling over how to illustrate this theme as I adore the town I live in for so many reasons. I wrote a list of my favourite Melbourne experiences and locations and decided the best way to approach this was to create a novelty map of sorts. I didn't want to draw actual places but more encouraged those who visit to find these kinds of places and experiences. After putting it up on Instagram I was happy to see that the official account for the City of Melbourne clicked the like button!

Which brings me to the current week of the challenge.
As a sometimes actor I have had the joy of dressing up in many a different costume for festivals, events, and carnivals as a roving comic character. I decided to base this weeks theme on a character I often play called Lady Lovely. This character is accompanied by her male companion Lord Gorgeous. These two fops enjoy throwing compliments at everyone they meet! I enjoyed choosing the colour palette and designing the carnival masks for this illustration.

If you would like to join the challenge yourself (or just see some of the amazing contributions that have entered this challenge) head over the 52 Week Illustrations Challenge - Facebook page to check out the rules and how it all works!

Dreaming big,
Lou :-)

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