The 30 days of the John Vernon Lord inspired challenge started by the House of Illustration ends today and so I am ready to review the experience which, for me, was a bit of a learning curve. I am looking back on the huge collection of 1 inch squares, the many attempts and failures at documenting a thought, or something I saw and wanted to test out and feel pride tinged with sadness. This was a fun challenge and I don’t want it to end, even if it ending means the start of Inktober and a new adventure in creative-land.
As this is the first challenge of this nature that I started, and also the first I finished, I wasn’t entirely sure about how to approach it. Yes, I had some boundaries to work within, but felt like I needed more in terms of parameters. Should I draw flowers, birds, animals, imagined scenes?
There is so much (and also so little) you can do with a blank space, albeit at 1 inch square. In the end, I decided to make myself use a couple of materials I had in my pencil case but wasn’t using enough: my drawing gum pen and my little set of Graphik line markers. Limiting myself in this manner was supposed to make my life quick and easy. The reality….. well, it took some practice to get the hang of the new situation, with a few smudges and paper rips along the way to mark my learning milestones.
What I most enjoyed about this challenge was that it actually suited my personality quite well. I like to work within a structure or system within which I’ll always work out the rules and how to have fun with them before working out how to bend them so I can have some more fun. I was excited to try out simple structures such as the folk art people I drew on day 5, intricate Pugin inspired lettering as that shared on day 19 and busier or trickier images with multiple bunnies (day 26) or animal fur (days 15, 24, 25). Sometimes I had to adapt the way I worked to compensate for the inability to use colour and shading but most of all I enjoyed the lack of precision in my drawings and how by using the gum I created an effect which mimics relatively well the impression of a linocut print.
Theme-wise, my little collection manages to show pretty well my current themes of interest and areas of research: there’s an array of domestic animals (see my Etsy collection of greeting cards), endangered species (see my two lots for action on the Explorers Against Extinction website) and folk art inspired drawings next to a few other whimsical pieces. On the whole, I would probably say that my current MA research into folklore was pretty much always on my mind so I cannot wait to see what the rest of this term brings out.
What next? I’m going to email my #JohnVernonLord submission to the House of Illustration before getting my pens and pencils (ink pencils that is!) ready for Inktober. Then, time permitting, I may well make a couple of new greeting cards out of this month’s drawings for my Etsy shop which is up and running at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/byCamiB .