This year I’m reconnecting with the 52-week Illustration Challenge. This is a Facebook group that was created by founder Tania McCartney in 2014 for illustrators of all skill levels to draw to a weekly theme. I participated throughout 2014, not quite managing to submit an image every single week, but certainly enough to reignite my passion for drawing and stretch my very rusty and neglected illustration skills.
After sitting out in 2015, I realised how much I missed the challenge and how easy it is to let my pens and pencils gather dust unless I have a reason to pick them up. Between my design business, writing and kid-wrangling, there isn’t a lot of time for recreational illustration work, but mostly because I’m not making time. So when the new list of themes was announced for 2016, I knew straight away I needed to get onboard again for week 1 of the challenge and try to keep up!
In my head I pictured a small, bashful girl in a magnificent party dress of multi-coloured feathers, and this is how she came out of my pencil (above). I scanned the sketch and made a few tweaks in Photoshop before I set about colouring it up digitally. I’m a big fan of digital colouring because I like the control it gives me and how much I can play around with variations until I get exactly what I want (and sometimes this can be completely different to how I first envisaged the illustration, so there’s a lot of room for experimentation with digital colouring). You might be able to see how I cleaned up the sketch and made a few subtle changes if you play Spot The Difference. 😉
I added a flower arch behind her from another sketch I’d done previously, and then created a watercolour paper collage behind the sketch to colour her up. I really enjoy this method of colouring because I love playing with paper textures. Sometimes I scan fabrics and patterned papers to use as well.
When she was all finished, Dr Seuss’s quote came immediately to mind, so I added it underneath. All in all, I was very happy with how Fancy Dress turned out, and I hope to offer my little lady as an art print in my Etsy shop just as soon as I start listing items.