I love an artwork based instagram challenge, it gives all us artists that hyper- focus on a particular project and generates new and on-trend work for an illustration portfolio. It allows us to put those metaphorical blinkers on to the other creative ideas swirling around and ensure the deadlines are met.
This year, I decided to delve into my current portfolio and pick out some children's picture book characters that were calling out for further development. I had created a racoon and mouse character during Jehane’s Twelves Days of Christmas instagram challenge in 2022, under the prompt of "Music at Midnight".
Woodland Animal Characters
These woodland animal characters needed more of a story, and having had some invaluable feedback at the beginning of the year on my illustration portfolio from the experts at Orange Beak Studio, it was a quick decision to place my focus on them once more. The feedback was that the Music at Midnight piece had some lovely mark making (something that I really do enjoy when creating artwork) and that they were intrigued to see where these characters lived and to see more of their environment.
I furthered the music at midnight prompt to create a range of children's book characters that were part of a woodland animal band and created rough development sketches for my portfolio, adding an owl character, squirrel character and bat character to the mix of animal friends.
The Art of Sequential Storytelling
I also was keen to ensure that the illustrative images I created were in sequence, telling a visual story. More sequential illustration has been on the top priority of my illustration portfolio to-do list so it really was a project that ticked a lot of boxes for me creatively and professionally.
The Illustration Challenge Prompts
Returning to the folktale week challenge; the prompts were as follows: Lost, Ink, Sea, Sleep, Underground, Illusion and Found.
The resulting illustrations as final artwork and short children's story can be seen below:
An Illustrator's Recommendation
Although committing to being part of a challenge can be a bit daunting (once you announce you are taking part on social media, the pressure begins!) But it is important to remember that if you are a professional illustrator, other priorities will pop up, and it's ok to put down this sort of just-for-fun project if necessary! I actually completed the challenge in two weeks rather than one and I'm very proud of what I've achieved in that relatively short space of time.
Also, these prompt based challenges can bring out the unexpected in your art, they really get your brain working in how to fit the creative pieces together into a finished project puzzle. And it is essential to keep showing up as an illustrator on social media, create community and get involved as you never know where it may lead...
Follow Folktale week on Instagram here:
Folktale week 23, was brought to us by these extraordinary artists:
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