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The Magic of a 31 Day Drawing Challenge


There is something special about how the creative community comes together every year in October. Wether it’s with ink or other media, for all 30 days or just a couple, there is a wonderful sense of community and celebration of each other that I love.

I’ve tried (and failed!) many times at doing the full month of drawings. Twice I’ve barely made it past the two first weeks before it fizzled out, but more often it's been two or three days. There is always something else that comes up - work, a client project, life or a new tv show I'd rather watch. It gets pushed further and further down on the list on priorities, and usually with good reason. (Even if that reason is “I don’t want to” - it’s a good reason!) I don’t see the point in doing a month long drawing challenge if you’re not enjoying it or if it brings you nothing but stress and misery. I think where I’ve failed many times is that I didn’t set up clear expectations for myself.

I think where I’ve failed many times is that I didn’t set up realistic expectations. One time I made the project so small that it didn't feel like a priority, and I just forgot about it. Another time I planned a big research project that I really didn't have time for (or much interest in it turned out). Of course I also expected myself to do it perfectly. To no ones great surprise - that didn't happen.


I’ve been wanting to get more confident in including characters in my work for a long time. The time limit was inevitably going to be the biggest challenge, so I decided this would be good chance to practice speeding up my workflow and set my perfectionist self a little to the side. I have a habit of overcomplicating everything, especially in my own work - There is always an extra detail that can be added, another animal, or another bit of texture.

I followed the promp list for Peachtober by Sha'an d'Anthes/furrylittlepeach.


I am rarely ever (read pretty much never) 100% on board with something I've made. It's the curse of being an artist and a perfectionist, something I'm sure many relate to. It has been quite liberating though to just go with the first (and sometimes second) idea that comes to mind without mulling to much over it. All of the illustrations are done in watercolour, Procreate & Photoshop.

Day 5: RISE

Hedgehog enjoys a cup of strong coffee and a bowl of breakfast bugs in the sunshine.

Day 10: FROG

Two fancy frogs brewing mushroom soup - or something more sinister?

Day 29: BEETLE

The Beetles (sorry!) band, on a warm autumnal day playing blues and drinking Beetle-juice.

Day 18: MATCH

I thought I had gone completely overboard with the layering of textures on this one, but in retrospect I find it rather atmospheric. The ridiculous inconsistency in the matches size illustrated the lack of thorough planning - I had an idea and went with it.

Day 31: CAT

The prompt for the last illustration was ‘cat,’ so I did cheat a little, but it is in there! The badger and mouse are my favourite creatures in this one - just the right amount of spooky for me. Another idea was to dress the animals up as things that would scare them - a mouse dressed as a cat, a hedgehog dressed as a car, and so on. Another time perhaps. And perhaps not.


I kind of can't actually believe I finished 31 illustrations in a month. Because of the time constraint there are things in these illustrations that would usually have gone over more throroughly - like the occasional pencil line that isn't rubbed out or a hair caught on the scanner, as well as a lot of the watercolours being 'looser' than my usual work. However, I am proud of myself for the effort I've put in - and overall I do feel like the second half is generally better than the first half.

Would I do it again? - Absolutely yes, but only if there's room in my calendar.


In case you are interested, all of the illustrations are avalable through Society6 - you can find my shop here, and the collection here.

Click to enlarge

Thanks for reading x

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