A new sketchbook tour is here! Yay!
October is full of daily art challenges. I’ve done my own prompt lists for “Inktober” in the past. Last year, I followed the emoji-based prompts for “Mosstober.” This year I decided to participate in Peachtober!
The challenge was open to all art media, but I naturally went with ink, since it’s my favorite. For some extra excitement going into the challenge, I used all new (to me) materials — a set of 3 Kuretake brush pens, a small set of Copic markers, and a Midori MD notebook. I’d been intrigued by the markers and notebook for a while, and I’m always looking to try new pens! So I thought this would be a great time to try them all out. As extra incentive, if I finished the challenge, I could get another small set of Copic markers. (If you aren’t familiar, they are fancy alcohol markers for illustration, and are not cheap…)
The last element was the prompts and my approach. I have been doing a lot of practice and study with cartooning this year, and wanted to use this challenge to as a resource for that. I didn’t review the prompts or prepare any sketches in advance. I figured whatever the prompts, they would push me out of my comfort zone and practice a lot of different kinds of cartooning. I had just finished my kawaii online course and Ghost comic, so that was my initial headspace, but I figured I’d practice all kinds of cartoon styles and learn along the way!
How It Went…
Well, I definitely got A LOT of practice…
As for the materials, I liked the pens. I really liked the Copics, at the start. I had a limited palette, but I liked the colors, and I liked how smooth they blended. I prefer flat colors and markers can get soooo streaky. But these markers seemed to largely avoid it… But also, I don’t love them? I still like them, but I ultimately didn’t buy more after the challenge was completed, because I don’t think I’d use them.
I do wonder if maybe the combination of markers and the sketchbook was an issue. I honestly have no idea if the paper was ideal for alcohol markers, and I just didn’t care for the texture and off-white paper. It probably would be a great sketchbook for pencil sketches. I liked the size and layout of it. But I definitely have other sketchbooks I prefer for ink.
With the prompts and cartooning…Oh man, it was like I jumped in the deep end. Each day was a challenge of “I think I’ll draw this for the prompt” realizing I don’t know how to draw this, studying how to do this, practicing it and figuring out how I wanted to draw this and then actually drawing it in my Peachtober sketchbook. Every. Day. Although some days I skipped the study part, and just dove in– knowing I just needed just something done, it didn’t have to be awesome everyday… and it wasn’t…
I did learn so much about cartooning though. 31 days of daily practice and study was a great, albeit exhausting, way to brute force experience. I learned a ton of what I don’t like in cartooning, when playing with different styles. In only took a few days to burn out on kawaii. I think I mentioned it in the newsletter, but kawaii cartoons, among other styles, I tend to prefer in the works of others and I don’t particularly enjoy making myself. Now I know!
Ultimately I learned that I really enjoy simple cartooning (think Adventure Time or maybe Bob’s Burgers), with clean minimal line art. It’s just what I naturally gravitate towards, enjoy the process AND the results (which, both are so important!). I also really like anime-style cartoons, especially influenced by artists like Carles Dalmau. I tried to include some practice in that style as well, but mostly worked on half-portraits so it would fit the page and still leave room for details (that style of character is very tall!).
I also did a lot of study of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, for how to simplify structures and other elements. Originally I was going to focus a lot on composition for each cartoon, but it quickly became overwhelmed. But in studying how to simplify, I eventually was able to do some more complete compositions that I’m really pleased with in the end. I also studied Mignola’s shading, using large areas of shadow to build his images. I definitely pushed myself to add more (as in any) shading in my cartoons, and I think it worked well. It’s not as natural feeling to me, but I loved the effect so I definitely want to keep including it in my work moving forward!
Beyond the style of drawing, I noticed too that for the prompts I kept wanting to find a way to tie-in certain elements. Mostly science fiction. I don’t have a ton of experience drawing in the genre, so this was a fun way to work on it and build that visual library of sci-fi looking elements that I admire. Also on my short list of things I want to learn to draw is monsters. I really only did that once or twice, which is my bad. But it was still fun to try. And I also remembered how much I still enjoy drawing buildings in perspective! So these are all areas I want to focus on in future work, in my sketchbooks, and in illustrations!
Overall, I’d say it was a successful challenge. A stressful, challenging, challenge. But also a great learning tool and practice resource!
I also turned two of my favorite Peachtober drawings into finished illustrations and they are now available in my INPRNT shop! Check them out HERE!
Cave. For being the first, it’s still one of my favorites. I really like the line art and fine details. It’s simple but fun. I focused a lot on the composition and while I was nervous about adding a character, I think the little adventurer guy turned out well!
Dandelion. I didn’t like this one at all when I drew it. I thought it was too simple. But now, having drawn so many characters in the challenge, I kinda like ’em and all their little details. Feels like my natural style of drawing and I’m comfortable with that. But I had to do a lot of experiments first before I could embrace it.
Trees. I definitely want to do more experiments with characters in different environments. I don’t think the animals and the landscape have the same style, so in the future, I’ll want to work on making it more cohesive.
Potion. I focused on anime-style cartooning for this drawing and the next.
Boulder. This is based on a photo I took on a hike. I started really studying Mike Mignola’s work here, pushing myself to include the large black shadows. I think they made my usual landscape drawing style really pop! I love it!
Lantern. I tried to add large black shadows again, but also used the Copic markers to do some additional shading. I think it worked well!
Lava. I had fun working on the lava-monster design. The clouds are very Mignola-inspired here, mixing it up from my usual puffy clouds (that I don’t love…) and I really liked this approach!
Tail. I was nervous to do shadows on the main character here. But I’m super pleased with how it turned out. It’s my favorite part! Also drawing the buildings was a lot of fun. I was a bit rusty on one-point perspective but really enjoyed it.
Town. At this point, I’m pretty much just focusing on studying Mignola’s Hellboy, can you tell?!
I didn’t use reference for the town. I think it might have been better if I had. The ghosts didn’t look very ghost-like either. It might have been better to do white windows or smoke…But this kinda stuff is how you learn!
Bun. This is Mister Bun Bun, who I created for a gouache illustration earlier this year. I knew right away I wanted to draw him again. But since it was October I thought it’d be fun to give to him some Halloween flair!
Globe. I drew this guy on a weekend, at my computer, while playing a video game. Like, just could not be bothered…
…Globe? …Theatre? …Shakespeare? …Hamlet? …Pig? …Done.
I adore him.
He may just be a simple potato. But he’s my favorite simple potato.
Sleepy. I was going to do a self-portrait for “sleepy” because I was just so exhausted by the end of the challenge. But it was Halloween! And I was excited for it! So that’s what I drew instead!
I don’t love this one, but I do really like the colors and shading, and I still think it turned out pretty well. I definitely looks to me like it reflects a lot of the techniques I’d practiced all month! Success!
I hope you enjoyed this sketchbook tour! And thanks to everyone that followed along on social media! I really appreciated all the encouragement!
Let me know your favorites in the comments!
Thanks for reading!