Justified by the fact I was very burned out and running on empty, I spent most of Winter break in hibernation mode. I decided to participate in a manageable festive art challenge in order to force me to make time for art at least every couple of days. The one I opted for was Yuletide Witches created by Heather Mahler. The magical theme appealed to me.
The first prompt was “Ice Witch” and I think I started pretty strong with my illustration. She maybe looks a bit more like a pixie or some such than a witch but I was pleased with how the ice crown turned out.
The second prompt was “Ghost Witch” and I was disappointed by my efforts. I got carried away with all the shroud wrappings so the effect is much more mummy than witch and I am not happy with the face either. The good thing about an art challenge is there is always another prompt waiting and the opportunity for improvement.
I was much happier with my “Bow Witch”. She turned out much closer to the vision I had in my head. Since that prompt was for Christmas Day, I opted for traditional Christmas colours of red, green, and gold – not a combination I would usually use – and I think it is quite effective in this context.
The next prompt was “Reindeer Witch” and I decided to make her a bit more spooky. I used a photo reference for the reindeer skull but – true to form – I got the proportions all wrong. I think visually it still works well as a headpiece and overall I am pleased with how this drawing turned out.
The penultimate Yuletide Witch was a “Dried Fruit Witch” and I had actually been dreading that prompt because I had zero inspiration and no idea what I was going to draw when I put pencil to paper. Then I thought of all of those garlands of dried citrus fruit and how they could mirror chunky necklaces and that led me to think of cranberries as beads and that whole aesthetic of bold jewellery made me think of Endora from ‘Bewitched’ and gave me the vibe for the witch herself. And so the witch drawing I had most been dreading turned out to be the one I enjoyed drawing most.
The final witch was a “Wishing Star Witch” and I decided to challenge myself to create a sense of glowing – something I knew I would struggle with. I think I made some progress in that area with this illustration.
So those are my Yuletide Witches. I enjoyed working on them and having some quiet time at my art table every couple of days. They have photographed horribly because of the grey, dull light but the editing adjustments have them close enough to reality for sharing purposes.
This illustration is another Draw This In Your Style challenge. As with the recent Mossy Witch, this one was also set by Heather Mahler. I am finding these challenges useful in reminding me what constitutes my own style and they are also a convenient way of making efficient use of small rations of art time as I don’t have to waste time coming up with subjects or compositions. The witchy, talon-like hands gave me a lot of difficulty so I, therefore, omitted the floating hands from the original artwork and instead extended the leaf elements to fill in the composition. I can actually see lots of flaws in this drawing but I had fun drawing it so I don’t particularly care. It is still the case that the journey is more important to me than the destination when it comes to art.
I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.
One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was Halloween. I had received my October Art Snacks box but had not attempted the challenge of using all of the items to create art. Since one of the things in my box was a jar of orange ink, it seemed like the subject of Halloween might be a good way to kill two art birds with one stone. I was initially going to go much darker and creepier with my Halloween art work but – perhaps since I was drawing while watching ‘Frankenweenie’ with my kids – my creative mojo led me to draw a band of cute monsters trick or treating. This was my first time using brush pens. It took a while to get the hang of how to hold them to create different strokes and widths but it was fun trying something new, which is the point of receiving a box of art goodies each month.
Today’s Drawlloween prompt is “Witchcraft Wednesday” and so it was a witch I drew in my Inktober sketchbook this morning. I got all of the drawing done during my morning cup of tea but I had to grab a little extra time to get all of the filling in done. I should have brushed the ink into the shapes but I just didn’t have the scope to do that this morning with kids and cats all over the place. Instead I used my trusty Lamy Al-Star which took longer and leaves visible pen marks on the paper but at least is very flexible and portable. If I was a witch I would cast a spell to give myself more than 24 hours in a day.