What’s With All the Strange Art?

If you are an Instagram follower you may have noticed I’ve been posting daily on my feed this month. It’s my art…it just doesn’t look quite like it. Even my mother told me it didn’t look like my stuff.

It’s not my usual medium, it’s digital. Specifically, it’s created on the app Procreate on my iPad. I got the Ipad last year solely to learn Procreate as it’s not available for Android or PC users. Several artists I follow and learn from use it regularly. So about a year ago I jumped in to the world of Apple and downloaded the app.

Being not only an instructor on Skillshare but also an active student, I turned there for guidance on how to use Procreate. I took some great classes, like Procreate for Beginners: Learn the Basics and Sell Your Artwork and Drawing Seamless Patterns in Procreate + Professional Surface Design Tips from Cat Coq. Pattern Drawing For Procreate Beginners: A Game of Lines and Shapes by Larissa Yeung Fung was fun and great for backgrounds. 

Project from Drawing Seamless Patterns by Cat Coquillette on Skillshare
Project from Procreate for Beginners by Cat Coquillette on Skillshare

I learned a lot in these classes and created some cool artwork. It just wasn’t quite my style. So I stopped working on Procreate for a while. I still used my iPad daily (wow…Goodnotes!) and I would occasionally open Procreate but I’d get intimidated very quickly and stop. 

The main problem was the smoothness of digital drawing. My artistic style is very loose and has always contained either actual or implied texture. That is a bit hard to replicate on a flat screen. My daughter gave me a paperlike screen protector and that helped. It creates a bit of tooth on the screen so my Apple pen doesn’t slide around so freely. 

I realized the only way to get through this block was to practice. Yes, shocker…practice! Do more art, even bad art. As Truman Capote said, “It takes a lot of bad writing to get to a little good writing.” That’s true for art or any creative endeavor as well. So, knowing this, I still put it off. Then #theydrawtober starts showing up on my Instagram feed.

I follow quite a few artists and art hashtags and several were posting about #theydrawtober. I saw several challenges floating around #inktober and one about drawing faces. The #theydrawtober seemed to originate with TheyDrawandCook, an account that promotes food illustration. This group, along with it’s counterpart TheyDrawandGarden, put up a challenge for drawing a day in October. I decided this was my push.

First, as a challenge I have some guidance on WHAT to draw. Also, as a challenge, I feel a bit of pressure to complete it. And just to make it fun/painful/embarrassing/difficult for myself, I committed to posting my work daily on my Instagram feed. The good, bad and the ugly…it’s all going on there!

Here is it slightly over half-way through the month and I’m still struggling for my ‘style’ on Procreate. It definitely not cartoonish illustration. That was never me with typical art media and it doesn’t feel right digitally either. I’ve tried a bit of line drawing and loose color. I like that but it also seems a little flat/plain/simple? I’ve also had a few where I’ve spent a LOT of time on them and I like some of the results. I have discovered if the subject doesn’t resonate with me, I rush through it. I probably won’t do another challenge because of that. 

I’ll finish out this challenge and keep learning as I go. I’m playing around a lot with different brush strokes and paint/textures. I’m finding I can create a bit of texture using those tools. So while my own ‘style’ has quite developed yet, I am learning the program quite well. Plus, I like to think I’m getting the bad art out of the way so the good art can come!

If you haven’t seen these posts, head over to my Instagram account and check it out. Let me know what you think.

What’s Skillshare? It’s an online learning platform with over 30,000 classes in a variety of subjects. I currently have 9 classes (10 tomorrow!) on here. It is a subscription based site meaning you pay one annual fee and have access to ALL of the classes (not just mine). I’ve been a member since 2016 (maybe 2015?) and love being not only one of their instructors but also and avid student. This link will give you a one month free trial to check it out and see how much you have access too with a subscription.

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