Hey there! It's been a while. You know how it is. Keeping all the balls in the air and trying to have a social media presence is just too much sometimes.
After having a month long break from social media, I spent the last week having a lovely time painting new illustrations for an instagram art challenge 'Mystic Sun Week'. A bunch of great artists were involved and it was a nice chance to work to a deadline on something totally different. Each day had a different prompt to spark an illustration and everyone tagged their posts with #mysticsunweek.
1. Increase in Engagement
The insta algorithm shows 'interesting' content to more viewers. Higher engagement = interesting. So the more people that are liking and commenting on your post, the more people will actually see your posts. After a long break from insta, my engagement was non-existent. So taking part in a challenge was a great way to boost this engagement. All the participants used the same hashtag, and then would follow that hashtag to explore all the new work being created. So an online challenge means an engaged, captive audience!
2. Build your Portfolio
This online challenge ticked a couple of boxes for me. I loved the theme, plus it enabled me to get back onto instagram AND create some new work for my portfolio. I'll also make prints of my favourites to stock my Etsy shop. You could even pop your new work on Society6, RedBubble or another print on demand site.
You could create unrelated illustrations, or choose a colour scheme or motif to carry through the whole week so that you have a cohesive collection at the end!
3. Beat the Procrastination
I've had the best of intentions with the 100 days project over the last couple of years, but I don't think it is actually feasible for me at the moment with 2 young kids, juggling work and a side hustle - it just doesn't even make it onto my list of to-dos most days.
However, an online challenge that lasts a week is achievable for anyone if you have a bit of lead time. We are all prone to procrastination but done is better than perfect! A week long challenge is a great kick in the pants to just bang out some work and not be too precious or torn about what you create. It is really liberating! Plus posting every day keeps you accountable - you have to meet that deadline.
4. Connect with a Creative Community
A challenge is such a fab opportunity to connect with other artists, receive feedback about your work AND discover other artists you love! If you are lucky you even generate work from someone new seeing what you create. I often had a couple of colour variations for one project and would ask my audience which they preferred. This gave me some really useful feedback and meant my whole audience could share their opinion and vote.
5. Yoga for your Brain - Stretch Yourself
Most people would argue that it is heaps easier to create artwork about what you are loving right now. But what about when a client wants something that just doesn't float your boat? If you can get excited about it, you are likely to produce much stronger work.
Online challenge prompts a usually fairly broad. For Mystic Sun Week they were: Flower, Goddess, Sun Bath, Flourish, Fruit, Animal, Festivities. It's a pretty open brief, but you still have to come up with an idea that fits. This is great practise for client work, or those commissions. It keeps you agile and make you work outside of your comfort zone.
Generating New Ideas...
âIf you freak out about the idea of having no idea - I'm here to help you.
In my next post, I'll share my process for generating loads of fresh ideas. Catch you then.
Join me and learn how to combine watercolour and gouache to illustrate an opulent bohemian bungalow!
You can watch it for free with this link.
Gouache is a versatile, water-based medium that has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. It has a lovely opaque, velvety quality and is perfect for augmenting your watercolour paintings.
I created this class because I used to find gouache kind of mysterious. I loved the look it produced, but what was it? And how do you use it? Plus, I had heaps of watercolours, so I didn’t want to go out and buy a whole new range of paints…
So I came up with 3 techniques that will give you the confidence to paint with gouache AND seamlessly combine gouache and watercolour in your artwork!
This class is for beginner painters through to experienced watercolourists who are new to gouache and want to expand their portfolio. You will add a range of techniques to your quiver and learn to plan your painting with confidence!
You’ll start to look at your paints in a whole new way!
I’ll teach you a range of techniques before we embark on our final project where we put it all together!
The lessons will cover:
Head over to Skillshare with my link and you can enjoy free access to my class plus thousands of others for two months.
This is such a fun way to create a repeating pattern with minimal photoshopping.
I started off painting my design in the centre of my paper. This square will be the size of the repeating section.
I carefully measure and cut my page into four quarters... the centre points go to the outside, then I proceed to fill in the blank areas with pattern, painting across the cuts.
I match the sides as I continue to fill in across other cut lines until I'm happy with the design.
The pieces look like this once I'm finished ^ then I scan them into my computer to join them back together as a seamless tile that can be repeated again and again! Check out the final patterns below:
WELCOME TO MERMAiD'S COiN
Surf Artist, Hannah Katarski is based in Fremantle, Western Australia. She creates ocean-inspired art that is bohemian, retro and fun.