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.
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Surf Artist, Hannah Katarski is based in Fremantle, Western Australia. She creates ocean-inspired art that is bohemian, retro and fun.