I recently started up a group sketchblog, Monster Monday. As the title suggests, the idea is to create artwork of a new monster every Monday.
Monster Monday was inspired by other group sketchblogs such as Illustration Friday and Sugar Frosted Goodness, which I have participated in in the past. As opposed to a weekly generated theme, I wanted to work on something that I naturally loved to draw, and also have an ongoing theme. I know I get caught up in the day-to-day work and having to work on a new weekly theme while challenging, also resulted in my not participating on those sites.
I wanted to create something that had a regular theme of something that I already liked to draw. Monsters. Monsters by their nature inspire creativity since they don’t exist. You can make whatever you want. For me, it was about making the weekly project fun and as pressure-free as possible.
I opened up the blog as a group blog, allowing any interested artist to participate. Although originally envisioned as something I would do on my own, I thought perhaps other might like to join in and so made it public. Presently there is a good number of artists signed up, although not many are participating regularly. Work, family and other circumstances eat up time, so hopefully although not regular, we’ll see those artists from time to time share their work.
For me though, it’s all about staying on top of your craft. Many times with commissioned artwork there is not much in the way of freedom. You are trying to envision something for someone else. I know lately I have been slacking as far as creating artwork for my own enjoyment, and also in regards to pushing my skills and techniques.
In particular I have taken the opportunity with Monster Monday to explore a more painterly (in Photoshop that is) approach to creating artwork as 99% for the illustration work I have done over the past 8+ years has been vector art in Adobe Illustrator.
I felt working in a looser style, and also working on my coloring and painting techniques would be not only beneficial, but also offered more freedom. Vector work — even, or especially — cartoon style work is very precise. The final result may look quick and clean, but a lot of work and planning goes into the construction.
With a sketchier, more painterly style in Photoshop I thought I could also be more inclined to create more if I kept the art more like a color study than a finished piece of art. Who knows where it might lead, but for now I wanted to keep things as open and relaxed as possible to eliminate as many excuses and hindrances as I could.
Monster Monday is still growing, but I hope you visit, subscribe or even sign up to contribute and participate.
In the meantime, I will still be posting the artowork I create for Monster Monday on my blog here as well.