Challenge yourself

General / 20 June 2017

Do you have trouble finding inspiration or coming up with new ideas? Me too! In May this year I joined the MerMay challenge, and in this article I will show you how this helped me to get inspired.

Every artist can get stuck or has a bad day without inspiration. It happens to the best of us. But don’t let it stop you! keep at it!

One way to break out of this is by challenging yourself. You can give yourself a theme and make artwork within this theme. Thinking of themes can also be challenging of course. That is why it is a good thing that you can find challenges online. There are a lot of websites and Facebook groups where you can find daily or monthly challenges.

A great example is the Character Design Challenge Facebook page. This Facebook group gives a new theme every month. Challenges like this are great because you can find a lot of fantastic artwork by other artists on the same theme, and this can work very inspiring.

So don’t just sit around waiting for inspiration and get off your lazy but and start making Characters!

MerMay challenge 2017

In May I participated in the #Mermay2017 challenge. You had to draw Mermaids every day for the month of May. This Challenge was organized by Tom Bancroft, an ex-Disney animator. I didn’t have time to make a mermaid illustration every day but I did want to challenge myself. So I decided to take three days per Mermaid. I first posted the sketch, then the full-color illustration and the day after I posted a little time-lapse video of my illustration.

My first couple of mermaids were not so original so I tried to push myself by asking my followers for topics withing the MerMay challenge. I got some great topic requests that helped me to come up with interesting mermaid designs. For example, someone requested a jellyfish mermaid. I looked online for reference images to inspire me to design a jellyfish mermaid.

Jellyfish Mermaid

Leavy Seadragon Mermaid

Try to think of ways of how you can challenge yourself. You can look for challenges online, use events or holidays to inspire you or think of story’s or topics that you would like to make multiple characters for. Think about topics within these topics to make your art more original. I am very happy with the final result of my MerMay illustrations and I want to keep doing this.

Ask for Feedback

If you are still stuck after challenging yourself it can help to have someone take a look at your work. Everyone has a blind spot for their own work and a fresh pair of eyes can really help. It can give us new inspirations and new ideas. So ask the people around you for their opinion, preferably someone unbiased (so not your parents)

You can also request a Personal Feedback video here, on the character creation guide. Maybe I can help you out by giving you some pointers or make draw overs for you. I would love to help you get new inspiration!

I really enjoyed the MerMay challenge. I love mermaids so I was able to keep up this challenge. And asking for help from my Instagram followers was great to get new ideas and inspiration. That’s why I am going to continue doing this. I’m making a list of topics requested by my Instagram followers. This way I will always have a topic to make an illustration or character design with. So If you want to request a new topic for me to make an illustration with, let me know on Instagram!

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