Blog Things that are Art Things that are Social Things

I was going to name this post “What I’ve learned as a late adopter to the blogging game, six months in.”  It’s a bit wordy. And it might, at another blog, lead to a section on the art of titling posts. But I’m not sure I have much insight in this area.  I believe key words related to your post are important for web search algorithm thingers, which is to say, gibberish will not be helpful (except in rare cases).

Anyway, I decided the world wasn’t ready for my six-months-expert blog advice.  And anyway, I wanted to talk about three Blog-Art-Social things I’ve recently joined. Many people who find themselves here are already familiar with these things – but if you aren’t, I recommend them! I thought I would give my thoughts about each one, because I have seen other people’s thoughts about them, and I find it very interesting. If you don’t find it interesting, I would skip this post and read the previous one, which is an art progression post (one of many!) with Copic Markers. You know, if you have any interest in that sort of thing. (Alternatively, you could skip to the bottom of this one and see the strange bird illustration I included).

And now, without further ado (though I do love my ado):

1. Web of Whimsy, a once-monthly challenge in which you can use the suggested prompt, or not use the suggested prompt as you like.  Further, you can submit more than one entry. I am currently doing a second month and the average number of entrants seems to be 25-35, with a variety of styles and skill levels.  I have found some artists I really like there, including a very entertaining Australian artist named Gay McKinnon (who is not terribly fond of wombats). The best way to participate in Web of Whimsy (aka Whimsy Lines) is of course to visit all the other entrants’ blogs which is quite easy at this size of project.

It’s so interesting what you find yourself coming up with when given a prompt in this way.  I think it expands your imagination.  The “whirlygig” prompt for October helped inspire this steampunk rabbit!

2. The Sketchbook Project. Such a really cool idea.  I got my book in the mail over a week ago but I am totally over-worrying it.  In addition to worry about content, I am also worried my Copics will bleed through the thin pages.  One is allowed to substitute paper as long as the final book remains under a certain size, but I don’t have a lot of interest in re-making the book. I think the main reason I haven’t started yet is that I can’t decide if I want a cohesive narrative or a looser structure. Also, I don’t want it to suck. I really love stumbling onto a post on some blog where someone includes examples of their current Sketchbook Project work.

3. Illustration Friday, a once-a-week illustration challenge with prompt. One is allowed to post old works but new work created for the prompt is preferred by many. This thing has been going on since early 2007, and has something like 800 entrants lately (probably more, because most don’t do it every week). Holy cow.  Many of the entrants are working illustrators with amazing portfolios. I am on my second week, and I’m getting double my previous highest comment number (about 20, small potatoes still!) Both weeks I have commented on 80+ posts of others, and although only maybe 10% respond in kind, the fact remains that I have visited a whole heck of a lot of blogs more than I had been. And found quite a few really inspiring artists doing these challenges that I am doing also! Which is pretty cool.  Lots of nationalities represented, which is great!

One result of 800 entries over seven days is they get some links that don’t have anything to do with the challenge (they do seem to be removed fairly quickly). Then there are the people who are doing the challenge but also doing a hard sell on whatever they’re selling (which isn’t so great, imo, but isn’t against the rules). There is an enormous spectrum of new, part-time doodlers, to very established artists in a variety of fields. Children’s illustration seems particularly well represented, which I love! Mostly, I’ve just found so many great artists and great blogs that I would totally recommend doing it, particularly if you’re looking for art blogs rather than craft blogs. And that’s only because I’m more interested in people who are doing work that is more like work I am doing/trying to do.

Egad that all makes for a long-winded post. Here is a strange bird beast I did a while back and haven’t decided whether to revisit. (This was in response to a Doodlers Doing Doodles challenge with the prompt “Dragon’s Tears”. My idea was a creature created when a dragon’s tear hit the forest floor. In some future post I will tell you about my final entry):

Kiwi Bird Beast, Copics

Thank you! Nice to see you! All thoughts on the above welcome!


12 thoughts on “Blog Things that are Art Things that are Social Things

  1. Abby

    Nicely said, and only 6 months in! I’d never even heard of web of whimsy and may have to check it out. I have seen The Sketchbook Project, but just skimmed it. Looks like fun! And I love Illustration Friday, of course – always look forward to Friday! You did a great job describing it.

  2. The Beast Tender Post author

    Thanks, Abby! Sometimes it’s hard to know what is only super interesting to me, and what might appeal to others. :)

  3. Kayleen West - Children's Illusrator

    Nice posts and WELCOME to Illustration Friday. I find it really encourages me to come up with things to paint and builds your portfolio. I am doing the Sketchbook Project this time and enjoying it all. Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment. Keep up your amazing 6 month old blog. You are going great.

  4. Karen Sagovac

    Fantastic site – love your style and your wit! Really loving Illustration Friday although I’m not getting much real work done (too busy flicking through other artists blogs) its great fun and very inspiring. There are sooo many aren’t there?!

    1. The Beast Tender Post author

      Thanks, Karen! Holy cow, so many. It seems to me I shouldn’t expect people to visit me if I don’t get out and visit them, so I try to get to as many IF entries as I can. I think I’ve gone a bit overboard (150+) these first two weeks and may have to cut back. I leave a comment if I have something to say (hopefully at least a full sentence). By the way, thanks for coming over!

  5. Hannah

    Great post! I’d never heard of Web of Whimsy before, Thanks. I can’t wait to see what you do with your sketchbook. I did the 2010 project and it was great fun, although I was sad to see my book go in the end. I learnt so much from the experience.

    Great to have you at Illustration Friday. It’s great that you take the time to comment. I try to see and consider as many illustrations as I can but don’t always have the time to comment.

    Your work is beautiful by the way and this creature couldn’t be more lovely :)

  6. Gay McKinnon

    Wow, I love your kiwi bird, and you even managed to get a sort of Maori look to him combined with your own unique style! Thanks for the link! I think I really have to check out these Copic markers, if they’re available in Oz. Did it take you long to learn how to use them so effectively? Your colours are just sensational.

  7. The Beast Tender Post author

    Thank you Sylvia, I will definitely check some of those out (although I’m not sure I have any extra time with all these others!)
    Hannah, thank you so much. My sketchbook is still blank. Eeeek!

    Gay, thank you! I believe I am still learning how to be most effective with Copic markers, but I think progress comes with each new piece. I suppose the one thing I haven’t mentioned (lately, at least) is they are a little pricey. But you can get refills, which can help, and it looks like the refills are going to last a good while. (I only have 3 colors of refills so far, but 80+ markers.)

    But I started with 10 markers. (Ciao size which is the small version and have gotten a few new ones per week.) One other drawback about Copics is that 8×10 or 9×12 is my self-imposed limit because doing large areas uses up the markers too fast! (Well, that and my scanner only scans up to 8.5″ x 11″. [Whatever that is in centimeters. Dumb American number system!]

    Oops, I wrote a book. This could have been its own post. :P

  8. Carla

    I like your long post, and I love it when people visit my blog from Illustration Friday and other places! Do you manage to get through all the links? I find it a great incentive to do new work and try to think outside the square a little. See you there next time!

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