• Jen

Fifty-Percent of The 100-Day Project

Today is half-way through #The100DayProject, and buddy, it has been a ride. Over the past 50 days, I have made a small piece of art (almost) everyday. I've used ink, water-based markers, and watercolor on 5.5" x 8.5"mixed media sheets for each illustration of creatures, characters, and monsters from world folklore. Most of the pieces have been started and finished in a single day, and a few so far have been sketched or unfinished paints one day, then completed the next.

This is my first time participating in #The100DayProject, although I've attempted themed challenges before, like MerMay and Inktober, and have yet to get all the way to the end of those challenges with consistency. I'm feeling quite proud of the progress I've made here, not only with making art a priority everyday, but also in the technical skill improvement that comes with consistent practice. Almost everyday, I feel that the art I make is better (in my own eyes) than the previous.

This practice has also helped me figure out what kind of art I want to make. While it's tempting to be *everything to everyone*, that's like the first thing to abandon when taking on a practice in earnest. I can make different kinds of art, with different aesthetics and using different skills. But I'm going for consistency here, because that's how I'll get better, and have a better art/product to share with others. Through participating in #The100DayProject, I've zeroed in on an illustrative style that I like to make, and which, when I think about it, is the kind of art a younger me would have eaten up.

That gets me even deeper in my art practice because now I'm discovering for whom I'm making art. I'm part of a small accountability artist group, and asking about audience was a question I posed to all of us in a recent meeting. It was heavy on my mind, because again and again, I find myself drawn to the subject matter and the aesthetics I loved as a kid. Bright colors, mythology, mermaids. And when I make art with that in mind, I often sit back from what I've created and feel like yeah, that's me --- that's me if I was a bit of ink and paint on a piece of paper. That feels so good, and also makes me imagine who might be interested in my work now, and what I'd like to show them. I imagine someone who loves fantasy, has a rich imagination, and wants to deeply immerse themselves in exploring the imaginations of others. When I was younger and reading books by Edith Nesbit, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein, and JK Rowling, I just wanted to sink deeper into the stories and live inside them. Rich illustration helped with that, and so that's what I'd like to make for other readers and fantasy-lovers.

Participating in this project has already given me so much - the time and motivation to practice and skill-up, and so importantly, a sense of self as an artist. It's inspired me to start some new projects, cultivate my portfolio, and connect deeper with others through the things I make. And we're only half-way! Good gracious, what more change and possibly be coming?