So I gave myself a free day today to do just that... but not just that, that with a twist.
I decided to use mediums I rarely ever use, these being charcoal and pastels.
I love how messy both these mediums can be and how soft they are but they both tend to have a life of their own and that leave me a bit flustered as I have control issues over my work so the moment a clean edge moves and becomes fuzzy is a moment where I just stare in horror and wonder whether to give up then and there.
So when I say challenge, I mean challenge.
I started with a crow and a variety of charcoal sticks I found lying around from my school days (10 years old!) and found a kneadable eraser and got to work... the outlines went great, the sketch was good, I was on form today and then... I scrubbed charcoal over the top like I would normally... It seemed more like hard graphite than charcoal which I tried to ignore and then I tried the eraser... whoever made this eraser didn't understand what kneadable erasers were... they thought it meant soft rubber maybe... Whatever it was, it was not kneadable and didn't realise it was meant to lift the charcoal from the paper.
This... was a problem.
I was left with this in it's biggest ugly stage.
Now the thing to remember with artwork is that everything goes through an ugly stage, something that many people don't realise.
I can promise you now, good art does not look good from the start, it hits a lot of ugly before hitting the good look.
Anyway! I decided to just work completely in charcoal and see what I could save after the small bad tools moment.
A few hours later and I had this...
I haven't used charcoal for a good few years, probably over five so this was testing and involved a lot of learning. It was also a lot of fun, even though charcoal can be a pain at times it's also very flowing and fun to scribble and smudge.
After the fun smudging I decided I wanted to continue the mess but with more colour so out came the soft pastels... something I love to look at but struggle to use.
This guy went through many many ugly stages but I didn't get any pictures and they were so bad I think they may break things.
But after a good few hours of mess, grumbles, yays and happies I finally came eye to eye with this guy!
He's not perfect but he does look like a macaw and he is probably the best pastel illustration I've created so I'm quite happy with this guy.
Thanks to my bird loving grandad I myself am quite obsessed with them and he brought me up to love parrots of all kinds. He always wanted a macaw so it just felt right to illustrate one :)
So that was my long challenge day, I haven't finished and hope to continue the random mediums for the next week or so just to see what happens. It's become a fun experiment!