Tropical Art Challenge 2020

So one of the things I realised late last year was that I was spending way too much time on social media/marketing, and not nearly enough time creating art. So in the spirit of a new year, I decided to set an art challenge for myself to complete 25 tropical-inspired nature images.

tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist

This was my first ever art challenge, and I initially thought I would get this done in a few weeks. In the end it has taken me a couple of months but it has been such a good exercise, and I’ve learnt quite a few things.

One thing I really wanted to do was push myself to use art materials I wasn’t familiar with, which also pushed me to experiment with different styles.

I found that I would spend a few hours to complete some artworks, whereas other artworks would take me half an hour or less.

My favourite materials are probably watercolour pencils, as I just love drawing realistically and with colour. I created quite a few mixed media pieces too, as I tend to collect art materials based on their colour! For example, I love using blue food colouring as it is such a vivid blue, and also for really bright pink I can’t go past Dylusions Ink Spray in Bubblegum Pink.

It was the first time I have tried to create abstract backgrounds for some of the artworks, and this was pretty fun and something I want to get better at!

I used my own photographs as much as possible for reference images, and discovered that by drawing or painting an image from a holiday etc, it created a much more memorable image than the photo itself. For artworks where I didn’t have a good reference image, I used the fantastic website Unsplash.

So here is my complete set of artworks – looking at this set I realise my style swings between either realism or something more abstract. I definitely have more ideas I want to explore now!

tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Hibiscus
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Reef Shark
Cone Shell – Polychromis pencils
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Butterfly
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Palm Tree
Island Bird – these are red-tailed tropicbirds. Gansai Tambi watercolours and blue food colouring as background.
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Clam Shell
Wave – black fineliner pen
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Octopus
Jellyfish – Polychromis pencils and white watercolour paint.
Banana Leaf – acrylic paint
Cowrie Shell – I included a constellation in the dots! Watercolour paint and white pens.
Starfish – blue food colouring, Sharpie markers, acrylic paint
Orchid – Gansai Tambi watercolours, Derwent watercolour pencils, Dylusions ink spray in bubblegum pink
Stingray – graphite pencils
Giant Clam – pastels, one of the funnest art materials I think
Reef Fish – oil pastels and blue food colouring
Bird of Paradise – Aquarelle water crayon pastels and Polychromis pencils for detail
Coral – blue food colouring as background and white paint pen, white pencil.
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Frangipani – acrylic paint
Nudibranch – oil pastels, Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils, white watercolour paint.
tropical art and nature illustration by Brisbane artist
Parrot Fish – very happy with these. Derwent Inktense and watercolour pencils.
Sea Urchin – watercolour for background and white gouache for urchin
Beetle – Polychromis pencils. This is a ‘Tectocoris diophthalmus’ or hibiscus harlequin bug
Gorgonian Fan – watercolour background and gold pen for detail

I’d love to know what you think! Has this inspired you to start your own creative challenge??

2 Replies to “Tropical Art Challenge 2020”

  1. […] realistic illustrations. I am still in love with the parrot fish illustrations I did as part of my Tropical Art Challenge and decided to draw a couple more fish from my […]

  2. […] vibrant, and with a tropical vibe. I was really inspired by some of the art I created during my Tropical Art Challenge. I have samples of each of the fabrics and I’m really happy with how they turned […]

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