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.

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!

Hibiscus – Dylusions Ink Spray in bubblegum pink, Polychromis pencils, Gansai Tambi watercolours
Reef Shark – one of my favourites. Black ink pen, watercolours, graphite pencil, white pencil, ink for background – coloured in Photoshop.
Cone Shell – Polychromis pencils
Butterfly – this is a male Richmond Birdwing butterfly. Polychromis pencils.
Palm Tree -white pencil
Island Bird – these are red-tailed tropicbirds. Gansai Tambi watercolours and blue food colouring as background.
Clam Shell – Derwent watercolour pencils. So delicate!
Wave – black fineliner pen
Octopus – another favourite, this one got framed! Derwent Inktense pencils for octopus, ink for background.
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.
Frangipani – acrylic paint
Nudibranch – oil pastels, Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils, white watercolour paint.
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??

I'd love to know what you think!

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