Incognito Art Show 2023

Last year I donated three artworks to the Incognito Art Show – I loved the experience so much that I decided to do it again this year!

Some background – the Incognito Art Show sells A5 sized artworks at $100 each – the catch being you don’t know who the artist is until you buy the work. Some very famous artists contribute to the show making it quite exciting for buyers.

I knew I wanted to something with shells or a tropical look this year, but I couldn’t decide whether to stick with realistic illustration (my safe zone) or branch out into something more abstract. My goal was to create artworks that looked amazing and that someone would love to display in their home.

There were a few ideas in my head, so I got out my watercolour paper and cut it down into smaller pieces (half an A5 size) to test out these ideas.

As you can see they are all a bit different but mostly feature the same shell! I ended up asking my partner and my sister’s opinion and the realistic shell with the watercolour background was the favourite.

ideas for the Incognito Art Show 2023
rough ideas for the artworks

I loved the combination of the brown and cream of the shell against the soft blue watercolour, so I looked for two more shells that had similar colours.

Fun fact – all three shells in the final illustrations were found on Mudjimba Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – the beach I visit most often and also have best luck with finding shells.

The next thing I had to do was figure out how to create the background around the shell – I experimented with masking fluid which worked really well on my watercolour paper. HOWEVER I did a teeny tiny test swatch on the Incognito Art Show paper (they provide you the paper for the artworks) and the masking fluid did not come off cleanly, so I then did some more experiments to see if it was better to do the shell or the background first… and the background first was much nicer.

So now that was all figured out I actually created the final artworks!

Firstly I sketched the outline and main details of each shell into my sketchbook. I then used my lightbox to trace this sketch onto the art paper using a watercolour pencil.

Next I painted the background with a mix of blue watercolour, blue food colour, and blue ink!

The shells were painted with mostly pan watercolours, with details added using watercolour pencils, and finally a graphite pencil for some shading and finer details. I quite like using a 4H graphite pencil on my shell illustrations as you can add very faint lines that will show the shape of the shell quite nicely.

work in progress of the Checkerboard Bonnet

And here they are – the three artworks I donated to this year’s Incognito Art Show:

Incognito Art Show 2023 artwork
Zebra Volute
Incognito Art Show 2023 artwork
Arabian Cowrie
Incognito Art Show 2023 artwork
Checkerboard Bonnet

What do you think? Do you have a favourite? Do you like the combination of watercolour background and the realistic drawing?

Incognito Art Show 2023 artworks

I'd love to know what you think!

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