Breathing New Life Into An Old Hobby

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Nearly ten years ago I ran a small art blog where I showcased my illustration work. I didn’t think of it as a portfolio, it was just a place to share. I took requests and posted a couple of times a week on a free wordpress account. I loved running it and I miss it. Before that I did art and design for a while at college with illustration as my focus. Before that I spent hours in my teenage bedroom trying to draw people from the pages of magazines.

Being semi-good at art and illustration was something I took for granted, and like most things that you find you can just do, I mostly ignored it until I almost completely forgot it was a hobby that brought me pleasure. As I became aware of Inktober over the last few years, each October would come round and I’d think “I should do that, use it to get back into drawing!”, then when November arrived and I’d not lifted a finger to join in I’d say to myself “well, okay, maybe next year…”

I became a little overwhelmed, not sure how to start making art again and worried over whether I’d even be any good at it anymore. I’ve lost quite a few skills to my chronic illness, I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out that this was another one. As each Inktober came and went, I missed the world I had closed off to myself more and more. So I did the one thing I know I can do: a ton of research! Based on my low budget and the new set of considerations I need to make it accessible to me I discovered the wonderful world of digital art and, more specifically, Procreate.

Ultimately, the decision to go with Procreate was a practical one. My hand/eye coordination is nowhere near good enough for a separate graphic tablet set up; I need to be able to draw directly on to the screen and the only bit of kit I own that can perform that function is my iPhone 7 Plus. Decision made, I merrily downloaded the Procreate Pocket app to my phone and started to tinker with it in anticipation of Inktober 2019.

To say the new format has breathed new life into my old illustration hobby would be an understatement! Drawing digitally is incredibly forgiving, with the right tweaks and settings the slightly shaky lines caused by my unsteady hands can be smoothed. Similarly, my habitual foggy indecision over colour palettes doesn’t feel quite so bad as I can swap out the colours of different elements with ease.

Over the course of October, I completed the Inktober challenge. I drew an original piece of digital art every day for a full calendar month, but most importantly I found my feet with digital art, grew my confidence, and got to grips with my drawing style again. I lost hours to each piece, no matter how simple or complex it was, and fell in love with my old old hobby all over again.

I have now set up another small art blog, but this time I do think of it as a portfolio. There’s not much there for now, I’m in the process of building it up. I want to have something to show the world of the hobby I love which brings me a lot of joy and so much peace.

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