Month Of Fairies: Final week, sketchbook flip video & lessons learned

Published by Nela Dunato on in Art, Sketchbook, Video

Month Of Fairies art challenge - Week 4

EDIT: I now made a video of a sketchbook flip!

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For the entire month of November I’ve been drawing a fairy a day and posting it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #MonthOfFairies.

If you missed my updates from the past weeks, here they are:

Well, this has been an interesting ride!

Before I delve into the review part of the post, here are the works from the past week:

Day 24

Month of Fairies Day 24 - Kosjenka

I really didn’t feel like doing it that day. It was such a chore. I decided to just go with it and create a quick sketch portraying Kosjenka, a character from a Croatian fairy tale written by our most famous fantasy author Ivana Brlić Mažuranić.

Day 25

Month of Fairies Day 25 - Moon Fairy

I named this one “Moon Fairy”. I decided to go for paper cutting again, this time in reverse — I painted the foreground (after cutting), and left the paper behind it white.

Day 26

Month of Fairies Day 26 - Winter Guardian

Watercolor & soft pastel.

In winter, all of nature’s fairies are asleep inside the trees, in the roots, and deep in the waters. But one of them sleeps during the warm months, and rises with the cold. She looks after the world until her sisters awaken.

I made up the story about the winter fairy. I don’t think is likely that *all* the fairies just leave the nature unattended.

Day 27

Month of Fairies Day 27 - F is for Fairy

F is for Fairy. Ink (brush pen) with a watercolor texture overlay.

I didn’t feel like drawing anything, so I decided to “cheat” (even though, I never said all the fairies must be figurative…) I tried to create the letter F that looks like a fairy, and after a couple of unsuccessful sketches, I managed to do it.

Day 28

Month of Fairies Day 28 - Underground hibernation

Ballpoint pen & watercolor.

This one was inspired by the stories and illustrations in Zdensko Basic’s book “Tales of the Wind” about tiny fairies that sleep through the winter in the bulbs. The same fairies that were born from the flowers a few months earlier (see day 8).

Day 29

Month of Fairies Day 29 - La Fée Verte

Ballpoint pen & watercolor.

My friend reminded me that I haven’t done the green fairy yet, and I figured I should draw her. Especially given that so many of my artistic and literary idols have spent quite a bit of time under her spell…

Day 30

Month of Fairies Day 30 - Growing pains

Digital photo-manipulation.

For my last day, I’ve decided to create the work I’ve had on my mind (and in my sketchbook) for quite a while. You can click on it to see a larger version in my gallery.

So… I guess that’s it! :)

About those lessons…

This project has taught me a great deal about myself, and some things surprised me. Here are some of them off top of my head.

In general, posting more often = more followers

While this isn’t necessarily 100% true, I’ve noticed there’s a correlation between how often I post stuff on social media and how many new people stumble into my work and follow me.

The biggest effect was on Instagram, but I suspect it’s probably due to being a part of #ArtEveryDayMonth as well.

Facebook was a bit of an anomaly — I actually got more new “likes” in October, when I only posted once or twice. (More research required.)

People actually want daily updates

Originally I didn’t intend to post daily on Facebook because I thought a lot of people would get fed up with me popping into their news feed so often. But when I asked this question on my page, enough of them said “Yes”, so I decided to do it.

As for people getting fed up, I wasn’t completely wrong — a total of 11 people “unliked” my page, but that was only a few people more than in October and September, so it would have probably happened anyway. My everyday posting only gave people more chance to decide whether they actually want to stay subscribed or not.

Before this project I was afraid of posting “too often”, but now I’ve seen how I’ve been worried for no good reason.

No need to worry about running out of inspiration, even with such a narrow theme

I wasn’t worried about not knowing what to draw (that’s rarely a problem for me), I was worried that I might get sick and tired of fairies.

While my enthusiasm was a variable during the course of a month, there was not a single moment when I thought “Oh Hell, I’d rather draw anything but fairies right now!” so that went pretty good. I doubt I would have lasted much longer than a month, though.

I added variety through different techniques. If I did all of them in watercolor, I would have probably gotten bored.

I had a light bulb moment regarding my sleep pattern issue

This was one of the unexpected lessons. Since most of my fairy art was created somewhere between 10PM and 3AM, I had a lot of trouble going to bed and rising early. I simply couldn’t do it. I am such a huge procrastinator and I’d always leave the fairy art for last, instead of doing it the first thing in the morning.

In any case, as I was pondering why I was having so much trouble going to bed when I planned I would, I had a realization that I wasn’t allowing myself to go to bed without accomplishing what I decided to accomplish that day.

I realized it during the Month Of Fairies because it was just so obvious: no sleep before I post my fairy drawing online, since that’s what I promised I was going to do. Not doing it was not an option.

But the pattern was completely unrelated to the project itself — it was, in fact, much older and deeper. So old and so deep I can’t even remember when it started.

And this pattern said “I can’t go to sleep before I complete what I set out to do today. If I don’t complete it, I’m a loser.”

This posits a bit of a problem when you throw procrastination into the mix, as I usually begin to work so late in the day, that the only way I’m able to complete things is to stay up until dawn.

I wasn’t able to make any progress on this yet, but I’ll experiment with going to bed early although I did not complete what I wanted, and do what I need to do to not feel like a loser.

This is a great way to put your inner critic aside

The quality of my work varied, and I produced far less “finished work” than I hoped I would.

I didn’t have the luxury of censoring myself when I absolutely had to post a new artwork every day.

There were times when I really disliked my sketches. But I posted them anyway, because that’s how the project works.

I was living the “Just ship it” mantra and this process was so helpful in seeing that 1) even the “bad” art had its place in the overall story of my project, and 2) other people didn’t care which ones I liked, and which ones I didn’t — they had their own preferences, and sometimes they surprised me with a positive response to what I dubbed a “failure”.

Granted, I’d like to take a break from having to show sketches I don’t like to the whole world. There is a lot of value in keeping some things secret and working through them by yourself, but as an exercise, I’m actually glad I went past my comfort zone.

And with this I conclude the Month Of Fairies.

Thanks to everyone who’s been following my journey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook — and of course, here on the blog! You’ve been such a great support, and I’m so grateful for your wonderful words.

If you still haven’t seen the other posts, here they are again:

Question for you: did you take on any creative marathon recently, NaNoWriMo, Inktober or Art Every Day Month perhaps? If not, what’s stopping you?

Nela Dunato

About Nela Dunato

Artist, brand designer, teacher, and writer. Author of the book “The Human Centered Brand”. Owner of a boutique branding & design consultancy that helps experienced service-based businesses impress their dream clients.

On this blog I write about art, design, creativity, business, productivity and marketing, and share my creative process and tips. Read more about me...

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4 responses to “Month Of Fairies: Final week, sketchbook flip video & lessons learned”

  1. Well done for making it through the month, Nela. It’s fascinating to see the variations on the fairy theme you came up with :)
    I did 365 artwork a day some years back so I know how it is. I think it really changes your relationship with your work especially seeing that people like work you don’t and vice versa.
    I did a poem a day this Nov but only in a closed group. Much less pressure but still good discipline. What will be your next challenge?

  2. Thank you, Cherry!
    Oh, 365 artworks sounds like a mammoth project! I did a doodle a day in 2012. Some were finished works, but most were just quick doodles! That’s something I’d like to bring back indefinitely.

    Yes, I totally agree with you on that!

    The poem challenge sounds cool :)

    Oh, I think I’m done with challenges for a while :) My next thing is an actual project I’d like to bring to fruition – a tabletop game! That should keep me busy for a few months.

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