Goals for Folklore & Fairytales 2019
Last year, I created a month long art challenge for myself that centered around creatures from Scandinavian folklore and mythology. The idea stemmed from me feeling a bit drained and out of momentum, with the hopes of finding my voice again, and for some reason I feel some of that blues this year too. Perhaps it’s the season? All this lingering darkness that have surrounded us for the past 3-4 months takes its toll on my spirit. Anyways, the challenge was a huge success for me, both in terms to grow my skills and as an artist. Therefore, I decided to do an updated one for this year too.
This year, I’m expanding the horizon a little and have gathered creatures and folklore from around the world. I am very excited about this because I really love learning more about other cultures and the stories that have shaped them. I’ve tried to include at least a few from every continent and tried to focus on cryptozoology and monsters because, well, I wanted to draw monsters and imaginary creatures.
Taking on themes and creatures from cultures other than my own will present itself with a challenge that I did’t have last year. Last year, the prompts were part of my own origin story. I understood the nuances and fine fibers that weave my cultural history with the drawings I made. This year, I don’t have that with me and thus, I have to be aware of my own ignorance of the impact and significance that these creatures have on a culture. It’s very easy to jump right in like an eager child and try to build something out of sheer enthusiasm which, albeit unintentionally, causes harm or offense to people of that culture. Artistic interpretation and expression is important, but things like that don’t develop in a vacuum. What I draw and how I draw it is a consequence of my origins and even if that works within my own context, it doesn’t necessarily translate well. Without this understanding, it’s very easy to unintentionally reduce a significant cultural phenomenon to a gimmick, much like when white people dress up as indigenous people for Halloween. Me being a white Scandinavian means something whether I want it to or not and as one, I’m going to have to thread carefully throughout this challenge. Thus, one of my goals will be to learn enough about the culture surrounding each creature to not overstep boundaries and customs. I already know that this very well might happen regardless, but I will do my very best to be as respectful as possible.
When it comes to intentions that are related to my skills, I have a few goals set up going into this. Fundamentally, just managing to create a drawing every day is a goal in itself. I am very busy this year and I must admit that I am a bit worried about actually making it. But I will do my very best, and that is enough even if I don’t succeed. I also want to work on developing my skills when it comes to creature design. Drawing cryptozoological creatures is fun because you don’t have to limit yourself to portraying real animals, but I still want to make them believable. I want to make the anatomy to be believable enough so that it could actually work in real life. Furthermore, I need to work on developing speed with the ballpoint pen because it still takes so much longer than drawing with fineliners, so all this year’s drawings will be made with ballpoint on a paper that is small enough to not let each drawing get too big and detailed. In extension, this is also something that will help me to let go of some of the pressure I put on myself when I draw. I always tend to overdo things and focus too much on perfection and having a size limit as well as a time limit for each will hopefully ease some of that tension. Lastly, I intend to incorporate some color into at least half of the drawings. I do have had so much fun working with color, but it still feels a bit foreign to me so I need the practice.
Ultiamtely, the goal is to learn new things and have fun without putting too much pressure on myself to perform, and if you want to join me in this exploration, here’s the list for this year: