I am excited to announce a challenge I am creating for 2017! It is a personal challenge for me, but I am really hoping that others will join in the fun. I love all the fun “special” art creation events I see on Instagram throughout the year. Events like Inktober or month long drawing prompts, etc. But to be honest, most of them are intimidating in terms of commitment. Truth is, I really don’t want to commit to something that makes me draw or create everyday. As a freelancer, sometimes my work time is spent creating new art, but that is just one portion of a bigger picture. That being said, I would really like challenge myself creatively. So I came up with a more moderate challenge, tailor made to help me grow in an area that I would like to improve upon: creating animal characters! Thus, the “Alphabet Animal Art Challenge” was born! (Say that 3 times fast… ok, I did, it actually isn’t that hard… ha ha ha).
I love this concept for a few reasons:
- By using the 26 letter Alphabet as my structure, it fits perfectly to a 52 week year! One animal, per letter, every 2 weeks = 52 weeks in total, and 26 new characters created by the end of the year!
- There are enough animals that even within the limits of a single letter, there are a lot of options for most of the weeks (we’ll tackle Q and X when we get to those!)
- The 2 week time frame gives plenty of time to create without feeling pressured or rushed!
Note, this is not a DRAWING challenge. You can absolutely draw your characters by hand if you want. But if you prefer creating digitally go for it! Painting? Of course! You could even do collage animals if you’d like. I wanted as little restrictions as possible. So feel free to create your animals in whatever medium you most prefer (or multiple mediums if you want to try new techniques throughout the year.)
Here is the structure of how things will work. Since 2017 starts on a Sunday, that will be the day I will be posting a reminder on Instagram that a new 2-week period has begun. I’ll share the letter and some animal ideas to get you started. You can share the animal you create anytime during the two week period. I hope to post mine near the end of the time period. I am assigning 2 hashtags to put with your posts: #alphabetanimalart2017 and #alphabetanimals So be sure to use those when you post.
This is not a contest or giveaway. There aren’t any prizes. This is merely a fun way to motivate yourself to create some new art and connect with others that are doing the same. I would like to do a blog post quarterly to share what has been created so far, so there is a chance I might ask to share one of your animals here on my blog! (But I can only find you if you use the right hashtags!)
Thanks in advance for following along! And I really hope some others join in the creating fun!
PS. If you aren’t already following me on Instagram you can find me here.
I’m an aunt to a lot of littles and not-so-littles. In fact I have 16 nieces and nephews between my and my husband’s side of the family. The most recent additions, one girl and one boy, are cousins born just a few weeks apart. For their first birthdays (which were late spring/early summer, I am WAY behind on this blog post) I decided to dive into the world of plushie sewing! I have seen so many cute projects by others and I had the perfect character already in my library in which to create my plushies: Sammy the Whale! I first created Sammy for my original Whales and Waves Pattern for a contest on Spoonflower. I have since created 3 other colorways of the design as well as a second pattern that features Sammy in a new way. (You can find all the designs in this Collection). For this cut-and-sew version I enlarged Sammy and a few of his fishy friends to make some fun plush play toys for the kiddos. (Side note: I did not plan this photo shoot very well and gifted the items before realizing I could have used a few close-ups etc. I apologize in advance for not having detail photos).
I definitely learned a lot by sewing these, (including the slip-stitch. So nifty!) But mainly, that I do NOT like sewing plushies! I had to do a lot of reshaping of the outline to get Sammy’s tail and curve looking nice which was rather frustrating. The GOOD NEWS is, because I sewed these, I was able to tweak the original design so that they will now be much easier to sew! The plushies you see here in this post are VERSION 1. Version 2, which are listed in my shop, have softer, easier to sew curved outlines and more space between the dashed edges and the characters. So your finished version will have more white space around your sea creatures. I also added a third polka-dot fish!
To supplement my printed fish I decided to add a few extra fish made out of felt. To create these I traced the outside of the fish onto 2 pieces of felt and 1 piece slightly smaller out of thin quilt batting. I sandwiched them together and stitched the outline near the edge and then used a wavy stitch on my machine to create ripples on the body. Using this wavy stitch might have been my favorite part of the project! I used just one standard little sheet of felt from the craft store and was able to get 2 fish from it.
Construction: Since I used a lightweight fabric, I chose to add fusible fleece to all the character pieces to give them more structure and pad them from potential stuffing lumps. Then simply stuffed them to desired firmness with loose fill.
Lastly I created a matching drawstring bag to hold all the little critters. I used one fat quarter of the color coordinating versions of my Confetti Fish print: Confetti Fish (Seaside) and Confetti Fish (Pinky). I chose the Basic Cotton Ultra for mine, but if you go for a wider fabric you’ll get a wider bag too. There are several other prints in the Collection that would work for the bag as well.
BONUS: I wanted this project to work on ANY of the Spoonflower fabrics. So I sized it to be 21″ wide to fit the Whale and 3 Little Fish. If you order a wider fabric you will also get a BONUS character: Jeremy the Jellyfish! Here is a look at the 2 widths. It is all the same listing, and available in both colorways, you will see the jellyfish appear when you pick a wider fabric. (My version was made with the Basic Cotton Ultra).
I was very happy with how these turned out in the end (and they were very light and easy to ship!) but I won’t be making plushies again anytime soon… maybe ever. he he he
Thanks for reading!