The October Project Reflection

May 11, 2017

I wrote this back in October, right after completing the October Project. The project consisted of daily art, photography, and experimentation. I went from creating nothing in my free time, to creating portraits, illustrations, and photographs. If anything, this project proved to me that you do not know your capabilities until you try to achieve something. You’ll hit roadblocks, but you’ll also break through a lot of blocks. I plan to use what I’ve learned from this project for future work. I hope you can take something away from what I’ve learned! 

 

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It’s the last day of my project and I just wanted to sit here and think about what I’ve created and what I’ve learned.

 

What I’ve learned in bullet form:

  1. Creating daily becomes a creative habit.
  2. You have more ideas when you’re creating every day.
  3. Posting consistently online requires a plan! (But it’s worth it.)
  4. Batch out your tasks ahead of time based on what needs to get done first. For example: scan the entire week’s illustrations every Monday. Edit each illustration for the web every Tuesday. Schedule blog posts for the following week every Friday. Etc.
  5. Cut up your project into manageable bites. It won’t get done in one sitting, even if that’s your preferred way of creating. But you’ll chip away at it every day and it won’t become overwhelming.
  6. Create a syllabus of items you want to create for the month and books and articles you’d like to read for inspiration. Stick to it loosely and fall back on it in times of boredom.
  7. Utilize content management apps like Hootsuite and Buffer  to consistently update viewers on what you’re working on.
  8. Create a list of tasks you’d like to complete. Tack it up somewhere visible. Chip away at it daily.

 

The Roadblocks and How I Overcame Them

There were some roadblocks along the way. Right before I posted about my Frankenstein giveaway, I set aside a day to create a short trailer promoting the print. It would serve as a practice video for me since I’m new to Premiere. I sketched out a loose storyboard and started filming for it that day. While editing, I realized that even though I had a vision for what I wanted the trailer to look like, I didn’t have music to play in the background. And ever since making my first video and getting dinged on YouTube, I’ve been wary of making the same mistake twice.  

I spent the remainder of the evening re-cutting the film to fit two different songs, which both weren’t to my absolute liking. The work went on into the next day. I reshot some things. I tried again. I kept pushing.

It wasn’t until the third morning that I had to give myself a deadline. “If this thing isn’t done by 11am, I have to scrap it and move forward with other projects.” And that’s exactly what ended up happening.

It’s not easy walking away from something. Especially when you think that you’ve already invested so much time into it and you don’t want to waste the investment. But sometimes, it’s necessary. I posted the flyer I made the week before and I used some old footage for gifs and promotional material, and that ended up working just fine. This literally adheres to the idea that “Done is better than Perfect.”

Frankenstein Monster Halloween Print Giveaway by Victoria Elena

Halloween Giveaway, Day 15/31 – Frankenstein’s Monster Print Giveaway

 

Prioritizing Family and Work

Prioritizing family and work was another challenge. When you work on creative projects, your workload never ends. You are so invested in your art that you literally ‘bring it home with you.’ Sometimes, your home is your studio, and the line between work and rest is even more blurred. Has anyone else forgotten to go to sleep and instead edited photos into the morning?

I learned that art is a priority, but so is family. I learned that I need to break my tasks into bite sized portions. I made a long list of things that I need to do and I pinned it to my wall. Every morning, I highlight the items that I want to prioritize for that day. Whenever I finish a task, I cross it out. Whatever doesn’t get finished that day simply rolls over to the next day.

Sometimes, I’ve had to put down the day’s task because it wasn’t as important as hanging out with my family. And that’s an amazing lesson to learn.
Pumpkin Patch by Victoria Elena

Trip to Half-moon Bay, Day 21/31 – A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Part 1)Day 23/31 – A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Part 2)

 

What I’ve Created in 31 Days (Give or Take a Day)

I went from creating absolutely nothing in my free time, to creating horror portraits, animal studies, ink sketches, and videos. I worked on the beginnings of a manuscript. I hosted a successful art giveaway and opened up an Etsy shop with some prints from my project. I learned how to make a repeating pattern, how to make a cinemagraph, and I did it all while updating this blog daily. I also learned what I want to focus on: illustration; and I’ve signed up for an illustration course hosted by a team of incredibly talented artists at the Oatley Academy.

Poison Apple Illustration by Victoria Elena

Poison Apple, Day 25/31 – Poison Apple

The Crow Illustration by Victoria Elena

The Crow, Day 12/31 – Then and Now

Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas by Victoria Elena

Jack Skellington, Day 9/31 – Nightmare Before Christmas

A Promise, Day 5/31 – A Promise

Franeknstein's Monster by Victoria Elena

Frankenstein, Day 8/31 – Frankenstein’s Monster

Snake Illustration by Victoria Elena

The Snake, Day 2/31 – The Snake

Time Lapse,  Day 19/31 – Watch Me Draw Vincent Price

I plan to design a small book to host all of these creations simply because I love the way it feels to have a printed book of my work. It puts the final touch on a project like this.

——–

It’s good to look back and reflect on what you’ve learned and made when you embark on a project like this one. Since embarking on this project, I’ve spent the past few months working on my photography and building up a portfolio for commercial clients. These next few months will see a return to painting and illustration. Check out my new Etsy shop to shop items from my October Project – Persephone Studio Shop. See more posts from October here.

 

Thanks for looking!

Victoria

Day 29/31 – Sketchbook Drawings

November 9, 2016

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This is an installment of a daily project I’m launching for the month of October and November. I’ll create work revolving around the theme of identity and regrowth and I’ll update my blog with behind the scenes content, process, and finished artwork. Click through to read more. Catch up on the ongoing narrative here

rose-drawing-by-victoria-elena

Bird Drawing by Victoria Elena

I find myself losing days lately. I spent the afternoon looking through my work and mapping out where I’d like to go from here. I always have new ideas and directions that I want to take, but I find that while working towards the completion of one project, I’m quickly swept up in a new one. That’s not always a bad thing necessarily. The more you try new things, the closer you are to finding the one thing that sticks.

Some things I’m focusing on for the rest of November:

Nailing down my brand

Building my portfolio for my photography studio

Designing branding materials


Rose Drawing by Victoria Elena

I’ll have more tarot cards for you soon. For now, here’s a candle. My house is filled with them and they are always lit when I’m working.

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Day 28/31 – Meditative

November 4, 2016

Snake Ouroboros Illustration by Victoria Elena

This is an installment of a daily project I’m launching for the month of October and November. I’ll create work revolving around the theme of identity and regrowth and I’ll update my blog with behind the scenes content, process, and finished artwork. Click through to read more. Catch up on the ongoing narrative here

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This was taken after I filmed footage for A Promise. It was freezing and tourists kept running in and out of my shot, which was not what I expected of a beach that is typically deserted.

I spent the day working on personal projects and deadlines. I sent in a large print order for illustrations and photos. I ordered a beautiful handmade box and white high-end mats. And I checked everything off my list. It feels good when that happens. :)

 

Snake Ouroboros Illustration by Victoria Elena

 

Here’s a snake I drew a few weeks back. I’m still weeding through my ink sketches to share here. More soon.

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Day 27/31 – Poison Apple Painting Process

November 3, 2016

Poison Apple Sketch by Victoria Elena

This is an installment of a daily project I’m launching for the month of October and November. I’ll create work revolving around the theme of identity and regrowth and I’ll update my blog with behind the scenes content, process, and finished artwork. Click through to read more. Catch up on the ongoing narrative here

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I’m listening to This is Halloween while writing this post and I can’t believe Halloween has already passed. I thought I would post the preliminary sketch I made for my Poison Apple digital painting. I first sketched it out roughly in pencil. I inked it with Microns to make it easier to see when transferring it to watercolor paper. Once transferred, I used ink washes to create texture and value.

Poison Apple Ink Washes by Victoria Elena

From there, I experimented in Photoshop with a black and white layer and a color layer. And that’s it!

 

Poison Apple Illustration by Victoria Elena

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Day 26/31 – Scorpion Work In Progress

November 2, 2016

Scorpion Illustration WIP by Victoria ElenaThis is an installment of a daily project I’m launching for the month of October and November. I’ll create work revolving around the theme of identity and regrowth and I’ll update my blog with behind the scenes content, process, and finished artwork. Click through to read more. Catch up on the ongoing narrative here

rose-drawing-by-victoria-elena

I’m in the home stretch! My project is spilling over into November, but it’s not for lack of creating. The biggest thing I’ve learned while doing this project is that creating artwork daily is not the challenging part. The challenging part is finding enough time out of the day to digitize the work: document it, photograph it, scan it, optimize it for the internet, and publish it online. It sounds like it should be fairly straight forward – snap a photo with your phone and upload it. But there’s a lot more to it than that. I’m sure fellow creatives have had the same road blocks.

Until I can get back to my computer, here are some iPhone photos of yesterday’s work. It honestly gave me the creeps to work on it, but the scorpion is one of the main characters in Penny Dreadful – so it needed to be completed. I’ll finish this later this week.

The Process

Scorpion Illustration WIP by Victoria ElenaScorpion Illustration WIP by Victoria ElenaScorpion Illustration WIP by Victoria Elena

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