#illo52weeks - Week 52: FIREWORKS

Thursday, 18 December 2014

watercolour and fine liner

The end to an absolutely incredible year--the 52-Week Illustration Challenge for 2014--has ended with a bang ... FIREWORKS!

I don't even know what to say about the Challenge and this phenomenally creative year.

What started with this ...

Week 1: EGGS

... and a desire to reconnect with my art, became a life-changing experience. My latent drawing skills have improved exponentially this year, proving that practice really is a phenomenal skill-building tool. And I'm now closer than ever to my dream of illustrating some of my own books.

But my illustrating is only one thing. There's more.

When I first wrote about this self-challenge on my blog, I never, in a kabillion years, expected it to become more than a little art project--mostly on my lonesome, maybe with two or three author/illustrator friends joining in.

When a friend suggested I create a Facebook group--well, the rest is history. The Challenge is now a phenomenally supportive creative community that has forged true friendships, collaborations, working opportunities ... and it's even changed lives.

The group now has over 2.5K contributing members, an admin team of 12 and has enjoyed countless local and international artistic opportunities. Contracts have been signed, art has been exhibited, books are in the works (including my book with Jess Racklyeft--Smile Cry--out 2016), people have left full time work to create full time, and we'll even be exhibiting in Perth (with Arts Brookfield) in March 2015. Learn more about this here.

Our Challenge Blog features weekly picks, fabulous tutorials from amazing artists, and a series of testimonials (put together by the amazing Nicky Johnston) that will have you either reaching for the tissues or running for your paintbox, busting with inspiration.

And the very best news of all is that the Challenge will run again in 2015, with our new themes, chosen by members, right here.

I want to thank my amazing admin team who have become dear friends--these amazing women have so much dedication and talent--it makes my head reel. My partner in creativity--Nicky Johnston, and also these amazing girls--most of whom I never knew before the Challenge began ... Natalie Daniel, Odette Teerink, Leonie Cheetham, Heidi Cooper, Penny Fisher, Jess Racklyeft, Lisa-Marie Kerr, Sally Fawcett, Sophie Pittaway and Patricia Ward. It's been a joy getting to know these girls and I so look forward to our future together!

I also want to thank two very special girls--Dee White and Sheryl Gwyther--for inspiring me to return to my art. It's been a very long time since I picked up a paint brush and the joy it's brought me is indescribable. I feel like my entire world has changed and I'm so excited about the impossibly shiny future--doing what I love.

I hope you, dear reader, can do the same.

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