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Reflections on folktale week 2020






Folktale week 2020 came at a really good time for me. I found out about the challenge when I was scrolling through instagram, having just got off a flight from Spain to the UK. England was predictably gloomy and with the prospect of two weeks quarantine, I really needed something to occupy my time with and quench any existential crisis that my impromptu return (and even greater amount of free time) might trigger.

Some reflections on folktalke week

I embraced my second instagram challenge with the intention of putting into practice the learning I had been doing around anatomy and composition. Upon reflection, I think I have improved in these areas, although I still believe I have a long way to go to making the interesting and eye-catching illustrations I would love to be able to make for books. My work has improved since the first instagram challenge I did and that is something to hold on to. I think when drawing the thumbnails for each prompt my mind was too caught up in the figuring out the concept ( a lot of research on Greek mythology was done) and then trying to make things look anatomically ok. However, I think after more time should have been spent pushing the composition, because although I show a range in the illustrations I created, they could be more dynamic and play more with the balance between subject matter, background and foreground. To a certain extent, my composition choices were guided by my limited confidence with perspective, both when it comes to drawing places and people.

In fact, challenges when it came to working with composition even made me opt for one myth over the other for the courtship prompt. The myth I had been considering was that of Hero and Leander and their tragic cross-water romance, in which Hero would guide Leander with a light from her tower as he swam towards her from his home. Typically for Greek myths, one night Hero's candle is blown out and Leander dies in the sea for lack of the guide and an intense storm. Anyway, I couldn't think how to compose this illustration and felt pretty clueless about drawing 1) a tower with a girl in it and 2) a figure swimming in the sea towards said tower at night. I settled for the "courtship" of Europa by Zeus, but was thrilled to see on my feed that someone else had done the Hero and Leander myth. I was so impressed with how she managed it and reach out to her through a comment - to which she replied! Its great to see how other people solve problems.

I quite like my use of texture and feel like my rendering of material has got a bit better, although I tend to get a bit lazy and rush it it.


I also watched my first instagram live stream! Super inspiring stuff and really makes me want to get involved in the illustrator community online.



Overall, I'm glad I took part in the challenge and was able to see such inspiring work by illustrators from all over the world. I'm definitely adding to my list of greatest inspirations.

Learning points:

  • Foreground, main subject and main! Don't neglect any!

  • I'm ok when I'm copying from a picture, but I need to practice drawing made up people as all mine tend to end up looking the same and don't at all reflect the diversity of skulls, noses, eyes or bodies there are in the world...

  • Less stiff characters….

  • Try more dynamic angles- goes back to the whole perspective point…

As you can see I start with the intention of coming up with loads of composition variations.......doesn't end up that way! Must MAKE myself spend more time on this

Attempts to make Hero and Leander work....

A lot of research undertaken on the mythology I used for each prompt.

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