2019 – My Year of Digital Illustration (January-April)
In January of 2019 I started the journey of digital illustration. At the beginning of the year I purchased an iPad and started to learn how to draw in Procreate. It’s always fun to take a look back and share your progress, so before the year comes to an end I decided to write a series of round-up posts featuring two of my favorite digital art pieces of each month that I created in 2019.
Digital Drawing is harder than I thought. When you get used to the tools and programs it feels very organic and intuitive, but boy did I struggle at the beginning. In January I was totally into girlie colours and bold lines. I drew a lot of self portraits during that time and my love for Frida Kahlo really started to grow back then.
I used to draw the first sketch for the artwork in my sketchbook, take a picture and continue working with Procreate – a process I mostly maintain until today. Unfortunately I didn’t know how layers work back then and I had no idea about the sweet world of textures and shading.
In February I decided to participate in the annual #Mermay – I was very motivated and really loved the first mermaid I drew for the upcoming challenge in May. I actually tried to draw something like a background and I still like this piece – I wouldn’t use the same colours, but the rest seems alright with me.
As I tried to draw more and more mermaids I noticed that I actually hated drawing them – At least back then I couldn’t imagine drawing 31 illustrations of mermaids in a row, so I decided to cancel Mermay and focus on other topics. One of the topics I wanted to illustrate at the beginning of the year was mental health and self care. I’ve been struggling with depression for years now and I wanted to help breaking the stigma by drawing and writing about it.
In March I finally knew that 2019 was the year I’d eventually quit my dayjob and try my luck at freelance illustration. Before going completely self-employed in Summer I still had time left to crank out as much work as possible and try to establish my identity as an artist. This process took much longer than expected and to everyone struggling to find their own style I can assure you: All the tales are true. You just have to keep producing more and more work and your unique style will develop naturally in the process. It’s so easy, but so hard at the same time.
My favorite illustrations in the month of March are the portrait of Maud Wagner and yet another successful Mermaid drawing (seems like I hadn’t completely giving up on the illusion of actually completing Mermay at that time).
In April I started listening to True Crime Podcasts and tried to do my first product designs for shirts and tote bags. One of the motives I produced for that actually became my favorite illustration of that month: the cassette tape with the knife and sword. I went through a very tough time with my mental health back then and try to get all the bad feelings out through my art.
On the first day of April I opened up my Instagram account and committed to the 100 Day Project. For the first 100 days of my Instagram career I posted one illustration every single day for 100 days. If you’re interested in my thoughts about the 100 Day Project I wrote a series of posts about it here.