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Top tips for Participating in Inktober 2019

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Inktober is a wonderful art challenge which runs for the whole of October. It was created by Jake Parker in 2009 as a self exploration not improve his personal inking skills and is now a world wide event which gets bigger every year. It is free to participate and a great way to jump into some artistic practice and be part of the world wide artist community.

My dog inktober poster available on  society 6 store

My dog inktober poster available on society 6 store

Since its inception Inktober has grown to include artists working digitally and traditionally (ink) in colour and black and white and it hosts a phenomenal out pour of creativity. I myself have participated before and loved the challenge of 30 daily illustrations finished and inked, and I will be participating again this year. It is great way to accelerate your growth, make new friends I the art world and even up your online following.

As October is only just around the corner and the challenge is quick approaching I thought I would share some advice for participating in this challenge.

5 tips for complete your Inktober challenge

  1. Make the time to get the daily drawings done
    It can be overwhelming if you start to lag behind, and before you know it have 10 drawings to do in one day. My advice is to set aside time in advance every day for the challenge. whether you wake up an hour earlier and draw then or dedicate the time between work/school and dinner for your inktober time. Pre-schedule your art to alleviate the pressure and stress of not getting it done.

  2. Check out the prompts in advance
    The official prompt list is already out, I have linked it at the bottom of this blog post. There are also plenty of artists making their own prompt lists so if you want to work with one of them go ahead, but start thinking of ideas now. I have a list of ideas written down to tie in with this years prompts so I can get straight to drawing and not spend time thinking about what to draw

  3. Pick an overarching theme
    If you are worried about getting stuck as the prompts are so broad pick a theme. One year I picked dogs and used Inktober to interact with my insatgram following by drawing their pets. The theme can relate to the prompts or be its own thing, it will just tie everything together. Plus a coherent theme means in the end you will have a beautiful collection of works you can later use as a portfolio piece or sell in a form such as a zine or print.

  4. Work in a medium you are comfortable
    Now Inktober is all about ink but there are many forms of ink. You could use ball point pens, art liners, brush and ink, or dip pens. you could use straight black ink or use colour ink like water colours. You could even do black and white inks on your digital device if you are a digital artist. The point is, pick a medium you are at least familiar with. Do not jump into a challenge not knowing how a medium works. If you want to use Inktober to explore a new way of art making I recommend spending a week before hand practicing and get the feel for the medium, that way your drawing time won’t be stressful for the daily challenges.

  5. Share your work
    The reason why Inktober is such a great art movement is because it builds community. Get your art out there, share your skills and stories with others. Comment on other peoples work, explore new artists and see what is possible. If you share your work online please let me know in the comments below or link it to me on instagram @cara.ord.create I would love to see it.

So there you have it 5 simple tips to get the ball rolling on your Inktober challenge and make this year a success. Please let me know if you participate, I will be posting daily over on my instagram if you would like to work alongside me.

Below is the prompt list, it is time to get started.

Official Inktober prompt list for 2019 by Inktober and Jake Parker

Official Inktober prompt list for 2019 by Inktober and Jake Parker

Keep creating,

Improve your Illustration with Character and Story

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Illustration is two fold; how you draw and what you draw. The how is the practical skills, your understanding of the medium (in example pencil/paint), anatomy, gesture, etc. The what is the content, story, character, illustration style and mood conveyed in your art. Levelling up both these sides of your illustration skills is important and often artists tend to focus on the how and not the what and this can lead to beautiful but uninspiring work.

You may have mastered the pen or the brush but your illustrations can still appear dry or amateurish if you don’t have intriguing content. I know each and everyone of you reading this are filled with great ideas and awesome art, however you may be struggling to realise these stories and visuals in your work.

In light of this I have created a class series for you, helping you add depth, character and story to your illustrations. The first course which is released today focuses entirely on your characters and figures, creating real personalities in them to draw your audience into your art and activate an emotive response and connection.

This class is an in-depth look at character design and development and it is packed with useful information to boost your stand alone illustrations and visual stories (such as comics and graphic novels). Take a deep dive into your characters, discover how they think and act and learn how to easily bring this out in your work. This class is great for all drawing skill levels. It focuses on the content of your illustration rather than the how to draw side, allowing you to vastly improve the quality of your work with minimal practice hours. Ideally this course works best coupled with practical drawing classes to help you improve your skill and theory simultaneously, I have a few classes here that could give you a hand with this and another coming next month to really push your art forward.

The class is a great asset to help you start from square one and develop your skills or brush up on ideas which you may have forgotten or lapsed in. It even includes a free workbook to help you focus your studies with short and simple exercises. And of course if you take the class I will be there along the way to help you with anything you are struggling with.

That being said, it wouldn’t be right to leave this blog post without a few helpful tips to give you a head start on your way to creating better illustrations.

Add interest to your art with these 5 simple techniques

  1. Always start with a thumbnail sketch
    When you are working out an idea, the first iteration of it on the page can be a bit stiff and bare, give thumb nailing a go and draw quick one minute doodles to flesh out your idea and how you wish to convey it visually. This eliminates the need to re-draw work to level it up, and speeds along your process to a grea finished piece.

  2. Allude to the environment
    Your character illustrations and figures in your work shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. When you are developing your works think about the characters context, where are they likely to exist? You don’t have to draw out a fully realised background but you can give hints to intrigue the viewer. In example if you are drawing a fantasy dwarf, he may be prone to going to the bar, so adding in a tipping stool and a sloshing pint of ale adds a story to the piece without a detailed background.

  3. Add movement
    adding action or movement rather than stagnant poses adds drama and emotion to the piece. Depending on your style you can express movement through gesture lines, speed lines or mid way poses. Think about how your character talks, walks, runs and what activities they would do and add it to your work, be creative.

  4. Extreme posing
    Maybe extreme is too strong a word, unusual could suit too. When planning out your illustration eliminate the first pose you think of, it may be standing facing forward or looking out, often it is a stagnant pose with stiff limbs. Instead grow the pose; if you are drawing a couple in conversation, add hand movements and expressions of talking and listening, add leaning in for excitable connections and leaning out for discomfort. If you are drawing an active character like a hunter, think about poses of stalking or shooting and then try and make it more extreme

  5. Use your angles
    Think about your drawing like a still through a camera. If all your photos are front on mid-distance it can become tedious and repetitive. Think about levels and interesting angles you can use to add interest to your work and make a dynamic story in a single frame. For instance a worms eye view of a boy playing with lego may make him seem like a tyrant in his kingdom playing make believe, when an above view makes the audience like a parent or care giver watching over the boy as he plays.

I hope that these tips and advice are helpful to you. If you would like a more in-depth look at taking your drawings to the next level check out the class and help yourself along the way to your creative goals. Let me know down in the comments any questions you may have. I hope to see you in class.

Keep creating,

Journey to Publishing a Picture Book | Part 3

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Before you start reading, if you want to catch up on part one and two just click below.


If you are all caught up let’s begin with part 3. We finished off last way back in time at university. Well now we move forward a bit and it is time for a bit of self exploration. Now it is time for ‘The Elephant Who Forgot What He Was’. This is a beautiful poem I found online by Christopher Ronald Jones (if you are reading Chris please let me know what you think of my adaptation, would love to get in touch). I had decided after illustrating an Australian classic it was time to dip my toes into the water of children’s poetry, and see what my imagination came up with.

This little project took me about a month to develop from concept to completion and is still one of my favourite personal projects to date.

It started like all good picture books do, with a pinch of reading, a dash of pagination and a big dollop of story boarding. I spent about a week figuring out the layout of this 32 page pipe dream and then off I went full steam ahead into the fun of character design and creating an aesthetic for this sweet little story.

Something Personal

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One of my favourite things to do as a creative is illustrate and I really want to share this passion with you. Art is such a precious gift and personal experience and I want to give you the opportunity to have your own personalise illustration. Whether it be a pet portrait, a family drawing, or a little book to tell someone you love them, I want to create something for you that is uniquely yours and no one else’s. As such I am opening up illustration commissions on my store. 

Time to grab some fresh designs

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This year is a year of new a great changes for co.create and one of the biggest which has been in the works is the opening of my very own online store now you can purchase the artwork that you love to display in your home, and while you are out and about.

Every month there will be a new collection released of 5 artworks and patterns, with new stand alone products popping up in between.

I am partnering with Society6 for this venture so you can access a wide range of high quality products, from a trusted and premium source. Currently available on the store is everything from art prints to phone cases, t-shirts and bags and even some furniture.

Using your sketchbook to up your skills

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I am a professional designer, illustrator and artist and the one thing I can tell you about a career in the creative field is that you never stop learning. Whether you have to fast track your learning of new programs and trend styles constantly updating in your field or learning entirely new skills all together, it is a never ending process of self education which takes a deep commitment and consistency to make sure you always stay at the top of your game.

The best tool I have found to help me along the way in my career is my sketchbook. It is a dedicated personal space designed for growth, emerged in the visual culture which my career and way of thinking revolves around.

Journey to publishing a picture book | part 2

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So as I said in a previous post. My love of books runs deep and I hope to publish a children’s book before I am thirty (or even twenty five… but let’s be realistic). My first step into the world of children’s publishing happened at university doing a class assignment to, well, illustrate a children’s book.

For this task I chose the below poem, an old famous Australian piece from 1889 by Banjo Patterson.

Learn to draw with me

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it took me a lot of time and practice to become the professional designer and illustrator I am today. I have drawn and doodles since I could hold a pencil and my favourite thing to do is bring my ideas to life visually. I want to share my passion with you.

Maybe you want a new hobby, or are a beginner who doesn’t know where to start, or like me you have dreamed eternally of making a career of you art (hang in there, it is possible, it is how I live my life now!). I want to help all of you out with whatever goals you have. I have always had a fondness for teaching a loveto share what I know. Life is a continuous thread of learning and teaching. 

The wonderful platform of Skillshare has given me the outlet I need to be able to help you grow your passions and enhance your skills in illustration and design. As such I am so excited to announce my newest class to you.  How to draw a face.   This class takes you through step by step the process of drawing a portrait while also being filled with endless tips and advice on drawing in general. Learn all about measurement, guides, shading and how to draw each individual feature of a face. Learn to draw a face from multiple angles and how to apply what you have learned on a wide range of different people and characters. This is the most comprehensive class I have made yet with more than 2 hours of content which I am so excited to share with you. Find the class here

Better yet if you head to my Skillshare profile you will see I have a whole suite of classes based in illustration and design to help you learn and enhance your creative skills. 

I hope to see you in one of my classes, please stay in touch and email me (using the below form) with any questions you may have or any topics you want to learn.

and as it is an important day here in Australia, Happy ANZAC day, lest we forget. 

new class

new class

Journey to publishing a picture book | part 1

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A few of you reading this may know a bit about me, or even know me personally, and if you do you would know that even though I am an established and confident designer, my current goal in life is to work with books as a designer and illustrator, and further to publish my own children’s book.

It is here in this series of blogs that I will chronicle my journey to the conclusion of a published book. 

The first thing we should discuss is my why.

Why do I want to publish a children’s book?

I do not have children (yet) to share my stories with and I don’t remember reading as a child. But I wish I did. I am an avid reader and bibliophile, but this didn’t really come about till mid way through high school for me (around 9th grade for non-Australian readers). I discovered reading quietly on my own, I am a slow reader and was shy to admit to my book obsessed friends that I enjoyed books too because it would take me a month to read one when they had read 10. I even got shamed in front of my english class by my teacher because I was reading our assigned book too slowly, apparently reading every night wasn’t enough for her. But I have gotten off topic. The reason I want to write and illustrate books for children is because I believe reading in a vital happiness in life and I want to help young readers discover this as early as possible and not be like me in their mid twenties returning to famous children’s and middle grade books to read them, because I had missed out on them in my youth and want to know what the fuss was about.

Even though I am an adult, I have a guilty pleasure for collecting beautifully illustrated children’s books. From Shaun Tan to Oliver Jeffers, I have a collection any child or mother would envy. I love the world and colours that come in children’s books and the level of imagination that they trigger.

My journey into children’s publication started 3 or so years ago at university when I was assigned to illustrate a book. I fell in love instantly. I had decided that apparently the task of illustrating an entire book wasn’t challenging enough and thought I would also teach myself to use a new medium at the same time. This is when my little university project of ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ came into being.

A collection of the original paintings used in creating the book.

A collection of the original paintings used in creating the book.

As you can see from the pictures I illustrated the book through acrylic paint on art board. the whole book was around 32 pages and it was a broken up version of the famous Australian poem, ‘Clancy of the Overflow’. The whole process from story boarding to finished product took a semester to complete and I learnt so much along the way. I learned more from making mistakes then my class curriculum but that is what life is all about, mistakes help us improve for the next time.

In the following blog I will go through my entire process from start to finish of that first book. The first of three (and a half) I have currently illustrated.

I hope you can join me as I continue this journey of learning and art as I make my way to a published children’s book.

I invite you to comment and question and share advice on this blog for me and for others. I know I am not the only person on this journey and I hope we can all grow together to get to our goals.