I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Ellen Million Graphics promotes creativity in quite the festive fashion! We maintain a coloring group on Facebook, where members receive free coloring pages to color and show off to friends and family. We maintain Portrait Adoption, a gallery where players of RPGs (or even Game Masters or simply writers) can find their characters. And we host monthly Sketch Fests where any artist can participate in a 48-hour period where they have permission to sketch freely, to experiment boldly, and not focus on perfection.
In Sketch Fest, you get one hour to work on a particular illustration – or knitting project or piece of jewelry or whatever your particular creative form may be. After an hour, you put it down. (You can work on it in subsequent hours if you don’t yet wish to move on to the next thing.) There are prompts contributed to each Sketch Fest by participants and watchers, so inspiration is provided if you don’t bring your own. Each artist shares their pieces in the Sketch Fest gallery, where participants and watchers can comment. And artists can even sell their creations – either the original or prints, right through the gallery!
EMG’s Sketch Fest has been going for 7 years and we’ll celebrate our 100th Sketch Fest in June. That’s dozens upon dozens of participating artists contributing over 18,000 sketches (or other created items)!
It’s exciting! So we’re honoring some of those artists today, showing off the pieces they started during a Sketch Fest and finished later, finalizing their sketches into breathtaking works of art.
We begin with “Wisdom,” a serene and striking scene sketched by Inge Geertsma during Sketch Fest #81, inspired by Tara N. Colna’s prompt of “The Snowy Owl.” Working within the Skech Fest hour, Inge detailed the main figure – a winged woman – and more loosely sketched out a tree and its branches, rife with edged ovals that would later become owls. “Owls are so nice to draw,” Inge said. She completed the painting two months later in January of 2017 – with details so lovely you can feel the cold, see the wind ruffling the snowy owls’ feathers, and admire the dreamcatcher clasped in her lady’s hands.
During October 2013’s Sketch Fest #43, Afke van Herpt answered Miss Ava’s “use as many colours as you can” prompt with characteristic verve. In “As Many Colors,” a woman with multicolored hair took shape under her hands, rainbow electric. Afke said, “I’ve decided to use all the Copic colors I have in one picture. I ran out of time, used 79 out of my 99 so far (skin hues and grays still remaining).” Afke firmed up the woman’s form, lightened her shoulder, and threw that fabulous hair into even greater relief a couple of years later.
We close with “Generating Light,” a sketch by Mary Rose Magpily she created a couple of months ago during Sketch Fest #91. Her soft sketch of a vague female forming hovering in a light bulb held aloft before a larger person’s face afterward became a full-color illustration reminiscent of an illustrated novel – luminescent and bright, with that ineffable comic quality.
Thank you to all the artists who participate each month in Sketch Fest – we enjoy the privilege of watching you work! And for everyone who’d like to play next Sketch Fest – it’s December 9th through 11th. (Here’s the Facebook event, if you please.) We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t forget to use our official hashtag on social media: #EMGSketchFest.