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Creative adventures on social media: my experience of the Folktale Week Instagram challenge

A creative art challenge on Instagram: the Folktale Week

Every November a fairytale journey on Instagram starts where artists from all over the world create together for a week. This is Folktale Week.

If you've never heard of this challenge before, don't worry, I'll tell you all about it in detail, because this year I took part!

The Folktale Week challenge on Instagram lasts for a week every November. Participants are given a word each day and have to create an illustration based on this word. Folktale Week, as the name suggests, focuses on the world of folktales.


Fairy tales on the screen

I didn't follow the traditional fairy-tale line in either story or illustration, but my own mind. In the end, I created a tale, but this one is more for adults.

Since I was in my digital collage phase, I decided to do this challenge this way. I took some blank watercolour sheets and painted on some colours with gouache. I then took these paper sheets, scanned them and then digitally cut out the "pieces" of the illustration from the colour patches using Photoshop.

Colorful gouache paints painted on some watercolor paper sheets.

Unfortunately, the storytelling and continuity didn't work for my previous Instagram challenge Inktober, so this time I put a lot of effort into making these seven illustrations tell a coherent story in pictures. To make it easier, I also wrote a short story to accompany them and used that as the basis for the illustrations.


Sketching - the devil is in the detail

After preparing the colours and the story, I started sketching. This time I didn't do it in my sketchbook, but used my Ipad. I wrote down the seven prompts and underneath them the digital specifications of the images. I already had roughly the illustrations I wanted to do in my head, so the sketching part was very easy this time.

There is a sketch on the left side. On the right side there is the finished digital illustration, in which a woman is carried away by spilled ink.

Sketching is a stage of the process where the story and characters take shape on paper. They help to define the dynamics of the scenes, character specifications and other important elements. This part allows me to start creating the final illustration with confidence.

Officially, I usually sketch 6-7-8 sketches for each illustration, but I didn't do that this time because I already had a pretty concrete image in my head.

The positive effects of art challenges

This autumn, I also had the pleasure of participating in the Inktober challenge in October. You can read the blog post about it here. I really enjoyed each of the challenges, although Inktober was a little more challenging due to its length.

But what are these challenges for?

Participation not only has an impact on artistic expression, it creates a creative environment where we can push our own boundaries. Motivation and perseverance are two very important characteristics when completing such a challenge.

Every day we have to figure out what we want to do and the starting point is just one word. Imagination is therefore essential to complete a challenge. Obviously, it is easier to identify with the challenge if we are given a word that is close to us. However, as Folktale Week was about seven prompts there is more variation as to whether we like the phrase or not. In order to avoid uncertainty, I prepared drafts in advance, which I ended up working from. This way, there were no surprises when completing the challenge.


The real challenge in the challenge

It's a lot of work to even finish the challenge. A lot of people do it by drawing a lot of days in advance, but I consider that cheating. For me, an important condition for these challenges is to create something every day. This is actually the real challenge in the challenge for me, as I often find that days just pass without me picking up a pencil and my sketchbook.

These art challenges not only test our creativity, but also develop our storytelling skills. In a week, an entire story can unfold from picture to picture.

If you've never taken part in a challenge like this before, I can definitely recommend it. This applies, of course, not only to those who are already confident in drawing, but also to those who are just getting to know art.

One drawing a day can provide the perfect foundation to get into the habit of drawing. You can also evolve, just take the Australian artist Mimi Purnell (@mimimoo_illustration), who started her Instagram career by drawing something small every single day for a year.

There are also many books and other online resources on the subject. I have this book. When I'm really stuck and I really can't help myself, I take it and get inspired. It's a lot of fun and creative exercises.

Lorna Scobie's book called 365 creative days in Hungarian and English edition.


Challenge accepted! Join in!

Overall, I've learned a lot about myself this year thanks to these challenges. For one thing, I now know that I am capable of sitting down at my desk at 9pm after 8 hours of work and starting to draw.

I also know that I can follow through with what I have planned. This knowledge has given me a lot of strength at the end of the year. What I also particularly enjoyed was being able to try new techniques, and to immerse myself in things that I had only ever done one picture at the most. I felt that this added a new dimension to my work, as I am now more confident with digital tools, for example.

If you want to see how my Inktober went this year, you can read a blog post about it here.

If you want to search for my challenges on Instagram, use the hashtags #inktober2023 and #folktaleweek to see other people's work.

There is a digital collage illustration, in which a woman sits with her lantern at the beginning of the road. The road is long, with a yellow sun at the end.
I am lost in the darkness...

There is a digital collage illustration, in which a woman is carried away by some spilled ink. felt like a big splash of ink had been poured on me, sticky and unyielding. I was completely lost in it...

There is a digital collage illustration, in which a woman is drifting unconscious at the bottom of the sea.
...the lake of depression was deep, I was drowning in blackness...

There is a digital collage illustration, in which a woman is drifting unconscious at the bottom of the sea.
...I think there was a time when I was completely unaware of myself...

There is a digital illustration, in which a woman sits in a hole at the bottom of the sea.
...I was in the deepest pit of hell and I couldn't see my way out...

There is a digital illustration, in which a woman sits in a hole at the bottom of the sea and pulls away from the glowing yellow sun.
...and then somehow I was found by the light-bearers in the form of tiny fireflies. They helped me breathe, they filled my lantern with light...

There is a digital collage illustration, in which a woman holds a glowing yellow sun in her hand, with a desolate landscape and leafless trees in the background.
...I was away for a long time, but I managed to get back on my feet. I found my light again.

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