Hello again! This week I am an overexcited ‘weasel, because The 100 Day Project 2022 starts on 13th February and my theme is… *does a quick drum roll with a couple of paint brushes*… Imaginary Menagerie! Yes, I am going to draw (or paint, or sculpt) All. The. Animals.
For anyone who is not familiar, the idea is to choose something broadly creative, commit to doing it for at least 10 minutes a day for 100 days and share it on social media as you go along (if you want to) using the hashtag #The100DayProject and a hashtag for your own project, so mine will be #ImaginaryMenagerie. There are no hard and fast rules, but you can find more information on the website: www.the100dayproject.org
I have several reasons for choosing an animal theme for my project this year. Last year was about getting back to basics and sketching every day. I never like to make things too easy, so I chose to get out of my comfort zone and set myself the technical challenge of drawing people, which I hadn’t really done since college, using the unforgiving medium of black ink. Despite being frustatingly rusty when I started it went well enough that you can see the results here. I love ink or graphite drawing and I can get very carried away with it. I well remember Jenny, my sixth form art teacher (the best teacher I ever had) forbidding me to use black for a while and actually confiscating my pens… The horror.
This year is about getting out of my comfort zone in a different way and loosening up. I’ve been doing some practice sketchs with ink and watercolour pencil to start to wean myself off the black stuff. Here’s one to celebrate the year of the tiger, one to celebrate National Hedgehog Day and an otter, just because.
The idea is to experiment and have fun as I go along, to use more colour and different media, I might even get my clay out again!
Which brings me to the other reasons I’ve chosen this project. I absolutely loved last year’s ‘100 Days of Women in Music’ and I’m still keeping it going. It got some lovely feedback, but it was mainly about me taking time for myself and doing what I needed to get back to being creative after various ‘life stuff’ kicked me to the curb for a while. It also took longer than I’d hoped to recover from my latest spinal surgery in June 2021, but I’m mostly upright again now and this year I want to get back to connecting with the big wide world.
It’s easy to become isolated when you’re self employed and working alone, and the pandemic (not to mention the absolute STATE of things generally) hasn’t helped. I haven’t had much new work to show over the last few years so I haven’t spent as much time interacting with people on social media and it’s made me properly sad and grumpy. I’ve made a conscious effort to ‘reconnect’ a bit recently and realised just how much I’ve missed the random chats and daft jokes I share with my little community of like minded folk.
With that in mind, I want to make this project a collaboration with anyone who enjoys my nonsense and bobbins, and a way of saying thank you to those who have stuck with me over the last few years. I want to throw this open to everbody, so I’m asking which animals you would like to see in the Imaginary Menagerie. What would they be doing? Or wearing? Because the menagerie is imaginary, you can be as imaginative, ambitious, or just plain daft as you like.
This whole thing started years ago as a private joke with my best mate, who I shall call Sandra (because that is her name). After far too much red wine, she decided she wanted a great white shark as a pet. I pointed out that her bathroom was far too small, and offered to build a suitable water feature in the garden. We started texting whenever other animals wanted to join in, with their particular/peculiar living arragements and requirements. Most of our exchanges are not suitable for publication (because wine) but over time it evolved into something that also amused our friends and led to escaping hamsters, glaring shrews, photoshopped cats and all kinds of other nonsense.
Your suggestions could be animals you find inherently funny, or animals doing funny things. They might be animals that don’t get their fair share of attention that you would like to see someone draw. Or just your favourite animal, for any reason at all. Feel free to get your kids involved, this project will be kid-friendly and I would love to hear their ideas/requests and see their drawings. Share your own artwork, share photos of your pets, share your favourite animal charities so we can raise awareness… there is no limit to what we can do with this if it really gets going. There could be prints, prizes, merchandise, maybe even a book! There could be animations on my (woefully under-utilised) YouTube channel. My plan is to run with whatever people want, as long as it’s creative and/or hilarious, and I’m hoping the 100 days will kickstart something much bigger.
I will figure things out as we go along, but for a start I am going to try and apply my not-especially-technical little ‘weasel brain to making a space here on my website where we can chat. I will be sharing the project on Instagram and Twitter as usual and this year I will also be using my Facebook business page as it should be interesting to my ‘doggy’ audience. You can’t have a decent menagerie without dogs after all. I will also be using my arty farty Facebook chat group to share extras like rough sketches, ‘work in progress’ photos and no doubt some mistakes as I struggle to remember how to use anything other than ink. It’s a ‘closed group’ so only members can see what’s posted there, but that’s just so I don’t spam people who follow my main page for the doggo content with more general art/music/culture stuff. Anyone is welcome to join and it’s a quieter space for anyone who wants to share their own work with a smaller audience.
I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! Look at me shouting in all caps! That’s how excited I am. Right… now I’m going to brew an enormous pot of coffee and learn things about website chat forums. Wish me luck.
Bonus Music Video
But Why ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ when I haven’t drawn a monkey yet? Because Kim Deal, that’s why.