Hourly Comic Day 2018 was last week, and yup, I'd forgotten what a toughie it is from last year (seriously, I had to take a day off afterwards to recuperate!) - but as with so many of the illustration challenges I set myself, it was incredibly rewarding!
Hourly Comic Day challenges creators to post one comic for each hour of their day, in real time, on February 1st. Think of it as a kind of diary comic, an insight into that artist's behind-the-scenes, and if you follow the hashtag #HourlyComicDay, a glimpse into the different lives of creators across the world.
I love it! Sure, you let yourself in for around 16-18 hours of almost constant drawing (or at least being "on it" thinking and preparing the next comic), but it's pretty cathartic to take that time to focus inwards on your life, what you like to draw, and your thought processes. Hey, it's even nice just to be able to look back at what on earth I did on a particular day too!
Last year I collated my Hourly Comic Day strips into a book called 'Drawn Until Dusk', and I've had an incredible response to that through selling it at comic festivals up and down the country, as well as through my Etsy shop. This year I wanted to introduce a bit of colour (yup, I like to make things incrementally harder for myself) and roll with a slightly sketchier, looser style.
This time I was drawing directly on-screen, rather than via a graphics tablet, and my god did my hands thank me for it (you might remember the Wacom-claw panel from last year?). With my new-found portability I actually managed to get out and about to draw the comics this time, and set-up shop in a local café or nestled on my sofa instead of just sticking to my desk.
It's really interesting seeing how the comics turned out, I don't know if other artists do, but I certainly didn't have any kind of plan of what the comics would be like, or even what I'd do on the day content-wise. I kind of like that spontaneity, and that risk that every panel might just be me sat at my computer forced me to get out of the box, and, well, the house, and brought forth new ideas.
A lot of the comics seem to feature odd little moments between me and my partner, or small introspections. I love seeing that what ended up being in the comics is such a reflection on my world and my personality - I guess that makes sense, I was constantly focusing on the small moments I noticed throughout my day. It's been lovely to hear how relatable and honest people have found these.
#HourlyComicDay 4pm Waiting for Spring. I'm a bit shakey from overwork on these hourly comics, so I'm going to take a break, rest up and catch up on the rest of the comics a little later! Thanks to everyone who's been keeping me pepped up 😘 #illustration #HourlyComicDay2018 #comics #comic #comicbookart
Trees and nature also seem to feature heavily! I think that's mostly down to the fact I spend so much of my time wandering through nearby parks and forests, and they're definitely one of my favourite things to draw! Okay, yes, trees are pretty easy to draw quickly (and that provided some relief!), but it was great to be able to indulge myself in experimenting with really simple mark making and colour to bring a sense of atmosphere and environment. I'm usually pretty perfectionist, so it was kind of liberating to be forced to let go of that through facing thirteen one-hour deadlines throughout the day!
Thanks so much to everyone who liked, commented, re-posted and sent me messages of support on the day - especially from the other artists taking part (seriously, go and look through the hashtag, there's so many amazing threads!). You can find my full series on the Twitter thread, or on Instagram!
So, today, I'm working a exciting new comic project - so, if you liked what I did in one day, I can't wait to show you this! 💕