The Little Painting Challenge

For the past few weeks I’ve been watching a program called The Big Painting Challenge. I love watching these types of shows as it’s not only fun being able to judge the artwork for yourself, but they can also inspire you to do more art of your own. Running alongside the show is a competition called The Little Painting Challenge, the aim of which is to create a piece of artwork on a postcard.

Unfortunately for me, not all competitions accept digitally created entries, which is how I usually work. I use to experiment with lots of different materials including Watercolour, Acrylic, Pastels and pen, but then I moved mostly to digital when space and money became an issue. I still work in pencil a lot and I think people/animals and shading are my strong points, so I figured this might be the way to go.


As I had just come back from the Canary Islands I thought it’d be cool to look through my photos for inspiration. I bought some sepia pens and attempted to draw the image I’d taken of the two chipmunks. I figured that by using a pen I could create interesting fur textures and show the different directions and lengths running over their bodies. I attempted to combine this with pencil crayons to further help emphasize form. I’m not too happy with the final image and feel I should have perhaps chosen a different chipmunk picture to work from. I needed to try and create a background to ground them, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. Working on a smaller size and with pen for the first time in ages sort of threw me off with this. I wanted to have another go at this, but ran out of time.


I love drawing eyes; the colour and texture of the iris along with that glossy speck of light. In this one I wanted the subject to appear as though they were gazing intently at something in the distance. The light is also coming from that direction. I did this with pencil crayons to try and showcase my shading skills. I was actually using a cheap set and had limited colours to choose from so I’m surprised at how well it turned out. I think pencil crayons are sometimes overlooked as not a very serious media to use, but they can give a really interesting texture to the image. I found I was able to build up the colours in a similar way to how I work digitally.


I thought the fastening of a corset was an interesting activity to capture as you have those feminine curves contrasted by the tensing of the muscles in pulling those laces tight. I also wanted to show some anatomical knowledge; While only a limited portion of the body is shown there is still a lot of detail, from the light depicting the spine, to the ridges of the shoulder blades and the muscles and bones making up the arms and hands. This was a tip I got from the book Drawing Basics and Video Game Art by Chris Solarski, that in creating realistic figures it is important to pay attention to the points where the bone shows through on the surface. I still need a lot of practice in perfecting my figure drawing, but I wanted to have a go at this as I particularly enjoy shading skin. I might re-create this idea digitally at some point.


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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

7 responses to “The Little Painting Challenge”

  1. Lori L MacLaughlin says :

    Very impressive drawings!!

  2. Angela Yuriko Smith says :

    These are very good – you are quite talented!

  3. Carole Anne Carr says :

    So you are a member of S.A.A. pleased to find someone like myself!

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