Why Halloween in NZ, though?
So the other day, I noticed that craft shops here in NZ already have Halloween decorations for sale. One part of me rebelled - it's an American tradition, and it's not something that has ever been a big deal in NZ. But then I thought about the fact that I have an international audience, and Halloween is certainly fun. And when Spoonflower's Vintage Halloween Design Challenge came through, I thought, "why not?", and posted an Inspiration Competition on my Facebook page. I do these periodically to stop myself from getting too complacent - it's fun to challenge myself to draw what people suggest, too!
There were a lot of good suggestions, so while I waited for them to percolate through and see if a design came out, I decided to revisit an old drawing style from my secondary school years.
The days of the old school yard
I was lucky enough to attend International schools as a child - and it was a real culture shock to step back into the NZ school system in my second year of secondary school. It really felt like putting on the brakes - and art class was no different, although it seemed promising at first. In my first year back, we had a wonderful art teacher, Mr. Coke, who called me 'My Good Man' as his running dad-joke (my maiden name is 'Goodman'). He was an excellent teacher. Unfortunately, we got another teacher for the next year. I don't know what was going on with her, but several of the other students suggested that she drank. She certainly spent a lot of time in the back room, although I never remember her smelling of alcohol. It was a frustrating time - we weren't allowed to go and get supplied ourselves, we had to ask her - and she would come back, a solid 5 minutes later, with something completely different.
She was also not terribly inspiring. We spent most of our time with the uninspiring choice of glass bottles or gourds as a still life. It was School Certificate year, so we were very driven and busy, and our work was guided by the need to finish the year with a portfolio and workbook - so we had other distractions.
Please - no more gourds...
Sixth form was internally assessed - and didn't have a portfolio requirement. The pressure was off - but the gourds? The gourds were still there. It felt like month after month, we had nothing but them to work from - so I got frustrated, and started adding some surrealist touches to my (bored) painting. I eventually decorated my portfolio cover, and my chest of drawers, with these fairly silly, if somewhat menacing, designs.
Given that, what with the Halloween design I was mulling, there were probably going to be pumpkins in my near future, I decided that it would be fun to revisit the fanciful gourds-with-faces motif.
Halloween inspiration challenge winner
Now that I had taken some time to think and draw, I went back and read through the entries for my competition - and one stood out, both for originality and humour.
Of course, this was a must-draw, even if I couldn't necessarily do the idea justice. I did a bit of research on poses, then got drawing.
I used the colours from my new 'Halloween Stripe' design, and leaves from my 'Autumn Bouquet' range, and the jack-o-lantern pumpkin from the sketch itself.
This design has now been added to my Halloween series, and once our proofs arrive, it will be available for sale in my Spoonflower shop, too!