As another year is coming to a close, we believe it’s essential to pause and take a moment to see how far we’ve all come.
When we announced our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, we asked to see your art progress over this past year. Since this is now a tradition of ours, we thought we knew what to expect: amazing stories of growth, perseverance, and self-realization.
What we didn’t expect… was the huge amount of valuable lessons you were so generously willing to share with us all.
Below, we celebrate your success by sharing our Giveaway Winners and the stories that go along with them.
...and of course, we couldn’t resist to throw in a teaser of what’s to come! New products are coming alive in early 2020, so:
Sabine started her art journey in February 2019. Despite the short amount of time, she was able to make incredible progress - even while doubting herself a lot!
"You are never too old to learn something new, and have fun doing so! And, don’t worry about what others say. If you ask for critique then don’t get upset if you hear something you don’t like. Art is subjective."
Maureen started sketching a year ago. Her composition and blending skills grew immensely this past year, and it really brought a smile to my face when she mentioned her biggest breakthrough...
"I’ve learned it pays to use the best art supplies you can afford and to practice, practice, practice.
I’ve realized that I have breakthroughs in my art after periods of frustration. So, instead of letting the frustration be upsetting, I’m seeing it for what it is - part of the journey of an artist/creative. I take a break and come back to it with fresh energy."
Within a year, Yara made immense progress with her character art. From colour choices to character design and posing, there's nothing but improvement in this example (and I didn't even mention the clear growth with mastering the medium!).
"Art is a skill - one that you can learn if you put in the work. I always told myself that I wasn't creative, that I wasn't good enough to call myself an artist, and that I was too old to learn anyway. If 2019 has taught me anything, it's that none of those things are true. Anyone can make art - but you do have to try."
Brianna's story is a wonderful example of how art can support you through troubling times. Despite her struggles, she was able to hold on AND nurture her skills.
"I'm proud to have stuck with art despite the stress (that eventually impacted my own health) and constant work hours. I allowed myself to step back and study color theory and pigments. I branched out and started drawing animals and landscapes. I refocused my efforts and (...) let go of a lot of the fear of what others thought and created for me.
(My) achievement was to find time to continue to create, to learn, and to grow. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to 2020!"
When the subject is the same, it's usually easier to see the growth. Great job with the line quality and overall control of the medium, Angela!
"You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.´ Working with watercolors has been such a learning process, I’ve learned that good art supplies definitely make a difference but so does practice & patience. It’s been a lovely year of art!"
Texture, depth, colours, shadow... There's a lot we can talk about in regards to Bryan's artistic growth. Revisiting the same ruin in Morocco after a year sure paid off! Way to measure your progress, Bryan!
"Practice pays off. And documenting your work to look back is equally as important. Putting time into mentally planning artworks from the beginning is an important part of the process. It can be tempting to just get going but a little bit of upfront effort often saves me from trouble later."
Ellen had a major breakthrough when she invested some money in good brushes and 100% cotton watercolor paper. Her texture and detail skills immediately improved. Sometimes, when in an art slump, trying new (better) materials can make a big difference...
"This year, I've learned a ton about watercolor, but the main lesson was to keep my mind open for new things to learn instead of assuming that I know it already. With that being said, here's to a year full of learning and trying out new things!"
Apart from tackling colours, we were very happy to see that Fiona's lines are much more confident.
"Success doesn't happen overnight. If you're a small artist, it doesn't mean you won't be big. Get out of your comfort zone and work on things that you're not good at - it will help you improve ;)
Making a mistake is not a failure because failure only happens when you give up, just trust the process and keep going!"
Patricia went from scrapping paintings out of frustration to learning how to embrace failure. The result is clear, and we couldn't be more proud!
"With these two watercolor paintings, I can see my progress with the techniques I later learned to do and by using the right art supplies, but more importantly, with how I approached painting. (...) I realized that I should be kinder to myself. Mistakes can be corrected or turned into something new, or better yet, treat them as happy accidents & work with it!
I no longer treat mistakes as disappointment or failure, but as something to learn more about in the future."
Using the same plein-air subject, Pedro made the below sketch on a cheap sketchbook and focused on linework, shape, details, and getting the right colour for the scene. A year later, he used our 100% cotton paper and was able to shift his focus to more advanced aspects like colour mixing, brush economy and the contrast between light and dark. Simplifying takes practice and Pedro nailed it!
"I enjoy both sketches equally, but I feel that there's a natural progression to study and explore different subjects as your focus of attention shifts to different areas of sketching and painting. This is learning, and there is no correct path to it. There is only your own path."
Patricia's work caught our eye through the colour control and much clearer compositions.
"Left side from 2018, right side my most recent painting. I’m realising I don’t have to use every bright colour in the palette just because it’s there and learning how to slow down and let the watercolour flow.
Yenthe had already shown us her incredible progress last year, but that didn't stop her from blowing our minds once again. After improving her character design and posing skills, she started focusing on painting and the results are outstanding. Just check her 2018 entry as well and you'll see!
"I learned a lot about color and started doing more finished pieces this year. The left image is from the beginning of 2018. I didn’t work a lot with color at the time, almost all I could find were black and white sketches!"
Please add them in the comment section below, I'd love to hear from you.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us, and cheers to another artful year to come!
- Ânia and the whole Etchr team.
PS: New products are coming alive in early 2020, so: