10 Days of Scholarly Hobbits

An art series

I’m back with another 10(ish) day drawing challenge!

Lately, I’ve been knee-deep in research and writing, both for work and my various personal projects. Deadline stress and minutiae make it hard to remember what I like about research. Noticing it made me kind of sad.

I decided to lean on fantasy themes to recapture the old magic. Art challenges have become my go-to for unsticking my projects.

Adding an extra task to an already busy time is counter-intuitive, but somehow, it balances out my day to have something creative and visual to do. I design my challenges to address what I need most in the moment. (I also took inspiration from a painting I made over a decade ago for similar reasons.)

For 11 days, I drew hobbit-like characters reading or researching. On some days, I got ambitious and on others, I took as many shortcuts as I could, like making simpler scenes and reusing a rejected brainstorm thumbnail from a previous day. Either way, I looked forward to my drawing session at the end of the day.

The pictures where I took shortcuts turned out surprisingly well. Maybe that means I’m prone to overcomplicating things.

In the gallery above, I put the illustrations into an order that loosely suggests the characters are on a quest together. Maybe it’ll spark an idea for a story later!

These are my notes from the project:

  • Here are all the updates I made along the way: Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, wrapup.
  • As usual, I started by making a page full of thumbnail sketches to give a rough idea of where I was going with the series, and I figured out all the other details along the way.
  • I got a lot of practice drawing hands and everyday studying poses. Looking back, I can see bits of improvement, which is encouraging.
  • I want to get better at interiors and objects. I groan internally whenever I need to draw a room or furniture, so I have a longer way to go on those. A first step will be to look for ways to make it fun.
  • My process for starting an illustration is getting solid: the steps of sketch-ink-flat-color-shade-highlight finally feels comfortable. (I’ve described my process in slightly more detail here.)

I had a great time drawing these characters thinking hard and writing. Now, I’m ready to join them in hitting the books.

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