by Alex Finkeldey

This illustration was originally created in response to artist Jake Parker’s 2019 “Inktober” drawing challenge. For the past three years, I’ve been treating this annual challenge as a sort of incubator for my style and technique. I set specific perimeters around my daily submissions. This past year, I worked with black ink, white ink and three “Ecoline” watercolour pigments: vermillion, gold ocre, and deep green.

The prompt for this piece was “Treasure”. The original piece is 5″ x 7″ on mixed media paper. My initial concept was something a bit more literal—a dog or cat posing with its favourite toy. However, one of my recurring creative goals is to illustrate more backgrounds, lush landscapes in particular. I then considered a more personal interpretation of this prompt: What do I treasure? Well, I absolutely love spending time in nature. And I certainly treasure the myriad opportunities we have to do so here in Canada.

For visual inspiration, I looked back on some camping photos from the previous summer. In June 2019, my friends and I had visited a provincial park for our annual camping trip. The weather was pretty terrible the whole time (rain, high humidity). But the upside was that it gave the forest a beautiful, deep green glow. I took many photos of trees, wild mushrooms, and ferns that weekend! This illustration is a warmer, more autumnal take on the photos I took during our trip.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to artwork, films, photos, and music that capture an intense sense of scale. From a sensory perspective, I love feeling small—something that I experience when I’m in the woods, in the mountains, near the ocean, or in a tall, bustling city. There’s a lovely sense of awe, calm, and comfort in those spaces. I’ve shared a few more pieces from the past 12 months that I hope capture this exploration of scale, comfort, and lushness in my work. Somewhat ironically, I work in very small dimensions (most of my work is no larger than 8″ x 10″). In the future, I’m hoping to push myself even further by translating these ideas into larger formats.

Back to Creative Inspiration Gallery