Witch Challenge: Death

Witch Challenge: Death

Posted by Robyn Wall on

Week Eight
July 18th through July 24th

Things started off really well on Sunday. Gathering ideas and sketching and putting together a concept. I was super excited about this challenge. Death is a topic I explore with my work a lot, so I expected an easy ride this week. 

Right off the bat, I had a sketch I was excited about. A Death Witch that was the embodiment of death itself. 


Half alive and half dead, holding the corpse of a long forgotten creature. Morning its death and helping it to move on to its next life.

It was a great sketch. I knew I could pull off the distinct elements, and I was excited about trying out a new hairstyle this week. I was a little concerned about how long this would take me to execute because I based each skull on paintings I had already completed and each piece took at least one full day itself. But I figured since they were so much smaller in this piece, they would not take nearly as long. My excitement made me feel I could pull this off!

I also made a second sketch. Based on a recommendation from one of my followers and an overwhelming vote for a witch surrounded by death, I sketched a scene that did not actually contain a witch at all.


 A sort of... Witch's Den. Filled with creepy things collected by the Death Witch. Assorted Shrieks & Screams, Mixed Bones, Bad Blood, Essence of Darkness, Skulls and Spirits and Potions lining the shelves. She must have needed to procure another ingredient because she left her Death Potion brewing unattended. 

This was a really cool sketch. Something vastly different from anything I have created before. An environmental composition but framed as if seen through a window with elements appearing to come out of the scene. 

I planned to complete both concepts. As per usual, I wanted to take on all of the things. So I thought that completing this piece in a more simple manner would help me with time management. A mixed media piece would work well for this purpose. 


Combining fine liner pens for definition and texture...


Graphite shading for depth…


And strategically placed watercolor. 


I love the way it turned out. It is exactly how I imagined it. The simplified execution makes the slightly cluttered composition more approachable. Using color draws in the eye and helps it move through the image. And as a bonus, it only took a day and a half! 

With this piece done, it was time to take my first sketch into the studio. 

But by this point in the week (Wednesday) I was feeling super drained and not at all myself. I decided to just try to push through. Never an excellent decision. Especially combined with the fact that when I looked at my first Death Witch sketch, I no longer had that bubbly excitement about it. 

I create truly great art when living in a specific moment, a certain feeling, an overwhelming excitement to create the piece takes over. If, for whatever reason, that moment is lost, it can be extremely difficult to complete the project. Sometimes even impossible. And if I do complete it, the work is almost guaranteed to be a shell of what it would have been.

This is the first time during this challenge that I have lost a moment. I transferred the sketch to some watercolor paper anyway. I tapped the piece down to my workspace. I started painting. Immediately, I could tell that the piece was going to be a struggle for me from start to finish. So I made the very difficult decision to give up. 

I hate giving up. Like a fucking lot. 

But I have learned that sometimes it is better to know and respect your boundaries. It is not simply that the piece was going to be difficult, it's that I would enjoy none of the process of solving the artistic problems because I had lost the moment that made the piece exciting. 

I never get rid of an unfinished piece, though. Just in case the moment returns. I have quite the collection of unfinished pieces (most from years and years ago) that I keep in a separate portfolio. Every so often I go through them to see if any of the moments have returned. 

Although I am disappointed that I had to abandon a piece from this challenge, I am still grateful for what I could accomplish. I hope that I can get some rest and return to my excited, creative realm for next week's challenge. 


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