Sorry I've been away for awhile, but really, I have been busy!
Anyway- I successfully completed this year's challenge, getting all 30 characters posted by Nov. 30. This is a fun exercise to do, and people have asked me what the pay-off is.
First- it is a creative exercise. Most comic-styled artists will create characters, or ideas for characters, year round. Yet to have to do it one per day, for an entire month, and to try and stay on schedule really stretches the creative muscles.
Next, because the pace should be a character per day, and there is a time constraint, it exercises discipline in the artist. Many of us are disciplined in learning new techniques, tools and mediums, but many artists (myself included) are lousy at keeping deadlines. My friend Al Bigley said meeting deadlines is one of the reasons an artist gets called by an editor. Artistic ability is great, but not worth anything if it makes books late or delays them.
Another benefit is seeing the ideas other artists come up with and looking at the variety of styles presented. This year, I really tried to put a lot of work into each entry, adding a border to publicize myself, doing color, using more backgrounds and effects, and still trying to come up with names and stories that are fairly original. As a result, I appreciate other artists who put in the same effort.
Last, it gets your work seen by that many more people and it costs you nothing out of your pocket. Getting public exposure for your art is one of the most important things for an artist- whether they are looking for recognition and fans, or if they are seeking paying work.
The downside of this challenge is the same every year- technical issues. My laptop quit working at home during the challenge, so I was forced to enter my art through work computers. Finding the time to do that at work so it doesn't interfere with policy or workflow can be challenging. Having to use the scanner increases the time needed. Being closed for the Thanksgiving holiday gave me four days straight of no computer access! But I worked on what I could and got all I could done with what I had until I could get back to the scanners and computers. The result- I completed the challenge on time again!