Marc Doodles Presents Animal Alphabets


Welcome to “Who’s There?” our ongoing series featuring some of the wonderful and creative people out there in the great world of geekdom. Here, Mark Doodles, host of the wild and wonderful Animal Alphabets on Twitter, talks about selecting a creature of the week and the joy of seeing what people make of each selection.

For the past 6 months my Monday evenings have been filled with weird, wonderful and sometimes terrifying mythical creatures. I’m not alone; there is an ever growing community of brilliant artists and illustrators tuning into Twitter every week to share and enjoy these creatures for the @animalalphabets illustration challenge.

Animal Alphabets is the brain child of @ChrisChatterton, who had the fantastic idea of challenging fellow artists and illustrators to draw a given animal for each letter of the alphabet.

Each week, the next letter in the alphabet is shared, along with the animal that is to be drawn. For the first journey through the alphabet we focused on regular animals beginning at Aardvark and ending at Zebra Shark.

@debillustration and myself currently host the challenge, and are joined by around 80 other talented artists and illustrators from around the world each week. It is amazing to see the creativity out there, with the artists using different styles and mediums from digital work to pencil and paper.

Mythical creatures were chosen as the theme for our second trip through the letters. We had great fun researching and choosing the creatures, trying to pull together a really mixed alphabet of creatures from all over the world. We included lots of the popular creatures such as Unicorn, Mermaid, Werewolf etc, but also some more obscure ones such as the Suiko, Xixi Zhe Yu and Rainbow Serpent. I had no great knowledge of mythical creatures before and it was fascinating to read into these myths, learning about the two tailed demonic Nekomata cat from Japan, or the Basilisk which is a kind of chicken cobra cross breed with a deadly stare and a fear of weasels. I loved reading about the Questing Beast, which has the head and neck of a snake, the body of a leopard, the haunches of a lion and the feet of a stag (obviously just a badly described giraffe).

Having chosen the letters it’s been a joy to see what the talented Animal Alphabet artists have done with the prompts.

What I love most about Animal Alphabets is the lovely encouraging, non competitive atmosphere created by the community of people who follow and join in. The act of taking part in a weekly drawing challenge where there is constant encouragement, support and advice from others really allows artists to flourish and you really notice an improvement in skills in even the most experienced of artists.

On Monday 3rd October will be starting a new alphabet, with the brilliantly talented @GeeksAreCool joining our hosting team. For this journey through the alphabet the chosen theme is ‘Fairytale Characters’, some characters will be animals and some will not. For those of you wishing to join in, the character for the letter A will be announced on Tuesday 27 September.

We would love you to join us – follow @Animalalphabets on Twitter and see what great art people are creating. If you have drawn our character for the week, you can post your artwork on Twitter using the #animalalphabets hashtag and tagging @animalalphabets. All posts are made on Monday evenings at 7.30pm UK time, and we aim to retweet every single piece of artwork. Be brave; pick up a pencil, pen, paintbrush, pastel or stylus and have a go at drawing something!

We look forward to welcoming you to the joyous world of Animal Alphabets.

In FangirlNation's "Who's There" column, Mark Doodles, host of Animal Alphabets on Twitter, talks about the joy of watching artists take up the weekly creature chalenge.
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