31 Days of Pumpkins

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, pumpkins are everywhere in the Autumn season. They are in bread, lattes, cereal and even candles! As if I couldn’t get enough pumpkin in my life, I decided to start a pumpkin illustration challenge for myself.

You may have seen those creative challenges on Instagram such as the 100 Day Project or Inktober. I’ve always admired the creatives that participate in those challenges and had the desire to join in. The one thing that always holds me back is fear. I’m afraid I’m not good enough. I’m afraid I can’t keep up. I’m afraid I’m not disciplined enough and I’m afraid of comparing myself too harshly against those who are more skilled. And honestly, it kinda worries me how fearful I get about these things.

When I took the time to sift through these fears and hesitations, I came to the conclusion that these challenges are not competitions (duh, I should have known). I’m not trying to out skill anyone and I’m not trying to win. In fact, I’m losing because I’m not trying. So my response to my newfound personal revelation was to create a challenge for myself. Thus the 31 Days of Pumpkins illustration challenge began!

Nicole Guerra 31 Days of Pumpkins

Day 2

You maybe have noticed a shoutout to my pumpkin illustrations on the blog’s instagram (thanks Shannon!), but I wanted to give you all a brief introduction to my inspiration and my process.

As I’ve probably said 103 times before, Autumn is my most favorite season. Because I’m such a future-focused/future worrier, I struggle with being present in the moment. When my favorite holidays or seasons have arrived, I always feel a sense of sadness knowing I didn’t experience that time in the present until it was almost over. I’ve set a new intention to be more present and celebrate the seasons in the moment every chance I get. I’m using my 31 Days of Pumpkins challenge to not only improve my illustration skills but to feel present in this beautiful, magical season and not let any bit of inspiration escape me (even if I’m just staring at the changing leaves from my office window).

Nicole Guerra 31 Days of Pumpkins

Day 8

Speaking of inspiration, it’s not hard to find in Autumn. Just being outside in the cool, crisp weather, experiencing all the bursts of color fills me with inspiration. I also find a lot of inspiration on social media, particularly Instagram. Here are a few pumpkin photos I came across that definitely inspired the shapes and colors of some of my illustrations.

Credit: Katie Tuning

Photo by Katie Tuning on Instagram @katelyntuning

Credit Erin Benzakein

Photo by Erin Benzakein on Instagram @floretflower

I’m drawn to the colors of Autumn because I find the saturation of rich colors and calming neutrals to contrast nicely. I’ve been collecting colors and saving them for application in my illustrations.


As far as the style of my illustrations, I wanted to keep them whimsical. I admire (and envy)  those who can draw realistically but I’ve never had the desire (or patience) to adopt that style. I love working with texture and practicing with Kyle Webster’s digital brushes has really helped me develop as style that I feel captures my personality and the whimsy I hope to share. Remember my post on digital painting, I’m using those same brushes.

Today, I’m sharing my 11th pumpkin (I’m currently behind a day). Eleven happens to be my favorite number and I’m feeling so grateful for the lovely responses I’ve received as well as the chance to really improve my skills and challenge myself. If you’ve followed along from day 1 of my 31 Days of Pumpkins, thank you for checking them out! I really am having a lot of fun with it and it’s already inspiring me for future projects. It’s been a learning experience and another chance to push away fear and allow myself to grow. Because, why not?!

Nicole Guerra 31 Days of Pumpkins

Day 11

You can follow along with my challenge with the hashtag #31daysofpumpkins on Instagram or by visiting my personal Instagram page @nicolelizguerra. Thanks to Andie and Shannon for being so encouraging and excited to share it on From Good Intentions Instagram. Here’s to all the pumpkins to come!…I really hope I don’t run out of ideas….!


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