Still Here, Still Life is the viral still life drawing challenge by Tess Smith-Roberts & Zena Kay
There have been many positive projects and initiatives that have sprung up this year, all with the aim to keep the creative community's spirits high. One that stands out is Still Here, Still Life by illustrators Tess Smith-Roberts and Zena Kay, set up a month into the first lockdown.
Put simply, it's a weekly still life drawing challenge that invites other artists to join in and share their interpretations on Instagram of a shared photograph, posted each Sunday. The pair collaborate with photographers, artists, florists, cooks and brands worldwide.
"We were missing each other and finding a new way to connect, that's not just through endless zoom chats consisting of lots of wine," Tess and Zena tell Creative Boom. "We decided to launch a still life drawing page for ourselves, and what we thought would be a few friends. We are still amazed by how many people it has reached from all over the world. It's absolutely insane and we never ever imagined that this would blow up!"
Creatives can respond through any medium, too, so there's an endless stream of inspiration. "We love when people really think outside the box and create things like 3D models, but the variety of work that comes up is so amazing," they add.
The whole ethos behind Still Here, Still Life – which now boasts nearly 100,000 Instagram followers – is to keep people creative through the challenging events of 2020. "We get lots of messages about how people love the community which has formed because of the drawing challenge – and we love it too," says the pair.
To get involved, follow @stillherestilllife to see each Sunday photo prompt and then create your own still life artwork, sharing it with the community via Instagram Stories. If you're lucky, you'll be added to the growing feed of work. "It's hard as there are so many great ones, but it would be absolutely impossible to share them all as we both work as full-time illustrators. But we try our best," says Tess and Zena.
How else have they coped with the events of 2020? "Endless glasses of wine, listening to Devendra Barnhart, trying to see each other when we can, good food and – of course – 'still here still life'."