New Year’s Resolutions
So here we are… It’s that time of year again. Time to make promises to ourselves. Our motivation is high. We have the best of intentions. There are big changes ahead of us. For many of us this means losing weight, exercising more, or just making healthier choices in general. And for some, the 30 day drawing challenge.
Commitment to Draw Daily
For the artist within, the New Year takes on a slightly different set of goals. About this time every year, give or take a couple of weeks, I see a trend in every artist group I hang out in. The commitment to draw every single day.
Why not just say draw more often? The reason is simple. It has to do with goal setting philosophy. For a goal to be achievable, and measurable, it has to be specific.
What’s the Point?
The purpose of a daily drawing challenge is to help improve your drawing and observational skills. The more you draw, the better you will get. Repetition will also help improve your creativity. No matter what your skill level is, you will improve with practice. How quickly you improve will depend on how much you practice.
What is a 30 Day Drawing Challenge?
Simply put, a 30 day drawing challenge means to challenge yourself to draw something every day for 30 days. However, it’s really a little more complicated than that for most of us. There is an endless amount of variation possible with this challenge. What you draw and what you use to draw will vary from artist to artist. You might decide to stick with a theme or one type of medium. Or you might want to make your choices each day and not worry about any kind of theme. What you draw and what you draw with isn’t as important as the act of drawing itself.
Variations to the Daily Drawing Challenge
When starting a drawing challenge you have a couple of choices to make. Will your challenge be structured or not structured? What I mean by this is whether or not you will stick to a theme or specific medium or just draw randomly each day.
Your theme could be eyes, faces, dogs, wolves, houses, cartoons, cars, or electrical objects. There is an infinite amount of themes you could pick from. If you pick a theme, make sure it’s something you’re not going to get bored with before the 30 days are over. After all, the purpose of the challenge is to finish it, not quit after the first week.
You could also choose to use a specific medium. Ink is a popular choice for daily drawings. But you could also use watercolor or acrylic paint for your drawings. You could use pencil, a Bic pen, colored pencils, or any other medium you want to use.
What Surface to Use
Once you’ve decide what you’re going to draw, you need to figure out what surface you want to draw on. Again, lots of choices here. You could just pick a random surface each day and not worry about what you’re drawing on. That would be perfectly fine. You could use colored paper, Post-It notes, printer paper, canvas, or any other surface of your choosing. I like using Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) as they are small and can be traded. Being able to trade my cards after I’m done gives my practice drawings an added bit of purpose. If you are not familiar with ATCs, check out my article on How to Make Artist Trading Cards.
The Drawing Grid
Another popular alternative is to use a grid for your drawings. Each day you would fill in one of the squares. These squares will typically end up being fairly small, and therefore, will be less time consuming than drawing on a piece of paper. Using a grid will also make it easier for you to compare your drawing skills from day to day and beginning to end.
Below is an example of a 30 day drawing grid. This was one I started in June. As you can see, I wasn’t very consistent with my drawing. I only made it 7 out of the 30 days. You can add dates to your drawings or not. The choice is yours. In this example the squares ended up being 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches.
Start Out Small
If you’ve never challenged yourself to draw daily, you might want to start out with a smaller goal. Maybe give yourself a 7 day drawing challenge instead of a 30 day drawing challenge. Or maybe do several consecutive 7 day challenges. Every 7 days you could focus on a different theme.
I know for myself, 30 days can be a pretty big commitment. There are more days of the week where I simply don’t have time than there are where I have free time. A 7 day drawing challenge can be less intimidating, so to speak.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to finish a complete drawing each day. It’s perfectly fine to work on a more complex drawing a little at a time, working on it each day. Taking a few minutes every day to do some drawing is far better than not drawing for days at a time.
When Will You Draw
Knowing in advance when you’re going to draw would be a huge advantage. If you are on the go most of your day, having a portable sketch book might be helpful. How will drawing fit into your daily schedule? Plan it out ahead of time so you will be more likely to complete your challenge. I don’t live in a big city, but I know a few artists who draw while on their commute each day. One artist draws portraits on subway tickets using an ink pen.
World Wide Challenges
People all over the world participate in daily drawing challenges. Inktober is possibly the most popular and well-known challenge. During the month of October, artists from all over the world commit to doing one drawing a day for the entire month, using ink.
I’m sure there are many others out there. This just happens to be the first one that came to mind when writing this article.
One of the biggest reasons we fail to achieve our goals is because of lack of accountability. Let’s face it, we all have days where we can’t make ourselves follow through on something. We “Fall off the Wagon”, so to speak. Maybe it’s something challenging or maybe it’s something fun that we actually enjoy doing. Either way, we all have our days where we need a little push to keep going.
Having a buddy to hold you accountable can make a huge difference in your success in following through with your goals. If you can, find a partner to do the challenge with you.
What Will Your Challenge Be
What will you challenge yourself to do? Will you go for the full 30 days, or do a shortened challenge? Maybe you’ll decide to go for a longer challenge. How about an entire year?
Comment below with your challenge ideas. I’d love to hear from you!