By Sarah Lynne Reul
Even though I spend most of my work hours pursuing writing and illustration, I find that sometimes I need to trick myself into making sure that I actually create something every day. Business tasks and housework creep in far too easily, and suddenly I realize that it’s been weeks since I’ve made something new!
Over the last few months, daily drawing challenges have been helpful for keeping me on track. Since I usually only work with digital media, I’m branching out for the month of September to create with real acrylics & watercolors to paint one tiny dragon per day (#tinydragonpaintings on Instagram).
Setting up some basic groundrules at the start of the project can help you stay focused. Here are some that I’ve found useful for a daily drawing challenge:
- Pick a theme (or a series of themes… reducing your options down from “draw anything” can help you tackle that blank page by giving you a starting place)
- Limit your materials (perhaps two colors of pencil per day, all shades of blue, inky brushpen only, a small choice of new digital brushes, etc – but all the same across the challenge)
- Set aside a small amount of time each day – at least 15 minutes that you can dedicate to the project. I’d love to work first thing in the morning, but our crazy schedule usually pushes the project off to the end of the day!
- Post on social media (optional, but highly recommended for visual pieces! It’s especially great if you can jump into a project with a hashtag that other artists are currently using. This way, you can be part of a temporary little community, all striving to create something each day.)
Here are some daily drawing/painting challenges that you can join throughout the year:
October (coming up!) – Inktober (initiated by artist/illustrator Jake Parker)
April-July – The 100 Day Project (headed up by artist/illustrator Elle Luna)
May – #Mermay (started by animator Tom Bancroft)
@sketchdailies daily prompts on Twitter (created by Isaac Orloff)
#colour_collective weekly prompts for Friday postings on Twitter
@AnimalAlphabets weekly prompts for Monday postings on Twitter
Illustration Friday – weekly prompts to post by Friday, on their site (or across Twitter and Instagram)
For a great list of similar challenges for writers, check out Carrie Charley Brown’s post “Challenge Yourself to a Year in Picture Books”
Any others I’m missing? Please share below!
Sarah Lynne Reul is an illustrator, writer and award-winning 2D animator who likes science, bright colors and figuring out how things work. Learn more at reuler.com.