Today I finished my ‘self assignment’ to draw a face a day for 30 days. Looking back through all the drawings, it feels like a very long time since I started this little project.

One thing I noticed was that this project felt a lot easier than some of the other times I’ve tried to draw every day. I’ve taken part in Drawing August over the past 2 years, which sometimes felt a bit stressful. At other times I’ve set myself the challenge to draw every day and failed. I think the difference with the portrait project was something I’ve heard mentioned before – having restrictions.

Every day I’ve known that it’d a face that I’d be drawing. I’ve used the same sketchbook and the same pen for every drawing, so the only decision I had to make was whose face it would be.

Restricting myself to portraits has helped me to avoid procrastinating or wasting time figuring out what I was going to draw or what equipment I was going to use. It got rid of any resistance so I could just picked up my pen and sketchbook every day and got on with it.

Letting go of perfectionism helped a bit too. So, if I was low on energy or time I’d just do a quick blind self-portrait (drawing without looking at the page), which automatically meant that the outcome wasn’t going to be perfect. Even when I was disappointed with a drawing that I’d spent more time on, I knew that I’d got the next day to start again. It stopped being about the outcome and became more about the fact that I was drawing every single day and enjoying the process.

So, setting limitations for myself seems to be the way to go if I want to draw every day and maybe there’s a way to use the same approach in other areas of my life. What do you think? Do you find that restrictions help you or do they get in the way of what you’re trying to achieve?