Over the past couple of months I’ve not done very much drawing. Partly because my energy’s been very low for a lot of the time and partly because I felt that I needed to do some different things after drawing every day for the 100 Day Project.
Even so I’ve still been working on some creative projects and one of them was learning some basic bookbinding. I’d made a simple accordion book but more “Making a Sketchbook”…
Yesterday was the last day of this year’s 100 Day Project, which is an annual global art project, free for anyone to join in. All you have to do to take part is choose a creative project that you can work on every day and do it every day for 100 days. If you choose, you share your work online with the hashtag #the100dayproject.
I’ve taken part twice in the past, making patterns and hand lettering. This year I decided that every day I would make a small drawing with a botanical theme – flowers, fruit, vegetables, leaves… These are the 100 drawings I made and as you can see, I played around with different mediums and styles and I really enjoyed it.
There were times when it felt difficult or like I really didn’t want to draw another flower ever again but I kept going and I’m glad I did. It’s been a really good way to create a new body of work and be playful at the same time.
I have some ideas about what I want to do next but for the moment I have a big piece of work to finish and then I think I’m going to have a bit of a rest from making new drawings for a bit.
In the meantime, I’m slowly adding all of these 100 drawings to my Etsy shop. Some have already sold but if the one you like isn’t there yet it will probably appear over the next couple of weeks.
This week I started a new kourse with Sketchbook Skool. I haven’t taken one of their multi-teacher kourses in a long time and this one – called The Whimsical Sketchbook – looked like fun so I signed up.
The first teacher was illustrator Rebecca Green and the assignment was to illustrate a character or scene from one of your favourite books. I chose to illustrate a short story from a book by Tove Jansson called Letters From Klara. I didn’t feel confident enough to draw a character so I decided to draw all the details mentioned in the first short story of the book – also called Letters From Klara.
I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out and I felt slightly out of my comfort zone but I was pleased with the finished drawing, although I feel like I could keep tweaking this one for ages.
In January I joined in with Lisa Congdon‘s brand new CreativeBug class. A couple of years ago she taught a class on CreativeBug which was a daily drawing challenge. This new class was similar but instead of making a drawing each day we created a painted pattern. As you know, I love making patterns and I’m a big fan of Lisa’s work so this was right up my street . I also really enjoyed getting more familiar with gouache paint.
My main piece of creative work over the past few weeks has been a single drawing. I originally estimated that it would take me 2 weeks to complete but it’s actually taken 3 weeks from start to finish and sometimes that’s felt a bit frustrating.
During this year’s 100 Day Project I often spent hours each day working on a single illustration. It wasn’t good for me but it became a habit and finding a balance again is trickier than I expected.
Because I’m trying to work at a slower, steadier pace again, I’ve been quite strict about how much time I’ve spent working on this drawing each day. This probably skewed my judgement about how long I’d take to get it finished but luckily there wasn’t a hard deadline.
To help keep myself in check, I’ve got back to following the example of my friend, Michael Nobbs, and setting my timer for 20 minutes at a time, with my goal being to spend 20 minutes each day working on the drawing.
Sometimes I’ve done 2 or 3 short work sessions in a day, but more often than not I’ve just spent 20 minutes each day on this piece of work. Not only has this meant that the paint can dry between layers but it’s also allowed me to come back to it each day with fresh eyes, which has probably helped me to avoid making mistakes. It also helps me to keep a gentle sense of momentum with my work so that I can see progress without falling into the unhealthy cycle of boom and bust with my energy that I have a tendency towards.
It can feel really satisfying to work on a piece of work from start to finish in one day. What I’m now realising, though, is that the work I made earlier this year would probably have turned out better if I hadn’t tried to produce quite so much of it, or if I’d at least done what I’ve done in the past and set some sort of boundary in terms of the pace or size of my work.
I’ve now reached a point with my current drawing where I’m feeling ready to start a new piece of work and I’m pleased with the way I’ve approached this one. I think it’s been good for me and also good for the person who will own this drawing.
Now the challenge is to maintain this pace and not slip back into unhelpful habits!