5 Things I learned from my 31-day illustration challenge

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Why, Why would anyone want to draw for 31 days. I mean, EVERY SINGLE DAY. All over the web, artists' have plenty of challenges going on. Whether it be a 21-day brave challenge, mindful drawing challenge, the doodle challenge, and the oh so popular inktober challenge that so many artists participate in every year. Can I be honest, I have never participated in any challenge before until I made up my own. There is nothing wrong with them, I have always had that sinking feeling that I wouldn't be able to complete it and then, in turn, feel like a failure as I pull out my hair and scream for dear life (Okay, that was a little extra). For some reason, this challenge was different for me. It was personal. Let me share with you why and what I learned.

  • Purpose. Remember your purpose for starting this type of challenge in the first place. This will be your go-to when you run out of inspiration. My purpose was to share what makes me, me and to push myself to commit to my art every day(we will get to that part later). We all have many reasons why we start off and many times, it can fizzle out fast. So figure out your purpose and make sure that it is worth sticking to.
  • Prompt List. I learned how important it is to make a prompt list. This was a true life saver and I probably would have given up halfway through the challenge. The list helps you to stay focused on that day or move around a day if you may be inspired by something else. Speaking of moving around, I found it even more helpful to add extra prompts just in case I decided to be indecisive on one particular day.
  • Time Management. It always seems as though there is never enough time in the day. This was already a struggle before I decided to take on the challenge, and I knew that I would have to face it head-on. Managing time for art is easier said than done, especially when you are a full-time artist and homemaker with two homeschooled children. It was so important for me to carve out time for my art. I had to learn this and then embrace it.
  • Deviate, it's okay. I learned was that it was totally okay to deviate. I mean, we do it whenever we shop so why not when we art! Honestly speaking, illustrating isn't as easy as many people make it look. Life just happens and your art is pushed to the side. This happened to me more than once and it was hard to just push through. Some days I just didn't have it in me. This was very frustrating and I became a little too hard on myself. Whenever I missed a day, I had to literally take a deep breath and remember that it's okay, it's not the end of the world just the end of the day. To solve this, I would play catch up and illustrate more than one illustration.
  • Share your work. I learned how to share my work and with the challenge that I undertook, I shared personal things about what I was interested in, loved, or even cared about. This by far was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I only shared my paintings with my family. To let the world inside my bubble scared me so much. Doubt started to creep in. "What if no one really likes it?" or what if I couldn't handle the criticism from the world?" This is where knowing your purpose starts to kick those doubt creepers out. I had to remember my purpose and Bruce Lee kick the doubt away.

So just to recap, remember your purpose for doing the challenge and stick with it, make a prompt list to stay focused and don't forget to add extra prompts just in case you change your mind. Manage your time wisely by setting blocks of time aside each day. Know that it is totally okay to deviate, take a deep breath and get back to illustrating. Most importantly, every artist is brilliantly and creatively unique. The world is waiting to experience your art, your style, and your gift. So go and join a challenge and share it with everyone you know including the world!


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