5 Things

Daily Challenges

Written by & Illustrated by Alicia van Zyl

Alicia van Zyl is a graphic designer, illustrator and typographer. Yes, in alphabetical order, because she’s also a little OCD. To her, concept is King and deadline his Queen.

#1 Quickmaff

I got an iPad Pro around the letter L (day 12). I’d played with them before, but you know when you have nothing in mind to draw and don’t really know how to use the software, you’re just ending up with this useless page of different colored scribbles. A daily challenge was a really quick way to get to know Procreate and while I’m definitely not saying you have to go out and drop a bomb on new tech, the principle remains (whether you’re trying a new printing technique or new software): when you want to learn new creative skills, a daily challenge like this will force you to do it. Quickly.

#2 Don’t spend more than an hour on each piece

Apart from the fact that you have work to do and a life to live, putting a time limit on yourself forces you to just create spontaneously with the time you have available instead of methodically planning, stifling that creative flow and ultimately ending up with an overworked piece that lacks your unique voice.

#3 One man’s “meh” is another man’s “awe yeah”

Post what you did even if you don’t like it. Why? Your taste is very different to those around you. Because I was exploring new techniques and styles every three days, I sometimes finished things and thought “meh 🤷🏻‍♀️” just to wake up to an insane amount of likes (for me, guys. I don’t have thousands of followers. Perspective). The opposite also happened. Pieces that I adored weren’t as popular. So even though I’ve always created what’s fun for me regardless of opinion, it’s refreshing to actually learn some of those opinions. Will it change the way I do things and stop me from creating things for me? Nope. You’ll never please everyone, so don’t make yourself miserable trying.

#4 Yeah pump the jam

When you have spare time and you’re in that amazing zone of just creating, pump out as many of these as time and the zone will let you. Mostly I created one every day, but maaaaan when I got that iPad I was in a serious zone of exploring and I think I made more than a week’s worth in one go. That kinda paid off when I was traveling later that week because I didn’t have to stop my life and worry about creating something every day, I had them all ready to roll

#5 Don’t look down

Or around you too much. In the beginning it was really nice to scroll through a feed flooded by incredible pieces every day. I was hella inspired and started following a whole bunch of new-to-me artists. But the honeymoon always ends and suddenly your feed isn’t flooded with inspiration but rather drowning you in self-doubt. Don’t worry, there’s a solution to that too. Just like you timed yourself when you created your art, you have to time yourself when you’re absorbing the art others are making. Try only spend an hour a day trolling your feed for other pieces and hashtags relating to your challenge. Enough to get inspired, but not so much that you start hearing your good pal Imposter Syndrome telling you you’re not good enough.

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5 Things you wished you knew in college

Nicholas Nesbitt

Written by

Nicholas Nesbitt is a Johannesburg based creative specialising in Illustration, Digital Design and Sound Design


5 Things you wished you knew in college