How a daily drawing challenge helped my Creative Confidence

Some of my drawings for the CreativeBug daily challenge with Lisa Congdon

This year, I took up a couple of Instagram daily drawing challenges. In these challenges, you follow along with an illustrator as she draws various everyday items everyday for 31 days.

The challenges seemed interesting and at the same time, intimidating. It took courage to put my work out in the world. But after the initial reluctance, once a momentum was gained, it turned out to be quite a rewarding experience.

Here are some of the things I observed and learnt with this whole journey:

The Morning Minutes: There’s something about doing the things you care about first thing in the day. Be it prayer, working out or any creative exercise, it gives you the drive to take on the rest of your day. I self-imposed the constraint of working on the drawing before 10 AM. This helped me to finish what I started.

Trying new things: Some days, the challenge had topics that I would never have taken up to draw by myself (cats, cacti and brooms, for instance). This meant I had to go ahead and draw some things for the first time. This challenge helped me grow as I had to open my mind and get out of my comfort zone.

Mixing it up: Doing something everyday helped me discover the techniques I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. It also helped me get bored with one way of doing things and try another method, just to mix it up.

For this daily challenge with Pam Garrison, I sometimes experimented with some lettering

Life gets in the way: Of course, there are things that get in the way of drawing and posting everyday. Sometimes it is about not ‘feeling’ it, or when you’re travelling and can’t sit down to draw at your usual time. But once you’ve committed to getting a drawing out a day, you do whatever it takes. When I went travelling, I made the drawings and photographed them in advance and posted them on the days they were expected to be published.

Community: The Instagram community was a great factor in pushing me to keep going. We looked at each other’s posts, left encouraging feedback and suggestions. We became ‘fans’ of each others’ work and looked forward to them posting. At the end of the first challenge, we even got together on a facebook group to make a weekly drawing challenge of our own to continue for the rest of the year.

Some of the daily letters from the 36 Days of Type Instagram challenge

Getting rid of pagefright: This was my biggest benefit from doing the challenge. Having a prompt to go on and just do the work, instead of looking at a blank sketchbook page asking what I should draw — removed the burden of making the perfect drawing. The time limit of 30 minutes in the morning meant I had to start and finish and post whatever came out of the exercise.

These kind of challenges confirm what it says in the book ‘Creative Confidence’ about the power of ‘taking more shots at the goal’ and how it helps you move from fear to courage as a creative person.

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