Art Challenges have proven to be significant in helping me grow as an artist. In fact, the 10-foot long illustration I did for Inktober 2018 has me convinced that art challenges are the best way to see visible improvement in one's art skills. That's when I decided to participate in yet another art challenge by bringing back the 100 Days of Sketching I started back in 2017.
How does the challenge work? Set a timer for 6 minutes and start sketching. When the timer beeps, you can either stop or continue drawing to your heart's content. The idea is to draw for at least six minutes every day for 100 days straight. You don't have to draw 'something' in six minutes but just draw for six minutes. Lose all expectations about the results, do this to have fun in the process, to have fun sketching. Don't rush your sketch. Relax and enjoy the sketch you make in your own pace. No hurry, No pause.
Seems like an oddly simple recipe for something like drawing mastery when put in words. But the answers to all things magical is simply consistent practice. This challenge works because it is simple, effective and most importantly, it's sustainable. You have no excuses for not finding six minutes in your day even if you are Elon Musk.
3 Reasons Why You Should Do An Art Challenge
#1 Create a Habit
"You are what you repeatedly do. Thus, excellence is not an act but a habit!" - Wise old philosopher dude, Aristotle
Think about all the artists you admire and envy on the internet - the awesome pieces that they make is not an isolated event but it is the compounded result of all their effort from the past working to make that artwork that you see now. So the path to excellence in your own art starts with forming a habit of drawing. We, as creatures of habit, thrive with our minds at peace when our days are anchored by habits and rituals. They give us something to look forward to every day, they give us meaning. As you practice consistently, you form new neural pathways associated with your practice which grow stronger as your effort compounds over time.
#2 To Improve Your Skills Rapidly
Art challenges have a limited timeline with specific goals and these are vital when learning any skill. Getting good at drawing is not a singular skill but rather mastering a subset of skills that helps one draw well. So specific goals with defined timelines help you focus on specific skillsets in your toolbox and hone them. In the age of instant gratification and ever-present distractions, focus in itself is a skill we need to desperately work on.
#3 To Start and Finish Things
Working on multiple projects to stave off fatigue is a good idea if you get to finish the projects you start. If you, like me, are someone who suffers from the shiny object syndrome having difficulty in sticking with a project till the end, this would be the biggest lesson to help improve your art. It is impossible to be judged as an artist if your body of work has only unfinished pieces. So to be able to show your work to the world, stick with projects through the difficult obstacles you face. There is wisdom to be gained in the process of completing the project. So if a project gets tedious, fight the resistance and see it to the finish line.
The 100 Days of Sketching challenge 2019 began on the first of May. I'm blown away by the overwhelming involvement from the artists' community all around the globe. It was also heart-warming to receive DMs about how helpful people are finding this art challenge in their path to excellence. There are new people taking up the challenge everyday and taking steps toward building a habit out of sketching.
If you've just discovered the art challenge, fret not, my friend! Start today to find 6 minutes daily and just sketch. Sketch for a hundred days straight and trust me, you'll find on the 100th day that the sketching habit is now part of your routine. That's the first step in your path towards mastery!
I've compiled a list of prompts, habit tracker and a quick guide with FAQs to help you guys get started on the challenge and keep on track. Click on the link here to get these in your email. Let's do this! No hurry, No pause!