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  • Writer's pictureBridget

I made art every day for a year.

Hey my little leaf buddies! I hope you are all staying safe and well!

In July 2019 I embarked on a year long journey of art making. I was feeling pretty uninspired and unmotivated in my creativity. I realised that I hadn’t actually made art in a long time and had fallen into the comparison trap of not wanting to share my work in the fear of it not being good enough and people not liking it. I had forgotten what it was like to just create for the sake of creating and the joy of experimentation.

I had seen 365 photography challenges before, so wanted to do something similar where I would attempt to draw something every day for the whole year and post it on Instagram to keep myself accountable. Up until this point I had always been the person who had a lot of goals, projects and ideas- but never really finished anything properly. Half baked projects sat unfinished in my sketchbooks and ever since I was young I’ve had the identity of being one of those ‘unorganised’ people. I think deep down I thought that maybe this project would be similar and I’d make it through a few months and eventually get tired and just give up.

What actually happened was pretty life changing for me. This project taught me so much more than I even anticipated and not only did I grow as an artist, but as a person as well.

Before I get into showing you all the art from that year, I want to just go over some things that happened to me and changed how I approached life and art. These are the main take aways from the project.

1) Being organised

As I said before, I’ve always been a bit disorganised. Turning up late, leaving things until the last minute and feeling that rush of a deadline! However, if I’m honest- I don’t actually like being disorganised! I feel that it doesn’t actually align with me as a person anymore. Or maybe that’s just because I’m getting older and realise that if I don’t book in the thing- then it just won’t happen!

This challenge made me HAVE to be organised. In order to have enough time to fit in a drawing/ painting everyday- I had to get up earlier. (I was getting up at 5am to fit them in!) If I knew I was going away for the weekend, I had to prep my weekend drawings earlier so I could post them on the correct day. At first it was very hard- but as I went on, I felt really proud that I was able to keep on top of it by just thinking ahead and making sure I got things done!

I’m happy to say that I think this project changed me and helped me become a much more functioning organised adult!

2) Motivation and inspiration won’t always be there. Just get it done.

I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t feel like drawing or creating something. How tired I was of having to make something every day when I just couldn’t be arsed. But I pushed myself anyway. I made myself sit down and draw something even when I really really really didn’t want to. At first I found this really difficult. Often when we find ourselves unmotivated or uninspired we like to wait until the little lightbulb goes off and we have a new found inspiration. However, we can’t always just wait for inspiration to strike. More times than not we won’t be inspired or in the mood. The more I pushed myself to just get something done and on paper- the easier it became and my brain no longer chucked a tantrum whenever it didn’t feel like doing it. I just got on with it and got it done.

I think this is a very important skill and has been something that I have continued on in my professional life. There are going to be times in your life where you just don’t want to do the work. You are uninspired, unmotivated and the task at hand is super dull and boring! But unfortunately, if you want to get paid- you have to get it done! So just do it!

3) Done is better than perfect

Sometimes you create something that is utter garbage. It looks like it crawled out of a sewer and died right in front of you and your eyes bleed just looking at it. But you know what? You put in the time and it’s done! Tomorrow is a new day and you have another opportunity to create something again.

We are not going to be proud of everything we make. But I think the fact that you put in the time and effort into making something at all is a small win. I created a lot of crap art that year. Stuff that I’m really not proud of and works I’ll never think of again. But I still stuck to the task at hand and made them anyway. I became so much less precious about my art doing this project. And this in turn made me feel braver and more experimental with what I was doing. If I tried something new and it failed, that was still ok. Which leads me to one of the most important lesson of the challenge:

4) You don’t need to be precious about your art.

Probably the most important thing I learnt, was to not be so precious about my artwork. I’ve always liked art and I’ve always been pretty good at it- but there comes a bit of pressure from being the ‘artistic one’. You kind of always feel like you have to make your best art all the time or people will judge you and think ‘Oh, that’s not that good actually… maybe they aren’t so good at art.’ It’s quite a weird thing, but the pressure and fear of judgement is real. I found myself not making art anymore because I just felt like my art wasn’t good enough, and therefore I wasn’t good enough.

What I learnt was that art and my skills weren’t a reflection of me as an individual. Making bad art didn’t make me a bad person. In fact, making experimental ‘bad’ art was actually more about finding who you are and having that ability to be constantly learning and growing into who you want to be.

So I say, make the bad art! Try new things! You don’t always have to create masterpieces. Create for the sake of creating because it makes your soul happy.

July 2019

July was a really fun month for me. I was feeling the joy and excitement of a new project and I was getting back into art- which was making me feel happy. I was drawing most things in my sketchbook which was nice and made me feel like I was getting my creativity back.

I used a lot of prompt lists found online for this project- because who wants to feel the pressure of thinking of something to drawing everyday!? Looking back, I used a lot of pastel colours this month, which is quite nice! I might have to get back into pastels.

Here are some of my favourites from July:

August 2019

August was animal month! Again I used a prompt list to help me choose which animal to draw each day. I had a lot of fun this month because it made me realise that I hardly ever drew animals, but they were so fun to draw!! I loved these little animals so much in fact that I made a little selection of them into stickers which you can find on my Etsy.

Here are some of my favourites:

September 2019

Plants and Landscapes. I think I’m most proud of the work I created for this month. I never really paint landscapes. They actually scare me! But I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something new.

This was the first time I prepped and cut some watercolour paper instead of doing it in my sketchbook. This made it easier to photograph and I really enjoyed learning how to take nice product photos too.

I liked these so much I made some cards from them which you can find on my Etsy.

Here are some of my favourites:

October 2019

This was inktober month! I had attempted inktober a few times before but never succeeded in finishing it. But I figured I had just completed two full months of art- how hard would one more be?

I used actual inks for this month (being inktober and all!) which I had never used before. I chose a red, brown and black. I quite liked the look and liked that I kept it in the same pallet the whole month

Here are some of my favourites:

November 2019

My favourite movies. This was a super fun month where I picked one of my favourite movies to draw. I also included a little quote from the movie in my instagram post which was a really nice addition to the picture.

I got a lot of lovely feedback from people about this month and how much they enjoyed trying to guess which movie it was before reading the caption :)

Here are some of my favourites:

December 2019

My favourite thing to draw has always been faces and people, so I decided to do a whole month of faces. I wanted this month to be a bit more experimental and trying different styles, which I think I achieved for some of it, but fell back into my comfortable watercolours and pens after a while. We actually went to NZ for a holiday at the end of December so this was my first time doing this challenge abroad!

Here are some of my favourites:

January 2020

January was a bit of a quick and simple month for my drawings. I was still in NZ for the beginning of the month, and January is always a bit hectic with a lot of things going on. So I kept everything pretty simple.

Here are some of my favourites:

February 2020

I really wanted to experiment with digital drawing and art. Up until this point I never really created digital illustrations. This month was the biggest learning curve and the most tiring! Digital art was taking me sooooo much longer to create and after I would spend all morning looking at my computer- I would go to work and stare at a computer! So by the end of this month I felt really exhausted. But I learnt a lot and I was able to try some different styles which I enjoyed.

Here are some of my favourites:

March 2020

For this month I ditched the prompt lists for some reason and kind of went rouge on what I was drawing. I probably felt super drained from the digital month that I just wanted some easy things. I drew a few bugs and fish which were fun.

March was also when Covid hit big time, so I was feeling a lot of artist block at the end of the month when things were getting bad and I just felt really unmotivated to create. It was these times that I got my trusty crayons out and just doodled!

Here are some of my favourites:

April 2020:

I wanted to do something a bit different for this month so chose a mythical creatures prompt list and drew everything in pen and no colour. I really like how they turned out and I really liked learning about all the different mythical creatures around the world!

Here are some of my favourites:

May 2020:

Well, seems like I didn’t suffer enough during my digital month, so I gave it another crack! This time I had a plan though! I made all my drawings much simpler, chose a good prompt list and worked with one colour palette for the whole month.

Here are some of my favourites:

June 2020:

I could see the finish line in sight! By this stage I just wanted the project to be over! I was tired of creating everyday and just wanted to take my time on my artworks instead of churning something out in a few hours. I pre-prepped some little bits of paper and just did watercolour patterns and small paintings which got me to the end of this challenge!

Here are some of my favourites:

And there you have it! One years worth of art!

I’m actually really proud of myself for finishing this huge project and would encourage anyone thinking on embarking on a year long challenge to give it a go! You will learn so much about yourself and your craft and hopefully pick up some good habits and trick along the way!

Have you completed a year challenge? How did you find it? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you all soon!


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