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Drawing every day in July to finish my sketchbook
Hello again 👋 I’m back after a monthlong break filled with travel, family visits, and most importantly getting married! I’ve got lots of updates to share with you about my time off, starting with last month’s daily sketchbook challenge.
As I mentioned in July’s newsletter, summer is my favorite season to draw in my sketchbooks. In years past I would draw during weekend outings around the city but not at all on the other days. This year I wanted to commit to a daily art challenge to keep me consistent and help me move past the barrier of not knowing what to draw when I’m at home.
My #1 tip to sticking with a challenge or habit is to give yourself gold stars. I really like having a physical sheet of paper taped to the wall that I can check off every day as I complete a drawing. Seeing a checkmark in every box is so gratifying! My method is pretty lo-fi but you can use different colors or even actual stickers—whatever gives you the most satisfaction.
Every drawing was made in an Odd Orange sketchbook that I had been feeling too precious about using. The pages are nice and thick but not too thick (150gsm) and I love the natural white paper color. The end of the month lined up perfectly with the last page, so finishing the book was another satisfying moment in completing the challenge.
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For me, the toughest part of drawing every day is deciding what to draw. It’s why timed drawing or life drawing sessions are so nice—turn off your brain and just capture what you see! We can theoretically do that in our daily lives as well, but drawing the same furniture around the house gets tedious after a while.
I made much of my art over the month inspired by past photos I saved to a “To Draw” folder (see below). On any day I felt stumped, I would comb through and pick a photograph as a starting point. Because I could take my time at home, I gravitated towards painting with gouache and made some work that I am really proud of!
I also traveled to Michigan and the Catskills in July and made sure to draw the scenery around me. When drawing from life, I usually prefer quicker media such as oil pastel, Neocolors, colored pencils and marker.
The sketchbook also served as a visual journal, reminding me of what I ate, saw, or experienced day to day. I documented my hair and makeup trial day for the wedding as well as stills of me and my partner practicing our first dance. There were quieter moments too, reading in my local park or watching kids light up sparklers on the beach.
Upon completing the sketchbook challenge, I felt really proud that I had earnestly enjoyed making art—even the bad art! It helped that I casually shared my progress on Instagram via stories and the occasional post rather than posting to my feed every day and monitoring the engagement.
I’m continuing to make art everyday in a new sketchbook now that I am less blocked on deciding what to draw. Throughout the daily drawing I remind myself that I don’t need to force signs of progress or a consistent style, especially in sketchbooks where we are meant to experiment and practice. I am training to see, interpret, and create, regardless of today’s quality of output.
Have you tried drawing daily? What advice do you have for making it a consistent habit? What do you tend to draw? Share with me in the comments!