A 30 Day Project

Earlier in the year, I did a month-long evening drawing project. It could, perhaps, be seen as a precursor to this project, so I want to share it.

Task: draw people from reference photos.* Materials: brown paper and coloured pencils. Successfully completed daily: yes.

After a rocky start, I realised a few things.

  1. I needed to limit my palette. The colours were overwhelming. Once I realised that, I chose a limited selection of pencils at the start of the drawing (based on the main colours in the reference photo), and used only those. It made everything easier and more fun. Also it looked better.
  2. The material I was using was important. There was no point using coloured pencils as if they were paint – I was better off enjoying them for what they were. This led to me leaving much more of the paper blank, actually using pencil textures, and creating more interesting illustrations.

After these realisations it was fairly smooth sailing. I had pictures I liked and pictures I hated, but overall I was learning. And that was the main thing.

*I created a selection of pictures before starting and just worked my way through them in order. Taking away my choice of subject and material was a really useful technique that helped me actually sit down and do the work. Credit to Roz Stendahl for the idea. I really recommend her blog posts on projects and goal setting and the internal critic if you want to get better at something (anything) but struggle to stick at it.

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