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Doing a Daily Drawing Challenge

For the month of October I did a daily drawing challenge that is delightfully named Peachtober. It’s a spin-off from Inktober, a daily ink drawing challenge started by Jake Parker. The premise of Peachtober is to create an artwork (in any medium) inspired by the prompt for each day in October and post it to social media. It’s a great way to practice your art, build a habit of practice, experiment and interact with other artists!

Illustrator Sha’an D’anthes (AKA Furry

Little Peach) created a follow along prompt list for Peachtober that was full of whimsy and fun.

Her online community is full of people who are cute, fun-loving and kind. I chose to do Peachtober because I thought I would enjoy the spirit of it and the community of people that might participate. I was not disappointed! So many posts made me laugh, smile or wonder at the sheer beauty humans are capable of creating.

The Furry Little Peach prompt list was also quite simple and concrete. This is great for the days when you feel uninspired. You know you can still practice your art by taking the prompt literally. Never drawn a raccoon before? Draw it!

So I took up the challenge and I did it! I created either an A5 or A6 illustration EVERY SINGLE DAY. Well nearly. I missed one or two days. But I did make an attempt to draw every single day, even if it was just a rough sketch.

Why do a daily drawing challenge?

I did Peachtober mostly to get my portfolio a little bit more substantial. I want to curate the best pieces from the month into a gallery to add to my portfolio.

There are a couple of other reasons too.

This year my art practice has been about finding my voice and my style. I want to refine the feel of my art. I participated in two month-long drawing challenges this year and I have found that I have really grown into my style. The illustrations I do now feel like me - kind of awkward and dorky, but filled with the hope of something new, something magical, someplace you’ve never seen before. I think my art now encourages a way of looking at the world as if it is bright and new. (I’m trying to combat some feelings of being jaded. I think it comes with age so I'm trying to tap into the sense of wonder I had when I was younger.)

Another reason to do daily drawings is for the plain old sake of practice. It is challenging to draw everyday, but daily art practice is so good for you! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Simple.

How do you make time for it?

I have been freelancing for the past year. (I haven’t had too many gigs so I’ve had a lot of free time.) This means I could easily schedule a drawing into everyday. I restricted myself to small illustrations so as to not spend too much time on it.

However, this month was a stressful one. I was juggling a few projects and a bunch of other things that life threw at me. Some days I just wasn’t up for the challenge of doing a full illustration. Instead I would do the sketch and then put the rest off for the next day. It’s okay to not complete the challenge. It’s not actually a competition as social media tends to make us think. It's about your own personal artistic journey. I haven’t managed to do a full month of daily drawing yet, but this time I did catch up every piece I missed. And I’m pretty dang proud of myself for that!

Another way I managed my time was to not do a full colour illustration everyday. Some days I just used one colour. Other days I didn’t colour at all... I did love how the full colour illustrations looked, however, so I’m in the process of finishing off some of the best ones with colour and details!

You should do it too!

I had so much fun doing this challenge and I can see such an improvement in my art! This month I drew so many things I've never drawn before and found that I didn't really struggle with any of them. It's such a great feeling! For a while I've felt like my skills are not at the level that I want them to be. I would struggle with drawings, get frustrated and work really slowly. Now I find that I can draw new things with ease. Through practice I understand objects and shapes better, my lines are more controlled and I have a style that shines through in my drawings.

So if you're like your art is just not as good as you'd like it to be, try drawing everyday. There are now tons of challenges like Peachtober. There are ones for different months, mediums and themes with names like Drawtober, Inkoween and Mermay (drawing mermaids for the month of May). Many artists and illustrators create their own prompt lists and share with others who want to join in on the challenge. Instagram is where most of them go down, but you can find them on other social media platforms too. If you want to participate in a challenge yourself, a Google search of “daily art challenges” should set you on right path.

You can check out all of my drawings on Instagram or Facebook: @taylashansolomon. A few of them will be available for purchase in my shop from 13 November!

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