In 2011 I started a 365 drawing project where, after an almost decade-long hiatus from drawing, I challenged myself to create one sketch a day for one full year. This project ignited an enormous amount of creative energy that had been dormant for a while, led me to study drawing more seriously, and later led to painting and graphic design. It was a little idea that snowballed into something much bigger, and was a formative learning experience. When you commit to posting your work in public and letting people see your learning process as it unfolds, there are several benefits:
- It forces you to stop hiding your work out of fear. This is a big one.
- You get to see how your skills, technique and style evolve over the course of the project.
- You make art a priority in your every day life.
This type of consistent exercise helps you develop good habits that force you to find ways to carve out time to create. At the end of one year, you end up with a substantial amount of work that you can exhibit, add to your portfolio, or further develop into something else. In sum, it's a cool thing, and I've been toying with the idea of doing it again.
After attending Lisa Congdon's workshop on "Creative Passion Projects" at the Hello Sessions this past weekend in Portland, OR, and seeing projects like The Great Discontent's 100 Day Project Challenge all over Instagram, I'm officially excited and ready to start a new project of my own called 52 Weeks of Women Writers. Here are the details:
- Each Monday for the next year, I post a new illustrated portrait of an inspirational female author, along with a quote from one of her works. The portraits will span all time periods and will not appear in chronological in order (one week could feature a 20th c. author and the next could be a 16th c. author, etc.)
- The first portrait will be published tomorrow, Monday, October 12.
- Even though I'm only posting once a week, I'm not allowed to spend more than 2 hours on the portrait, itself. It will be simple, stylized, and relatively quick.
- At the end of the year, I'll have a collection of 52 portraits of women authors that will be compiled into an online gallery and....we'll see where else. I have a few ideas, but for now, I'm 100% focused on the process, and on learning about some remarkable creative women from past and present.
Have a suggestion for an awesome woman author to feature? Leave a comment on this post or email me when inspiration strikes.