I don't know about you, but once the weather warmed up, my housing maintenance To Do list quadrupled. For the past few weeks, the twins and I have been outdoors almost nonstop, and the gardening work has been monumental. Between working daily in the dirt, I've been preparing for my inaugural Sketch a Day Challenge month of June, which I'm running through a public Facebook group. So far, we have 68 members and counting, and the link to the group can be found here. I'd love if you joined us!
Believe it or not, I'm actually nervous about this! Committing to creating one small piece of art per day is DAUNTING. Like many of you, I have days ahead of me that are going to be so incredibly busy that the thought of sitting even for five minutes will seem impossible. But that is precisely why I think this challenge is valuable, for myself as well as the other participants.
In his book Outliers, theorist Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it isn't quality that makes greatness, but quantity. There are ample studies that back his hypothesis. The volume of the output forces creativity, whereas focusing on the quality of the output leads to perfectionism, second guessing, and analysis paralysis.
So what can you expect in the challenge? Daily prompts and ideas, supportive peers, and accountability. Although there's zero pressure to ever post your own work, you're more than welcome to do so! You can sketch with any medium you'd like; pencils, inks, pens, paints, etc. The idea is that your work is loose, rough, imperfect...but consistent. Even if you're not proud of the final product, you finish it, as opposed to stopping halfway because it isn't "good." After 30 days, you'll have 30 sketches, and will hopefully have witnessed a difference in your ability to create.
I should also mention this because I've been fielding questions: this challenge is completely FREE to participate in. No pay what you can, nothing. FREE. The more, the merrier! Invite your friends!
So before we get going, I figured I'd share some of the supplies I've ordered for myself. Everything is from Amazon; although I do like to shop local, given that I'm caring for my twins full-time, it makes distance shopping very difficult. I'm not endorsing any of these products specifically, and I can give a better review after the challenge is over, but this is what I thought would be fun to experiment with during the challenge. It took about a week for my supplies to arrive after being ordered with Amazon Prime.
1. Speedball Sketching Dip Ink Set, with Higgins Black Magic Waterproof Drafting Ink
I played around with these dip pens back in high school and really enjoyed them, but haven't used them since. I was inspired to give them another shot after looking at the extraordinary sketchbooks of Elena Limkina, which are works of art unto themselves. I think they're mysterious and enchanting. I definitely want to give her style a try.
The nice thing about this ink is that since it's waterproof, I can layer it with watercolours and it won't bleed.
2. Golden Maple 6 piece round tip sable watercolour brush set
I like round tips for watercolours, since you can do broad strokes or fine details depending on how much pressure you apply. I'm not big on washes in watercolours, I tend to use splotches, and rounds are good for this. Were I to have really invested, I would've bought proper artist grade brushes from Winsor and Newton, or another reputable brand, but since I'm just a dabbler, this Amazon cheapie set is fine for me.
3. Moleskin Art Collection Watercolour Album and Strathmore 400 Series Watercolour Sketchbook
Elena Limkina uses Moleskin, which makes it good enough for me. Although I'm not going to be using these books for the challenge, and plan on treating these with a bit more reverence in an effort to create sketchbooks that are also works of art, I included these to show anyone interested in watercolour sketching what I'm using. Because the weight of this paper is 135/140lb weight, I can guarantee you that your sketches will inevitably buckle. However, they're great to have on hand and will still be of a high calibre. If you're looking for watercolour paper that doesn't buckle, you'll need 300lb weight, or you'll need to stretch your paper by taping it down with gummed tape, wet it, then once it's dry it will be stretched flat and ready to use. It's a time consuming process but always used by professionals. You can also use watercolour paper blocks, which are taped around the edges and prevents buckling. Search "how to stretch watercolour paper" for great tutorials online.
Enjoy the rest of your May, and I can't wait to see you in the Challenge, starting June 1st!