At the beginning of 2018 I felt like I needed to push myself more with my creativity. Probably like you, as someone who works full time and could only dedicate time to my art on weekends, I wanted to be more consistent in my creations, and I wanted to see what I was capable of.
Can I create a small artwork every day?
You know when you have an idea and you just keep thinking about it?
That was it, my first Art Challenge was born, I decided to paint every morning, before work, for 28 days.
I choose to start on February, I thought, it’s the shortest month, it can’t be that bad.
And you know what? It actually turned out to be a beautiful experience, and I learnt a lot about myself and my paintings.
I limited myself to a small artwork on paper and you can read more about my first challenge here.
Since then, every year, in February I take up a challenge, and in February 2020, for the first time, I decided to invite other artists to join me in the journey.
And it was * A M A Z I N G *
Each one of us had different reasons to be joining the challenge, and it was great to see everybody’s progress.
Working on the Art Challenge meant different things for each one of us, but at the same time everyone was there for the same reason: be more creative.
It’s beautiful to see artists from all over the world, coming together and taking the time, day after day, to let creativity out.
It's also beautiful to commit to yourself, as well as to each other.
Here's some feedback from the February Art Challenge.
And here's some examples of what we worked on.
Based on this first enriching experience in February, I also decided to set up a 90 days challenge - was there a better way to end the weird 2020? - to see how much I can push myself to work on a big ambitious project, as well as sharing this experience with other artists.
And they loved it!
What about you?
Have you ever joined an art challenge? If you have, I’d love to hear about your experience, I want to know everything about it in the comments!!
If you haven’t, what’s blocking you? Lack of time? Commitment? Ideas?
Here's 5 good reasons you should join a challenge now!
1. Making creativity an habit in your life
You are creative, (I know you are, I can see you there, with that creative spark in your eyes!) but let’s be honest, life get’s in the way, you are busy, you have a family, work, stuff to do, kids demanding your attention, and friends you want to meet up for an exciting virtual Zoom chat, and maybe - like me - you also love running and petting all the cats in the world.
And then it gets bed time and you didn’t take time, not even few minutes, to be creative.
The reality is when we think about creative lives and creative people, we always think about artists that spend 10 hours a day painting.
And while maybe this is true for some lucky humans, the rest of us has “stuff” to do.
So how do you create every day?
You simply dedicate 15/20 minutes of your day to your creative passion.
If you keep it small, you’re more likely to come back to it tomorrow, and the day after again.
Set time in your calendar, every day, for 15/20 minutes and make it become an habit.
2. Improving your skills
When you work on something every day you’ll see the progress, even if you're a master at your medium already.
The more you practice your craft, the more confident you’ll become with it and you’ll see improvements.
It’s like the first time you were on a bike as a kid, you just didn’t try it once and you mastered it. You had to try, probably fall few times, and then one day you were flying and you didn’t even realise it!
Art is the same.
Day after day, is where the magic truly happens.
3. Connection and Accountability
If you want to take up a challenge, do it with a friend, or tell a loved one you are doing it. Or post your work on Instagram consistently.
When you join the February Art Challenge you have a network of people that are working with you, from different corners of the planet, and are there for you, to support you, cheering for you, and to see you succeeding at the end of the month.
When you join a challenge, you aren’t in charge of prompts, which means you can’t decide what you want to create.
Doesn’t sound like a lot of freedom, does it? And now you’re thinking, how is this a good thing?
I have a point here, don't worry, keep reading :)
Well, the reality is that the majority of the times the blocker for creativity is that you simply have too many options.
Honestly, you could create anything with a billion of different mediums and colours... and that’s daunting. There are too many ideas spinning around in your head.
If I told you “draw something”, you’d probably ask me “ok, but what?”. You have too many options.
While if I tell you “draw a bird”, it’s more specific, you know what you’re going to paint. Now it’s just a matter of picking your preferred media and let your creativity spark.
Of maybe you already have a preferred medium and a style and all you have to do is to let the prompt speak to you, and create something that resonates with you.
When you stop thinking about the “what” you are going to paint, you can focus more on your feelings, your ideas and emotions and also your technique. When you’re focused on what matters, you gain the freedom to experiment.
5. Practice makes perfect
This last reason is a sum of all the ones above… Practicing your creative habits, practicing your skills, connection and accountability with friends and strangers, freedom to create.
Every artwork/design/little magic you do will get better with practice.
And let's be honest here, not everybody has the same goal to sell worldwide their own art. Not everybody knits to become a famous international brand.
Your art is what you do with your own creativity, and the final scope of why you create, is your own.
But even if you paint only for yourself, or for your kids, or for your grandma, at the end of the day, the more you practice your skill, the more your presence here on this planet makes sense, because you get in touch with your deepest creativity. And that's all you!
I really do hope you decide to join my challenge, it's a lot of fun!
And good luck!