Yesterday was day 100 of #the100dayproject.
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! (*insert all the emojis*)
But in all honesty...
WHEW. SO GLAD IT'S OVER.
Now, some of you crazy kids asked if I would write about my experience with the project. And although I’m still befuddled as to why y’all want to hear my musings, here goes nothing… ;)
First of all, I DID NOT PLAN TO DO #the100dayproject.
This was not premeditated. Coming from the lady who could barely squeak out 10 days of #inktober, 100 days seemed to be a bit of a stretch.
So why did I decide to take on the challenge?
As is common with artists, I had been dealing with the typical publishing-related frustrations and knew I was headed into a bit of a rut. I wanted to nip it in the bud, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to do.
On a Tuesday back in April, I was just about to post a drawing on my Instagram when I saw a post tagged with #the100dayproject. Not able to control my Google-ready fingers, I checked it out. I wasn’t a stranger to Internet art challenges - there literally are a bajillion of them - so I thought why not?
(It seemed like a good idea at the time.)
I looked at the drawing I’d just finished, of a girl and her pet pig, and thought, “I like drawing kids. And I like drawing animals.” And thus #kiddosandtheirpetpals was born.
Great story, right? I’ll tell it again later ;)
So now some of you are thinking about taking on your own 100 day project (because if I can do it, you sure as hello operator can!) And that’s great! Go for it!
But since you asked...
Here are a 5 pieces of advice/things I’ve learned from the experience…
100 Days of STRENGTH.
Pick a theme that you LOVE. I love drawing children and animals. LOVE. IT. In other shorter art challenges I have done, I have challenged myself to work on my weaknesses (*ahem* vehicles…), but the 100 day project is not the time or place for that. 100 days is a really long time and if you want to reach the finish line and not be a shell of your former self, I’d strongly suggest you play to your strengths. And if you do want to be a rebel (*overachiever*) and address your weaknesses for 100 days, make part of the theme something you love; i.e., if you’re not good at characters, then at least pick a medium in which you are super comfortable. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone and the goal of the project is not to drive yourself insane.
This project is not easy, set some ground rules.
Like I said, 100 days is a really long time. This project is super open-ended because it’s meant to be tailored to your needs. I like a little structure, but I only ended making a few rules for myself.
I tried to limit each drawing to an hour, unless I couldn’t figure out what to draw or got into a good groove. (I have a whole sketchbook full of images I started and did not finish because I didn’t want to post them. There were some days I would start 8-10 drawings before sticking with the one I finally ended up posting.)
I tried my best not to think/overthink things. My brain is my own worst enemy and I do my best work when I just let my art instincts do the drawing.
I also made sure my jerk of a brain knew that nowhere did it say it needed to be 100 CONSECUTIVE days. I took 3 weeks off to prepare for SCBWI LA and IT WAS OKAY. I gave myself a restart date and held myself accountable (#protips).
Take a day or two off if you need to. Limit your post to weekdays. Consistency is key, but don’t set yourself up for burnout.
Do the project for yourself.
My number one rule when posting images to social media is this:
DO NOT ASK WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF IT.
Let me say it again, DO NOT ASK WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF IT. Please do yourself a favor and don’t open those flood gates. People will tell you what they think whether you ask or not. Post things because YOU want to post the thing you made that you love and want to share with the world. All that matters is what YOU think of it.
Okay, rant over. But seriously, people can get even more “request-y” during these challenges and you have to just take it with a grain of salt. I definitely asked people for animal suggestions throughout the 100 days, but never felt beholden to them.
The one thing that never changed was that this was MY project and I wasn’t going to care what anyone else thought about it because I was doing it for myself. I wanted this project to be unapologetically me.
Decide what you want out of the project?
My initial goal with this project was just to come up with some story ideas.
What I ended up with:
Confidence (in myself and my art skills), lots of new character/story ideas, sketches with the potential to finalize for my portfolio, pride at finishing what I started, etc.
You may just want to finish. And that’s okay. But having an initial end goal is just something to keep in mind as you go along.
Do something with the project.
This is the thing I’m still working on (but give me a break, I just finished YESTERDAY you guys 😉).
Maybe make a sketchbook out of your favorite images? Maybe a few of your illustrations inspired some story ideas that you just can’t wait to get into dummy form? Maybe take some of your favorites to final and make a couple corresponding illustrations to have a lovely set of sequential images that will just impress the pants off of all those fabulous editors and ADs just waiting to hire you <3
(Side note: Create a unique hashtag for your project if posting to social media. It keeps all your images together and easily searchable. You can search different hashtags on Instagram to see how many posts have been made with that name.)
Whatever you choose to do, don’t let all this hard work live solely on the internet. Give it a life. ( A very smart lady told me this.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout this process. I’m not going to say I couldn’t have done it without you (spoiler alert: I could’ve), but you all made the challenge so much more enjoyable <3
Now go forth and make beautiful art!