4 Tips to a Successful 30-Day Drawing Challenge

How many times have you started a drawing challenge and stopped after a week, or halfway through the month when life got crazy? (hand raises)

In October I completed a 30-day drawing challenge. Even though I’ve done a few in the past, this one taught me a lot about myself. Like, I’m not a fan of drawing prompts. But that’s a conversation for another day.

As artists, we like to believe that we create art each day, but the reality is we wear many hats and some days we don’t actually create anything at all. Drawing challenges offer a way to reconnect to our creative selves and to experiment and push ourselves.


Set Specific Goal

Goals provide markers to measure against. Goals need to be achievable, measurable, and specific.


Schedule Time

Pencil time into your day, even if just for 15 minutes. Having time set aside for this specific goal gives it a measure of importance.


Theme / Medium

There are endless opportunities for what you draw and what you draw with, so adding specific guidelines will give each drawing session a jumping-off point.



Without accountability, it’s easy to let your drawing sessions slip, especially when things get hectic. Whether you have a partner to keep you on task or you post to Instagram each day, having the expectations of others can offer a good pressure to deliver.

An example of my Drawing Challenge setup in October

  • Reacquaint myself with pencil, graphite, and charcoal
  • Sketch for 30 minutes min each day
  • Fill the 2-page spread in my sketchbook each day
  • Draw whatever inspired me in my surroundings – in other words, NO PROMPTS
  • To share the drawings each day on instragram

In the end, there were days that the drawings came easily and I had a blast. Other days I found it more challenging and I had to pull from deep inside to come up with anything. In the end, my success came from the above-mentioned 4 pillars.

7 Ways Creatives Self-Sabotage

There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with putting what’s going on within ourselves out for everyone to see. Neuroscience has even confirmed that creative people think and even act differently than an average person. But sometimes our own work enemy is ourselves.

Photo by Ryanniel Masucol on Pexels.com

As an artist and a writer I know first hand how easy it for me to undermine my own best intentions.

For some it may look like procrastination or that life is just “too busy”. For others they may come across as moody and difficult. Ultimately what’s happening is different sides of the same coin…self-sabotage.

There are 7 ways Creatives easily self-sabotage…

  1. Putting others’ needs, wants, and schedules ahead of your own.
  2. Holding onto unrealistic expectations for yourself or your work.
  3. Stopping when things get hard…or boring.
  4. Believing there is a “perfect” way.
  5. Comparing yourself, or your efforts, to others.
  6. Creating in a vacuum.
  7. Not giving yourself the space you need.

Being aware of each of these is the first hurdle, but understanding that each one of these stems from FEAR. Fear is truly at the heart of putting others’ needs above our own, holding ourselves to a unrealistically high stand, stopping instead of pushing through, believing we or our work isn’t good enough, especially when compared to someone else, creating in secret or away from the support and constructive critiques of fellow Creatives and ultimately not giving ourselves the mental and physical space we need to feel all the feels.

Get Started with Line-Art Drawing

Line art drawings are how I started my artistic journey. As a kid it’s all I drew, and then when I picked up art again as an adult, it was a safe place to begin. It was during the Zentangle craze so finding drawing tools were easy to come by and there were thousands of tutorials for line art doodles available online. I ended up creating fashion line art doodles that I shared on Pinterest and that’s how the editors at Walter Foster found me and asked me to be a part of their fashion tangling book.

Beginning with line art really is a good place to start!!

Line art is all about drawings done with fine lines that can vary in width and density. Doodle art is actually a really good way to practice your fine-liner skills. There are tons of examples on Pinterest, or you can pickup one of the wonderful books I was lucky to contribute too.

Suggested Line – Art Tools:

Micron pens are my favorite, but there are tons of pens available.


  • Micron
  • Faber-Castell
  • Arteza
  • Staedtler
  • Tombow
Micron & Faber-Castell Pens


Any paper will do, but I prefer either white printer paper or Bristol paper, but it will depend if I’m adding any wet medium to the illustration. If so, I like to use a mixed media paper or watercolor paper.

  • Canson
  • Strathmore
  • Arteza
Favorite paper for doodle art

Tips for Line Art Drawing

  1. It’s not supposed to be perfect! The imperfections are what makes the drawing unique and special, so don’t worry if every line isn’t perfectly straight.
  2. Look for the shapes and begin there. When looking at an object try to see the big overall shapes that make up the object. When you see an object for its shapes it’s easier to draw that.
  3. Once you have the basic shapes down, you can add smaller textured lines (either hatch marks, dots, dashes or small, whispy lines). These will make those basic shapes take on dimension and form.
  4. Keep layering these marks until you have the desired look.
  5. Use zentangle/doodle marks to fill in the shapes as well.
  6. You can keep your line art drawings just black and white or you can color them in with colored pencils, crayons, pastels, or add watercolor paint.

Here’s a Reel I made for Instagram. Here I’m using Procreate, a digital drawing app, but the line art tips apply digitally as well as on paper.

4 Ways to Use Adobe Capture Shape Tool

Adobe has continued to roll out updated features to Adobe Fresco and one of the latest is the Capture Shape Tool. As of this post there are 4 Capture Shape categories; “Comics”, “Typographic”, “Floral”, and the original “Berlin”.

Using Capture Shape Tool as a Stamp or Repeat Pattern

Select Capture Tool Icon on left side tool bar and choose the shape you want. I’ve chosen one from the Floral category.

Select a color and chose the Fill button on the bottom toolbar and select which fill option you prefer…I chose Pixel fill.

Move the shape tool to next location and select the Fill option again. If you want to change the size of the stamp or the color do you can do so before selecting Fill.

Using Capture Shape Tool and Brushes

Capture Shape Tool Icon and select your desired Shape.

Using any color fill in the shape with the Fill option on the bottom toolbar.

Chose the Select option on the bottom tool bar and marching ants will appear around the shape.

Turn off the layer and add a new later. You should see the marching ants without any color.

Select the brush of your choice and the color and paint over the selection. This will allow you to fill in the shape with your own texture and color.

Once done Deselect from the bottom toolbar.

Using Capture Shape Tool as a Cutout

Fill background with selected color.

Chose shape from Capture shape tool options and position where you want the cutout.

Select Erase on the bottom toolbar and the shape will cut into background color.

Using Capture Shape with Masks to Apply Color

Fill background with selected color.

Select Capture shape tool and chose shape.

Select Mask option on the bottom tool bar and the color will apply to the shape.

Select a brush and using the “Hide” and “Reveal” buttons on the bottom tool bar you can add texture or alter the original shape.

History of Commonplace Books

The history of the Commonplace Books goes back to the Middle Ages. It’s believed that the concept originated in ancient Greece and Rome, although they become most popular during the Renaissance and early Modern Period, when students and scholars used them for study.

In 1706, John Locke wrote  “A New Method of Making Commonplace Books” where he gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category. Much the way a database may be used today.

Eventually Commonplace Books found their way into private households where they were used to collect recipes, medical formulas, along side informative text.

Many famous thinkers and leaders kept Commonplace Books including:

Thomas Jefferson – kept commonplace books for literary and legal matters. He kept track of quotes and passages from books he’d read.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau – shared a Commonplace Book of poetry. Both were taught how to use Commonplace Books at Harvard.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton – An American Suffragist – kept a Commonplace Books with private notes, correspondence and literary transcriptions.

Patrick Branwell (Emily and Charlotte Bronte’s brother) – kept Commonplace Books that included drawings, quotes, and ephemera collected from his day-to-day.

I’m teaching a new class all about Commonplace Books. Here’s the post I wrote all about the class.

7 Benefits of Commonplace Books

I spent years frustrated by my journaling habits. I would promise to keep a specific book for each theme and within days I’d be jotting down everything in one notebook. It wasn’t until I learned what Commonplace Books are that I realized they were what I’d been creating all along!!

These special books are a place to collect all your musings, ideas and experiences. I love to keep a Traditional or Multi-Use, as I like to call them, notebook. But I also have specific Commonplace Books for projects, research projects, and books I’m studying. I have a gardening notebook, a grief notebook, I even create a notebook for each class I create.

Over the many, many years I’ve been creating these books I’ve found there are such wonderful benefits to Commonplacing…yes, it’s a thing 🙂

1 – To Remember

The world is moving so fast and it’s so easy to forget the interesting passages or turn of phrase. I always think I’ll remember, but I don’t! I keep a small travel Commonplace Book in my purse and car so I have a notebook close by at all times.

2 – Helps You Focus

I can’t tell you the number of times I’m working on something and a great idea comes up or I come across some piece of research that would be perfect for another project or idea and it distracts from what I was working on. I’ve found that if keep a Commonplace Book with me I always have a place to jot down the information and then return to the project at hand knowing that special tidbit is safe and I can’t return to it later.

3 – Get To Know Yourself

When you look back at a completed Commonplace Book or even one that’s mostly filled in, you’ll begin to see your own unique take on things. It’s like a snapshot of your life.

4 – Saves Time

If you use Commonplace Books for research projects, whether for class creation, novel writing, lecture notes or a project, having a place where all your research is collected will save time when you need to find something.

5 – Contemplate Your Ideas

When looking back over your notebooks, you’ll be able to see the connection and insights you may not have seen otherwise. You’ll get a big picture of the information that inspired you.

6 – Increased Awareness

The more you Commonplace, the more you become aware. You’ll start to find quotes, figures of speech, and inspirational lines or lyrics in your everyday.

7 – Keeps Your Brain Sharp

The physical art of writing things down keeps your mind sharp. As a person ages they need more brain exercises and writing things down, especially things that you connect to, will keep you sharp as a tack.

The benefits of Commonplace Books are so vast. I’ve found that Commonplacing has helped me with Self-Care, especially when working through Grief.

Having a Grief Commonplace Book allows me to collect all the things that connect to me and offer support and guidance all in one place. I can quickly flip through it to see things I know will offer support and sooth during difficult moments.

I’m teaching a new class all about Commonplace Books. Here’s the post I wrote all about the class.

New Class: Commonplace Books for Self-Care

Commonplace Books are a journal…for keeping ideas, quotes, notes, and ephemera. They’ve been used since the Middle Ages to collect, organize and store information for later use.

I’ve been keeping Commonplace Books for over 30 years and over that course of time my notebooks have taken on many forms, but the thing that remained the same with each was how they inspired me and helped me to focus. They let me write something that is relevant at the time, to ponder on it and return to it at a later time.

Using Commonplace Books for Self-Care during times of stress or loss will give you a record of what you’ve gone through and how you have changed. Over time these books turn into a personal anthology of thoughts and reflections.

In this class I’ll share the history of Commonplace Books, how to use them as Self-Care, the different types of Commonplace Books and then I’ll demonstrate the two ways I use Commonplace Books. One being lines and lines of text and the other a collage style that combines visuals with bits of inspirational text.

The lessons include:

  • What is a Commonplace Book?
  • History of Commonplace Books
  • Using Commonplace Books for Self-Care
  • Types of Commonplace Books
  • Supplies Needed
  • Project 1 – Text Commonplace Book
  • Project 2 – Collage Commonplace Book
  • Commonplace Book Flip-Through
Class Preview

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Income-Producing Activities for Creatives

I’ve created a fun eBook that shares a ton of Income-Producing Activities (I.P.A’s) for Creatives and I’m giving it to you for FREE.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the ideas and way others are making an income as a creative person. We usually hear people speak of making “passive income” as a creative artist, but there are many steps that are taken before those passive incomes begin to work. I’ve created a combination of daily, weekly and monthly task lists, along with detailed information about the different ways a creative can earn an income.

Income Producing Activities for Creatives eBook – $0.00