It’s October, also known as Inktober by artists looking to hone their craft by doing a drawing every single day. The practice can be grueling and stretches one’s ability to create and deliver. But what if you didn’t stop at one month? What if you went an entire year?
One of our featured artists, Faraday, set herself the challenge of completing a piece– a drawing, painting, or similar– for each of 365 days in a year. We had the chance to talk to her about her experience, what she learned, and what she’d do differently if she did it again.
Could you describe the full terms you put yourself under? What was the exact challenge you gave yourself?
So, my one rule for it was that I had to draw one thing for each day of the year. It didn’t matter whether it was a painting, sketch or lined drawing, as long as I had one thing to show, I was content.
What inspired you to do a piece every day?
I forgot who the artist was, but the year before that I followed another artist who went through the same exact challenge. Seeing them go through it made me want to try it out!
Can you show us a piece from the very beginning?
Unfortunately, I lost the art for the first day, but I did make this on the second day! I wish I had the first day. It was my most ambitious art at the time and what caused me to start painting more.
This one is a sketched headshot of a medic from Planetside 2. I used to be huge into the game and played it a ton. Looking back it’s not much, but I was super proud of the shading I did for this.
Can you show us a piece from the end of the challenge?
It’s not from the last day, but this was one of the pieces from the last month.
This is a painting of the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. I’m not sure why I wanted to make this, but I must have been really passionate about making this one. I do remember trying really hard to make the fire pop out.
Can you show us a recent piece of yours?
This is a piece I just made for Halloween. It’s been almost 3 years between that last piece and this one!
I love halloween, and I try to make a painting or some special drawing each year to celebrate. I wasn’t feeling like making anything too visceral or scary, so I wanted to play with some minor lighting and different textures to get that matted fur. Candy gore makes it a lot less sickening to look at. Also werewolves are awesome, so of course I drew her as one!
How did you find the motivation to do a piece every day?
Honestly, the first few months were easy, but it was super hard for most of it. I wasn’t fully prepared when the motivation stopped and I had to push myself to draw. This challenge is difficult both creatively and mentally, especially for my past self with only 2 years of experience drawing. I applaud anybody that can do daily drawings in this way.
Did you manage to do it every single day or were there any days you didn’t manage to draw?
There were some days where I was absolutely dead and couldn’t bring myself to pick up my pen, but there were also very productive days where I was able to build up a queue of drawings. That kinda makes it not a true daily drawing, but I didn’t fully grasp what I was doing in the first place. Either way, I did draw something for each day of the year.
What was the most difficult day to perform a drawing and how did you muster the strength to make it happen? Or did you rely on the queue days when it got especially bad?
Honestly, couldn’t say how I was able to push and keep drawing some days. It affected me emotionally, and on the days where everything seemed to hit me, I think the queue saved me for the challenge. I do remember thinking that the whole experience will be a good thing in the long run and would help me improve with my art.
How did you come up with ideas for each day?
I have absolutely no idea! All I know is that there were a lot of influences from things I enjoy and sci-fi in general.
What advice would you give someone considering drawing a piece every single day?
I’d want to tell them that this challenge brings a lot of growth in your skill, but it also brings a lot of stress and tests you creatively, mentally and emotionally. If someone wants to do a year long daily challenge, or even longer than that, I would encourage them to prepare for a potentially rough time. Organizing and planning for that can better equip someone to handle it!
How might they organize and plan for it?
You could put together a prompt list, or assign weekly or monthly themes. Make sure that you’re spending time away from what medium you use and go outside. You could also tell those close to you about it and have them help you through the process!
How does going outside help?
I have an issue with this sometimes, but there are health benefits from going outside and moving around. Sitting idly every day can cause some long term health issues. It can also strain you mentally and emotionally, and that can affect your productivity with the challenge
Aside from the improvement in your art, what did you learn from the experience?
It taught me that drawing doesn’t always get easier and that there’s more to art than being perfect. We all learn constantly, and that learning never stops. It also helped me improve on my work ethic, even if it took a while to register.
How much time did you spend on a piece each day? How did the challenge affect your speed to completion of a piece?
It depends on what the piece was, sketches were quicker to make and paintings took longer! I’d say it helped with my pace of drawing, I find myself able to create things quicker the more I work.
Would you ever do this again?
Absolutely! I’m not sure when I will, but I’d love to do it better than I did the first time.
What will you do differently when you do it again?
When I do it again, I want to make sure I’m in a good situation and have proper support from those close to me. I’d also make sure that I spend more time outside and be more active.
What would that support look like?
I think that support is different for every individual, but I would want someone to be there when I’m not feeling very hot emotionally or mentally drained– also having someone to remind me to do other stuff than draw and to take care of myself in case I forget.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If anyone wants to do something like this, make sure you have the proper support and handle the challenge in a smart way. I was able to finish it completely, but the next year I was very burnt out and didn’t draw much. As long as you have that, you should be able to avoid the burnout. Remember that you’re human not a machine!
Faraday is Open For Commissions!
Interested? Come check out her store here!