what happens when you draw every day for a year

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Very late in 2017, I think it was like December 29th, I made the quick and rash decision to draw every day in 2018. I was sick with a sinus infection at the time and clearly not thinking things through. However today I can do nothing but thank my past self for making me, 2018 Jess, take on this challenge. 

So much has changed since then. My style has changed a LOT. I even think I'm getting closer to being able to recognize my style. Others have told me they can, I still don't see it. I've also ventured into digital art with my iPad and apple pencil. Something that I was very intimidated by at first, but now I love. And finally, I'm taking myself more seriously as an artist, investing in learning about the business side of art and marketing, and making the brave decision to make money with my art.

The biggest surprise to me is that I have't run out of ideas. Sure, sometimes I just plain don't feel like drawing (I still do draw, even if it's just a quick scribble), but that doesn't mean I don't have ideas of what I would draw if I did feel like it. The ideas come to me so fast it's like trying to take a sip from a firehose, and this has led me to come up with an actual art process so I can get the idea down quickly and save it for later.

 "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Truer words were never spoken, Ms. Angelou. I painted this in the sketchbook I reserve for more refined work, using watercolour and gouache.

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Truer words were never spoken, Ms. Angelou. I painted this in the sketchbook I reserve for more refined work, using watercolour and gouache.

When I decided I was going to do this 365 drawing challenge, my main worry was running out of ideas. So listed all of the months and decided that I would dedicate each month to a theme or a subject and that would keep me busy, while allowing me to switch it up each month, because my secondary fear was that I would get bored. 

But after I think the first month, I totally abandoned that idea. I learned pretty quickly that my creativity needs freedom to come up with things, and that when I try to restrict it too much it has a hard time sending ideas my way. 

Now, I get ideas faster than I can make them, so I keep a sketchbook with me at all times, this sketchbook is for really scrappy stuff. Things that I stop on the side of the road to get down on paper before I forget them. Colour studies, storyboards, and notes all go in here too. 

 The inside cover of my sketchbook, where I pasted a great page torn out from   Things are What You Make of Them  by Adam J. Kurtz . This book is full of advice like this and I flip through it often. Oh, and the sketchbook I'm using now is the  Moleskine Art Plus (A5 size) . It's been a favourite of mine for a while!

The inside cover of my sketchbook, where I pasted a great page torn out from Things are What You Make of Them by Adam J. Kurtz. This book is full of advice like this and I flip through it often. Oh, and the sketchbook I'm using now is the Moleskine Art Plus (A5 size). It's been a favourite of mine for a while!

I don't post a lot of this sketchbook on Instagram because it's not really pretty. I usually refine it digitally or in another sketchbook before posting. Curious to see what goes in my "ideas sketchbook"? I've started posting the pages on Patreon. For just one dollar a month you get access to these pages on a monthly basis. They're unedited and only lightly filtered to remove any sensitive notes or things that are just too personal for the internet (of which there isn't much!). You can also click follow and any free content I post there will be sent to your email. And I do post a lot of free content. Check it out! 

As you can probably guess, I'm not going to stop when the 365 days are up. Maybe I'll never stop! If I've made it this far (245 days - holy smokes!) I can just keep right on going. Honestly I think I'd feel a little lost if I didn't. 

If you'd like more details about my newly-discovered art process, I'm working on a blog post about it that will be posted shortly.