A Creative Kick Start for 2022: The 100 Day Project

Sample from my sketchbook

I’ve decided 2022 is the year for a new creative challenge: completing the 100 day project! If you haven’t heard of it before, the idea is pretty simple: do one activity, every day, for 100 days. It can be anything from self-portraits, to dancing in public, to tea-bag paintings. Originally a graduate design workshop taught by Michael Beirut, the challenge has grown over the years, promoted by artists such as Elle Luna and Linsday Jean Thomson as a way for anyone to develop their creative practice.

Starting 13th February I’m committing to one entry, every day, in my sketchbook. I’ve landed on this goal as it feels achievable: I can take my sketchbook anywhere, it’s OK to do a bad drawing, and there’s the satisfaction of watching a sketchbook expand with work. I’m aiming to refine my drawing style and get creative with subject matter. I’m also hoping it will help with perfectionism! I have a built-in Instagram editor scanning each post to ensure it’s up to standard, and she’s a total hardass. But this isn’t a very good reflection of what the artistic practice is like. There are plenty of bad drawings, days when things don’t go right. Letting go of always creating ‘perfect’ will do wonders for my creative flow.

Sketchbooks ready to go...

Will I make it? Maybe! Progress isn't linear, and 100 days is a long time. It’s common to start projects like this with gusto and fanfare, only to peter out as enthusiasm dries up. Michael reported over half the students dropped out before the end of his course. For many, the art is not in the final piece itself, but in the challenge of showing up.

Anticipating I could grow bored, or lose inspiration, or find any excuse to weasel out (I’m so busy! Covid! I don’t want to be an illustrator -  I’m going to be an extreme knitter instead!), I’ve planned ahead with some creative prompts. I've sorted them into three timed categories: 5-10 minutes, 10-20 minutes, and 40+ minutes. I figure, surely I can find 5 minutes in a day to draw - even a busy one. Each prompt relates to an area I’d like to develop, like drawing from memory or sticking to a colour palette. They are all numbered, and I’ll use a die to choose the prompt each day. I’m hoping the element of random surprise keeps things fresh and fun.

Sample of my drawing prompts

I’ve also enlisted some creative accountability through my friends, Cari of Paperplane Collective, and Sonja Adelle. These ladies are a constant source of inspiration, and always on point with feedback and ideas. Sonja is tackling a music-themed project whilst Cari is undertaking a poetry and collage challenge!

I’ll post (most?) days on my Instagram account using the hashtag #100daysofsketchbook. If you’re inspired to try the challenge for yourself, check out the event page or Instagram account @dothe100dayproject. The first day is February 13th, running every day until May 24th. (Or however long it takes to get there). Come join us!

Ten Free Joys

Earlier this week, I wrote about why I’m avoiding Black Friday. Today I’m sharing TEN FREE JOYS that are wholesome, fun, and kind to the planet.

A walk in nature without your phone. Use your senses to listen to the birds, smell the flowers, crunch the leaves. Look out for wildlife or unusual plants.

Go “shopping” in your wardrobe. Crank some tunes and try on clothes you haven’t worn in yonks. Mix and match possible outfits, replicate runway looks, or repair holey pieces - Youtube has heaps of tutorials.

Make cuttings of your houseplants. Lots of common houseplants are easily propagated. Succulents, spider plans, and Devil’s Ivy have worked for me in the past. For extra magic, swap cuttings with neighbours or gift plant babies to friends.

Have a nap. The ultimate indulgence that’s great for productivity, mental health, and stress relief!

Send a message of appreciation to someone who makes your life a better place. 

Take or draw a picture of something beautiful you saw today.

Make a playlist of your favourite pick-me-up songs. AND I hereby permit you to sing along BADLY to the whole lot.

Find your last unfinished project and dedicate some hours this weekend to working on it. Try the “just for five minutes” technique if it’s hard to get started.

Start a gratitude jar. Write down up to five things you are grateful for and put them in a jar. Commit to doing this regularly (Sunday evenings work for me). After a year, sit down and read them all. 

Do an exercise video on YouTube and get those endorphins pumping! Team Body Project and Popsugar both have fun and accessible vids to get you started.

Are you taking part in Black Friday? Or are you buying nothing at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts!