Yesterday was the 25th day of The 100 Day Project – an online challenge on Instagram pioneered by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent, which celebrates the process of making and encourages people to devote 100 days of their lives exploring something new or doing something they are passionate about. I had never heard of Elle or TGD until the day before the project began. I just heard about it from Kayo who thought we should join so we can both work on our drawings. But when I read more about what the story behind it was and the reasons why one should do it, I got excited about playing along. So I did. And even when Kayo realized it wasn’t something he could commit to at the moment, I found myself going at it daily.
At first I thought I should just be very spontaneous and draw or sketch whatever comes to me that day. So I ended up just doodling, which, quite frankly, no matter how fun that sounds, is something I don’t want to be doing everyday for a hundred days. I wanted something more purposeful I guess. So come week two, I decided to assign a theme for every day of the week and follow that until day 100. I assigned abstract, more fluid and self-expressive stuff on Mondays, flowers on Tuesdays, everyday objects on Wednesdays, animals on Thursdays, portraits on Fridays, food on Saturdays and typography on Sundays. Doing this makes it easy for me to come up with a subject to draw but it also makes it challenging because, it means drawing things I have never tried drawing before. Friday portraits is a great example because I never attempt to draw people and faces, much less real life people! So doing this is a huge stretch for me as an illustrator.
Thing is, I used to draw a lot as a child. Much like Summer is now, I would draw on every sheet of paper I find and go through sketch pads very quickly. Even during my early teens my main hobby was drawing. But when Photoshop happened and I became a graphic designer by profession, I started relying highly on the mouse or drawing tablet. I became more comfortable illustrating digitally than with a pen and paper. To some degree, it was good. I learned a lot and my understanding of line, balance, light and shadow were honed. However, I lost confidence in drawing freehand.
So, in many ways, this project is an enriching endeavor for me. It’s letting me discover that I actually still have it and that I can keep getting better as long as I practice, explore and challenge myself.
I’ve also set a rule for myself that once I’ve inked a drawing, I cannot change or redo it anymore. So whatever I post is the only draft I will have worked on that day. This standard I’ve set makes me more attentive to detail when pencilling and teaches me to be confident with every stroke. I realize when I’m hesitant, that’s when I make more mistakes.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure I had chosen the right “action” for my 100 Day Project. I was even thinking maybe I should have just decided to do 100 rubberstamps or 100 paper crafts. But now I’m discovering that this is the perfect activity to commit to because drawing is something I have always loved but somehow just lost along the way. It’s about time I got it back and become a little more unafraid about doing and sharing it.