Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taking on Challenges

Running Up That Hill

I think it is good to take on a challenge once in a while, shake things up. Since this is mostly an art blog I will stick to that side of the fence (though you could apply this to anything)

Why should we take up a challenge? Well for one there is a theory (and this is a hell of a paraphrase) that says without challenges we stagnate and die (I told you it was a paraphrase!)

We need to push the boundaries so that we can grow!

Who Needs It?

We all do. Whether it is to do 30 characters in 30 days, 30 panels in 30 days, 24 hour comic day or nanowrimo - writing a book in 30 days. These are but a few, I'm sure there is many more.

Challenge Yourself!

They don't have to be sponsored by a website! I took up a personal sketch a day challenge back a couple months ago. I was good for the first 10 days or so but fell behind pretty quickly. I should have done quick 5 to 10 minute sketches (which was the point) but I found myself taking longer and doing more than what the original challenge was all about. This could be classified as - a pitfall.

Pitfalls, Missteps, Blunders

You have to be careful that you stick with the program/rules of the challenge and yes there is a reason challenges have rules (see above pitfall) but the idea is others have completed most of them before so it can be done but only if you stick "close to their rules...

This blog has also been a challenge. I tried to write weekly instead I wrote "weakly"!

Yes I misstep-ed and missed some weeks of writing but I tried to supplement by posting drawings and that didn't work for many of you. Many of you missed the journal-ling of our adventure in creating and I apologize as I have come to realize I am not that great of a troop leader!

I have difficulty keeping the "eye on the prize" and get easily sidetracked which leads to the blunders.

Learning to UN-learn

That's where challenges can come in handy. You do have to give up certain things when you take on a challenge. You give up some of your usual creative processes but sometimes they can be crutches. This scares some people. You can't be too particular or precious about your art in a challenge.

It is about experimentation and learning and for some that is tough. Especially if you are used to one way of doing something.

I believe that you need incentive but you also need to want to do it. There is no point in doing something you know you won't finish. So enjoy yourself. Remember, that is what we are here for.

My Art Week

(see posted sketches)

Tell me what creative challenges you took part in this year.

They don't have to be the ones I linked to but they can be personal goals/challenges!

I will link to them.

I'd be interested in what things you learned in your challenge!

ArrOOoo! Go out and be Creative!


  1. I love challenges like the 24 Hour Comic day and 30 Characters in 30 Days because you always start off in an ideal situation. You've got enough time, rest, and ambition to get you through the familiar part, which is starting. As the challenge continues and you head into unfamiliar territory, which might be working on a longer story or having to illustrate characters that aren't particularly inspiring. Rather than being faced with this at the beginning of the challenge, you've got things like momentum, caffeination, or simply the fear of the deadline helping you out. There might be some earlier pages or characters that get you particularly excited. The thing you are trying to work on is already a thing! Spontaneously getting through unfamiliar territory is tough, but the challenge itself might be that extra little push of motivation you need.

    At least that's how some of my best challenges have worked out...

  2. Hehe of course you'd mention "caffeine!" I did the 30 characters challenge last year and approached it similar to others who thought that I might use all the characters in upcoming comics. In the end I have not (not yet anyway)...


    Check out Josh's excellent strip Caffeinated Toothpaste at:

  3. Good post! It sounds like me for sure. Challenges can be helpfull to push through and finish things you normally wouldn't do.

    I think the 30 characters challenge taught me a few things.

    1 I can create a character very quickly with little reference on a first pass so it would be ideal to apply that to characters in the future.

    2 the first pass is important but its just the first pass. I think to fully create a character you need to go through many different designs and exercises before settling on a final design.

    3. Don't be afraid to make choices. Remember your the creator so any choice isn't wrong or right its just a choice.

    I think I may not do this challenge again for awhile. I'm ready for a new challenge. I'm thinking of making sketchbook challenges. Like filling a small sketchbook with all hands, or women or gesture drawings etc. Stuff to help me learn specific things I'm week in. Maybe ill put a time limit to them.

    Thanks for the post good stuff!

  4. Marshall thanks for the kind comments!

    I'm glad you attempted and completed the challenge!

    You DO learn a lot about yourself in these type of challenges and sometimes they are necessary when self motivation isn't enough!

    I agree that one pass isn't enough for most characters but like some great songs, you can get really lucky, create and record in one pass!

    I like your drawing style and hope to see some of your characters in a comic down the road!