Each October, there is a drawing challenge where you are invited to draw based on a daily prompt.
I’m afraid to use the name because the person who came up with it trademarked it, but you probably know which one I mean. Social media lights up with this one every October.
No one will even notice if you skip a day. Or a week.
Here are the reasons why you should not be participating.
Death March Mode!
As you will see from some people who post, it is an exhausting death march. Artists see it as a tough thing to have to battle through.
It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint!
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that what I think is most important is that you enjoy the activity. If your subconscious starts telling you it wants to do something else, then listen to it! You only create good work if you are excited about it.
By all means, do one or two of the prompts, but don’t commit to doing the entire month. No one is holding you to it! No one will even notice if you skip a day. Or a week.
If one or two or three of the prompts inspires you, then do explore those themes. Spend as much time as you feel you want on them. Do studies. Try to come up with different designs. Maybe draw in different styles. Set as a goal something that is just out of your reach, try to achieve that goal, and feel the satisfaction after that. And stop when you don’t feel like continuing. Don’t force yourself to do thirty-one of them.
It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint!
Why only October? Think about that for a moment. Don’t we want to have a satisfying creative habit? Then why do a sprint in October only?
I think you should instead try to develop a habit that is sustainable throughout the year. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Look at your creative routine today, and analyze what you think is going wrong. Then pick one small thing you want to improve a bit this week and try that. On social media too much? Set timers or choose time slots where you are allowed to be on social media. Find it hard to start? Maybe lay your drawing tools out in an optimized way for easy access and with reference so that you can get started more easily. Find small things you can try to see if they improve your process.
Don’t go all-out on an exhausting death march, make things no one asked for the entire month, and then collapse. That does not a healthy creative habit make.
You’re Promoting Someone Else!
The founder of the October challenge is a kind and generous person. The reason my Instagram account became so big maybe because he generously shared some of my posts with proper credits.
But do understand that each time you post your work with the name of the challenge, you are promoting his business, not yours. He makes money off deals.
Occasionally, there is drama involved with the community, which I will not go into here and which you may or may not wish to be associated with.
Again, the founder of that challenge is a kind and generous person. And I think it is great that he is organizing it! And kudos to all the people who enjoy participating! There are reasons to focus on designing your creative process and promoting your work, though, so consider that.
Come up with one thing that is just out of your reach, and try to practice that until you feel you have a better grasp of it.
For example, if feet and shoes are a thing for you, study it a bit and see if you can learn to draw a specific type of shoe from many different angles.
Look at your current process, and like described earlier, analyze what you think is going wrong, and come up with three small things that you can try for a week to see if they improve your creative process.
Next article: What I Learned From Re-Inking Joseph Clement Coll
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