The 100 Day Project is a global art project that takes place annually on social media. I had heard about it last year when I really started getting into podcasts, but this year I decided to participate. The idea behind The Project is that for 100 days you commit to completing a creative task each day, and then you document it on social media. This year's began on April 3, so I'm officially a quarter of the way finished. You can click on the images below to enlarge them.
As I typically do, I initially came up with project ideas that would be a bit more than I could chew. My first idea was that I would complete one portrait a day for 100 days. I realized, given my tendency towards perfectionism, I would quickly become overwhelmed. Then I thought I would do a drawing a day in a specific theme; one of the themes was skulls, but I thought that 100 skull drawings would eliminate my desire to ever draw skull imagery again and I didn't want that. I also didn't want to be pigeonholed into one specific thing, I knew I needed flexibility for those days I wouldn't have much time to work on the project.
My decision: one sketchbook page a day for 100 days. I finally asked myself, what do I want to get out of this? What's something I've been meaning to make a habit of? I've never been good about keeping up a sketchbook. Even in college, when it was a requirement, I constantly disappointed my professors in this regard. I think this is largely due to the perfectionist in me in that it takes me longer to draw. So when I have time to draw, I typically prefer to work on a larger project that will be publicly displayed than in a personal sketchbook.
Anyways, I found an old Moleskin sketchbook which was perfect for this: it's a manageable size and has almost exactly 100 pages. April 3 came around and I again had that sinking feeling of when you start a project that's going to take more time than anticipated. Typical Maddie.
It actually wasn't so daunting at first. I decided I would be loose and experimental in my endeavors so as to finish the pages quickly and not take too much time out of my work day. But by day 5 or 6 I realized I wasn't getting much satisfaction with each page.
The universe seemed to intervene one of these early days and I got in the mail the goods from a Kickstarter I backed several months ago. One of my favorite artists had released an art book solely about her sketchbook process, The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in Progress. This book was exactly what I needed: inspiration.
It helped me to narrow my goals for The 100 Day Project as I questioned what I wanted to get out of a sketchbook besides quick thumbnail drawings, project ideas, and notes. I've always been drawn (get it?) to the human face, but I only draw portraits as a part of larger projects. Like I focus on one portrait at a time for an extended amount of time. I want to get better at drawing portraits. I want to get faster at drawing portraits. I want to get better at drawing on a small scale. Eventually, I'd like to be able to draw a convincing portrait without reference material.
Of course I tried to push myself, thinking if I'm determined enough, I can completely fill my sketchbook pages like Loish does and still have time to work on other projects. Which of course didn't work because I'm not used to working in a sketchbook AND working on other things since I've always done one or another. I had a couple days of depression in which I felt like a failure because I wasn't able to accomplish this task that other artists don't even have to think again. Comparing yourself to other artists? Never a good idea and not healthy.
It took me 25 days to accept that I'm going to have to do this at my own pace, with my own limitations to consider. It's going to take many hours of sketchbook practice to achieve my ultimate goals, and that's the point of The 100 Day Project. I'll probably post the next 25 images when I hit day 50, but for now you can follow my progress on Instagram or Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe to my email list below so you never miss a blog post! Thanks for reading!