Weekly Sketch Along: A Personal Art Challenge

I’d like to introduce you to a new art habit I’m attempting to develop. A weekly sketch along.

And I invite you to join me!

How it all Began

This idea has been a long time coming, and I didn’t think of it on my own; I had help. A lot of help.

I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but John Middick started a weekly colored pencil podcast several years ago. He and a variety of guests talk about all things colored pencil.

The July 5 episode is Making Art Authentic to You. You can listen to it here.

I listen as often as possible, but usually as time allows. When I heard the topic for this podcast, I knew I had to MAKE time to listen.

A Confession

The truth is that I’ve had a terrible time making time for art for the last year and half. It took six months to finish a portrait that should have take three, and the last two pieces I started (both early this year) are still unfinished.

I enjoy drawing once I start, and that portrait was the best portrait I’ve ever done, but it was still a struggle to make myself go to the easel. Goals weren’t working. Self-talks weren’t working. Even the disappointment of getting through another day (or another week) without picking up a pencil didn’t help.

I had no idea why.

But something told me I needed to hear this podcast. So when I got notice that the early version was available to Monthly Sharpener members, I sat down on Saturday and listened.

I’m glad I did.

Afterward, I decided to stop trying to make everything I do a “finished piece.” Instead, I grabbed pencils and paper, sat on my front porch, and dashed off five 4×6 inch sketches of one of my favorite things. Tree branches! It was great.

And they all turned out! That was even better.

The Weekly Sketch Along

Because of that, I changed my weekly art goal from three hours of drawing a week to six 4×6 sketches a week. That may seem like a small thing, but I can tell you it made a difference. The first week, I missed sketching only one day and I still ended up with fifteen sketches. (That doesn’t include an illustration I made for one of this past week’s blog posts.)

It turned out so well, I decided to sketch on a regular basis.

I also decided to sketch from life as much as possible, and to make a personal art challenge.

Here’s the collection of sketches from the first week.

My Weekly Sketch Along Sketches

  • Weekly Sketch Along Tree Bones in Green
  • Weekly Sketch Along On the Sunset Side
  • Weekly Sketch Along Rainy Day
  • Weekly Sketch Along
  • Weekly Sketch Along Tree Bones in Watercolor
  • Weekly Sketch Along

Is a Weekly Sketch Along for You?

What I’ve found from sketching and life drawing is that it’s easier to loosen up and just draw what I see, then let it go and move on. Limiting myself to one color or to a limited number of colors has also helped.

If you’re having trouble getting motivated to draw, maybe this is the solution.

Would you like to join me in this weekly sketch along? I hope so.

Your sketches can be any size you like. They don’t have to be finished or perfect, but I suggest you not work on a sketch more than one work session. I refrained from working on one or two two days in a row, though I really wanted to. The idea is to start and finish without fretting over perfection.

You don’t have to post anything if you prefer not to, but I’d be delighted to see your sketch (or sketches) for the week.

7 Replies to “Weekly Sketch Along: A Personal Art Challenge”

  1. This is way cool Carrie! Love your tree branches and your challenge. As my current class load lightens up or ends or as the assignments get easier with a different class, I would love to try and do this or something similar. Always good to keep drawing. A few weeks ago I found myself taking pics of tree knots and weird swirls in the bark to try and draw at some point. You never know what you find when you go out walking and take a camera.

    1. Gail,

      Thank you. I’m quite pleased with the results. It was a good way to do some drawing that was also fun and relaxing almost every day last week.

      I’m thinking about a 30 Days, 30 Sketches sort of challenge for later this summer or maybe this Fall. I’ll have to give that some thought, but if it happens, I’ll be able to promote it, instead of just springing it on everyone like I did this collection.

    1. Richard,

      You can send sketches to me by email. Just attach them and if they’re not too big, they’ll get to me. Then I’ll set up a slide show with my sketches and all the other sketches that I receive for the week in a post next week.

      You can send sketches as you do them or all at once, whichever works best for you.

  2. Hi Carrie,
    What a great idea!
    I’d be up for something like that as I could really use the
    inspiration at this point.
    I think that a lot of people that follow your wonderful posts
    would be more than willing to participate.
    It’s been awhile since I’ve put pencil or pen to paper and
    I feel the urge to get back to doing so.
    Please keep inspiring us Carrie!

    1. Kim,

      I know how that is! It’s amazing how much time can pass without drawing even when you intend to draw every day.

      I’d be delighted to have you drawing with me. If you want to post your sketches (or the best of them, whichever you’re comfortable with,) contact me by email and we’ll make arrangements.

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