Are you a creativity weekend warrior? Instead of drawing or painting once a week, what if you did it every single day? Artists who've made it through 30, 100, or even 1000 days of continuous practice swear by this approach. You're probably rolling your eyes right this very minute, wondering how you could possibly squeeze in one more thing with your crazy life. Fair enough. But let's start with the why:
It's a legit form of mindfulness
Artist and author Danny Gregory of SketchbookSkool began drawing in his thirties.
It was a form of journaling and recording my life. As a regular practice it's been a great calming, continuous meditation … a great psychological and spiritual practice.
When you're doing it daily, no one drawing matters that much, Gregory adds — so there's no pressure to make every drawing a masterpiece.
It fast-tracks improvement
"I've improved and developed my skill set much more quickly by working every day for years than I might have otherwise," says artist and Bluprint instructor Paul Heaston .
It lets you time-travel
"The drawings [have become] a powerful visual record of my life, reminding me of my state of mind, temperament, level of engagement," Heaston says. "Past works done sporadically just don't carry these same layers of memory."
Ready, set, go
Inspired to start your own creative streak? Here's how:
You don't need a routine
"I've never had a routine," says Heaston, who stays flexible around a busy family and professional life. Artist and designer Deborah Velasquez, another daily creator — she's been making art daily for four years — just makes it a rule to get something done by midnight every day.
But it can help
For many artists, a set time and place can up momentum. Gregory, in his book Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are, suggests keeping a sketchbook in the kitchen. While you're waiting for the coffee to brew, draw the coffeemaker or something else nearby.
Push through slumps
Yeah, this is the "discipline" part. "Working even when you don't want to is one of the most important things you can do," Heaston says. "I think it's the secret 'trick' that people always want to know when they ask how you got so good."
Give yourself #artgoals
If you dread the what-am-I-going-to-draw-today moment, having consistency and a project plan can help you avoid slumps altogether, Gregory says. "Maybe draw a car every day for 30 days. Or draw with a brush every day." Velasquez's practice of focusing on a different color each month has given her a gorgeous Instagram feed and a rich body of work and ideas.
Just start! And make bad art.
Start today, says Heaston.
There's no sense in waiting; you're only delaying your development by that amount of time. It's OK if what you make today is terrible — you have to make bad art before you can make good art.