Want to know one of the best things I did to improve my oil painting and drawing?
It wasn't taking art lessons and workshops, although they were a huge help.
It wasn't spending money on new brushes or a better brand of oil paints.
It wasn't reading every blog post I could find on painting.
I started a drawing project. Simple enough, right?
In 2010, I started a Project 365. This is a sketching and project where you make a drawing or sketch every single day for 365 days.
I can't begin to tell you how much my drawing and painting skills improved over those 365 days. I went from fumbling with my charcoals and pencils to quickly nailing my skills to capture images of almost any quick moving subject.
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you start a Project 365, unless you want to. I realize that is a huge undertaking and may seem way too overwhelming. I get it.
Instead, I suggest starting small. Start with 30 days. I know you can pick up your pencil each day for 30 days.
Why 30 days?
Because just like anything in life, if you want to improve you need to practice daily. If you want to make better images of your most beloved subjects then you need to be practicing every single day.
And it has been shown that it only takes a couple of weeks to develop a new habit. So once you get the momentum of drawing every day going, you are very likely to stay with it.
So what exactly should you sketch for 30 days?
Don't worry, I have you covered.
When I was doing my Project 365, I drew everything that was in front of me, all the ordinary stuff around my house, in the yard, and on my desk.
That included stuff like my shoes, pencils and pencil sharpener, the TV, stereo, the pet cat, the pet dog, the goldfish in the bowl, the rosebushes in the garden, the sofa, the kitchen chairs.
You get the idea, don't you?
Any ordinary object is immediately a subject for a drawing.
Don't worry about composition, details or creating a finished product here. That's not the point.
The point is just to pick an object and start drawing. Don't labor over deciding what to draw or how good you're drawing it.
Just get down to the business of drawing or sketching, and make several very quick ones.
Gestural drawings are what you're going for here.
These gestural pencil or charcoal studies will greatly improve your painting skills, as well.
Because painting is just drawing in color.
You have to know how to draw well to paint well.
Like one of my art teachers used to tell me, "You can't hide a bad drawing with good color."
Makes perfect sense to me, how about you?
And once you get fully into the swing of making a pencil or charcoal sketch every day, you can easily switch over to doing very quick color sketches in oils, acrylics, or even water colors.
Are you ready to be a better draftsman and painter?
Then pick up your pencils, charcoals, paper and join us.
Do you need some art supplies?
I recommend two things to get you started:
For the pencil set, try this 18 piece drawing set by Pro Art. It has all the pencils, charcoals, erasers and sharpeners that you will need.
It is perfect for beginning artists. And perfect for this challenge.
You will want to experiment with different drawing medium from pencils to charcoal. That way you can learn what works best for you.
Some people are better with charcoal. Some people are better with pencils. Again, experimentation is the key here.
Here is what you get in this set:
- 8 graphite pencils (2H to 6B)
- 3 charcoal pencils
- 2 charcoal sticks
- 1 sketch stick
- Pencil sharpener
- Charcoal sharpener
- 1 kneaded eraser
- 1 White Pro art plastic erase
- Great for beginners
- Holding and toggle clamps included to keep wood steady and ensure precise cuts every tim
- Additional two sharpeners and two erasers
I recommend a small sketch pad for this challenge. Try a 9 x 12 inch or smaller spiral bound.
The smaller size allows you to take it with you on the go.
That way you can sketch whenever you see an object that inspires you.
Being able to quickly take out your sketch book and start drawing is an important aspect to this challenge.
The convenience of having it with you at all times is what keeps you on track and able to do the daily drawing, regardless of your schedule.
Does that make sense?
Here's why I like this sketch book:
- BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - 2 Pack of 75 Page Sketchpads. 50% More than the Competition
- High QUALITY 60lb (90GSMS) Paper - 100% Acid-Free and Neutral PH. Perfectly Textured for a Smooth Non-Reflective Finish
- DURABLE SPIRALED BINDING - Each Page has a Perforated Edging for Easy Tearing. Ideal for Framing or Presenting!
- IDEAL FOR ARTISTS, WRITERS, & ILLUSTRATORS - Highly Universal Product for Beginners or Professionals. Can also be used as a Journal, Diary, or Watercolor Canvas
- FULL 100% MANUFACTURER MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - If you find any flaw with this book, or any of our products, you get a free replacement or a full refund.
Just to let you know, all of the product links in this article are affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy anything, but it doesn’t cost you any extra. Don’t worry, I’m always honest, open, impartial with my reviews – I only recommend the good stuff – but this affiliate income helps keep the site running.
Join our 30 day challenge today and start capturing the magic of your painting and drawing everyday.
Please share your images on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #30DayDrawing. I can't wait to watch your journey!