How to set up a DAILY DRAWING challenge / Tips & tricks to keep you MOTIVATED

Do you want to start drawing daily?

In this blogpost I’m sharing my 10 favorite tips on how to set up a 30-day-art-challenge and how to keep motivated. I hope you find these tips useful and encouraging to help you start creating a daily drawing habit. If you have other tips or would like to share your experience with art challenges, please share in the comments  ✨ If you’d rather like to watch a video, head over to my Youtube channel.

I’ve just finished my latest 30 day art challenge and thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few tips on how to set up your own. This was my fifth 30 day challenge that I finished. 

Last year I did two, one with Hawaiian plants in this mini leporello, and one with Hawaiian birds, both in a sketchbook and also on loose paper. 


This year in January I participated in another bird challenge hosted by Tanja @missniceday, where I used one of my own handmade journals and did some gouache, collage and mixed media:


The latest one was another mixed media challenge while I was in Germany, and it featured very random prompts. I asked my followers over on Instagram in a poll what prompts they would suggest and a lot of those went into the challenge, for example the California condor, sea turtles and the kakapo bird: 


I’ve also tried a 100 day challenge, and even a one year challenge. I quit the 100 day challenge at around day 80 and even though I pulled through most of the one year challenge, I kinda had to drag myself to the challenge and spent so much time every day to draw the prompts. 

So for me personally, after successfully finishing a few 30 day challenges, I can say 30 days are the sweet spot for me. 

Which brings me to


How many days? Depends!

A challenge can be long or short, with big or small prompts. Naturally you’ll have to try it out and see how it works for you. But you might profit the most when doing just a 10 day challenge. Or maybe a 100 day challenge with daily mini prompts of 10 minutes will work for you. This is something you have to learn by doing. But just because so many people do 100 day challenges doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you. 

If you’re just starting out and trying to discover which direction you’d like to take your art, try a shorter challenge first. 

  • TIP NUMBER 2: 

– Define your why

Before you jump into a challenge, ask yourself WHY you’re doing it. Naturally we all want to get better at drawing but try to ask yourself a few more questions. Do you want to be part of a community, maybe on a Social media platform like Instagram? And don’t frown upon that, it’s totally legit! Having art peers is a wonderful thing and provides some accountability too if you can find friends who participate in the challenge with you. 

Some other situations you might find yourself in are: 

You’ve been away from art and want to jump back in. 

Or you’ve been drawing for a while but without a real sense of direction and ending up not knowing what to draw for a lot of days. 

Or maybe you’d like to try a new style or a new medium. A 30 day challenge is, in my opinion, a perfect length of time to try out something new. 

  • TIP NUMBER 3: Accountabilty

I’ve just mentioned it but the more people you find who will participate in the challenge with you, the easier it will be to stick with it. Especially if you announce it to them and tell them something like: hey I really want to go through with this challenge


Best time

You can start a challenge anytime, even in the middle of the month. For us humans though I think starting with the beginning of a new month, or even at the beginning of a new year makes it easier somehow. It might be tempting to start right now and please, by all means, do so but!


Planning ahead

can be a huge advantage for a successful challenge. By that I mean, write down your theme, prompts, collect reference photos, make a mood board or Pinterest board to help you organize your challenge.

Look at your calendar and mark the days with something important like a family event going on and where you know you’ll likely be in a time crunch. In that case you can either skip a day or just do a 10 minute sketch and finish the details lateron. From my experience, even just doing a 5 minute pencil sketch makes me much happier than to not draw at all, and I really try and make a point in getting something down on paper every single day during a challenge. And honestly, on any given day of the year 🙂

Have an art tool box with all the supplies ready that you want to use for your challenge:


Keep it simple

Talking about quick sketches: if you know that you likely won’t have time to sit down for a whole hour every day, plan your challenge accordingly. A simple prompt every day will make your challenge life so much easier. 

  • TIP NUMBER 7: 

Find the balance

Keeping it simple doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put much effort into your challenge. For me, I had to find the right balance between pushing myself to the discipline of creating every single day but also being realistic about how much time I can spend while still having fun drawing. Because hey, at the end of the day, it’s what counts, right? Having fun! If your challenge feels too much like a chore you’ll end up with creative block and not wanting to continue at all. 


Use a Sketchbook

Now this tip is very specific from my own experience, I’d say. I’ve done last year’s 30 day bird challenge partially on loose paper and in the end, even though I finished every prompt it felt somewhat unfinished. Whereas with this little leporello, I really feel this sense of fulfillment because I have all my prompts together in this book. 


Work with a theme

For me, the best way to stay interested in a challenge, is to set certain limitations. Using a sketchbook is already such a limitation but more in a physical way. Another good one is to find an overall theme. This could be 30 days of drawing birds, or more specifically, Native forest birds of your region. Or 30 days of tropical fruits, or 30 days of household items, or 30 days of birthmonth flowers and gems. This especially makes sense if you’re thinking about designing a calendar for example. This way you’ll have 30 birds and then can choose the 12 best for your calendar. 

  • TIP NUMBER 10:

Limited color palette

Another limitation that works well for me is to work with a limited color palette. I usually choose between 4 and 8 colors and stick to them during the challenge. I find that having a theme, a prompt, the sketchbook and the colors ready to go makes it easier for me to sit down and paint. I don’t have to think about what to paint and which colors to use, it’s all already there. If you don’t want to limit yourself on colors, you could also do that with the art materials. You could use only pencil, or only gouache. 

I hope you find these tips useful and encouraging to help you start creating a daily drawing habit. If you have other tips or would like to share your experience with art challenges, please leave a comment below

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