#the100dayproject, 2018 edition

I’ve always maintained that one of the main reasons why I keep a notebook/journal/occasional blog is because it helps me keep track of the things I’ve done. I participated in The 100 Day Project again this year and was pleased to be able to dig through this blog’s archives to find that I first participated back in 2014. No way I would have remembered that.

I started this edition of The 100 Day Project thinking I’d just commit to working in my sketchbook everyday (#100daysofetchesketchbook). As wide open as that was, I realised a few days in that I needed to make it even broader. At the time I was in full-on exploration mode, reading a tonne of books on technique and form, flitting between skillshare and craftsy (now bluprint), and contemplating various workshops at our local art school. So #100daysofetchesketchbook became #100daysofarteducation. It felt right.

At the time I was also trying to get motivated to get my submission in for the last round of The Sketchbook Project (tldr: they send you a sketchbook, you have to fill it by the deadline, and send it back to have it included in their Sketchbook Library). I’d decided on “texture” as my theme, mostly as a way to explore what that means and how it can be represented in a traditionally two-dimensional plane (the pages of a sketchbook).

And then something else happened on my little creative journey. I rediscovered a couple of urban sketchers I used to follow a few years ago and thereafter fell fully and completely down the urban sketching rabbit hole, devouring all the books I could find on the topic, following all the urban sketchers I could find on Instagram, and committing myself to sketching out in the world everyday.

It was super fun and, maybe most importantly, it held my interest through the entire 100 days and never once felt like a chore (as daily challenges can sometimes feel, at least for me). I also learned a lot:

  • Quantity leads to quality (I had many terrible sketches and a few I liked)
  • Watercolour is often a pain in the ass but almost always magical
  • Sketching on location takes a bit of courage at first then becomes so easy to do that you don’t even think about it
  • Most of the stuff you think you need in your sketch kit you don’t really need at all (my minimal kit consists of my sketchbook, a small watercolour box, one water brush, a pen with permanent ink, and an elastic band to hold my pages open/closed as needed).


A weekend in Quebec City

We were in Québec City last weekend for a fantastic wedding (#romewedsfrance 🙌🏼) and I did a bunch of sketching while we were there. The weather was terrific and the city was relatively quiet (compared to the high season visits we’ve had in the past), which meant it was super easy to find quiet corners to perch and get some drawing done. It was delightful! While I’ve been pretty good about sketching daily for the past couple of months (#the10dayproject FTW), I’ve been looking forward to getting out into the wider world and literally road testing my sketch kit.

Real talk: when I’m home, it’s way too easy to sketch in my car when I’m out and about in town. I hate drawing attention to myself! Plus, there’s sort of an element of performance in drawing when you’re out in the world, right? At least that’s what I thought, but my urban sketching experience this weekend disabused me of that notion. It didn’t feel performative at all! And people mostly left me alone, only glancing over my shoulder a couple of times. I did notice that as long as you’re scribbling in a book with a pen, people leave you alone; as soon as you break out the watercolours, they feel somewhat more emboldened to try to get a look at what you’re doing. Either way, it was all good.

In my sketch kit on this trip: a small (5×8) sketchbook, a fountain pen, a waterbrush, and my watercolours. Minimal and perfect!