WHAT IT WAS:
In 2015, Sheala and Brandon started a year long project to do a drawing a day. Except Saturdays, because you gotta pace yourself right? But otherwise, a drawing a day, to sharpen and explore their individual drawing skills and light a fire under their pots of creative stew (insert your own delicious metaphor here). Listed below are all the themes from the year. Or you can just skip to the end and check out their Exit Thoughts about the project, your call!
LIST OF TOPIC THEMES:
(Or just start from the beginning here and go forward!)
1. Pirate/Ninja/Alien/Villain: 1-14
2. Steampunk: 15-29
3. Funny Instructions: 30-45
4. Food With Characters: 46-59
5. Patterns! Textures!: 60-73
6. Found Objects: 74-87
7. Mythology: 88-101
8. Animal Thoughts: 102-115
9. Quirky Super People: 116-129
10. Prefab Shapes: 130-142
11. Unusual Portraits: 143-157
12. Mecha: 158-171
13. PlaidWorks: 172-185
14. PlaidWorks Ads and Inventions: 186-199
15. PlaidWorks Workswap: 200-213
16. Odd Nature: 214-227
17. Fancy Breakfast: 228-241
18. Doof Wagon: 242-255
19. Guerrilla Photography: 256-269
20. Office Antics: 270-283
21. Halloween Mash-up: 284-297
22. Secret Bases: 298-311
23. Travel Stories: 312-325
24. Circus Antics: 326-339
25. Odd Weather: 340-353
26. Weird Holiday Factory Mash-up: 354-365
Imaginary Third Party Interviewer That’s Acutally Either Sheala Or Brandon: Sheala, what prompted you to even consider doing this project and then asking me to join you?
Sheala: I had seen a lot of daily art projects and wondered if I was up to the challenge. And the more I thought about it the more I realized that the potential for using the daily project idea to grow would also be interesting. And I keep looking for ways to increase my time as an artist and this seemed like a concrete way to do that.
I asked you to join because I realized I enjoy collaborating with you in a way I never thought I’d like being part of a team. I figured it would make it easier to not just give up having a second person and make it easier to be creative day to day.
ITPITAESOB: Brandon, why did you agree to join the art project?
Brandon: Ha, speak of the devil in terms of giving up. I had tried to do a 30 day art project some time earlier in the year, but never completed it. I think I lasted a week and then life managed to get in the way. So by the end of the year, I was game to try again and a year long project sounded like more of a challenge. Sheala and I had, by this point, done several stop motion projects together and worked well together, so I was tossing around the idea of asking her about doing some sort of year long project, but was having cold feet and second thoughts as the end of the year approached. Then she asked me about doing it, so it sounded like destiny/fate/whatever to do it, so yes was the answer.
ITPITAESOB: How did y’all decide what to draw everyday? And technically, it wasn’t everyday, right, Saturdays were a break day. Any particular reason for incorporating a weekly break day?
Sheala: Originally when I thought of the idea and was looking around, I saw people always had a theme or media or process they were doing daily. I realized that I wanted to keep it simple since I knew I happened to be choosing a year when my life was going to be in a bit of upheaval, which is why I thought I’d stick to drawing and sketching for the most part. So then the project was to change the themes regularly. I thought about a monthly theme but that seemed like a large stretch of time for one subject. And the more themes I thought of and the longer that list got, limitations just seems too constrained. So two weeks seemed better. And since Brandon was along for the ride I knew more themes would give us a chance to have more fun with each topic, experiment with topics and give us both a chance to find something fun to sketch.
I did the Saturday break for the practicality of not burning out, having a break especially during the very busy times for the year and cause who doesn’t like to post fun stuff?!
The naming of each post ended up being a fun game and was certainly one of many unexpected things to come from the project. I did expect to feel more comfortable and skilled towards the end of the project. And I do feel improved in sketch craft, but also in an ideas way. I feel like for the most part I can sit down and let ideas fall into my brain and that is newer to me, it used to be work. Another unexpected thing for me was to get cozy with darker subjects. I tend towards the cute. And mostly still do, but feel okay if something goes darker now.
ITPITAESOB: Brandon, for you, what expected and unexpected happened during the course of this project?
Brandon: As expected, I feel much stronger in my drawing craft, along with letting ideas bloom in unexpected ways. It’s obvious that we have a thing for talking animals, but the sense and compatibility with that side of my self was a bit underdeveloped. Now it’s stronger and I’m having more fun with it.
One of the really unexpected things was finding out how I have a creative battery that can be depleted, at least temporarily. Between sketching something everything, normal life doing graphic design was certainly taxing at times, especially when there were big things occurring at work. It would leave me creatively running on fumes at times and I’d either have to nap and drawn in the morning or dig deep. Listening to music or watching a favorite show or movie would help. Or sometimes seeing what Sheala was drawing would be an inspiration and then BOOM, my mind would go in all sorts of places.
But I usually tried to avoid peeking, as it was always neat to see how what Sheala was doing was different or delightfully similar.
ITPITAESOB: Do you have any regrets about a certain topic or the project in general? What was your favorite subject? Least favorite? Hardest to draw? Easiest? Did you ever consider quitting or question what you had gotten yourself into? Will you build on this project in some way?
Sheala: I look back and feel a bit wistful (not quite regretting) that I feel like the first month was a steep learning curve and those could have been better. But that is part of the growth in skill in the project as well.
I have had thoughts of taking 26 of my favorite ones and expanding them into finished pieces for an art show. And I think this daily thing is leading to great collaboration and a cool year long project for PlaidWorks next year. And I suspect overall, the PlaidWorks Projects will see growth due to this project. PlaidWorks seems less directionless to me now.
What was my favorite subject? I have loved many of the topics but my most favorite is probably the PlaidWorks characters related ones. That always felt like building a world and it had a deeper pull all together.
Least favorite? My least favorite ended up being Circus partly because I have feelings about Circuses and it was hard not to retread the same ideas over and over.
Hardest to draw? The hardest to draw are often the machine or technical ones. There’s a lot of fiddly bits and pieces on machines and it takes time. (Though I was devoting time to this project, occasionally at the expense of something else, two weeks of fiddly drawings of machines could feel tiring) I also make machines harder on myself because I always want them to work, even if the physics doesn’t line up to real life, I get annoyed at a pointless gear in steampunk or a random wheel that can’t possibly work!
Easiest? Somehow the Animal Memes that I watercolored were easiest. Maybe because I do that kind of stuff all the time. But I ended up doing them in a few sittings a finished the set. (I was also trying to work out how to get art ready for being out of town stints) I did get a little sad though, when Brandon would post something in that topic and I would think I wish I’d though of that.
Brandon: Oh, there’s some regrets about not executing a particular sketch better. I wish I had gotten around to do more color work, but hey, it is what it is. There was always this constant tension in me on whether I was sketching or illustrating, with the latter producing more finished work. I think it was more a desire of wanting to run before being able to walk.
I think my favorite subject was the PlaidWorks related project that began with #172, which I think was scenes from the factory. There was actual narrative there in terms of the trip to the factory and looking around at the various characters and what they do. Plus it was sweetly challenging to draw the characters in their interiors, to intergrate the bodies in a physical space, so it was fun.
As I was going back through the posts, cleaning up tags ’cause sometimes we just put all sorts of odd stuff in, I rediscovered a lot of neat things. The patterns and textures was something different and lots of fun, maybe we should have done a second session of that? Guerrilla Photography developed into something profoundly moving to me at the end, with a narrative taking shape. The posters in Circus Antics were a great change of pace too!
One of the least favorite and hardest was the Halloween theme, oddly enough. The subject was fine, but I was trying out markers, which I’ve never been fond of. And the markers I was using were pretty crappy, so the results were pretty subpar. But I was determined to do the thing I didn’t like, at least for a few days. But then I realized I should be having fun and dropped the markers like a hot rock and went back to having fun.
As to quitting, that first month was hard, in terms of figuring out whether there was a good time to draw, how to set aside time to it and developing the routine. That made me question what the hell I was doing, but in good way in retrospect, in terms of finding a way and direction.
I’m actually a bit nervous about stopping, as I’ve learned so much and grown, so it seems silly to stop. Plus it’s part of the routine now. We had already agreed to do a back and forth type deal twice a week, where one of us starts a drawing and the other finishes, but I’m talking in addition to that. Which sounds a little insane, right? Maybe it’s all the Christmas sugar cookies talking.
Taking some of the sketches and finishing them for a show sounds appealing in some regards. Keeping a sketchbook and having structured themes sounds good for me personally. Keep the same format, a theme every two weeks, but don’t necesarrily draw every day, but concentrate on the theme. I plan to be doing some other stuff, but keeping the sketching going would be good.
ITPITAESOB: Did you find a particular time or ritual to doing the daily drawing? Did you do it daily?
Brandon: I didn’t draw daily! When I was in a particular groove, I could kick out a several and that always felt good. Otherwise, I found I preferred doing the day’s drawing the night before. It was easier than trying to fit in drawing while struggling to be to work on time. Then evening was a more relaxed time, where you could listen to music or have the tv on and just enjoy.
Sheala: I sort of developed a ritual, but it wasn’t constant! and it varied. So no! Mostly I brought my sketchbook to bed at night. I’m often struck by inspiration in the shower and I shower right before bed. So I would try to get a pencil sketch done and then maybe ink it; and tidy it in the morning to post. (sometimes I would add color) If I was unsure about the idea, I would sketch and leave it and have a second glance in the morning before inking. Often after the first sketch of the new topic, I would flip the page and ‘brainstorm’ a list of possible ideas for the rest of the week or more. And I would add when I thought of them. I tried to carry my sketchbook with me everywhere. And since I have an hour meeting every Wednesday, I would often sketch out Thursday and Friday. And maybe finish, maybe not. I did become more rigorous about carrying my sketchbook. OH and it was sometimes daily, sometimes not, depending the topic. When I had a slew of ideas, I would often do pencil sketches for each and then finish with ink or clean up the day of.
ITPITAESOB: So what’s next?
Sheala: Didn’t I already answer this? Which one of us keeping asking the same question?!
Well we do have a biweekly story/illustrative idea to do. It should be fun. We plan on starting with a thread and bouncing it back and forth weekly to see where it goes. I’ll start on Sunday, January 3rd, publishing a drawing, then Brandon “replies” to it on Wednesday, either taking it in some direction and then I take reply to that on the next Sunday and so on through the year.
As to PlaidWorks I think we may take some of this great character development we did and do some animation work.
Personally, I really do want to go back through the daily art and pick a favorite from each topic and develop it. And I may find other projects to develop while looking.
And I’ve been doing some ‘spotty’ watercolors and that seems to be growing into a group. Might just be fun practice or maybe something more.
And I just got this crazy Cats and Guitars piece showing, so I may look around for some funky shows like that. Or create one locally!
And I’ve had this 3D project in my head for a long time and once I get my space ready I plan on working on that as well.
Overall I feel my sense of story and depth have grown and that’s something I want to develop more!
Brandon: I really want to continue some sort of routine sketching, so I’ll probably incorporate the formal structure we used in an informal way on my own blog. So I’ll keep the stick to a theme for two weeks, but not have an assignment to draw everyday. So less sketches, but still in certain areas, some fun, some fun and educational. So if I need to work on drawing hands, will do a theme called, say, “hand monsters,” and draw hands, but as monsters. Might do it every everyday for two weeks, might just do a few, we’ll see. Be flexible Brandon!
PlaidWorks wise, we’ve planted a lot of rich ideas this past year, now it’s just a matter of growing a few via animation and/or stopmotion or drawing. Stay tuned, should be interesting!