It turns out that April will be a month of creative challenges here on TinkerLab! First up, we have the Creative Challenge for Kids, and secondly I’m excited to introduce our first Instagram challenge for all of us sketchbook fans: the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge.
We first introduced the TinkerSketch Project a couple years ago, and without too much fanfare I’m happy to say that over 700 images have been tagged with #tinkersketch on Instagram. What’s a TinkerSketch? Click over here for more on that.
What’s the goal of the Sketchbook Challenge?
If you’re like me, you probably lead a busy life. You might have had some time to nurture your creative soul at some point in your not-too-distant past, but with kids/work/chores/responsibilities/name your excuse, you don’t have a lot of time for the creative YOU. The goal of this challenge is to make time (even if it’s just a tiny bit) to celebrate your creative self through hands-on making. If you join this sketchbook challenge, you’ll:
- Improve your skills
- Try and explore new ways of art-making
- Land on new ideas that wouldn’t have emerged otherwise
- Have fun
- Model creative thinking for your child (if you’re a parent or teacher)
- Celebrate the imperfection of your ideas
- Think creatively
- Give yourself the gift of time
How long will it take?
If you accept this challenge, you will set aside just five minutes each day aside for making, creating, and experimenting with your ideas. If you have extra time, you could always dive in for longer, but your minimum commitment is five minutes each day.
Great, but 5 minutes is still a lot!
There are so many ways to do this. For example, you could:
- Wake up a little earlier than usual, brew a pot of something warm, and curl up with your sketchbook for a few minutes before the rest of your home wakes up
- Carry a sketchbook in your bag and pull it out when you’re waiting in line
- Designate “creative time” where you and your child draw in sketchbooks side-by-side
But my stuff is sure to suck.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
It might, or it might not. The point here isn’t to create a masterpiece but to unleash your creative energy. Your creations don’t have to be works of amazing art, and in fact they probably shouldn’t be all that spectacular, especially if you’re pushing yourself to try something new, experiment, and be bold. Be confident with whatever you create, knowing that you’re on a journey to feed your creativity.
What Sketchbook and Tools do you Recommend?
Our best advice is to visit an art store and test out sketchbooks to see which one feels right to you. That said, here are a few tips:
- Size: Find a size that fits your situation. If you think you’ll take your sketchbook on the road, find something small enough to travel in your bag
- Paper: Choose paper that is heavy weight and designed to withstand water and wet media. Look for the weight of paper in terms of how many pounds it is: the higher the number, the heavier the weight. Something over 70 lbs. should do the trick
- Spiral or book-bound: Do you think you’d enjoy a spiral-bound book or traditional binding more? We recommend spiral binding because the pages lie flat easily. Some people like traditional binding more because they can design/paint/draw a double-page spread without having a gap between the pages.
- Strathmore: One of my very favorite sketchbooks is the Visual Art Journal for Mixed Media by Strathmore. The pages weight is 90 lb. and you can get this book in a number of sizes. My personal favorite for on-the-go is 5.5″ x 8″. If you like to work big, they have one that’s 9″ x 12″.
- Stillman & Birn: A friend just gave me a Stillman & Birn Zeta series and I love it. The paper is 180 lb.
- Pens: Get yourself a few pens that you love to use, and be sure to have at least one waterproof, archival pen in the mix so that you can paint over your pen lines without worrying about your drawing bleeding with water. Micron Pens are a designer favorite, and they come in tons of sizes and colors. This all-black set includes a few different pen sizes and this brush-tip set includes six different colors. Sharpies are another wonderful choice with so many options to choose from.
Will there be any support?
For each day of the challenge we’ll share our own daily entry on Instagram and Facebook, along with a few extra ideas in case you need a little bit of inspiration. We encourage everyone who joins the challenge to leave supportive comments on other participants’ images. Since it can be hard to put ourselves out there, it’s always nice to receive a friendly pat on the back when pushed outside our comfort zone.
I’m in! How do I do this?
- Print out or bookmark the list you see at the top of this page. Each day has a new prompt that will inspire you to make something.
- Interpret the Prompt: You can interpret the daily prompts however you want. “Drips” to one person may mean flicking watercolors off a toothbrush and to another person it might mean covering a page in marker and then leaving the page outside on a drizzly morning. You can take them literally or not — this is completely up to you. If you’re really at a loss, leave a comment below and we’ll help you noodle through it.
- Make stuff: You could put all your ideas into a sketchbook (it is called a sketchbook challenge, after all), loose leaf paper, post-it notes, or something else.
- Share it! This challenge can be a totally private affair and you never have to let a soul know that you’re working on it, or you could share your creations with others. I’m a private person, but I find that sharing things like this actually motivates me to work harder. If you’re up for it, we invite you to share your daily sketches on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Basically, wherever you like to drop your social media mat. Simply tag your image or post with #tinkersketch, and you could also ping us at @tinkerlab to let other people know about the challenge
- Tell others. If you could use some back-up, share the Sketchbook Challenge calendar image from this post on Instagram or with a friend, and encourage others to join you on this fun, creative journey.
- Support others. Take a moment to cruise around and look at other images that are tagged with #tinkersketch, and leave a supportive comment to build community and basically make someone else feel great about the effort they’re putting into their creative journey.
If you have any questions about the prompts or other parts of this challenge, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for supporting TinkerLab with your purchases.