Want to start an art challenge in 2021?
The past year has been tough on all of us, and certainly some more than others. The pandemic has caused people to feel more stressed and anxious than ever. The truth is, most people feel isolated and disconnected from others. It’s no wonder mental health has been a hot topic over the last year – so many more people are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Art and creativity can be used as tool to boost our “happy chemicals” and counteract anxiety and stress.
We need to practice self-care, and one of the ways we can do this is through making art. Making a piece of art gives you something to focus your mind on.
I personally find that moving brush over canvas, or sketching in pencil to be incredibly soothing.
That’s great but ‘where do I start?’ you say. Well …cue ART CHALLENGES 2021.
Let’s be honest, sometimes creative drawing and painting ideas come to you easily without too much struggle but for most people this isn’t always the case.
I know all too well about staring at a blank page in my sketchbook not knowing where to begin. Taking part in an art challenges is one of the best ways in which to break through ‘artists block’.
Having participated in many art challenges over time I can attest to them being hugely helpful in moving you through your ‘stuck’ place and helping you develop new ideas! By just taking one small step of action helps to build inspiration and motivation.
What is an Art Challenge?
An art challenge is basically a set of instructions or an idea that you respond to by making your own piece or art whether it be drawing or painting.
Art challenges have become increasingly popular over the years with art challenges like #Inktober or the #Recreate art challenge which now have thousands of participants. These art challenges are usually set up by someone who is part of an art community or even just an individual who wants to help others get inspiration to make art.
Art challenges can have a huge range of themes and topics, and can cover a wide range of art materials and art mediums. One of my favorites is the #30faces30 days challenge where you must draw a face every day for 30 days. Artists use pen, pencil, watercolor, ink and many other exciting mediums to draw their faces.
The #Recreate art challenge focuses on recreating a famous painting using found materials or family members! There are some hilarious photographs that people have composed.
“Art challenges help you to become ‘unstuck’.”
What are the benefits of doing an art challenge?
It makes starting an artwork out a lot easier!
Art challenges truly help you to become ‘unstuck’ because you are literally given an idea to use. I have personally found that art challenges often lead me to grow in my own art making as they help me come up with new connections and ideas. You don’t always have to follow the ‘rules’ and can use your imagination if you want.
Art challenges help you to manage anxiety and stress
The act of making something is therapeutic. “It’s the process, not the product,” says Megan Carleton, an art therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Taking on an art challenge means that you are achieving small goals every day.
You find out what art medium you actually enjoy using
Art challenges may require you to work in a specific medium, #Inktober is a monthly art challenge in which you draw in ink each day. Maybe you don’t enjoy drawing in ink? This is another way to challenge yourself as an artist and grow.
Art challenges improve your skills!
By drawing or painting every day, you are practicing your techniques. The more you do it the better you get and the more your confidence grows in that particular medium.
You get an opportunity to be social and connect with others
You can join an art community group and follow how other people are responding to the art challenge in their artworks. You can also get some good advice on how to improve your drawing or painting skills. You can also give others advice on what is working or not working in their artworks.
Art challenges help you develop creative habits
Art-making can be like prayer or meditation, and dedicating time to this every day is so good for managing stress and mental health.
Regular art making becomes doable
Very often an art challenge may just be a simple bite-size drawing to do each day. This means it is manageable and can be achieved. These drawings and artworks can be added to your growing portfolio.
So how do you join up to an art challenge?
There are many thousands of art challenges that take place year-round. Some are smaller in scale with only a few people involved, and some are huge!
I have drawn up a list below of the art challenges I think are most fun to be a part of. Feel free to explore social media and see the many art challenge opportunities.
Once you have chosen a challenge, you should join up to the community groups for that challenge on social media and start making art! Post pictures of your art work and make sure to include the hash tag of the specific challenge.
If you tend to be a perfectionist then joining an art challenge can be a good opportunity to let go. You don’t have to show anyone else your art piece, you can keep it to yourself as part of your own private art journey.
List of Art Challenges I Recommend…
30 Day Sketchbook Challenge
Susan Yeates, artist, author, and online creator set up this art challenge.
You do a drawing in your sketch book every day for 30 days. It can be a big drawing or a small drawing. You can draw for 30 seconds or 30 minutes – there are no rules about time.
If you join the sketchbook challenge on her page, she will send you 30 prompts, one for each day. You can also join her Facebook group to connect with other artists
I really like this art challenge because it is for anyone at any skill level. It offers a lot of freedom and really will help to get the creative juices flowing.
#30faces30days art challenge
Draw a face every day for 30 days in any medium.
This art challenge is great for anyone wanting to improve drawing face proportions, shading techniques, and mark-making in drawing with ink.
Draw a self-portrait using crayons. Crayons are underrated!
This is a fun exercise to get in touch with childhood art mediums in drawing portraits!
Draw this in your style
An art challenge, where artists draw an already existing artwork, but in their own style. You can add your own ideas, change the characters pose and colour.
30 Day Watercolor Challenge
This art challenge has great prompts for 30 days of watercolor painting!
Inktober has become a huge event with thousands of people. It was created by artist Jake Parker and is focused on improving skills and developing positive drawing habits. Every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online.
Paint Everyday Like You Mean It by Shannon Gillman Orr
Would you like to do more painting? Sharron shows you how to get in the habit of painting every day, starting with just a few minutes a day in her Skillshare class.
In this art challenge, you need to redraw a previous artwork that you created. You then post a comparison with the new drawing and the old on next to each other.
Tinkerlab Art Challenges
Tinkerlab encourages experimentation and play through 365 days of prompts. You can use any medium or technique. This is a great longer-term art challenge commitment to take part in!
Digital art challenges
If you enjoy drawing or painting on your drawing tablet or iPad this site provides some great inspiration for daily digital art-making.
This is a recreate art challenge where people create famous works of art with objects found at home during quarantine. Sadly the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is closed due to the spread of covid19 so this was a great idea to still get people engaged with the art!
365 Photo Challenge
If photography is your medium of choice then this is for you!
How to create your own art challenge
There are so many different art challenges available, but perhaps you have your own great idea. Maybe there is an art theme or technique you would like to share with others? Make your own art challenge to inspire your students, your friends, or your art community to create.
Choose a medium a topic and a period of time. Something like…
- Watercolor pencil drawing
- 14 days
You can then come up with daily prompts for your topic. Make sure to set up a hashtag with your art challenge’s name and start sharing your art on social media.
If you found this article helpful or interesting, maybe you would like to take a look at Drawing on Black Paper with Colored Pencil…
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