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141: Drawings - Retrospective

What I learned from 100 days of drawing.

Jeremy Finch
Jeremy Finch
5 min read
141: Drawings - Retrospective

From Oct '22 --> March '23, I created 100 daily drawings.

Why I did it (motivations)

I love comics. I thought it would be a fun excuse to observe and draw more.

The public commitment aspect felt scary. I wanted a challenge.

I sought a daily creative ritual to combat my perfectionism.

To get reps in, aim for quantity, see what patterns emerged.

It was a challenging experiment.

Below I'll recap some of what I learned.


Update: You can buy these prints!

Fire Jar Print Store
Buy some original art.

What I learned

(in no particular order)

I appreciated the routine. I like analog tasks and rituals, time-boxed forcing functions.

There's something powerful about small recurring daily acts.

I enjoyed the fast sketches (~1 min) more than the slow, detailed ones (~20 min).

To be honest, there were a few times I batched drawings (made 2-3 days at once). When I did, it felt great to be "ahead of schedule". Some days I didn't want to draw.

A pleasant opportunity to slow down and notice details.

The result feels like a visual diary within a specific time period.

I am continually reminded :
Small actions add up, over time.

The most difficult part :
I got burnt out on phase 1, so I shrunk down the constraints later to 1 min.

The detailed still lifes were difficult. The rapid "can't lift the pen" drawings were way easier. Short sketches felt more like play and less like work. Ultimately, I changed the constraints to be less strict without losing the routine.

Liked experimenting with different "phases" and visual styles.

I don't think my technical skills improved at all. Still struggling with the same drawing habits, patterns, shortcuts etc. This wasn't a formal technical education.

I did not have significant marketing success in terms of "growing my audience". But it led to some surprising and gratifying connections with existing Fire Jar readers.

Other things I learned :

  • I got more comfortable with moving fast, staying loose, being less accurate
  • I/m fascinated by everyday objects, appliances, and small design details
  • I had fun drawing bodies in motion

Drawing can be a form of active meditation. A place of stillness and curiosity.

It is very hard to draw realistic hands.

It was interesting to separate out the making from the sharing aspects. The former feels like an internal, personal experience. The latter is an external, social one. They each have such a different headspace / energy. They complement each other.

For any sustainable daily project:
- Short is key
- Fun is fuel

If you do a small action each day for three+ months, you can accomplish a lot.

I'd love to hear from you

The series :

132: Daily Drawings (V)
100 days of illustrations ✅
129: Daily Drawings (IV)
100 days of illustrations (Part IV).
128: Daily Drawings (III)
100 days of illustrations (Part III).
127: Daily Drawings (II)
100 days of illustrations (Part II).
126: Daily Drawings (I)
100 days of illustrations. Join me!

Also related :

047: Art for Amateurs
A drawing course. No experience required!
098: Behind the Scenes (II)
How I design Fire Jar graphics.
005: Drawing + Writing
On Lynda Barry and my love of comics.
062: Your Drawings
A crowdsourced gallery of sketches.
003: Subway Comic
A comic book, about living in NYC.
107: Creative Checklist
How to do creative work (notes to self).

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