The Fearless Sketchbook: 14 Days to Creative Confidence | Kate Willis-Crowley | Skillshare

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The Fearless Sketchbook: 14 Days to Creative Confidence

teacher avatar Kate Willis-Crowley, Author and Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

18 Lessons (1h 13m)
    • 1. The Fearless Sketchbook: 14 Days to Creative Confidence

    • 2. What You'll Need... What to Expect

    • 3. Fear Squashes Creativity

    • 4. Day 1: Baseline Sketch

    • 5. Day 2: Sketching with Your Non-Dominant Hand

    • 6. Day 3: Drawing with Free Distortion

    • 7. Day 4: Dynamic Shapes PART 1

    • 8. Day 5: Dynamic Shapes PART 2

    • 9. Day 6: One-Liner!

    • 10. Day 7: Spoon Self-Portrait PART 1

    • 11. Day 8: Spoon Self-portrait PART 2

    • 12. Day 9: Pencil-Case Game

    • 13. Day 10: From Memory... From Life

    • 14. Day 11: Eat and Draw

    • 15. Day 12: Creative Hat On!

    • 16. Day 13: Blobtastic Shading

    • 17. Day 14: Comparison Sketch

    • 18. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Kick-start a fearless sketchbook habit with two weeks of creative challenges. In this Skillshare class we'll be working through 14 days of sketchbooking challenges for just 15 minutes per day, reflecting on the anxieties blocking creative wellbeing, striving for a playful and experimental mindset.

 This class aims to help you...

- Understand and overcome your creative anxieties 

- Reframe your understanding of 'creative pay-off'

- Kick-start a sustainable sketchbook habit

- Acclimatise to sketching within a time limit

-Turn your creative fears into playful creative risk-taking

Start straightaway with just basic supplies:

  • Sketchbook (alternatively any paper will do)
  • A variety of drawing materials (I'll be using pens, pencils and charcoal... Just use whatever you have!)
  • Watercolour supplies (optional): paints, round-headed brush, water pot, mixing tray 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kate Willis-Crowley

Author and Illustrator


I'm Kate, and I'm a children's author and illustrator. I'm also known by my pen name, INKY WILLIS, and I'm creator of the SCRIBBLE WITCH series.

I've a Fine Art degree, and a Masters in Communications Art and Design from the Royal College of Art, London, though the bulk of my experience is industry based. Clients include Puffin, Bonnier, Chicken House Books, Faber and Faber, and Hachette Children's Books.


I work commercially in a few different styles, using a mix of traditional media and digital. I also make art purely for my own enjoyment, and there's often an overlap between the personal and paid work. 

I've taught art techniques and approaches to classes of school children ... See full profile

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1. The Fearless Sketchbook: 14 Days to Creative Confidence: Hi, and welcome to The Fearless Sketchbook: 14 Days to Creative Confidence. My goal in this class is to help you ditch any fears or anxieties that you may have around drawing so that you can sustain a fulfilling creative sketchbook habit. I'm Kate Willis-Crowley and I also go by the pen name Inky Willis, and I'm a children's author and illustrator. Keeping a sketchbook of ideas is fundamental to being a drawing illustrator. My sketchbook is where I develop my characters, it's where I try out new compositions, and where I test new stylistic approaches. But I also keep a sketchbook just for me just for fun. It's a way of reconnecting with the world around me and it's a way to get my imagination down on paper. But building a sketchbook habit can be daunting. Doing anything creative takes a little bit of courage, particularly for us adults. Young children draw fearlessly. They play with art materials the same way they play with everything else in reach, with total authentic curiosity. For adults, things can feel riskier. Creative hobbies are an investment of precious time and energy so we need to see a clear pay-off. Either a pay-off of our sense of artistic accomplishment or our well-being, or ideally both, but realistically, acquiring new skills takes time. How do we mesh this short-term need for reward to our long-term goals? Well, the mission of The Fearless Sketchbook is to reframe your understanding of creative pay-off, to help you understand your creative fears and to work through them, to shift your focus from the finished artwork to the sketching process because that is where the learning happens, to encourage curiosity and playful risk-taking. I'll be guiding you through 14 days of sketching for just 15 minutes a day. I'll be setting daily challenges designed to push you out of your comfort zone, encouraging you to note your creative anxieties, to acknowledge them and progress. Once those initial phase are understood for what they are, you can refocus that nervous energy into your creative process. If you're looking to create a sustainable sketchbook habit, or if you're wanting a little more confidence in your creative decision-making, then this class is your friend. 2. What You'll Need... What to Expect: What you'll need and what to expect. Over the next two weeks, you can expect this class to provide you with short daily challenges specifically designed to test the boundaries of your comfort zone and then gently elbow you out a bit, because this class is all about adopting a mindset that embraces creative risks, recognizing that mistakes are fundamental to those artistic breakthrough moments that we all value so highly. Here's what you'll need to get started on this class. Something to draw on, preferably, a sketchbook but any paper will do. Use whatever you have, whatever feels comfortable. Something to draw with. I'll be using selection of pens, pencils, crayons, even. Again, use what you have available. Optional, watercolor paints, a medium round brush if you're going to use paints, and water, and a pot. You'll need a few very common everyday items, which I'll explain as we go along. You'll also need a willingness to play along. Some of the daily challenges might step away from the point of sketching intuition you're used to. But every single activity has a purpose and a function in building your creative confidence. That's it, that's everything. If you cannot wait to get drawing, then good for you. You people are allowed to jump ahead to Day 1, I promise I'm not offended. But if you'd like to hear a little bit more about that relationship between fear and creativity, then I'll see you in the next video. 3. Fear Squashes Creativity: Fear squashes creativity. It sounds melodramatic, doesn't it? Stick with me and I'll explain. Having a creative outlet is proven to build all sorts of benefits for well-being. This isn't new news. The importance of creative expression for mental health is well documented. Keeping a sketchbook for those of us who lean towards paper-based visual arts is a straightforward, accessible way to sustain a regular art practice and ultimately increased creative fulfillment. All good stuff. Why do so many of us buy the gear, the sketchbooks, the pencils, the pens and then let them fester in a drawer? If this sounds familiar, then the chances are two major obstacles are at play. The first is habit. In order to adopt a new sketching habit, we need to adapt old habits. We need to shift priorities and allocate time to allow ourselves to engage with the new thing. For habit to stick, we also need to feel that there's a pay-off. This connects with the second obstacle, fear. Fear plays a huge part in preventing creative expression for a number of reasons. In terms of habit formation, the fear of short-term failure, in other words, the fear of having no pay-off is massive. A powerful way to counter this kind of fear is to reframe how we define success. If we can ditch our expectations for the finished artwork and instead shift the focus to the creative process of sketching, then we can begin to see this as a playful experimental activity and we can forget about the destination and just enjoy the ride. The journey to sketching fluency is long, endless even because let's face it, no matter how proficient and professional your artwork becomes, there's always further experimentation to be done. But unless the journey is fun, you're not even going to get past that first couple of weeks. The focus of this class is permission to play. I want you to try new things; to have a go, make a mess, go wrong, to adapt, and develop. Fear of failure is not the only fear capable of hampering creativity, though it's a big one. Other fears include fear of not being a creative person. Some people worry that they're just not hard wired for creativity. They're wrong. We are all capable of being creative people. In 1968, George Land published a study suggesting that creativity is unlearned in adults. We replace our creative impulses with the rules and regulations we need to function. But crucially important, we can relearn to be creative. We can retrain our brains. Next fear, fear of being judged. Your sketchbook is your safe place. No one gets to see it unless you want them to. You know the sketchbook tours you see on Instagram, with the perfect illustrations, those sketchbooks are not regular working sketchbooks. Those artists have other sketchbooks that you are not seeing. Your sketchbook is not a gallery. It's a place to take risks, to experiment, and to make mistakes. If you want to share a few pictures, and of course I'd love to see some in the project section of this class, then that's a choice, but it's optional. No one gets to tell you what is and isn't worthy or whether or not you have to show the world. Next fear, fear of taking a first step. If you're feeling the pressure of this particular fear, then all I can say is well done. You've switched on this class. You're committing to building that fearless sketching habit. You literally just need me to stop talking and then you can get started. I've just one last thing to say about fear before we move on and that is that there's a difference between fear and creative unease. That bubbling unease we feel when we're taking creative risks is our friend, it encourages artistic growth. We can learn to sit with that, to use it to push ourselves to develop. As we launch into the daily activities, I want you to take note of any anxieties that you might have around sketching. Are you nurturing an exciting, playful unease or are fears getting in the way that excitement? Because my goal for all of you is that by the end of this class, you'll find that bizarre and addictive joy that comes from creative risk-taking. 4. Day 1: Baseline Sketch: Day 1, your baseline sketch. There's a reason I'm holding this mug. For the first activity, we're going to focus on sketching your favorite mug or any mug if you don't have a favorite. This first sketch is your baseline. I want you to approach this 15-minute drawing however feels most natural to you using your preferred drawing materials. While you're sketching, if you have any anxieties or concerns about your sketch or about your ability, keep those in mind. When those 15 minutes end, jot down those thoughts as a record, because on Day 14, we'll be repeating this activity and comparing the results. I want you to be able to look back and see how your thoughts and feelings about sketching have changed. Whereas in tomorrow's lesson, I'll be setting you a clear tangible focus for your drawing activity, today, I'm just letting you crack on with it. Fetch your mug, position it however you like, grab your sketchbook and something to draw with, and I'll see you in 15 minutes. How was that? Did you stick to the 15 minutes where you attempted to go over thoughts like, "It's too much pressure and I need longer to get it right are really common? If you didn't finish in the given time, you might even feel this means you're not good enough. I hope that's not how you feel, but if it is, take note of that, write it down. Also, please know that it's normal to struggle to sketch under pressure when you're not used to it. But there's a reason I set a 15-minute time limit, and it's not just because I'm mean. Working within a strict time limit means practicing, making decisions on the fly. Yeah, you'll sometimes make decisions that you regret, and you'll learn from those. But with practice, you'll also make fast decisions that really work. This quick decision-making is how we hone our creative instincts. Fifteen minutes isn't long. If you attempted to draft a photo-realistic, perfectly proportioned sketch in that time frame, then it was just never going to happen. Don't be hard on yourself. Or perhaps, you set yourself an achievable goal. Maybe you decided to focus on making an accurate line drawing or a rougher or just your sketch. Setting ourselves small achievable creative goals helps keep the pressure to a minimum and it makes us so much more likely to feel good about the outcome, which is why, from now on, I'm going to be setting your goals with a specific, achievable focus. I'll see you tomorrow. 5. Day 2: Sketching with Your Non-Dominant Hand: Day 2, sketching with your non-dominant hand. Your challenge today is a fun one. To begin, I want to make very clear that you may very well end up with an extremely messy drawing by the end of this session and that is okay. Remember no one gets to see your sketch unless you want to share it. We are going to be making 15 minute self portraits using our non-dominant hand. I'm right handed, so I'll be drawing with my left hand. Some interesting things happen when I draw with my left hand. My sketch is more gestural, it's looser. I stop fussing at the details and I start looking at my subject as a whole. I'm going to use a mirror to see myself, but you could use the camera on your phone if that's more convenient. What I'll do is demonstrate how I would approach this and then I'm going to let you get started on your own drawing. I've put my page in the portrait position and I'm going to use a ballpoint pen for this because ballpoint feels really smooth and responsive for this loopy sketching. You can already see the way I hold the pen is a bit awkward. I've got far less control than I have with my right hand. I'm starting to sketch down the general shape of my face, hair, and neck, but I know I can't rely on any of my lines to be totally accurate so instead, I have to build up a series of lines to indicate those shapes and proportions. I'm adding shading, but again, I've only got limited control of my pen so I can't be too fussy or exact. Personally I've always really liked seeing the under drawing in a sketch. Those working out lines, they give a bit of insight into the process. Don't stress about getting it right first time or about hiding your mistakes. Just relax and start drawing and enjoy going wrong and working things out. It helps our brains are always trying to find faces in chaos. Just a few scribbly lines are sometimes enough to get across an idea of facial features. That was a three minute sketch. You really shouldn't feel the need to go beyond your 15 minutes on this one. Are you ready? Got your sketch book, a mirror or phone, and something to draw with. Your 15 minutes starts now. Hello again. How was that? Perhaps drawing with your non-dominant hand felt totally unnatural and unpredictable. Perhaps you struggled to make your fingers go where your brain wanted them to. Perhaps and this is what I'm hoping you relaxed into the process and allowed yourself to make a drawing which you knew might not be beautiful. Perhaps you just allowed yourself to experiment and see what happened. Make a note of how that felt. Jot down those thoughts, jot down any ideas you have for future artwork, because you may find that you come back to those ideas and incorporate them into future work. Day to day, I often switch hands when I'm sketching. I'll often begin with my left hand getting down the overall shape of my subject and then I'll switch to my dominant-hand, my right hand, to add detail and definition. It's not just a strange activity to try for a laugh and never repeat again. It's something you can mix in with your dominant-handed drawing process. 6. Day 3: Drawing with Free Distortion: Day 3, drawing with free distortion. If you struggled to get your mark sketch looking symmetrical during the day 1 challenge, then you might be relieved to know that today's 15-minute challenge calls for free distortion, by which, I mean that you mustn't get hung up on proportions, symmetry, or perspective. We'll be drawing quick still lives made up from objects in our kitchen cupboards. Pick a selection of objects no more than six, might be cans, bottles, packets whatever you like the look of, then arrange those objects in front of you. Consider how these objects you can see might translate into a line drawing because your goal today is to make a confident line drawing. With this in mind, think about the tools that you'll be using, which pencils, pens, pastels, or crayons even might give you the quality of line that you want to work with today. For mine, I'm going to be using a waterproof black fine line pen and I'm also going to keep my watercolor paints sandy, in case I have time to add a splash of color. As always, when you come to do your drawing, choose the materials that appeal to you, and if you really can't decide, pick a pencil. Adding color afterwards is totally optional too because the focus of the challenge is the line drawing. Just like yesterday, I'm going to demonstrate how I had to tackle this challenge, and then it's your turn. I've chosen a few items from my cupboards and I'm going to work across the whole double-page spread to fit everything in, and I've literally just lined my objects up. You can have them overlapping so it feels more like a still life if you'd like. The first thing I'm going to tackle is this oil and vinegar pourer. It's one of those things that sits in the cupboard and rarely gets used. But it's such a wonderful shape and because I'm not worrying about keeping it in proportion, I'm just going to have fun with it. Next is a tin of mushy peas, which seems like an essential item at the beginning of lockdown, but it still hasn't been eaten. I'm going to deliberately work the proportion. I'm going to attempt to add a simplified version of the text and that package design. Next, I'm drawing a bag of sugar. Getting in some of those great folds and frinkles and the fun bit here is trying to add some of that package design that making it look like it's sitting on a crumpled surface. I'm not making an exact copy. I'm picking the bits that I want to draw and keeping it simple. Next, I've got a plastic bottle lylf syrup, which my kids like to have on pancakes. This is another great one for some deliberate distortion. Allow yourself to draw a little bit wonky, but do it with confidence and see what happens. Finally, I'm British, so I've put out the [inaudible] , apologies to the [inaudible] haters. I'm just drawing the lids and giving an indication of that iconic jar shape. As I've seven minutes to spare, I'm going to add a touch of color with the watercolor paints. These occur tacky with colors. They come in so many gorgeous premixed colors, and as I'm working fast, premix is perfect. Now it's your turn. Your 15 minutes starts now. How did it go? How did it feel to draw without the pressure of getting everything in proportion and accurate? Was not having to have everything in proportion easier or did that actually feel stressful? When you're able to focus on the quality of your line, did it feel comfortable or a little strange? Remember to make a quick note of those thoughts and feelings, and if anyone would like to share their drawing and maybe even share their thoughts, then I'd love to see it in the class projects, but remember that it's a choice. It's totally up to you, you don't have to unless you want to. Line fluidity goes hand in hand with confidence, so the more you allow yourself just to draw freely, without the pressure of making spatial and proportional judgments, the more fluid and decisive your line will become. Of course, proportion and perspective can play an important role in an artwork's impact. But they don't have to be present in every single piece about the make. When we see wrong perspective in drawings, when they look out of proportion, we're reminded that we're looking at a flat page with lines on, but as an artist, you can embrace that if you choose to. 7. Day 4: Dynamic Shapes PART 1: Day 4: Dynamic Shapes part 1. Today's exercise is going to go hand in hand with tomorrow's activity. We're going to be drawing thumbnail compositions using abstract shapes, trying to put as much movement into the compositions as possible. To put this into context, tomorrow we'll be making full-scale sketchbook compositions using leaves instead of abstract shapes. Today is a planning session, but also a bit of a warm-up. As a starting point, before we start sketching shapes, you'll need to draw some squares or rectangles in your sketchbook. These should be a scaled-down version of your sketchbook page, OT sketchbook pages if you want tomorrow's drawing to go across a double-page spread. My sketchbook is landscape, which makes my double-page spread really long and thin. For this activity, I'm just going to work with one page. My thumbnail drawings are going to be mini-versions of that page. I'm going to draw nine thumbnails just free hand. You can use a ruler if you like, but I like freehand look. It doesn't have to be too exact. In terms of size, the shortest edge is roughly an inch. But again, don't worry too much about being meticulous. Now, before we start playing with shapes, for a bit of extra homework, you might benefit from researching the paintings of Kandinsky and Miro. These two 20th century painters were vital players in the abstract art movement. Both made really dynamic artworks with tons of movement and energy, which is what I want for these compositions. You might also want to look at the sculptor and painter Jean Arp for his dynamic shape compositions. While you're there researching, check out the painter Judith Godwin. Her abstract paintings use darks and lights to give a strong sense of dynamic movement. Back to the activity. I want you to draw a series of shapes or blobs across your thumbnails. Try to inject as much of a sense of movement as possible. Really think about how your eye is led through the composition. Diagonals give a sense of movement and varied scale can do the same. When we change the scale of shapes, it pulls us into the image because our brains think we're looking at objects at varying distances. I'm going to show you what I mean by that in my demonstration. Here are my thumbnail rectangles. Again, my short edge is roughly an inch. I'm using a black brush pen for my shape drawings. You can really use anything for this. It's all very rough and you really needn't take the whole 15 minutes. In my first thumbnail, I'm keeping my shapes roughly the same size and I'm just dotting them from the bottom left to the top right-hand corner. We're now flipping this, so my shapes go from top left down to the bottom right, still all approximately the same size. This time I'm going to change that. As well as moving from corner to corner, I'm also reducing the size of my shapes, which really affects the way my brain reads the image. I'm pulled across it, but also into it. Next, I'm also adding an art to the raw shapes. Something I'm curious about here is whether the direction we read sentences in text affects the way that our eyes move across visual art. I'd really be interested to hear your thoughts on this. I read this image left to right because I read text left to right, but I'm not sure everyone in every country would do the same. For this thumbnail, I'm mirroring my previous one. Now I'm trying something a little different using symmetrical shapes receding into the distance. Then, again, keeping the shapes fairly central, I'm reducing the scale and just tipping slightly to one side as I go. Finally, something a little more chaotic. Creating almost a tick or check shape, depending on which word you use, across the image. I'm really just playing with these compositions, working out which is most impactful, which I like the most, which feels most dynamic, and I'm just adding these arrows to show you how I interpret movement through the image. But as I said, you might read them differently. You can choose to add the arrows to your own thumbnails or leave them, up to you. That took me five minutes in total. You have up to 15 minutes, which should be plenty. Your 15 minutes starts now. How was that? Hopefully nothing stressful. But do make note of any thoughts or feelings that occurred during the process. I'll be excited to see your thumbnail compositions if you would like to share them. I'll see you tomorrow when we'll be putting today's preparation to good use, making our full-scale leaf compositions. 8. Day 5: Dynamic Shapes PART 2: Day 5, Dynamic Shapes Part 2. Yesterday, we made dynamic thumbnail compositions focusing on injecting a sense of movement in our drawings. Today, we're going to use some of those ideas to make a leaf composition. But first, you're going to need some leaves or at least one leaf. You might want to go out on a walk and use a selection of leaves or you can literally just pick one of a weed or of a pot plant, it's up to you. You could draw that repeatedly in different positions. Then we're going to think about all those diagonals and those scale choices that we made yesterday and all those elements that made our compositions dynamic. We can use a whole page this time. We're going to start making some decisions about our leaf compositions. Here are some of the things I'm asking myself right now. What medium am I going to use? How am I going to arrange my leaves on the page in my composition? How detailed or realistic are my leaf drawings going to be? Because I know I only have 15 minutes to draw it in, I'm going to keep my artwork really loose. I'm not going to obsess over details. But I would like to add a little bit of tonal variation so I'm going to be using waterproof pen and little watercolor paint for shadow. But you can really just pick the materials appeal to you, remembering, the focus isn't line quality or accuracy, it's dynamic composition. Here goes, I'm going to talk you through my demonstration, and then it's your turn. I've just picked one leaf. It's from my garden and it's pretty, but this plant really shouldn't be going out on the side of my house, so I don't feel too guilty. I'm just going to roughly draw this in various positions, trying to recreate the arched composition from yesterday. I'm keeping the drawing really rough. Then I'm splashing on some indigo watercolor for some tonal variation. You might be looking at mine and thinking that, "Yeah, maybe you'll have a go with pen and watercolor paint." Or you might be thinking, "Nope, I'm going to try something totally different." Whatever you try, be brave, have a go, and concentrate on getting that composition really dynamic. Your 15 minutes starts now. How was that? Was 15 minutes too short or too long? Hopefully, by now, you're getting a sense of how much you can achieve in that timeframe. What I'm really hoping for you is that you're beginning to feel a bit more competent tackling these time-sensitive challenges. Now, I'm not worried if your leaves don't particularly look like leaves, but hope you've managed to get across that sense of movement and energy in your composition. If you did, and if you're feeling keen to share them, please do apply it to your dynamic leaf composition in the project. I'd love to see it. If not, you can keep it hidden. I never have to see it. I'll see you tomorrow when we'll be doing something totally different. 9. Day 6: One-Liner!: Day 6, one liner. Today, we're drawing hands, whichever hand you don't usually draw it with. In other words, your non-dominant hand is going to be your subject matter. You need to just relax the hand in a comfortable position next to your sketchbook. If drawing hands fills you with dread, then hold on there's more. I bet you already know that famous Paul Klee quote, "Drawing is taking a line for a walk". Well, that's exactly what we're going to do. We'll be making observational drawings of our non-dominant hands using one continuous looping line. Lots of people worry about drawing hands. This activity is actually a great way to try and work through those anxieties because the nature of one-line drawing means you can keep looping over and over the same shapes until you feel how the parts are connected. Know that you will go wrong and it really doesn't matter. You're going to get there in the end. There's inevitably going to be some under drawing when we loop back to make those amendments to our work. Those wrong lines are going to give movement and energy to our drawings. The best way for me to explain this activity is just to demonstrate. I'm going to use a TB pencil for my drawing, but you can choose any drawing material for this. The very first loops I make are just to really roughly work out how my drawing will occupy the space of my page. I'm pressing very lightly at first and then when I'm happy with the positions and shapes I've drawn, I can press down a bit harder to give it some emphasis. I'm drawing quickly giving my looping lines lots of energy. I find that working fast stops that over critical analytical part of my brain from kicking in. I'm able to just connect with what I'm seeing as much as possible. Now if the idea of drawing your hand still sounds just horrifically awful then you can just draw anything else that happens to be in front of you. Then once you've got a feel for one-line drawing, hopefully you'll feel up to attempting the hand drawing at a later date. Now it's your turn. My drawing took just over three minutes. You might even decide to make a few drawings within your 15 minutes. Ready? Your 15 minutes starts now. Hello again. How did it go? If you've never drawn like this before, then well done for trying something new. I promise you the more you do this one line drawing, the more natural it's going to feel. As always, do jot down a few notes on how the process felt for you. What worked really well? Acknowledge any difficulties but above all, acknowledge your accomplishments. Also, consider what you might do differently if you're going to repeat this activity again. Something that's worth experimenting with is your drawing speed. You can play about drawing at different speeds and see if you can find your sweet spot. Here's a quick tip. Try listening to different types of music when you're drawing because it can affect how fast you draw and how much energy goes into your line work. I'll see you tomorrow. 10. Day 7: Spoon Self-Portrait PART 1: Day 7, spoon self-portrait Part 1. You'll notice this is another two-part challenge. This is because I want to give you long enough to make two spoon portraits, one upside down and one the right side up with a focus on your shading. You'll need a metal tablespoon or serving spoon for this, pick one that's nice and shiny so you can see yourself reflected back. Today we'll be looking into the concave side, which means that your face should appear upside down. You might be wondering why we'd start with upside down. Because in some ways, upside down portraits might seem like a more challenging proposition, but actually drawing anything upside down means that we're less distracted by our expectations of how things should look to our brains and we're better able to look at shapes and tones more honestly. My bet is that you'll draw more quickly upside down as you'll be less worried about how accurate your facial features are. But I could be wrong, I'm just going by how things are for me. The aim for today's portrait is to get in as much tonal information as possible in the 15 minutes without worrying too much about how your face looks. You might want to scale up your drawing so it's quite a bit bigger than the actual spoon and pick a medium that works well tonally. I'm going to be using charcoal, which is always great for shading. I'm also going to be totally ignoring the outside edge of the spoon. Otherwise, I'll become fixated on getting that all straight and perfect and that's just not what this session is about. So I urge you to ignore that too. Before I start, I'm just going to check out my tonal range. Now I'm good to go and remember the focus is shading. I'm thinking about where my darkest areas are, where my mid-tones are, and where to leave untouched for my highlights. Now it's your turn. Focus on getting down the shapes and tones that you see in the spoon and try to let go of the fact that you're drawing a face. This is all about dark and light. Ready? Your 15 minutes starts now. How'd it go? As always, I recommend making a few notes about how the process felt. What was challenging, what worked well, and how about your anxiety levels while you're working? Remember, we're not aiming for total comfort here. We're aiming for positive, creative risk-taking. You might feel a strange low-level adrenaline spike when you're drawing and that is totally okay. In fact, that's what makes creative art so addictive I think. Make a few notes. Perhaps also jot down any ideas for future artwork that this activity has prompted and I'll see you tomorrow for your next spoon portrait session. 11. Day 8: Spoon Self-portrait PART 2: Day 8, Spoon Self-Portrait, Part 2. Part 2 of our spoon portrait challenge is harder, I think. Today we'll be looking into the convex side of the spoon, so that your face should appear the right way up. But this means when we're drawing, we'll be much more tempted to draw what we think our faces look like, rather than what we're actually seeing. If you feel your focus slipping away from what's actually there, then try to think back to yesterday's drawing. Think about how you observed shapes and tones. Now, I'm going to dive straight into my demonstration drawing, again in charcoal, because this is exactly the same process as yesterday. I'm focusing on shading and I'm ignoring the outer rim of the spoon so that it doesn't dominate my drawing. Here it goes. Now it's your turn. Your 15 minutes starts now. Welcome back. How did it go? How do today's challenge compare to yesterday's? I wonder which you preferred and which felt easiest. I have to say that for me, today's felt more challenging than yesterday's. I kept slipping into that mindset of trying to draw a recognizable face. It's just such an in-built thing to do, I think. It's good for me to sometimes break this habit by drawing more abstractly. How about you? If you have some thoughts on this, do jot them down, and I'll see you tomorrow for something totally different, very silly and good fun. See you then. 12. Day 9: Pencil-Case Game: Day 9, Pencil Case Game. The last couple of challenges have been quite intensive, so today's activity is just a really playful one, and I call this the pencil case game. This is how it works. Empty your pencil case or choose a selection of drawing materials. Scatter the pens, pencils, crayons, etc in front of you. Choose one of the items. Use it to draw one of the other pens or pencils that you can see. When you're done, put the item you've been drawing with back in your pencil case. Then pick up the item that you've just drawn and begin the process again using this to draw one of the other items. You'll end up with a page of stationary sketches using a whole range of drawing materials. The focus here is composition. Think about how your pens and pencils are arranged in your drawing, but also pay attention to the quality of your line. The line characteristics with the different drawing materials you're using are going to really differ. Just go with the flow and be open to getting varied results. In case my instructions have you scratching your heads, totally confused, wondering what on earth I'm talking about, here's my demonstration. Now, it's your turn. Remember that even though we're focusing on composition, the main thing is to have some fun with this experiment. See how it goes. Your 15 minutes starts now. Welcome back. I'm so curious to know how that felt compared to some of the more formal drawing exercises that we've done. We're all so different. For some people, they love trying new approaches, some might find it overwhelming. But remember, no one's looking over your shoulder, no one's checking to see if your work it up to par. Feel free to make mistakes. Your sketchbook, as I always say, is your safe place. I'm also really curious to know what worked well for you here. Did a particular pen or pencil really lend itself to this graphic linework? If anyone's feeling brave, please feel free to share your work in the projects. I'll see you tomorrow. 13. Day 10: From Memory... From Life: Day 10, from memory, from life. For today's challenge, we'll be drawing the same object twice. First from memory, then from life. You need to choose something that you'd like to draw. It could be something important to you, a piece of jewelry, a watch, an ornament, anything you like. I've chosen to draw a sea urchin fossil. I live on the South Coast of the UK, and one of my favorite things to do is beat. So far I've found 10 of these sea urchin fossils, so they're starting to take over my home. Anyway, for drawing number 1, I'm going to ask that you have a quick look at your object and then put it somewhere out of sight, so you're not tempted to look at it again. Then go ahead and draw what you can remember of that object. This drawing should take no more than eight minutes, just a quick sketch from memory. Then for drawing number 2, fetch your object and position it however you like, then begin your observational sketch. Make quick judgments about angles and proportions, about line, shapes, texture, and again, this is roughly an eight minute sketch. Try not to go over the eight minute, because we want those quick decisions to start feeling natural and instinctive. I'm going to quickly demonstrate, and then it's your turn. Now, it's your turn. So remember, you're drawing from memory first and then from life. Your 15 minutes starts now. Hello. How was that? How did the two drawing experiences compare? Personally, I'm always more relaxed when I'm drawing from observation, but I do like freedom of drawing from memory and from imagination. It's also so interesting to see where the gaps in my visual memory are. Anyway, I'm hoping that by now you're well into the habit of making notes after drawing. Jot down any thoughts or feelings that came up for you, and please take a moment to acknowledge what you've achieved. Whether that's your finished artwork, or whether it's your confidence level, whether it's your willingness to throw yourself into a new exercise. Remember by this point, you've taken on 10 sketchbook challenges. That's potentially 10 times you've thought, "I'm not sure how this is going to go." But you've done it anyway. That alone is so positive. It means that you're building up an experimental sketchbook habit. You're allowing yourself to make mistakes, to learn, and ultimately to advance your skills and confidence levels. Well done. I'll see you tomorrow. 14. Day 11: Eat and Draw: Day 11: Eat and Draw. When I'm busy illustrating, I often forget to stop for lunch, so this activity is perfect for anyone like me because we're basically drawing an item of food over and over, eating it as we go. I'm trying to be healthy, so I'll be using a pear, but feel free to have a biscuit if you want to make me jealous. First off, I'll spend no more than a minute sketching it whole. Then I'll take a bite and I'll sketch it again. Again, no more than a minute. Then I'll take another bite, I sketch it again, and so on, and so on. These are ultra-fast sketches, cool for quick judgments about angles and shapes. It's brilliant for honing your instincts. Try to roughly stick to the 15-minutes set time. But I don't want anyone checking on my account, so if you want to go over by a few minutes, please do. I'm going to show you my demonstration about it right here because I think all you really need to see is the simplicity of the line work here and the methodical eat-draw-eat approach. So here guys. Now it's your turn. Happy eating. Your 15 minutes starts now. Welcome back. How was it for you? This is my favorite of the challenges, not just because I love eating, which I do, but also because I love working fast, making quick gestural sketches. If that felt unusually fast pace, then well done for sticking at it and throwing yourself into something different. Working at speed means being really economical with your line work, trying to describe your subject with minimal mark-making. This is the great way to firm up your observational drawing instincts. As always, it's worth noting down any feelings or anxieties that you noticed when drawing. Acknowledge those anxieties, then also acknowledge how you tackled them. Did you push through and allow yourself to see what happened? Were you open to just going with the flow and persevering? How do you now feel about your finished art work. There are no right or wrong drawings here, so just take a moment to recognize what worked well and maybe consider what you might do differently next time. I'd really love to see your eat and draw sketches. So if you're feeling like you'd like to share them, you're comfortable doing it, then do please feel free to apply it into the project section. I'll see you tomorrow. 15. Day 12: Creative Hat On!: Day 12, Creative Hat On. This activity is a great one for illustrators as it involves mixing observation and imagination. We're basically going to be designing hats using inanimate objects from around the home. For mine, I've chosen to use a shell, a bulldog clip, a makeup brush, and a fork. Have a little wander around your home and see what appeals. Now, to show that these objects are in fact hats, I'm going to sketch little faces below them with just a few simple lines. If drawing faces is something that stresses you out, just keep it simple. Maybe use a pencil for that part so that you can adapt it if you need to. They can just be stylized faces, there's no need to go into massive detail at all. For this, I'm using a black brush pen because I want to vary the weight of my line. The intention of this challenge is to practice combining observational drawing and creative imagination, so just use whatever medium feels really conducive to that. I'm going to quickly demonstrate my approach to this, and then it's over to you. I'm starting with the observational drawing first, drawing my shell and then I'll add the face afterwards. I want to get the forms well proportion. This time I'm really paying attention to the shapes, and angles that I can see trying to judge those relative positions. Then the face is literally just a few lines. I want narrate awful drawings as my process is the same for each; object first, face last. There we are, four very eccentric hats. Now it's your time. Choose a drawing equipment that you feel is best suited to the task, line up your chosen objects and get started. Your 15 minutes starts now. Hello again. How did that go? Did it feel comfortable? Outlandish? How natural or unnatural did it feel to be observing and imagining the same time? For me, I love the idea of the object scale totally changes when the face is added. They become these massive weighty things from being quite small objects. As always, note down any thoughts or feelings arose while you are drawing, and definitely, write down any ideas for further sketches if anything sprung to mind. If you found getting those objects in proportion a bit tricky, then try to make space in the coming weeks to practice proportional line drawing little and often. For those who did find that a bit of a challenge, you might be relieved to know that tomorrow's challenge is nothing to do with proportion and everything to do with shading. I will see you there. 16. Day 13: Blobtastic Shading: Day 13, blob-tastic shading. For this, you're going to need some plasticine, Play-Doh, putty or sticky tack, that's blue tack to those of us in the UK, or if all else fails, a few different pebbles will do, because the aim for today is to draw a blobby shaped object with fantastic shading. So loads of focus on those tonal variations, creating a real sense with three dimensional depth. The reason I'm suggesting blobby materials for the subject matter instead of say, a shoe or any other recognizable object, is I want you to be free to make mistakes with the form, so long as you're throwing your all into making this a tonally strong drawing. In order to get that tonal variation, we're going to have to think about the medium that we're using. So pencil, graphite, charcoal, these are all excellent choices. If your blobby object is small, then just scale it up so it's comfortable on the page. For my demonstration, I'm using Play-Doh and I'm drawing in ballpoint pen because I find it's great for getting tonal range. I'll be making a few quick sketches within the 15 minutes. If you'd rather make just one, then that is totally fine. It's your choice. I'm not going to give the outlines too much thought because what I'm really interested in here is giving that shading real variation and depth. I'm thinking about my dogs, my lights in my mid-tones and all the subtleties within those. So now it's your turn. Using a medium that gives you some tonal variety, have it go with sketching, a blobby object focusing on your shading. You've got 15 minutes. How did that go? Were you able to focus on shading and forget about making the outline totally in proportion and accurate. How do you now feel about your artwork? Perhaps you already have a few thoughts about what you might do differently, if you were to repeat the activity, may be different medium, maybe changing the scale. All these kinds of ideas are a great sign that your sketchbook work is becoming part of a larger creative process. Tomorrow is our last challenge. So any ideas for sketchbook work are worth jotting down so you can keep the ball rolling with daily artwork sustaining that sketchbook habit. 17. Day 14: Comparison Sketch: Day 14, your comparison sketch. Here we are. We've reached day 14, our final challenge. It's time to revisit the activity from day 1, drawing your favorite mug. Now, even if your technical skills are way off where you'd like them to be. My hope for you is that by this point you're feeling a little more ready for the challenge, a bit better prepared. Perhaps you're even feeling some excitement about the artwork that you're about to produce. There is no one looking over your shoulder telling you how this mug sketch should look. There were no shades. It could be a line drawing, it could be a shaded sketch. It could be deliberately distorted. You might choose to add a splash of color. Perhaps you'll make a mug sketch with your non-dominant hand or create a composition during the mug repeatedly from different angles across your page. The choice is entirely yours. We learn by playing, by allowing ourselves to have a go and seeing what happens and when things don't work the way we expect, we can either process this as failure or we can recognize that we just learned something. Grab your favorite mug and you're drawing equipment whatever that may be and mostful, get ready to enjoy the process, knowing that mistakes are part of creative development because your final sketchbook challenge starts now. Welcome back. How did that go? I hope your final sketch that was fun to make. While it's still fresh in your mind, you might like to take note of any thoughts or feelings that came up while you were drawing. I would also like you to compare this final sketch to your very first mug drawing. Compare your artistic approach for sure, but also compare your attitude, your self expectations for each sketch, and your feelings about the two artworks. My hope for you is that through engaging with small daily challenges, you've become more accustomed to risk-taking and more attuned to the idea that developing as an artist is always a process, built on experimentation and on reflection. If you'd like to share your first and last sketches from this class in the projects, I would love to see them, but as I've always said over and over, there's no pressure to do it unless you're totally comfortable doing so. Congratulations, you've finished your 14 day fearless sketchbook challenge. 18. Final Thoughts: Final thoughts. Thank you for taking part in this Skillshare class. I hope the past two weeks has contributed to building both your adventurousness and you're resilience. Because whatever your long-term creative goals are, those two things are essential for success. I also hope that you'll continue to fill your sketchbooks with daily work. Just setting aside 15 minutes a day is soon going to have you honing your skills and finessing your techniques. Look back on those notes you made, think about which ideas you want to develop a little bit further, and allow yourself just a little chunk of time each day to keep your sketchbook habit rolling. If you'd like updates on my future classes, then just remember to press that "Follow" button. You'll also find me on Instagram and on Twitter sharing my illustrations and talking about art and books, so come and find me there. I'm at inky_willis. If you post any work related to this class on Instagram or Twitter, then feel free to tag me. I'm always so excited to see how people approach the different sketchbook challenges. My absolute heartfelt congratulations for sticking with the daily challenges, and stepping into the unknown and taking a chance. I wish you an exciting, fulfilling sketch-booking journey. Keep scribbling.