Dylan Mierzwinski

Illustrator & Lover of Flowers



*COMPLETE* 100 Days of Sketching (Updated March 10th, Day 100/100)





I had fun playing with different line weights; something I really enjoy in other people's work. At first I was scared to start, thinking to myself 'What's it going to look like? What If it doesn't look right?' I'm so happy I just went for it. 


Today was my first weekend day with my challenge. As I laid out in my plan, weekends mean sketching first thing in the morning when I get up (to leave no room for excuses). I even set a reminder on my phone last night that says "Sketch first thing!" I didn't even allow myself to check email before I got to work. It was hard to hold myself to it but once I got started I really enjoyed myself. 


This project is already turning out to be a success for me in two ways: the first is that upon waking I thought to myself "I do NOT want to sketch first thing today, I'll be home all day watching football and will fit it in then." But then after walking around and stretching I found I actually wanted to get to sketching! Secondly, the pressure from my perfectionist in my head to only make good things (the same one that condemns me for even thinking of drawing from a reference photo) has gotten quiet during each session once I get into it. Uh, win win for sure.


This was sketched while looking at a vintage botanical print. I'm amazed that I drew this...why did I hold a moratorium on drawing from reference images for so long?? I've enjoyed having beautiful forms to draw as canvases to play with line styles and different shading techniques. 


One week in and going strong! I'm so happy that I made my challenge 'easy' enough to not buy into any of my excuses not to do it. A few times the classic 'what is 20 minutes going to change?' attitude settled in, but I drew anyway, drawing courage and motivation from all my wonderful why's that I wrote out at the beginning of the project. It feels less foreign and intimidating to hold a pencil in my hand when I sit down with my sketchbook, *sigh of relief*, can't wait to see what else I draw.



Sorry for the crummy and inconsistent photos...I've been sketching at different times, mostly in the evening or at night so there's not pretty natural sunlight. Oh well, besides the point. Really happy with how this one turned out; sketched from a vintage botanical print.




Whew. It has been an extremely busy weekend for us, but I still made time to sketch each day. Even on Friday night at 12:04am, after getting home from a concert, before getting up at 6am for our next thing



Two weeks done and more than halfway to my first reward. Really happy with how my drawing is improving, and getting to spend some more time with florals


Eek, bad photo. Late sketching :)


It's the first time in my challenge using color! As I continued working on my sketch from last night I was dismayed that shades of black and gray weren't really getting the picture of the tomatoes across. So I broke out my small coveted collection of Copics and added some color. Loooooove


This may look like your generic page of crummy sketches (uhm, there's a hot dog with sprinkles on it that says 'glam dog'...), but it's actually a big thing for me. Friday night I had my niece over to stay the night, and it wasn't until after everyone was in bed that I realized I hadn't sketched yet. Not wanting to disturb the household by turning on a light in the living room and getting to work, I started to make excuses for why it was okay to not do it. The thought of breaking my streak really sat with me though. I felt my own accountability coming to call, and so I stood in the kitchen, without a reference image, and just did some free sketching for 20 minutes (this time, exactly 20 minutes, not one second more). So are the images great? No, but I'm happy I've held myself to my challenge...it may be the very first time in my life I've done that. 


Back to reference images; this one is a botanical of a beautiful olive branch.


My hand is a little unsteady using the brush pens still, but I really enjoy the feeling of working with markers. I like the combo of a thin, reassuring pencil line to follow, and the freedom of the ink filling an area.



A little bit of anxiety has started to settle into my sketching project. I'm so happy looking at my progress, but then a series of thoughts starts: am I just cheating by looking at reference photos? am I even getting any better? if I sat down at a blank page with no references would I be met with the same fear of not knowing what to draw? (the answer to that one is still 'yes'), is there something wrong me me? Am I not meant to make art? So I sketched through it and tried to quiet those voices. They aren't quiet, they seem louder now, but I will move forward with my challenge anyway. 


I decided to take Jane Peever's "Basic Shapes Beautiful Designs" class here on Skillshare, and I'm so happy I did. It really helped to break through some of my anxiety I've been feeling over my abilities and progress as an artist. 



Drawn in the car during a roadtrip..the only time I had to sketch all day! Shaky lines kept this at the minimum 20 minute session


This was my first weekend away during my challenge, and I didn't break the chain! I had to fit in my sketching when I could, so I only got 20 minutes in AND forgot to take gradual pictures, but this is what I've been working on for the past few days. Based off a pic I took at a farmer's market on our trip.







In the 35 days I've done this challenge I've really grown to look forward to and enjoy my sketching time. For the most part I'm no longer intimidated or anxious while drawing. However, I'm in the midst of a really creative-heavy project at work, so yesterday after 9+ hours of illustrating and animating, I did NOT want to sketch. So I watched Clue with my boyfriend. And I still didn't want to sketch. I really didn't want to break the chain after 34 straight days, so I sat myself down and did it anyway. On top of that, I took some pictures of pretty kale plants at the farmer's market recently and have been wanting to draw them, but was fearful they were too complex for me. I figured there was no harm in just trying, and worst case scenario it would be an abstract drawing. So happy I made both those decisions, because I love how my little kale sketch turned out, and now it's 35 days straight. Woot!



I've had three short 20-minute drawing sessions in a row where I've been playing with lines on this cactus plant. I'm still really busy at work, but I've also been spending some time digitizing my sketches from days 32 and 33. I made myself some device wallpapers out of them and decided to share them for free, if anyone is looking to add some prettiness to their phone or computer. I wrote a blog post about them here, which also contains the links to download them. 





This one has been really enjoyable to work on :)




I'm thinking of getting some holiday postcards printed from my last few illustrations.


It's Election night, and I'm about as anxious as I can get. As my stomach and mind churned, I used my drawing as a way to relax and step out of everything for a little bit. 


I felt a lot of things today; I'm glad to have had drawing to lean on









Today's sketching was a little different. I was having a rough day at work and watched Jamie Bartlett's class on monoline lettering while eating a late lunch. I used her class to letter myself a pick-me-up, and used the sketches to create a final digitized product, as seen below. 





The last few days have been a lot of random sketching and doodling as I try to expand my skills to encompass a different style. I'm finding out just how much I enjoy illustrations from the 50s, which show blocks of bold color and thin black accent lines. This whole creativity thing is a real blessing and a curse. When I'm not drawing I want to be, and when I am I'm going crazy trying to make them better and better and better. In the meantime, here are some Christmas birds. 







I'm really working on more doodling than traditional drawing. I find that I've gotten comfortable with following lines from reference photos, but still have a hard time abstracting and adding character to what I see. 




I've really enjoyed playing around with my doodles in photoshop and illustrator. Here are some postcards I made from the last few days of sketching:









This is a strange one - I couldn't decide what to draw so my boyfriend suggested a character from a show we were watching. 


This was an experiment that I'd like to do with other objects to help me with abstracting my doodles. In this one I took a grasshopper and drew it in many different styles; Blind contour, general outline, basic shapes, only straight lines, only bent lines, playing with proportions, etc.


So...let's talk about this weird page of sketches...my mom requested I illustrate something for her friend at work based on an inside joke they have. As with most inside jokes, it's hard to get it from the outside, so just know that what is depicted above is a chicken nugget doing a tuck and roll out of a moving car. You read that right. The final version is below.



I guess I just needed a scribbly, scratchy, day of drawing.


Continued some fun holiday sketching, I've had a great time digitizing and coloring them:













Wow. 3/4 of the way through my challenge and I feel it has changed my life. I know that's a dramatic and bold statement, but truly, moving into a space where I'm comfortable in my sketchbook is wonderful. I used to think a real artist's sketchbook was filled only with beautiful drawings. I'm sure you've seen the pictures of people's sketchbooks, with incredibly and perfectly inked landscapes and portraits; and although that's great for them, it put a lot of pressure on me and mine. My sketchbook has pages where I started drawing something and immediately needed a fresh page and started on the next. Other pages have 'good' sketches mixed with 'bad' or 'ugly' ones. I love that I look at my sketchbook as a friendly place, instead of one of guilt and stress. 


Thinking ahead for an easter card




Dec 21st: Welp. It happened. I broke the chain. This was hard to come to terms with at first because I hadn't considered what it would be like if this happened, I just figured I'd be able to do it every day for 100 days. At first I felt this made my project a failure, but then I looked back at the graphic I made on the first day and read all the reasons why I wanted to start this in the first place. I realized that all of those reasons and goals are still closer now than when I started, and therefore I'm moving in the right direction. Plus, sometimes you've just gotta give yourself a break. Not only is it the holiday season (I've been making all my gifts by hand), but we're preparing for a cross-country move from MI to AZ, and I recently found out two weeks ago that I'm being laid off from my job. But I'm moving through it all, and now that I've 'confessed', I'll be happy to pick my sketchbook back up. I haven't totally stopped, so here's a little parks n rec characters in the meantime. 










Hello! Even though I hadn't posted since before the holidays, I have been drawing! Your comments have been so motivational and warm for me, so I can't thank you guys enough for supporting me through this and being interested in my little challenge. I am excited to announce that thanks to Meggie's question about digitizing the sketches, I'm in the process of developing a little class around my process that I've been using in photoshop. I'm hoping to have it completed in time for the teaching challenge that ends January 8th, but I'll be sure to send out an announcement when it's live. After I finish that one I plan on making one for my process in Illustrator. Things are feeling much better than the last time I posted. I have a big job interview today, we're getting closer to the move, and the swell of the holidays is past us. I'm having a blast developing my class and can't wait to share it with all of you. <3


These sketches were used for the cover of my Skillshare class, which can be viewed here



















Welp, there it is folks. 100 days of drawing, done in more than 100 days. A lot has changed since day 1: I've moved across the country, lost two jobs, launched a successful Skillshare class, chopped my hair off, and gained this incredible momentum towards my goal of being a full time illustrator and designer. 

When I started this challenge I thought it would take me to an end place, but this challenge end finds me in massive transition. Job hunting again, I'm having to face the choice between continuing my traditional design career (corporate, numbing, challenging), or working a 'bridge' job while I go full steam ahead at printing and selling my own illustration and sewing work (scary, unclear, exciting). 

Looking back I can see that I achieved what I set out to do: I no longer fear my sketchbook, drawing is a joy, my personal style is developing, and I'm closer to my dream. I know it took awhile to post the last few days of drawing, but I think I became more lax with posting because I grew more confident that I wouldn't be moving away from this. 

Thank you, Cynthia, for this class. It is the sole reason I stopped dreaming about drawing and one day finally picked up my pens and sketchbook and began. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. For those just starting, your first steps might feel awkward, frustrating, and challenging. But if you really want it, just push past it. There IS another side.



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