Create Every Day: 5 Tips on How to Maintain a Daily Drawing Habit
Developing a daily drawing habit (or any creative habit) can be rewarding in so many ways. Not only are you giving yourself a creative outlet for the day, but with time, you’ll start to see your skills and ideas begin to improve noticeably.
With that said though, we all know that keeping up with a daily habit isn’t always easy. We get busy with life, time isn’t always on our side, and sometimes we’re just not in the mood to sit down and create. One skipped day turns into two, and eventually your habit is no more.
I’ve had these same struggles with trying to keep a daily drawing habit for so many years. This year though, I made a few tweaks in my approach, and I’ve been able to keep up with it more consistently. I’d love to share some tips on how I’ve been able to do that in case you’re looking to start a daily creative habit as well.
Please note: These tips can be applied to any creative habit that you’re trying to pursue or maintain. I just use drawing as my example :)
Tip #1: Decide on a project, theme, or idea
Creating structure around the details of what you’re going to draw and how you’re going to draw it will help you to get this habit in place and running. What are you going to draw and how will you draw it? Will you stick to pencil sketches or will you watercolor?
I’ve found that making these decisions early on can help lower the barrier to entry each day when you sit down to draw. You no longer have to sit there wondering what to draw because you’ll have already made those decisions days, weeks, or even months in advance.
Some examples of what you can do:
Make a list of 100 flowers and draw one for 100 consecutive days
Find a drawing challenge on Instagram, pick up a book with drawing prompts, or make your own list of prompts to follow each day
Draw the same thing for an entire month (Liz Steel, an urban sketcher who I admire so much, draws her teacup in her journal every day and it’s become a signature sketch in her work)
Whatever it is that you decide to do, just remember to plan something out in advance so you’re clear on what you’ll be drawing each day. This will allow you to show up each day, sit down, pick up that pencil, and get going.
Tip #2: Choose to draw something that you will enjoy
This seems like a given, but it’s really important to remember. If you don’t find an activity enjoyable or rewarding in some way, it’ll make it less likely that you’ll want to continue. Even if it’s something that takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you, it should be something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
What sparks your curiosity and attention? What’s something that you’ve wanted to explore deeper? Are you fascinated by butterflies? Do you have an obsession for vintage stamps?
There are so many things that you can find inspiration from - just search from within :)
Tip #3: Set the bar low
Keeping things easy and simple is the best way to ensure that you’ll keep up with your daily drawing habit. When I started my passion project, Dear Ethan, I decided to commit to one small sketch a day because I knew that was something that was completely manageable for me.
That has made it possible for me to maintain this daily drawing project since January. And the best part about setting the bar low is that you can pick it right back up even if you find yourself missing a few days or even weeks (because inevitably, life happens).
Is a 5-minute sketch all you can fit into your schedule? Then, that’s what you should aim to do each day.
Think about what makes sense for you given your current schedule and demands, and fit in your daily drawing habit within those demands. This will allow you to continue your drawing habit without feeling overwhelmed or anxious about it.
Tip #4: Designate time in your day to draw and show up consistently
You can’t create a habit if you don’t show up and act on it consistently, so make sure to schedule a time and place that works best for you and make it a priority to show up daily. If it helps to schedule it in your calendar or set an alarm on your phone, do it!
An extra tip is to tie your habit with things that you already do every day.
For me, it’s feeding Ethan breakfast (this is when I sketch six pattern ideas daily) and taking a shower (I do my Dear Ethan sketches after my shower every night). I’ve found that creating natural triggers/reminders in your day can be so helpful. At a certain point, you’ll get so accustomed to keeping up with your habit, that it’ll feel weird NOT to follow through with it.
Whatever strategy you implement, just remember that the key is to instill consistency and discipline.
Tip #5: Create a space for sharing your work
You don’t have to do this, but I’ve experienced that sharing my drawings and posting it somewhere has provided me with the extra accountability to keep going.
If my Dear Ethan project was something that I just left in my sketchbook every day, I don’t know if I would’ve kept up with it since January. Putting it out there in the universe as a daily drawing project has actually made me feel more responsible for showing up and getting it done. And even though I’ve missed a few days and fallen behind on it, it’s something that I will always continue to work on and share.
If you’re needing some extra accountability, try creating a space - whether that’s on a public platform or a private space for just your family and friends - and share your work consistently. It might give you that extra push that you might just need to keep going!
As always, you guys know that I’m not perfect and I’m on the same creative journey as many of you - navigating all its ups and downs and twists and turns.
My hope in sharing my experiences is to provide some value and to encourage you to keep going. Practice makes progress, and consistency is key!
Wishing you all the best on whatever creative endeavor you decide to venture on next!