These are dark days, unlike any other year I have experienced. To bring light and happiness into my daily life, I decided to start a 100 day art challenge. At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create, although I have always been passionate about birds and plants.
Thus, the amalgamation of birds and plants came to be known as 100 days of Botanical Birds. #100daysofbotanicalbirds
There has never been a better time than now for me to do an art challenge. Due to the pandemic, much like everyone else, I was stuck working from home. The silver lining to this was the 2 hours I got back every day, thanks to no longer having to commute. On a more personal level, I longed to ignite that creative spark I felt when I was young and free, not bound by excessive corporate oversight. That’s when I discovered #The100DayProject, which inspired me to create consistently while stuck at home.
The official 100 Day Project (#The100DayProject) is a free, global art project that promotes creative support to challenge yourself for 100 days. Technically it has a set timeline from January - May, but I started my journey on August 27 and finished on December 5, 2020.
I created digital paintings in Procreate on my iPad. On average, each painting took about 3 hours/day (also way over #The100DayProject guideline of 10-15 minutes 😆).
My main goal in coming up with bird + plant combinations was to build a harmonious relationship between similar shapes, colors, or elements.
A Typical Day
• Research - I searched the web/personal photos and gathered reference images for my bird and plant of the day. I would try to do this the day before to save time (didn’t always happen like that).
• Layout - After gathering my images, I would lay them out and start sketching (see example in the video). My goal was to do this in the morning before work.
• Painting - While research and layout took a lot of time, choosing a palette, technique, and the deets took longer. I always like to start painting a bird's eyeball, because it sets me up for who is this bird and what is the overall mood they portray. Also, on some days I spent just as much time on the background/color scheme as the subject.
With 100 days, it was important to keep track of everything in a spreadsheet for easy organization. Also, this allowed me to gather resources and create pairs ahead of time.
Trick or Tweet
To help keep things fresh for me, I experimented with different brushes, and color schemes and I even did a special “Trick or Tweet” Halloween edition of Botanical Birds.
Early on it became clear that coming up with combinations was itself, a major part of the challenge. Initially, I did have a lot in mind but it was a bit stressful as I tried to figure it out the day of.
I never knew I hated bird feet. Great for walking, terrible for drawing. 🙃
Overall, this challenge did help me as an artist. There were days when it wasn’t easy to complete the challenge, but I kept pushing through until the end with support from the community, family, and friends. It also helped me cope with current events, became a healthy outlet for my stress, and I had a lot of fun rediscovering who I am as an artist.
I plan on doing more challenges like this in the future and I encourage you to try your own challenge today! It could be anything from art to cooking or 100 days of helping someone. Anything that could lift your spirits and help make this world a more beautiful place.