#2015PostcardProject: a review of daily creative habits

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The Final Card

I’ve had a little time to reflect on my #2015PostcardProject, and here’s what I have to say about it:

  1. I did it! I made and mailed 366 postcards–I messed up the numbering at some point, so I made two on the last day.
  2. I experimented with a lot of techniques and media, from watercolors to acrylic ink to bic pens. My favorite technique is an ink drawing with watercolor details added.
  3. I developed a style. What started as a need for a model who would always be available when I was ready to draw (many a selfie card went out into the world), along with facing my fear of drawing faces, grew into a love of making my illustration people.
  4. I forgave myself. A few times, I missed a day and made it up later. The first time it happened, I almost quit the project. And then I didn’t quit. A few times, I made a card so lame that I was embarrassed to send it, but I sent it. And then I tried to make a less lame card the next day.
  5. I like working in series. I had a calligraphy series, a doodle series, a very lengthy famous faces series…whenever I had a series going on, I felt a little more excited about sitting down to make my card.
  6. I made some folks happy. People like mail! I sent to total strangers who later wrote beautiful notes about how much getting a piece of friendly mail meant on that day. Perhaps most exciting, my mom–known for being no-nonsense about clutter–framed the card I sent her. And I even got a few postcards back in return!
  7. I did not dig documenting the project. Originally I intended to post a gallery at the end of each month like I did in January. I did take a picture of all the cards, and a lot of them are posted on Instagram.
  8. I fulfilled my goal of not dropping out of drawing (or painting) once my semesters got busy.
  9. I had fun. I enjoyed trying out new skills as well as imagining my cards wending their way around the world.

If you have any questions about the project, leave a comment. I am happy to share whatever information might be helpful to you!

Sorta Blind Contour Drawing

Last Tuesday Koosje Koene posted her Draw Tip Tuesday video about blind contour selfies.  Yes, I thought. That’s perfect for a postcard or two! I’ve been making portraits of my ancestors, but the faces are so controlled and overworked. I want to loosen my style, and blind contour selfie drawing? Just the ticket!

But when I sat down, Bic pen and pad of postcards in hand, iPhone with selfie on the table, I couldn’t do it. I froze. I wanted to look at that paper. I forced myself to make a few lines without looking, and then I allowed myself to break the rule about not looking. Because this project is not about constriction. It’s about exploration and developing my growth mindset.

And I discovered something. I love making sorta blind contour drawings! I’ve drawn three selfies and one portrait of Neal. These little line drawings have been a blast, and I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to make one, too. Here’s my method:

sorta blind contour drawings1. Grab pen and paper.

2. Take a selfie, get to a mirror, find a picture, find a live model.

3. Without looking at the paper, get down a few lines. You can tell on my postcards where I started, I’ll bet!

4. When you can’t resist looking, look. And draw. Try to keep the “tone” of the blind lines. Be playful.

5. Go back in to add detail if that makes you happy. I added watercolors to one, lines to enhance my hair in another, and cross hatching on Neal’s sweatshirt.

6. Admire your funny little drawing.

Keep me inspired: tell me what you’ve been doing to encourage your growth mindset.

Want a funny little postcard from me? Read about my #2015PostcardProject and sign up here.

2015 Postcard Project

postcardproject Well, hi there! How did your holidays go? I hope you enjoyed lots of festivities and that your crafting was delightful!

I’m gearing up for the new year, thinking and journaling about my love list. Every summer I pull out my watercolors and pencils and endeavor to improve my art skills. I have a ball, and I see progress. Then the semester begins, and I put away the tools and supplies that have given me such joy.

Near the top of my love list is this: I would love to make art every day. Another item: I would love to spread more joy in the world.

Like peanut butter and chocolate, those items, mashed up, lead to something better than the parts:

The 2015 Postcard Project

Here’s my idea. I’ll aim to create a postcard every day in 2015. Each will be a little artistic endeavor in which I play with lines, color, whatever moves me. I’ll write a note about my world, and I’ll mail it off. To you, if you like, and to 364 other lovely people around the world.

Want a postcard? Fill out this form. I pinky promise I won’t use your address in any other way or share it with anyone. Know someone who might enjoy a postcard? Please send them over!