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30 Pages/30 Days—A New Sktchy Challenge Starting March 1, 2018

February 23, 2018
Journal page spread that is waiting for some journaling. (This is a page from January and it isn’t what I’ll be working on in the Sktchy live-stream because I will be working on that while you watch me!) Pen watercolor, collage on hot press watercolor paper.

I’m very excited to tell you about a new Sktchy Challenge starting March 1, 2018: 30 Pages/30Days.

It’s an Art Journaling challenge. I’ve been asked to be one of the featured artists. I’ll even be live-streaming the creation of a journal page on March 13! Click here to register.

What is Sktchy?

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog at all you’ll know by now that Sktchy is a fantastic free app where people post photos of themselves along with permission for the artist members to sketch from those photos. These users are called Muses because their inspiration photos inspire the artists.

The artists using Sktchy then have permission to sketch and create art from the muses’ images. (Most users of sketch are both artists and muses. But there are some really inspiring muses who have made it their art to create amazing inspiration photos.)

Artists then post their images on the app where it can be viewed with the inspiration photo.

Artists own their artwork and you’ll also see Sktchy users posting their artwork on Instagram, Facebook, and their blogs. If you look at my Instagram feed you’ll see several portraits from my Sktchy experience cropping up in square cropped versions!

You can get the app by going to the AppStore in iTunes. Sorry, it’s only available on iOS devices—the iPhone and iPad. 

UPDATE: I just learned from Sktchy that if you want to participate in this 30-day challenge as long as you can get email and are on Facebook you can get the challenge experience! 

Why I Enjoy Sktchy 

I started using Sktchy in the fall of 2016, but only did two sketches, couldn’t work out how to post (I’m not good with things on the phone), and left it until the end of the year when I got ill. At the beginning of 2017 I had bronchitis for weeks and couldn’t get out to sketch my friends at the zoo, or run errands and sketch all the people out and about (usually looking at their iPhones!).

I started using the app every day for the month of January 2017. It kept me sane! No more worrying about whether or not I could drag myself out to sketch. No more still life set ups. No more making Dick stay up past his bed-time while I shone a bright light on him and sketched him!  

While I prefer to draw from life Sktchy has one thing I cannot get enough of: BEARDS. I love to sketch beards. I think that they are a marvel. And the Sktchy community is loaded with hundreds (thousands?) of guys growing facial hair like it is still the 1890s! And they are all good sports willing to put up photos of themselves with all sorts of angles on their beards.

The only thing that could possibly be better for someone like me is if there was an app that dropped off a live puppy everyday at lunch time so I could sketch that puppy.

Using Sktchy in January 2017 I had the best time I’ve ever had while sick! 

I continued to use the app pretty much daily through the rest of the year, just because it was so much fun. It became a good way for me to unwind at the end of the day. Or a good way to get a sketch in if the rest of the day had gone south for whatever reason!

The other thing that Sktchy has is a wonderful community of artists of all skill levels working in every medium imaginable. (There’s even one artist who knits amazing portraits!)

What’s a Sktchy Challenge?

Every so often the creators of Sktchy organize a challenge. Last April they organized a 30 day challenge and I used that challenge as the basis for my 2017 International Fake Journal Month Journal.

Recently Sktchy has put together challenges where they invite a few artists to do demos during the challenge and provide daily drawing tips to the participants. Participation in these challenges costs $20. You can register for the 30 Pages/30 Days challenge which begins on March 1, 2018 here. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, February 26.

Participants will receive a daily email that contains a tip from one of the artists featured, a peak into the artist’s visual journal, and an inspiring prompt. Think of it as a way to get an extra dose of inspiration in your day.

Participants will also be able to join a private Facebook group to share and discuss their work. They are also encouraged to share their work on the app itself. If you already post on Sktchy all your community friends can see what you’re up to, and you’re sure to make new art friends as well.

By joining the challenge you also will be able to watch a live streaming event with each of the featured artists. During the live stream you’ll see me create a visual journal page spread, and I’ll be able to answer your questions while I work. (Participants who aren’t on Facebook will be able to see the the broadcast after it airs, so don’t worry, you don’t have to join Facebook if you don’t want to.)

Why Take a Sktchy Challenge?

I think the reason to take a Sktchy Challenge is obvious—it challenges you to strengthen your commitment to your drawing practice. 

If the thousands of photos on Sktchy intimidate you, taking a challenge helps to focus you to make choices, get over the “abundance overwhelm,” and start stretching your creativity muscles. 

The challenge will also introduce you to other artists who will provide encouragement to help you keep your commitment strong. You’ll be inspired by the way other artists interpret the challenge. 

And of course who doesn’t like to watch artists create? I certainly do. You’ll get to see in real time how they make decisions to get something down on paper.

Is Sktchy Just Portraiture?

Most of what you’ll see on Sktchy is portraiture. Let’s face it, faces interest us as humans. The face is a big part how we meet, read, and understand others.

But there are also, wait for it, CHICKENS, and DOGS, and PIGEONS, and well, a couple other things that I don’t have any interest in, but which you might—all on Sktchy.

The fun thing about the challenge I’m involved with is that it’s about art journaling/visual journaling. So it’s about thinking about the page. If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I love thinking about the page.

Ready To Take the Challenge?

If all this sounds appealing, remember you need to sign up by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday February 26. Click on the link to go to the sign up page. 

And if life is too full right now and you can’t do a challenge remember you can join Sktchy free at any time and start creating new art friendships, find inspiration, and have a source of wonderful reference photos.

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    • Barbara
    • February 23, 2018
    Reply

    Hi, Roz
    Since you seemed to still have concerns. just thought I’d let you know that I received your email this morning (Feb. 23), linking to three blog posts.
    Sincere condolences on the death of Phyllis; we all know how much you cared for her (in all senses).

    • Susan
    • February 23, 2018
    Reply

    OK, I’m in! I just started drawing Sktchy portraits last month, and it’s so much fun. It is very different from drawing from life, but I haven’t given that up. I was waffling on signing up for this challenge, but your post convinced me. Thanks, I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Reply

      Fantastic. I think you’re going to have a lot of fun. I have some really good tips that will be coming to you during the month and I know other two artists will too. And the demo should be really fun. I’m going to test my newly made stand (Dick made something out of PVC Pipe so the camera can hang above my work area, which, since I need to be near the computer will be a small tray table. Blech. But I’ll work around it. I’d better empty the studio trash—I just noticed it was pretty full and might be in the shot on as I change angles!

      I’m glad you haven’t stopped drawing from life. I believe, as you know, it’s best to draw from life. But sometimes we just have to draw something. I feel as if I’ve been at an isolated antarctic substation for the past 5 months and it’s been good to have Sktchy!

    • Susan King
    • February 23, 2018
    Reply

    Being an Android girl, I can’t participate (so sad😣), but I have a process question about your spread. It sounds like you often do the visuals (drawing, color, borders) and then the journaling later? Unrelated to the drawing? Am I right here?

    1. Reply

      I’m sorry about the Android thing Susan. Some days I get mad at my iPhone and want to leave it behind, but I think having Sktchy keeps me on it—that and my tech guy does Macs so it just makes sense.

      As for process I don’t have a fixed approach. I do both and all. I will do backgrounds unrelated to anything, way in advance (as I discuss in my Textures class) and sometimes I do backgrounds on the spot because I have a specific image to build in mind.

      I’ll sketch things while I’m out and about and the journaling I do then is typically related to what I’m seeing and drawing from life.

      When I use something like Sktchy as a photo resource I will sometimes draw an image and then not journal at all because I love the negative space, or journal something related or unrelated to the sketch or how the sketch made me think about something.

      On the Sktchy App, since it’s about portraits I will typically crop my pieces so that my journaling is not included, 1. because the app is about sketching and not journaling, and 2. people don’t really need to see my journaling in that venue because of item 1. And 3. I often like to keep my journaling private.

      Because of item 3. I sometimes don’t even put my journaling on my blog, but put the pages with only the illustration so it looks like they were done without or before journaling. It really becomes a matter of what I want to share, because the main thing for me has always been to protect my visual journaling practice so that I’m the audience and can keep being open for myself.

      Oh, there’s another option—sometimes my journaling is in response to a note my husband leaves me and I will stick the note down and then sketch, or sketch first and then stick the note down. But if I am going to post on the blog I often scan the sketch first without the note stuck down. There is one coming up on the blog in a little bit that is a dog portrait. I already had the note stuck down and the dog portrait was my response to how I felt about that note. When I posted the dog portrait on Sktchy I cropped out the note. When it appears on the blog it will be the full version because the blog post is about something that is happening in my life. I feel that people on Sktchy go on the app to draw portraits and not really talk about their lives (though it’s a fun and open community). Whereas people coming to my blog are coming to read about my art projects and my life, so the audience is different and what I’ll post is different.

      So I don’t limit myself at all on which direction I want to go at something. I just start getting ideas and go.

      I suggest you take a similar stance and try all the approaches to see which works for you.

      How does your mind work? Do you like to start from an image? But if you start from an image do you then make a background that fits that? Or if you’ve got ways you like to work (as I have, with certain page layout approaches that I like for the different sizes of books I work in) can you go ahead and make a background in advance that will work for you regardless of image?

      Or is starting from the ground up important to you in each instance of art creation? Do you like to set problems for yourself and then solve them by pulling in tools and materials? I do that when I’m collaging. Today’s image could have been done with collaged papers first, creating a background layout that suits my mode of working, and then the image was added, or it could have been done by sketching random images on loose sheets and then collaging everything to put things together in a meaningful way in my journal. (It went the last way in this instance.)

      I think you should try a variety of approaches because then you aren’t stumped. If you want to have text first you might not want to write it down on the page until you finish the sketch and know where you layout is going, but that still means you’re going to have text first as you create the drawing.

      Play with it all.

        • Susan
        • February 23, 2018
        Reply

        Thanks, Roz. It’s heartening to hear that like me, you have many different approaches. I always think there might be a “right” way. Not true, obviously, but its a trap I fall into easily because I love looking at your journals. I have upwards of 20 journals on the go at once, largely because I like different formats and different papers and the whole “not chronological” thing drives me nuts too. I’m joining IFJM to see if I can use 1 single journal for a whole month! LOL I’ve drifted off of the writing part too, largely because of the sharing on social media, but would like to get back to that and IFJM will facilitate this. I’ve signed up for By Design and that will occupy me for March, so I’m not TOO bummed out by the Sktchy thing. But I see by your reply below I can still join if I want to! I’d love to have Sktchy as a source of reference photos but I’ll just have to stick to Paint My Photo I guess! Thanks again.

        1. Reply

          There are no “right” ways. Just the way that gets the creative job done! Keep saying that to yourself when you find your resistance (because that’s what it is, your resistance and your internal critic trying to stop you) telling you that!

          Remember that in IFJM it’s your character who’ll be using the journal for an entire month, not you. So start thinking now about how your character has his or her life set up to allow that to happen and then make some tweaks to your life to give him/her that space.

          In this way, knowing they are the type of person who does routinely finish a journal before moving on, you will be able to have that experience too and learn what it feels like.

          It may or may not be something you try in YOUR life after IFJM, but it will do you good to experience it.

          Also, please understand that it is important that you not drift off the writing part of your journal. In my response to you I’ve indicated to you various ways I’ve worked around not sharing my writing, but know that the writing is a key part of what I do and a key part of my journal health and my own mental health.

          So please really look at how you can bring that writing part back into your practice even though you aren’t showing it to others.

          I’m not aware of Paint My Photo so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

    2. Reply

      Susan I have good news for you, the Sktchy folks said that with these challenges one doesn’t need an iOS device. If you can get emails and get on to Facebook you can participate in the whole challenge and see all the demos.

        • Vicky Kirby
        • February 27, 2018
        Reply

        Seriously, this is great news as I have been thinking how to hijack an I phone from other family members for the duration of the sketchy challenge. I”ll check it out. THANK YOU.

        1. Reply

          Yes, I only found out about it after I first posted this post. I guess they started the Facebook challenge groups so they could have non-iPhone people involved!

  1. Reply

    Yea! Just signed up for this. Can’t wait! 🙂

    One question, I know you are always recommending we draw live subjects, as opposed to photographs. Are there any drawing skills/artistic benefit to drawing from a photograph (other than the obvious benefit of different subject matter)?

    Cheers! Evie

    1. Reply

      Evie, if I’m recognizing your name accurately you’ve taken Drawing Practice with me before and you can read all my thoughts on drawing live subjects in the various memos from that class.

      I feel strongly that drawing from life is the best type of drawing you can do because you have to assess dimensionality and often the movement of your subject.

      But there are many drawing tools artists can and sometimes have to use. As an illustrator I’ve been asked to draw people who are long dead, products that must be accurately rendered. Working from photographs is often necessary.

      In general practice working from photographs can help you with facial expressions or detail rendering that you might not have enough time to see on a fleeting or moving subject. So working from them with that in mind can help you prepare for working from life. Hope that helps.

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