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4 Key Learnings from the Early Weeks of My 100-Day Sketching Challenge

Throughout the early stages of my 100-day art challenge, I encountered numerous lessons that not only refined my approach but also deepened my understanding and appreciation of the artistic process. Here are four crucial insights:

1. Start Small

Embarking on a new artistic endeavor can be overwhelming, especially when faced with limitless possibilities. To mitigate this, I focused on beginning with small, manageable projects. Starting small allowed me to build confidence and skill gradually, without the intimidation of completing a complex piece. This approach is particularly effective in sketching, where the essence of a subject can be captured with just a few well-placed strokes. Over time, these small sketches helped refine my ability to observe and capture the fundamental characteristics of my subjects.

2. Don't Overcomplicate

In the realm of art, simplicity often leads to stronger, more striking outcomes. Initially, I aimed to capture complex scenes, but I quickly realized the power of simplifying my focus. By concentrating on single elements—like trees, rocks, and basic landscapes—I was able to hone my skills in composition and detail without the distraction of too many variables. This practice of reducing scenes to their most basic forms helped in developing a more profound understanding of structure and space in my artwork.

3. Add Complexity Gradually

After establishing a foundation with simpler sketches, I began to introduce more complexity into my work step by step. This gradual increase in complexity ensured that each new skill or technique was built upon a solid base of prior knowledge and practice. For example, after several days of sketching individual trees, I progressed to combining these trees with rocks and eventually entire landscapes. This methodical approach prevented the feeling of being overwhelmed and made each new challenge seem more attainable.

4. Embrace Mistakes

Perhaps the most transformative lesson was learning to embrace mistakes as part of the artistic process. Initially, the fear of making irreversible errors was daunting, especially when using unforgiving mediums like liners. However, by accepting that each mistake was an opportunity to learn and improve, I found freedom and creativity in my work that was previously hindered by perfectionism. Embracing mistakes encouraged me to experiment more boldly, leading to unexpected and often rewarding artistic discoveries.


These learnings from the first weeks of the challenge were instrumental in shaping my approach to art and sketching. They taught me not just about techniques, but also about patience, resilience, and the joy of artistic exploration. These insights have made the journey not only a challenge but a profoundly rewarding experience. To see visual representations of these lessons and more, check out my Instagram updates @painted_by_natalia.

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