Fear of failure is likely one of the most common reasons that people do not tackle the unknown. Though I usually enjoy taking on new challenges, I must admit this one makes me nervous. Drawing is not my forté. I have never taken a formal art class, and know next to nothing about drawing besides doodling. When I read about the Sketchbook Challenge in which fellow BBEST member Kimberly is participating (see Elusive Inspiration), however, I decided to stop making excuses and see what I can learn. Besides, it sounds like fun, and  creative growth does not come without a little risk.

The Sketchbook Challenge was started by fiber artist Sue Bleiweiss, with the idea that once a month, a theme will be selected for all participants. Everyone then designs as many pages as they wish that match the monthly theme, and shares them by posting photos of their art on their blogs and/or on Flickr, and by posting links in the comments section of the Sketchbook Challenge. To make this process a little less fearful for all, Sue invited 15 other artists to blog about their own progress in the Challenge. On January 1st, the first theme, “Highly prized,” was announced. Nearly every day of the month, a new blog post appeared with tales, tips and tutorials from Sue Bleiweiss and her co-hosts.

The format of the Sketchbook Challenge is easygoing and feels friendly, so I have decided to participate and see where this goes. Participants are invited to explore different techniques, not necessarily drawing. Collage, for example,  is one option. The idea is that visual art will express the monthly theme, instead of words. Below is my first entry—not perfect, by any means, but it reflects my best effort. If you would like to participate in the Sketchbook Challenge, you can read the rules here.


Sketchbook Challenge Theme for January 2011: Highly Prized

© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Linking creative growth and risk”

  1. I’m really impressed with your first sketchbook attempt! It sounds really interesting – going to look into it!

    1. Erika, I think that’s the idea…to explore something that doesn’t come naturally or easily. Julie Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests weekly Artist Dates with ourselves in which we nurture our creative unconsciousness. We make a play date with ourselves, reminding ourselves that creativity is playful. And when we choose something that doesn’t come naturally to us, it helps what does come naturally to flow better. Come join us in the Sketchbook Challenge!

  2. I love your January sketch, and your February one as well! So glad you are playing – and giving this a try as well. It IS fun, just like you explained to Erika. I am surprised at how playing like this, trying things out, is making me smile. 🙂

    Thinking of you, and your family, and your daddy too.

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