Art Challenges for Motivation and Productivity

Art Challenges for Motivation and Productivity












Blog written by Heather Franzen Rutten

Amid the stresses of juggling work, family, and finding time to relax, it can sometimes feel impossible to create art on a daily basis. To maintain momentum, I like to join a drawing challenge, which involves producing a daily or weekly mini-project on a given theme, resulting in a “streak” of creativity. Making a public commitment to participate is an attainable goal that can be powerful for producing something new on a regular basis. In addition to developing and exploring fresh ideas, it is inspiring to see how other artists interpret the same theme or prompt. The desire to complete the challenge and to join other artists compels me to draw even during the busiest times. Sometimes it means packing a few art supplies in my suitcase or sketching while sitting in a waiting room!

In addition to joining other artists’ challenges, I have created my own. My first was Mermaid Week, where I drew one mermaid every day for one week. When I wanted to get better at drawing hands and feet, I did a few studies every day for a month. You can create your own hashtag and invite other artists to join you! Last year I had an idea to draw birthstone-inspired dragons and turned it into #GemStreak and a handful of friends joined me:

It may seem impossible at times, but finishing a challenge is a huge accomplishment. It’s fun to look back at everything you have created over a short period of time and to notice the improvements you have made. Chances are good that you can present most of the work from your challenge in a portfolio or as part of an art zine.

Here are some rewarding challenges that I have participated in:

Daily Drawing Challenges:

1. Sketchtember: Sketch every day in September. I asked my followers to comment with random one-word drawing prompts, which led to more interaction and visibility on Facebook and Instagram.

2. Inktober (, @inktober on Twitter): Complete one ink drawing every day in October. An official drawing prompt list can be found on

3. Drawlloween (, @drawlloween on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Draw one Halloween-themed piece every day in October, following the official Drawlloween prompt list.

Weekly Drawing Challenges:

1. Colour Collective (@clr_collective on Twitter): On Saturday, a color is posted. Artists create a piece incorporating that color, then tweet their submissions on Fridays at 19:30 GMT.

2. Animal Alphabets (@animalalphabets on Twitter): Similar to Colour Collective, but each week is a different letter and animal. Artists tweet on Mondays at 19:30 GMT.

3. Illustration Friday (, @ifri on Twitter): A new prompt is posted on Fridays and artists post their work all week long. Each week a winner is picked and is featured on the Illustration Friday blog.

4. Doodle Tube (@doodle_tube on Twitter): Doodle Tube is new! I actually have not participated yet, but their following is rapidly growing so I want to mention it here.

Monthly Drawing Challenges:

1. Pinch Punch Post (Twitter: @pinchpunchpost Facebook: The moderator picks an animal and artists post any time on the first of the month. The animal for October 1 is a bat!

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