2015 Projects - Everyday Brave - Intro and Week 1

During the summer, I finally signed up for classes at SketchBook Skool after pondering them for way too long. The first class I signed up for was “seeing.” It had some of my very favorite sketchers like Danny (who is in all the classes, of course) and Brenda Swenson and Cathy Johnson and Andrea Joseph. Once all the people I loved were on the list, I just couldn’t not sign up.

And I am so glad I did.

The class was amazing. It inspired me to do the 75 Day Sketch Challenge and after that was over, I decided I wanted to keep sketching every single day. Even if it was something small. And since I really missed the color during the 75 days, I decided to sketch something small and color it with watercolors every morning.

And that was the birth of the Everyday Brave project.

I got a Watercolor Moleskine and played around for a few pages, and then I started what looks like the page you see above. Each week I plan to share a spread with some small sketches and some daily journaling. In the beginning, my journaling was about thoughts, daily musings, etc. But I’ve decided to use this project to keep track of my brave acts daily to remind myself to be braver and to be aware of when I am being brave. So even though the first few spreads will be random, the journaling starting in the new year will be about daily brave acts.

Here’s the left side of this page. It has a poppy bagel with tea and in the bottom middle is my ipad which I was using to listen to some audiobooks.

And the right side of my page which has the other half of the ipad on the bottom and a Starbucks latte on the right.

And there we are. Here’s to a year of little and big brave acts and a year full of sketches!

Monthly Projects – May – Shoes

All the way back in May, I had done a month-long project of drawing shoes every day. I never got to share it so I figured as we come to the end of the year, I want to make sure to share my shoes. This wasn’t my favorite of the monthly projects but I do love some of the shoes.

Here they all are. I have front and side views to show the shimmer:

A total of 17 shoes. Not a full month’s worth but a good lot nonetheless.

75 Day Sketch Challenge

During the summer, I finally signed up for classes at SketchBook Skool after pondering them for way too long. The first class I signed up for was “seeing.” It had some of my very favorite sketchers like Danny (who is in all the classes, of course) and Brenda Swenson and Cathy Johnson and Andrea Joseph. Once all the people I loved were on the list, I just couldn’t not sign up.

When it was Brenda Swenson’s week, she shared with us what she calls the 75-Day Sketch Challenge. The way the challenge works is that you have:

  • Complete 75 drawings in 75 days. If you miss a day, you have to do two the next, etc. You have 75 days total.
  • You can only use black or blue pen.
  • You can use any technique, size, and subject you want.
  • No pencil allowed. No exceptions.

I will say I was quite intimidated. I have never not used a pencil. The pen was scaring me. But I decided to tackle it anyway.

For the first few days I used a fountain pen. I liked the very first drawing but really disliked all the consequent ones. Here are the first few:

That was the first 14 sketches. Then I decided to use a ballpoint pen instead (thanks to Andrea) and I realized I liked it so very much better.

After a few more days, I started to feel uninspired. I was tired and out of ideas.

I contemplated quitting a bunch of times. Then we went camping and I drew some in the car:

and something simple at the campground:

and then our tent:

and while the boys took a walk, I drew a camper nearby:

I tried to draw Jake’s shoes:

but i hated it so i decided it didn’t count as #31 and drew these penguins instead:

I then tried to draw my mixer and didn’t have much success even though I tried twice:

then I tried my neighbor’s house:

then i got frustrated again. the next few are small and inconsequential:

and the car across the street:

and another neighbor’s house:

then i drew the counter at McDonalds and some scissors and the Advil bottle. I was running out of ideas indeed.

then I drew the smaller items on my table:

and the mini grill in the backyard:

i felt like each time i took a step forward, i was taking two steps backward:

then i drew more items from my desk:

a spoon and a knife that i hated:

some more not-so-great drawings:

then some more desk items like brushes and knives and scissors:

even when i didn’t have time, i tried to draw something, however small.

i drew this knife as i was waiting for the kids to get out of class.

and for the final two, I drew Nathaniel’s flip flops and some pliers.

And there we are 75 sketches in 75 days. Zero pencil!

Even though I dislike as many as I dislike, I am very proud to have accomplished this many days in a row and I am no longer afraid of just starting with a pen!

Listen with Intent – Week 24

For this week, I picked what else. As in what else is there here? What else could I be listening for? What else could they be saying? What else am i missing? What else am i assuming? What else could this person be trying to communicate? What else could be going on? What else, what more, what different is here? The goal this week is to go deeper. Look for more, different, look beyond.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is supposed to be mountains to imply looking beyond something. Looking for other things on the horizon.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent – Week 23

So the first part of being creative is changing my perspective. Listening from a completely different perspective. Slowing down and seeing other possibilities. Stopping my default reaction to things. Really taking the time to look at things multiple ways. Each time an opportunity to listen arrives, I will be asking, what would other perspectives look like here? What’s his/her perspective? What’s mine? Is there another?

The fun lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is from this awesome pin.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent – Week 22

A new month and a new intention. This month, I wanted to do something fun so I decided to pick Listen Creatively. How can I change things up? How can I look at the same thing differently? Can I get creative with my listening? What would that look like? What would that sound like? I am not sure what to expect from this month, but I am open to being creative with it.

The creative lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is supposed to be watercolors.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 21

For this week, I picked walk. Park of listening actively is changing my location and not sitting and listening while I am on the computer, etc. When I take a walk with either of my sons, I listen so much better. I am present, I am paying attention only to them and I listen. So my intent this week is to take more walks. To engage with my family as I walk.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image is from this pin by the awesome Inslee.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent – Week 20

For this week, I picked reach out. Park of being active, for me, is learning to reach out to others and creating my own social activities. Reaching out to friends, acquaintances, potential friends, or even colleagues. It’s easier and sometimes more enjoyable for me to sit at home, alone or with my small family. So being active is about making the effort to reach out and not waiting for others to.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is a hand reaching. Alas, hands are hard to draw!


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent – Week 19

For this week, I picked engaged. One of the parts of being active for me is to be more engaged in all areas of my life. When with my kids, at work, when talking to Jake, when out in social situations, and even when alone, I want to be more engaged. I want to be fully present. I want to be very conscious of this very moment. I want to be in it. So engaged it is.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is an eye. I wanted it to look like it was looking you in the eye as in engaged but it looks tired and sleepy to me.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent – Week 18

A new month comes with a new category of intention. What I wanted to pick for may was to listen actively. I like the idea of being more active, more outside, more engaged in the spring and summer. I think that I have a tendency to be stagnant, especially in the winter, so I love the idea of being more active.

The lettering I used here comes from this pin.

The image here is a ballerina, when I think of being active both physically and mentally, I think a ballerina represents both.

I really dislike how the spacing worked out in this one. Too much space to the right of the legs and the letters are crunched up. I also don’t like how the legs are softly colored and the lettering is bright black. It just seems off.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

On Comparing Beginnings and Middles

Today’s quote is:

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. – Jon Acuff

Yesterday, I emailed Judy Wise to tell her how excited I was about her upcoming “painting faces” class which my calendar said was starting today.

She replied pretty much immediately and said that the class had started a month ago and was now over.

I felt my heart sink.

She then said the students were still working on all the material in the FB group and did I want to be added. I said of course and she added me and once I visited the group and saw everyone’s work, my heart sank even more.

The other students’ work was so so amazing that I just wanted to quit before I even started. What’s the point? There’s no chance I will ever be that good. I’ve been working on drawing faces for quite a few years now and I just can’t get good enough at them, how could I even think I’d be good enough to paint.

What was I thinking.

I churned and churned all night.

Then this morning, I saw this quote and decided it was my quote for the day.

It was a reminder that even if I’ve been trying for a while, I am still just at the beginning of my journey. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. Who knows how much time or effort they’ve already dedicated to it?

And who knows where I am in my journey.

All I do know is that I want to learn how to do this. I know that I love Judy’s work and I am thrilled at the chance to learn from her videos. I know that my journey is mine alone. And not only do I not want to compare my beginning to their middle, I don’t want to compare my journey to theirs at all.

So onward we go.

I can’t wait to dig into the classes even if I showed up a month late.

Maybe they can be my project for May.

The Seemingly Impossible

Today’s quote is:

It always seems impossible until it’s done.  - Nelson Mandela

When I saw this quote today, I laughed out loud. Yesterday, I had one of these at work. I had a situation that seemed impossible. It was driving me mad and I couldn’t figure out how it was ever going to be solved.

When I am in situations like this, I don’t handle it well. In fact, it drives me so mad that I become the worst version of myself. I stop thinking logically and operate in mostly the fight or flight mode. I panic and freak out. And, like most people when they are panicked and not thinking clearly, I do unwise things.

I flail and get others involved. Which makes things even worse.

And then when it’s all over and the prefrontal cortex starts kicking in again, I feel the strong wash of shame.

Which is the worst.

So I thought a lot about this quote today. About how I can remember that it always feels impossible until that one magical moment when it’s fixed. It seems impossible until it isn’t and it’s like a switch. There isn’t much in between impossibility and possibility. It’s not always gradual (though sometimes it is) but most of the time, it feels impossible until one day, one moment you look at it and you see it is indeed possible. And then it gets done. Not a lot in between.

So the question is how will i remember that it will get done. That it will become possible. That it will seem deeply impossible till that one moment. And that I need to have faith. Faith that it will indeed get done.

That’s the hard part for me. To have faith. To stop the panic and let my thinking kick in so it can remind me to have faith. So maybe I should make a bigger version of this sign and put it up on my desk so I can remember.