Daily Doodles: or How Little Doses of Work Add Up

RABBIT prompt © 2014 Sylvia Liu
I know it and you know it. Every successful author or illustrator tells us the same thing: keep your butt in the chair and do a bit of work every day.

I have good intentions but realized (again, because I knew this before) that I was going about it all wrong. I would set substantial plans, like:
  • Today I will hammer out the first draft of my awesome picture book idea, or
  • Today I will start and finish the illustration that will win the competition, or
  • Today I will write three chapters of my breakout MG novel.
See the hurdles I created? Not only did I pick huge goals, but I coupled them with huge expectations. No wondered I found myself distracted with other things, like Facebook or emails.

But I was recently reminded that the key to turning out the drafts and the finished illustrations is to just let loose and play with no expectations or goals. I'm part of the Facebook group Doodle Day, which provides a prompt each day. I recently became active in it again and have reinvigorated my creative juices and given myself new ideas for illustrations.

The illustration above was in response to the prompt: RABBIT. These doodles have given me the idea to do an illustration of these little guys in an amusement park.

Another prompt was DEER, and I came up with this:

DEER prompt © 2014 Sylvia Liu

I make a point of not spending a lot of time with the doodles. This deer took 5 minutes to sketch and 15 minutes to color because I recycled the pastel sky from a different piece. One of my friends on the Doodle Day page suggested that this could be a nice holiday card.

Today's prompt was POSSUM, and I've been loving the World Cup. So this is my doodle:

POSSUM prompt © 2014 Sylvia Liu

The problem with possums playing soccer is that their dives are so dramatic.

In each of these pieces, I tried a different digital technique or brush I hadn't used before, so in addition to getting my creative juices flowing, I've added a tiny bit to my digital knowledge.

So there you go. My tip for the day: do a little bit of fun creative work each day, and who knows where it will take you.

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