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33 Day Challenge: Days 8-14 of Places, Scenes, and Landscapes

February 27, 2024

My 33 Day Challenge:

1 sketchbook spread of a place, scene, or landscape

  • what:
    • 4 x 1min speed sketches (left), 1 bigger 5min sketch (right)
    • can use a reference photo (prefer to use my own life experiences, but random references are okay too)
    • no Instagram, only telling art friends and sharing here
  • why:
    • To  confidently capture the magic and feeling of the places I love, for the rest of my life (This is a skill I’ve pined for and admire in others’ work)
    • To loosen up my shapes and be expressive in a subject matter in which I tend to tighten up
    • To develop and strengthen my ability to
      • be expressive without making a mess
      • render people and places
      • interpret and simplify detailed settings

Day 8: Sunday, February 25th, 2024: morning watch

My takeaways from day 8 are:

  • these pencils layer so beautifully. see: stevie’s back
  • don’t forget to use a lighter hand as a way to get two values from one pencil (even though I love pressing hard and getting the creamy color)
  • keep faces simple
  • smaller heads look less childish

Day 9: Monday, February 26th, 2024: painting the baseboards

My takeaways from day 9 are:

  • struggled to work in a face. looking at it now I could’ve used negative space. (a rhyme 😏)
  • love the colors and composition, and using the dark value for the floor
  • our house isn’t laid out like this yet it does capture the open feeling of being in it, and the arduous task of painting the baseboards

Day 10: Tuesday, February 27th, 2024: people trimming trees

My takeaways from day 10 (double digits!) are:

  • someone told me what I’m doing is ‘urban sketching’, is that true? amelia bedelia over here thought urban sketching was literally drawing urban settings lol
  • it was a split second decision to snap a picture to use for later of these people working hard to give our neighborhood trees haircuts – so so glad I did.

Day 11: Wednesday, February 28th, 2024: another day at the office

My takeaways from day 11 are:

  • I struggled on this one in these ways:
    • the face
    • making the focal point stand out
    • making the focal point stand out without making it cartoony
    • creating a compelling value scale while staying true to the colors I liked in the scene/a minimal palette; maybe the green should be darker
  • love separate components though:
    • the bedding
    • the nightstand
    • IRL the subtle darker values that suggest a nose and expression
    • the hair

Day 12: Thursday, February 29th, 2024: Stevie explores the mountain

My takeaways from day 12 are:

  • after what felt like a failure yesterday, I was a little afraid to face the blank page, but day 12 called! once again I’m glad I did it: the lesson is I never really regret my time spent trying. even yesterday I didn’t regret the failure, I was just bummed I failed.
  • love the clouds, dots in the the mountains and bushes, and stevie’s simple two-value form (with white showing through)

Day 13: Friday, March 1st, 2024: Patio bonfire at Dan + Diana’s (w/ the doggies)

My takeaways from day 13 are:

  • I struggled with scaling up the figures for the final drawing; they are barely larger than the thumbnail.
  • I like that I captured the gathering from faraway. It takes the emphasis off the individuals and puts it on the atmosphere of the setting + allows for the tiny dog face to pop
  • I’m making slow (slow) progress with figuring out how I want to render people at various distances.

Day 14: Saturday, March 2nd, 2024: redo of the night before

My takeaways from day 14 are:

  • Sometime while sitting on the couch mentally writing this post about how I skipped day 14, I mustered the gumption to not skip day 14. Crown for me.
  • The previous night’s drawing was nagging at me because I really loved it AND I knew it was too hard to make out what was happening. I took another stab at it and like it much better! I improved the scale and framing – and added in the all important crescent moon
  • I was worried maybe these scribbly drawings were yet another distraction from getting better at painting, but I sat down to paint a gouache interior from a magazine photo and it’s my favorite thing I’ve painted so far this year. The work I’m doing here is absolutely translating.


While I’m sure I learned some technical things this week, what I’m really taking away is (and ugh, I’ve had this epiphany so many times before!) my resistance to begin is not my instincts. Each and every day this week I simply did not want to and felt like skipping would probably be okay, and each and every time I showed up, enjoyed myself, and was proud of my progress.

See other 33 day project posts:

Week 1, Days 1-7
Week 2, Days 8-14
Week 3, Days 15-21
Week 4, Days 22-28
Week 5, Days 29-33

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  1. Lori says:

    Day 14: Killing it!!