An art challenge that did not go as planned- a successful failure!

Armed with my new monogrammed lidded mug and fresh home-made poppyseed bread, I made a feeble attempt at filling 9 pieces of marker paper in 24 hours or less.

I only accomplished one piece in 5 hours, most of that time spent researching references or procrastinating, and now I’m mentally exhausted!

I’ve had this idea floating around in my head lately- “wouldn’t it be fun to try to fill an entire sketchbook in a day?” And since I haven’t touched this Strathmore marker paper pad in over a year, I asked my partner if she’d like to partake in a silly challenge with me.

There were 18 sheets left in the paper pad, which I divided into 9 sheets for each of us. I thought that if we really gave it our all we could definitely get this done in 9 hours or less… Oh how naive I was! Sure, it’s only been 5 hours since we started, but I can tell for certain there is no way we will successfully fill all 18 sheets in the next 19 hours.

For starters my partner and I are both perfectionists. Part of the point of this challenge was to overcome our perfectionism, but to the surprise of absolutely no one: that’s easier said than done. Second of all, we both have ADHD! That part speaks for itself. It’s probably hard for anyone to dedicate a whole day to one activity, but it’s especially so with ADHD in the mix. And lastly… Making art takes so much mental energy!! I was hoping we would really let loose and just do some really bad doodles… and my partner was attempting to do just that… She still ended up calling it a day after two sheets full of thumbnail sketches. I got totally sucked into wanting to make something that looked good, so in the same amount of time I only accomplished one piece. At the very least my partner got down several different ideas!

Despite all of that, I’m so happy we decided to take on this silly challenge! It got us to draw, it got us to start using up materials that have just been collecting dust, and it got our creativity flowing. We probably won’t fill up all 18 sheets in 24 hours, but even then the challenge still accomplished exactly what I hoped it would!! A very successful “failure” from my perspective.

I went into this challenge with very low expectations, knowing full well that this exact scenario might occur. I accepted the possibility of failure in advance and gave it my all anyway, and in doing so I was able to do more than I probably would have today otherwise.

It’s better to quit 15 minutes into the race than to never pass the starting line in the first place! Trophies for participation might be unnecessary, but I find that participation and the experience that comes with it is it’s own reward.

We will still try to fill up this paper pad as quickly as we can, perhaps modifying it to another “fill one page or more a day” challenge like we’ve done in the past. Definitely more manageable and a lot less pressure!!! Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to succeed at a sketchbook-in-a-day challenge, but I’m content with today not being that day.


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