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Style September

I'll admit it: I'm a huge fan of YouTube. For me it is both entertainment and education, oftentimes in a single video.

I enjoy teaching students about the design principle "variety" and value the challenge they undertake when they push themselves beyond their preferred, comfortable methods of artistic production. I stumbled across Mei Yu of Fun2Draw and her "Style Challenge," ( I tucked it aside as a possible resource to help students develop stylistically by exploring the work of various artists.

Later, while looking for additional classroom resources, I found a fantastic video about ones "Creative Bank Account." The creator, Jake Parker, has many videos meant to challenge, encourage and inspire artists. On September 3rd I watched his "You Need to Do a 30 Day Challenge," ( video. I felt like I needed the type of push such a challenge would provide.

Although I was effectively "two days behind" if I began a challenge on the third day of September, I refused to procrastinate or make excuses. I hoped I would be able to "catch up" over the course of the month.

And began. I started by planning a series of styles (either nostalgic or art homage) that I would apply to the mental construct of myself and my dog, Alpine.

1-Mr. Men (completed 9/3)
2-The Letter People (completed 9/4)

3-The Snorks (completed 9/5)

4-The Smurfs (completed 9/5)

Along the way, students would watch as I worked alongside them in class as I had occasion, with one even offering the title of the sketchbook I was filling, proposing it be called, "Style September."

5-School House Rock (completed 9/6)

6-Sampson & Goliath (completed 9/7)

7-Yellow Submarine (completed 9/8)

8-Ren & Stimpy (completed 9/9)

9-Peanuts (completed 9/10)

10-G.I. Joe (completed 9/12)

11-The Simpsons (completed 9/13)

12-Pokemon (completed 9/15)

13-The Littles (completed 9/17)

14-Dr. Seuss (completed 9/17)

15-Transformers (completed 9/19)

Some drawings took longer than a single day. Some were completed more quickly, allowing me to complete several drawings in a single day and catch up. However, as soon as I took a step forward, I would be knocked back by the scheduling conflicts of daily life.

Additionally, I got a little sick of drawing myself. I also noticed that I felt far more comfortable drawing the male figure rather than the female. In order to push myself further, I decided that halfway through the challenge I would switch over and draw my wife Brandi and her dog, Roscoe.

16-Scooby Doo (completed 9/18)

17-Thundercats (completed 9/19)

18-The Wuzzles (completed 9/20)

19-Calvin & Hobbes (completed 9/21)

20-Rainbow Bright (completed 9/22)

21-Garbage Pail Kids (completed 9/25)

22-Jack Kirby (completed 9/25)

23-American Traditional Tattoo ((completed 9/26)

24-Disney (completed 9/27)

25-Strawberry Shortcake (completed 9/28)

I really enjoyed drawing my wife, and it felt like each little drawing was a devotional act of love. As the end drew nigh, I promised my teaching team that I would finish by the end of the month, come hell or high water.

26-Toy Story (completed 9/29)

27-Jim Lee (completed 9/30)

28-Joe Madureira (completed 9/30)

29-Adam Hughes (completed 9/30)

30-Legos, (completed 9/30)

Sept. 30, With 8 Minutes to Spare

In the end, I completed four drawings on the final day, finishing just before midnight. It felt good to have achieved my goal.

What was the take-away, you might ask? Did I grow artistically? It felt a little like a coloring book. It felt a little easy. I didn't really do anything super-fancy on any of the drawings, due partially to the time factor. BUT I did set great habits. I did become hungry for the euphoric feeling of completing another work. I did push myself to spend more time making art, and that will have huge dividends moving forward. And I did even experience a swelling of competence as I went along, trusting my hand a bit more, making marks more easily, and having the confidence of one who is habitual in his production.

In short, you should absolutely take on a challenge--I am certain it will be of great benefit to you.

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