I challenged myself with the #100daysoflettering because I strongly believe that quality comes with quantity. I remember very well the time when I've been working for a month on one particular vector lettering. It was quite a detailed piece and everyday I was trying to change something: add new colors, textures or even more details. I've made about 10 versions of that image, but nothing pleased me enough. Here I must say that it was my third attempt to create a vector lettering. At that time I was very naive to think that playing with shadows, colors, and other fancy stuff was the best way to improve that particular work. But it was wrong. Sticking with only one project for a long time is not good in the beginning. It's much better to work on quantity and gain experience then stress too much about the quality of your first attempts. Now I realize that I should have done several smaller projects during that month instead of spending a lot of time on improving one image. The reason I love my daily lettering project is that it keeps me in a flow. I almost became a lettering machine (it feels so). Even though I don't always have a lot of time to experiment with techniques and styles, I practice some kind of lettering everyday and this is the most valuable part of the whole challenge.
If you think about starting your own #manydaysoflettering challenge, here are few tips to consider:
1. Prepare the Phrases in advance.
Nothing is more distracting and time consuming than trying to find the right phrase to draw just before the practice. I’ve spent half an hour to find and write down about fifty phrases for my challenge. The rest of the list is filling on the go when I have a spark of inspiration.
2. Cite the author or use your own phrases.
When working with a specific quote, make sure to cite the author. Invent your own quotes or use some general motivational phrases like “Never give up” or “Smile more often.”
3. Keep it simple.
In the beginning I suggest creating a single word lettering, since it’s much more manageable. Drawing a long phrase can be overwhelming and discouraging, so keep everything simple.
4. Be realistic.
Don’t start a #milliondaysoflettering challenge. Chances are you will fail and will never try again. Your lettering project should be challenging but manageable. For the first time try it for a week, then a month and so on.
5. Keep your workspace ready.
I find it very useful to separate my digital and nondigital workspaces. Having a second table allowed me to keep all my tools ready to use. No space for a second table? No worries, just keep your tools at the most convenient place and as close to you as possible. And remember, it’s all about practice and not about fancy materials or a workspace. All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil.
5. Don’t stop.
Even if you missed a day, don’t stop the challenge. It’s easy to say “I failed, so I guess that’s all.” Consider a missing day as a micro fail, but not a reason to stop.
6. Consider mistakes as opportunities.
Never blame yourself for any mistake. Learn from them and play around. Recently I smashed a pencil sketch with my hand. It was a little bit disappointing, but I decided to turn that spoiled page into a cool blurry background and pretend that the texture was intended. The whole piece was pretty good at the end! Some mistakes can lead you to new interesting things, so keep practicing.