Drawing Challenge: 80 in 80!

A new sketchbook is a wondrous thing to behold. And slightly intimidating. — me

Yesterday I picked up a new sketchbook, and decided to do a couple of things with it.

My Rapidographs, let me show you them.
  • First, I wanted to make it into a personal challenge sketchbook. So when its pages are filled, it will be a specific record of a time in my life.
  • Second, it needed to be self-contained so that I could pick it up and go without having to look for my pens and pencils.

The first one was easy. I just had to set a few rules for myself. The second involved a bit of sewing to make a pen holster for the sketchbook cover.

The Pen Holster

Having my favorite tools at hand means it’s easier to just get started. It doesn’t matter if it’s drawing, writing, or even crafting. Having the stuff I need right where I need it is always a plus. This is a nice benefit of hardback sketchbooks. They can support things like this while protecting the pages.

The result is a pen holster for the cover of my sketchbook.

Finished pen holster with eraser, pen, and pencils.

I used a scrap of leather and just wrapped it around the cover and sewed the edges where they overlapped. There was already a finished edge, and I used that where the pen clips slide over. The test fitting was the hard part, and after I used a few staples to hold it all together, sewing the two seams was no work at all.

If I were to do it again, I would make the wrap out of one piece of material. Then just sew the pocket on the front of it. Adding some elastic to the wrap would help counteract any stretching that might happen. We’ll see how it goes, but for now I have my pens with my sketchbook.

The Challenge

I wanted to use this to motivate me to draw something every day. I doodle both on paper and digitally, but it’s not a drawing of something. Another goal is to ink part of the drawing. I don’t plan of a full inking, but I want to have the main lines stand out.

The rules

  1. Draw a picture of something identifiable every day until the sketchbook is full. This means 80 drawings on the 80 pages I have to work with.
  2. Ink the main subject of the drawing, for permanence and practice.
  3. Post a photo of the sketchbook page to Instagram when it’s finished.
  4. Post a blog update every Sunday with the previous six photos (Monday-Saturday) collected. (Why six? I can make a better looking grid with an even number, and I can prep it Saturday night.)


Why do this?

  • To become a better artist.

Why 80? That seems like a round, yet strange number.

  • The sketchbook I’m using has 80 pages. I know it arbitrary, but I’m rolling with it. You should too.

How can I follow along?

  • You can follow me on Instagram, where I’ll be tagging my sketchbook photos with #80in80challenge.
  • You can also subscribe to this blog, and see my Sunday updates.
  • You can see the #80in80 tag in this blog’s archives.

What tools are you using?

Why such weird pens and pencils?

  • I’ve had the Rapidographs since forever, and decided this was a good way to get some use out of them.
  • I like lead holders over regular pencils because they don’t get shorter ever time they’re sharpened. Plus, these have a lead pointer in their cap, so I don’t have to carry a sharpener.

Why no color?

  • To keep this simple, and to limit the stuff I have to carry with me.

Can I help?

  • Yes you can! You can help directly with donations (Cash.me or Paypal), or indirectly with by shopping with Amazon using my affiliate links on this page or the ones on my Art Supplies page.
  • Moral support is always welcome. Instagram likes are nice, and lets me know that people can relate to what I’m doing. I’ll be using the hashtag #80in80challenge. A follow doesn’t hurt either!

I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey, it should be fun!