30-Day Draw-What-You-See Drawing Challenge

30-Day Draw-What-You-See Drawing Challenge

In order to form a habit of drawing daily, you can participate in or create your own drawing challenge. The thing is, you will never get better at something unless you do something about getting better. In drawing, you can build skill and confidence just by drawing. No matter how good you become, you can always mature in your craft.

Many artists and illustrators challenge themselves with a series of daily assignments. My colleague, Duane Eells, finished up a year of drawing figures and immediately launched another  365-day project of drawing a face everyday. You can see his Instagram posts here.

And, even if you already draw every day, participating in a challenge (like Inktober or The Big Draw LA) will push you to explore new approaches and subject matter.

What’s different about my Draw-What-You-See challenge

I’m launching my first-ever 30-day drawing challenge. I plan to post a new drawing challenge a couple times each year, both for myself to level up my skills, and to encourage you, my readers and students, as well.

What you’ll find that might be different about my approach is that I’m focusing this challenge on direct observation. Rather than drawing from your imagination, which is a viable and popular option, I have made a list of objects you should already have around the house or in your community.

Tips for completing this challenge

Add it to your daily calendar and then follow through on the “appointment”. You can begin this challenge any time. The key is to stay with it for the full 30 days, doing some drawing every day. So schedule your drawing time at the same time every day — during your lunch hour, first thing in the morning, during an afternoon break, or after your evening meal. If you miss a day, just pick up where you left off and keep going. Spend 15-30 minutes on each drawing. You can always go back and add details later.

Use a sketchbook. If you make a journal or sketchbook, you’ll have all your challenge drawings in sequential order and in 1 place. You can observe your progress.



Don’t be too concerned about being perfect, being expressive, or developing a style. Just draw what you see, and allow yourself to make mistakes. Correct your angles and proportions, but don’t try to make a perfect drawing each time. Relax and enjoy the process of looking, analyzing and mark-making.

I’ve included a variety of subjects — living, non-living, small to large, to give you a variety of forms. I’ve included some opportunities to include hand-lettering as well. Use whatever medium you’re comfortable with or that’s convenient. Use a sketchbook. Draw from direct observation, not out of your head.

When you finish, you can review your work, and hopefully take up a new drawing project!

The 30-day Draw What You See List:

1. Paper bag
2. Round fruit (apple, tomato, peach, pear, olive, for example)
3. Coffee mug
4. Tea cup and saucer
5. Water/hydration bottle
6. Hardcover book(s) – open and closed, including any lettering on the cover.
7. Pair of shoes or boots
8. Dog, cat, canary, horse, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, or another type of animal or bird
9. Bicycle or motorcycle
10. Tissue box
11. Knife, fork and spoon
12. 5 leaves of different types
13. Potted plant
14. Hat or cap
15. Box of cereal, crackers or cookies. Box is open. Include lettering and design elements.
16. Stuffed animal or toy
17. Your hand (the one you don’t draw with, or use a mirror)
18. Ball (spherical): Softball, baseball, football/soccer ball, basketball, water polo ball, volleyball, for example
19. Paper bag with assorted fruits
20. Purse or backpack
21. Bowls, pitchers or vases
22. Staircase or flight of stairs
23. Car or truck
24. Table and chair
25. Scissors
26. Light bulb
27. Power tool or hand tool
28. Flowers and leaves
29. House, apartment (exterior)
30. Household appliance (blender, vacuum, toaster, for example)

Your Turn:

Will you accept my Draw-What-You-See challenge? If so, share your experiences and discoveries in the comments.

Will You Support This Blog?

If  this article has helped and you’d like to see more content like this, will you  consider a one-time donation of $2, $5 0r $8? Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue my mission of teaching and training designers, artists, and creative freelancers. I appreciate it.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. I accept the challenge!

    1. I accept the challenge i will start first thing tommorrow whic is 06/18/19

      And i hope i can share my drawings and experince to this article author , this site readers

  2. i accepted….

  3. i will try this out i hope my drawing skills will improve

  4. Hi i just want to ask that i draw everynight from comics and manga how much time it will take me to improve. Thxs

    1. Hi, Akshat: If you are consistent at drawing, you should improve steadily over time. There is no set time frame for improvement.

      I also recommend that you draw from master artists who work(ed) in other genres — Michelangelo, Frank Frazetta, Burne Horgarth, Stan Lee, JC Leyendecker, Glenn Vilppu, Boris Vallejo, Kinuko Y Craft, Howard Pyle, Alphonse Mucha, Aubrey Beardsley, Arthure Rackham and Maxfield Parrish.

      Learning from artists in a variety of genres will do more to improve your skill with proportion, anatomy, perspective and composition than sticking with one type of illustration or drawing.

  5. I’m sure going to try the challenge, I love drawing

    1. Great! If you’re interested in sharing your progress with the challenge to fellow readers, I just started a Facebook community for my newsletter subscribers. If you’re not on the list, you can click on the COLOR RESPONSE guide ad in the sidebar.The Facebook link is provided after you subscribe.

  6. My daughters of 3 and 5 and I accept the challenge ☺️

  7. Hi alvalyn, Do i need to draw with certain tools or a pencil would be enough?

  8. I’m sure going to try the challenge, I love drawing very much

  9. i accepted challence

  10. Honestly I am not good at drawing but I have to start drawing so I will start drawing with this challenge .
    Thank you so much

    1. Very good! This is a good challenge to begin with because it uses household items. Draw something every day.

  11. i accept the challenge , but not in 30 days in the row , im a little lazy but thank you !

  12. Challenge? Accepted.

  13. I need a kickstart. Love drawing but do not do enough. I accept your challenge!

  14. thank you for inspiring me!!!!

  15. I just added this to my Google calendar, for next 30 days. I won’t be consistent, but I must draw at Least once on two days

    1. Be sure to request access to the Eye Level Facebook community to share your work, and get feedback and tips.

  16. Hello ma’am, this is my first time here. I have several queries, but most importantly, I wanna know if this challenge is still up. I want to return to drawing and this seems like q great way.
    If this challenge is still up, then where do I post my progress?

  17. I accept the challenge!

  18. Thank You but I tried it isnt effective

    1. What didn’t work for you, Brad? Why don’t you send photos of your challenge drawings so we can assess what the problem is and recommend a course of action?

  19. Hi Alvalyn,
    I accept your challenge!

  20. Your Comment Here…I accept the 30day challenge.. I love drawing bigtym

  21. The School of Life had a wonderful article today on the value of drawing. Taking the time to really see. It motivated me to find and engage in your 30 day challenge. I’ll be using The Rocketbook to capture my ink pen drawings and look forward to discovering how a 75 year old grandfather can develop a new skill.

    1. Hi, Chuck: Thanks for stopping by and supporting my blog. I’m glad you’re motivated to develop your drawing and seeing skills. I invite you to join our Facebook group if you’re on Facebook and interested in sharing your drawings.

  22. I accept!

  23. Accepted …this concept is really very interesting …I really appreciate it

  24. Um..I love to draw but i don’t do it a lot because i feel that i can’t draw, will this challenge improve my skills for real

    1. Hi, Jessica: To be able to draw, you need to draw. Don’t wait until you feel you can. Go after it.

  25. Okay – I accept the challenge! Paulina

  26. This is perfect. I went on Google and searched “how to draw better” and found this. I’m gonna accept this challenge

  27. I accepted the challenge honestly. Thanks.

  28. Just wanted to let you know Alvalyn, I found this challenge about a month ago and decided to take the plunge. I used to draw loads as a kid, but stopped for several years. This is the first time I’ve consistently drawn for a month in my entire life. Thank you so much.

  29. i like you challenge. I accept.

  30. I’m just starting to draw, I was looking for ways to improve my skills and ended up on this challenge, I really appreciate you took your time to share this with us, count me in! I would like to share my progress as I go on, if there a way I can do that? I just want to show you the results of your help!

  31. Great. I love drawing. I found your post very informative for my interest.

  32. I accept this challenge… I’m starting today, which is 10/2/2019.

    1. Here’s a good example of copyright infringement. This commenter copied and pasted part of my article here: bit.ly/improve-drawing and posted it to her own blog here: http://bit.ly/2MwV3OK as her very first post. Not a good way to begin blogging…

      Although she credited me in her post, she didn’t ask permission to use my content. She most likely copied and pasted out of ignorance, but it affects my reputation and livelihood. So I’ve asked her to remove the post.

  33. Hey Alvalyn. May be I am too late for it but would like to take up this challenge. Is it still there for me to apply to?

    1. You can begin this challenge any time. Just get out some drawing tools… pencil, pen, and paper, or tablet and stylus, and start with the first item.

  34. I don’t know how to start

    1. Get something you can draw with, and begin with the first item on the challenge list. Look at it. Study it. Then draw it. If you watch the video posted here, you can see how I approach the drawing.

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