4 Common Creative Resolutions and How to Keep Them


Illustration by Michelle Kondrich ©2017


Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year is a time when we reflect on the year that just passed and look forward to the year ahead. And that often means resolutions.

So with that, I’ve decided to share some resources and advice on keeping 4 common creative resolutions.

Let’s start with one that I, myself, have often made.

Draw everyday.

This is such a tricky thing to do. If you are like me, endless doodling is simply not in your nature. I spent lots of time as a child sitting in front of a blank piece of paper because I “felt like drawing” but didn’t know what to draw. I do not draw compulsively. I wish I did, but I just don’t.

Drawing everyday (or almost everyday) certainly has huge benefits, but if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it helps to have some structure around it.

Here are some resources and activities that might help:

Drawing is Magic by John Hendrix

There are plenty of books and lists of drawing prompts out there, but I am partial to this one from John Hendrix. Not only does it provide lots of prompts and jumping off points but John talks about the benefits of regular drawing and of keeping a sketchbook to let your mind play freely. And the book itself is made to sketch in directly.

John encourages you to draw in pen only in order to help you build confidence in your lines. Some of my favorite exercises include drawing the skeleton of a crazy creature and taking the book into a dark movie theater and attempting to sketch scenes as they happen. He also gives you space to make an extensive list of things you like to draw, which is useful when you simply don’t know what to draw.


Inktober, created by Jake Parker, doesn’t happen every month, but it’s a really good method of keeping yourself on task. I managed to complete Inktober this year for the first time and it was incredibly rewarding to see a big chunk of my sketchbook filled with these drawings. It was a challenge and I needed several catch-up days, but I did it. You can see my series here or you can find it in my Instagram. Give yourself a theme for each month or tell an open-ended story. Breaking up the year into these smaller chunks of daily drawing will make it feel much less burdensome. Also, don’t let it be a burden!

Take better care of yourself.

After the last couple of years we’ve had (politically, societally, economically, etc.), I think taking better care of ourselves is high on many lists. I’m not just talking about losing weight or exercising, either. I’m talking about taking care of yourself as a whole person.

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of specific resources for this one. This is such a personal resolution to make – only you know what you need to be happier and healthier.

Instead, I’m simply going to give you permission to do what you need to do to be healthy and content in your life. Maybe that means downloading a meditation app. Maybe that means joining a gym (I, personally, enjoy Planet Fitness for its insanely cheap price if you just need some weights and a treadmill). Maybe that means finding a regular babysitter for nights out (Me. I need this.).

Maybe it means taking a serious social media break.

Whatever it is, you can do it.

Read more.

Reading more is a resolution that many people make, whether they are artists or not. Reading is good for you. Science says so. But fitting reading into your life can be incredibly challenging, especially for those of us with small children.

When my daughter was born, suddenly the amount of time I spent reading plummeted. Sure, I had good intentions of reading while nursing for hours everyday, but the sleep deprivation made it impossible for me to concentrate. Over the last year or so, I have had a huge resurgence in my urge to read. That doesn’t mean I had more time for it, but I have a stack of books on my nightstand that I’m eager to get to.

In my case, I think falling out of the habit of reading made it that much more difficult to get back to. It can be quite hard to turn off the television after a long day and decide to read instead but, much like exercise, if you can resolve to read for even 5 or 10 minutes before putting on the TV, you might look up to see you’ve been reading for 30 minutes. And that momentum feels good.

If you need a bigger push to get back into it, join an actual book club. Meetup is one place to find them, but you shouldn’t have to look too hard in your area. Much like having deadlines for your work, committing to talking with people about a book is a good way to insure that you get it done.

My technique has been to read at night either before bed or after my daughter is in bed but before she is asleep enough for us to put on the TV, which usually gives me a good 20 minutes or more.

And one last tip on this subject. I started listening to LeVar Burton Reads (it’s exactly what it sounds like, LeVar Burton reads stories to you), and I can’t tell you how much I love this podcast.

It’s a great way to expose yourself to authors and stories you might not have considered otherwise. In fact, after hearing LeVar read “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, I promptly added her book of short stories by the same name to my Christmas list.

Pay it forward.

I imagine that we all wish we could be more charitable. I also imagine that many of us buy more art supplies than we need or ever use. If you are looking for a way to give back to your community without a large financial investment, consider donating your art supplies (used or unused). Below are a few places where you can donate supplies but also consider local preschools and children’s hospitals. A quick search in your area will likely turn up several opportunities.

Art of Recycle
Friends of Materials for the Arts
The Dreaming Zebra Foundation

Some think that making resolutions is a silly, arbitrary thing to do. I disagree. The date itself might be arbitrary, but why not take the time to reflect and reassess for the coming year. If the new year compels you to make changes, take advantage of that energy.

I will leave you with a life-drawing resource I discovered recently: www.line-of-action.com.

Something I want to spend more time on in 2018 is drawing the human figure more confidently. Line of Action is a great site for practicing life drawing. It offers endless poses and expressions and also gives you the option of timed poses. I can’t get to a figure drawing class very often, so this is the next best thing.

If you have other resources you’d like to share, post them in the comments.

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Categories: business


Michelle Kondrich is a commercial artist and animator specializing in editorial illustration. She is also skilled at creating animated GIFs, storyboards, and whiteboard animation/video scribes. Her work gives a narrative feel to even the most conceptual ideas and she is passionate about solving problems in often surprising ways. Michelle is the creator and host of Creative Playdate, a podcast for people pursuing creative careers while raising children. You can find her portfolio and the podcast at MichelleKondrich.com

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One Comment on “4 Common Creative Resolutions and How to Keep Them”

  1. printerkate
    January 27, 2018 at 1:05 am #

    My wife Kate Batchelor has set herself challenges for the past 3 years. In 2016 it was that big one the sketch a day, each sketch was about an hours work not including travel as most of them were outdoors within a 30 mile radius of our home. The commitment to post on social media or your website helps. The resultant collection of sketch book from which an exhibition of prints followed. The benefits to her work were great but it also impacted on time for studio work so in 2017 this did change to to a colour sketch a week which actually proved to be an equal time commitment . These 52 sketches are now a currently running exhibition . So this year back to a sketch a day but this time with the addition of an egg timer. http://www.kate-Batchelor.co.uk where all is posted. Great article not often I would make a comment on a bog


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