Shut up and Draw. It’s Good for You!

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

In order to get myself back in gear this summer and prep myself for the drawing classes I’m going to be teaching this semester at Murray State, I delved into the simple but effective EDM drawing challenges. These drawing challenges were started by artist Danny Gregory, whom I’ve been following off and on for  about 8 years now. I found his blog somehow and began promoting his books at Maple Street Book Shop, the small, independent store I worked at during my undergraduate studies at Tulane in New Orleans. Ever since I’ve checked back in now and again to be inspired by his productivity and honest commentary on daily life.

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

I’m also continually impressed by the community that has grown around his work, and around these drawing challenges in particular. “EDM” stands for “Every Day Matters,” which was the very book of his that I once promoted at the shop. The Creative License is another of Gregory’s books, which I have used in  2D Design classes to inspire students who grumble that they “can’t draw” and that they just want to be graphic designers or clothing designers and why do they need to learn to draw, anyway? Sometimes the Creative License tome was just what they needed to get their gears rolling and to quit listing all the things they can’t and/or don’t like to do.

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

In any case, while at Frogman’s workshop this summer, I happened upon Gregory’s blog again. He was starting to do the EDM Challenges all over himself, and I decided to work on some myself. I wrote down a long list of the challenges from this Master Challenge List and got to work. It’s been fun! I did a whole bunch of them back-to-back at first, and now I have tapered off a bit, but I am sure I will keep returning to them. It feels good just to draw and to give myself assignments. It almost doesn’t matter what it is. It keeps my drawing muscles limber, and it makes me feel great to say that I draw something every day.

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

If any of you guys are interested in seeing more or trying a few of the challenges yourself, check out the EDM flickr group, the challenges on Danny Gregory’s blog, and the master list of challenges on Karen Winters’ Blog. I’m not really following any of the rules of the challenges–I jump around and do more sometimes, less others–but I don’t think it matters as long as it gets the juices flowing so that I’m salivating for the next drawing or print that I’ll be working on for myself.

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

Sketchbook: Drawing Challenges

In other news, here’s the latest woodblock I carved. It’s in commemoration of the sale of Frogman’s press to Matt Egan. Hopefully I will get a chance to proof it later this week! Frogman’s Press pillows, anyone?

Lloyd Menard, Frogman's Press, Matt Egan

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90 thoughts on “Shut up and Draw. It’s Good for You!

  1. Juliet says:

    This is inspiring. I makes me want to be more open about what I have in my note/sketch books.

  2. Lynn Cohen says:

    Fun finding these through your comment to Danny Gregory today! Always happy to find like minded/drawing artists!

  3. kathybrett says:

    It’s so fabulous to get a inside peek at an artists sketch book, love the blind contour drawings!

  4. charles hancock says:

    goddddddamn really good stuff. i love sketchbooks. somedays its the only thing that keeps me sane…….keeps me from hacking someone into chunks with a damn claw hammer. carry it with me always…..the sketchbook that is…not the claw hammer.

  5. katie says:

    I really like your drawings, I’m not particularly great but I try!

  6. cartoonmick says:

    I love drawing, especially when the subject/scene (whatever) is interesting.
    With a bit of music to go with it, I can disappear into another world, like a trance almost.
    I sometimes discretely draw faces of people in the coffee shop I go to on the waterfront.
    It’s good practise, practise, practise etc.
    In the meantime, I enjoy drawing all the cartoons you can see on my blog.
    Thanks for starting this post.

  7. Frenchie Leigh says:

    A peek into an artist’s sketchbook is such a treat! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Also, is that a VW key I see? ;)

  8. What a stunning collectin. A beautiful style and such inspiring drawings. Especially the picture of the keys and phone, wonderful 3d effect, and the hand. Saw you noted to do it again but I seriously thought it was perfect, such craft!

  9. Mathurini says:

    This looks great, I had posted my sketches up on my blog too! Haven’t done it in ages, so you’ve definitely spurred me into wanting to do that again! xx

  10. foreigninput says:

    this is really good stuff…your technique and detail is brilliant, how long have you been doing this? made me go stare at my sketch book, its been pretty lonely for a while…lol..!!

    • Don’t let it be lonely! You can always start again with something small. I’ve always loved drawing/journaling ever since I was a little kid. I think the oldest sketchbooks I have date back to 2nd grade. I make a lot of failed attempts, but I always learn something even with those, and I just keep chugging along. As a teacher, I like to keep myself in the struggle and try to keep challenging myself. I’m glad there are lots of others out there doing the same to keep me going when I hit a low point!

  11. kollshi17 says:

    thank you

  12. pezcita says:

    I envy anyone who gets to/has to take drawing classes. The comic strips on my blog would be much better if I had a teacher like you!

  13. Unmana says:

    Lovely drawings, and EDM can apply to so much more than drawing.

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    • That’s true! I always liked D. Gregory’s story about how he always used to journal about negative things in sketchbooks and that when he turned them towards the positive, it really changed his outlook on life

  14. Do what you love creatively daily…you can find at least 15 minutes, I say! Half the battle is just showing up at the studio! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on being FP’d.

  15. I love this, especially the every day challenges (and the drawings are amazing!!) this is just what I am feeling driven to do, right now. I love novelty met with synchronicity!

  16. Reblogged this on blueaugustmoon and commented:
    I love this, especially the every day challenges (and the drawings are amazing!!) this is just what I am feeling driven to do, right now. I love novelty met with synchronicity!


    Here are some of mine, from Sydney, Thailand, London, Paris and Ireland.

    LOVE this post and the spirit of it. Makes me want to get out the pens, watercolors and get started again!

  18. Art/Happiness=Bliss says:

    Thank you for reminding me to “shut up and draw”. Indeed it is good for the soul and so was finding your wonderful post today.

    Congrats on your FP award!

  19. I LOVE your drawing style. I’m working on a 30-day drawing challenge and have been wondering what to do once it’s over. Now I know.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed as well!

  20. Carlie Chew says:

    This is so great! I am a photographer, but I have a love for drawing. I’ve been thinking about popping into some nude drawing classes to get back into it, but this is a great idea. I’m so happy you shared this and I can’t wait to get started on my daily sketches. I believe that art in all forms helps to open your creativity.

  21. isabellacrm says:

    what kind of media do you use to make those drawings? (sorry, English is not my first language and i’m terrible translating art-related words, lol). they are really great, congrats!

  22. awbw says:

    shut up and draw; I wish that’s what i would of been told in school :p

  23. adamgrieve says:

    Great to see hand made art again, it is a relief. So much nowadays is done by computers etc which is good as well, but nothing like the old hand plus pen and paper tradition. Check out my art if you like. it is a mixture of all kinds.

  24. gracewkluk says:

    It’s good to draw something every day!

  25. T. says:

    I love this idea! And your drawings are great, especially the last one with the gears and train.

  26. Oh my goodness, I love your style! I do a lot of photography, but picked up sketching this summer and have found it to be quite relaxing and enjoyable! Awesome share and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  27. lofieye says:

    Reblogged this on Artist Anonymous and commented:
    This is a really exciting post!

  28. gingerbreadcafe says:

    What a great idea, I used to study fashion many years ago and I drift in and out of drawing. I set myself a challenge to draw a fashion illustration once a week and I’ve never considered myself great at drawing and the more I did the better they were. I must get back into it again!

  29. zookyshirts says:

    Very cool illustrations, and I like your enthusiasm to draw everyday. I have a sketchbook for cartoons and poetry, but I don’t work on it everyday. So your challenge to Shut Up and Draw is inspirational! Also, I’ve never heard of the EDM Challenges — I’ll certainly have to check it out. Thanks!

  30. isabellacrm says:

    Hi again! I have a sort of unrelated question that may be a little stupid :)
    Is there a difference between the Staedler 0.3 ink pen you mentioned and a Stabilo Point 88 pen? Thanks in advance!

  31. dunkdad says:

    Great Post! Informative and Funny! Bodacious!

  32. I really enjoyed this! I actually spent a lot of time drawing this summer because I want to get into graphic design a bit and needed the drawing foundation so that I can even get started. I’ve been thinking about posting my thoughts on it and your post is going to be that push to get it done this week. Thanks!

  33. Reblogged this on JesseOtts and commented:
    Do this!

  34. haugustine1 says:

    Thank you for this post! I feel inspired to draw more now.

  35. fivezeroone says:

    There are some nice drawings in the list.

  36. broworkshop says:

    Thats a fantastic post. I see the Danny Gregory community so vivid and sparkly that I love also to be part in my way. And there is a lot of inspiration and good people like you. Thanks!!

  37. Scribbler says:

    Captivating post! And such lovely pictures!

    Adieu, scribbler

  38. Fantastic! Great sketches, and I love the EDM challenges you wrote in your sketchbook. It’s ironic that I read your post two days after I posted a sketch of my brother-in-law, who was finishing up at Murray State before he passed away 20 year ago. Thanks for sharing.

  39. I’m obsessed. I want to quit my job and draw all day. This is something I would show my art students if I was still teaching. I can’t wait to follow you and see more.

  40. This is so amazing! Especially to me who couldn’t even draw a straight line. =>

  41. Grumpa Joe says:

    Interesting way to log sketches.

  42. Love your art! Me, I’ve always been a wordsmith, but my drawings leave plenty to be desired. Thanks for sharing.

  43. RedTimbre says:

    These sketches are awesome. A crude sort of beauty. That woodblock is very awesome. Makes me think of the cartoonists at Mad Magazine. I really hope you contribute to some mass publication. If not you should be. Illustrations are way better than photographs. If only the world were an A-ha music video.

  44. Looks awesome and fun!

  45. Reblogged this on AshbourneVoice and commented:
    I love sketchbooks – bridging the gap between ideas and finished art

  46. Fantastic, really enjoyed reading your post and will definitely check out Danny Gregory and EDM. Its always easier to draw when you’re inspired by something beautiful or intriguing but it’s drawing those every day objects (like your pliers or the glass with a straw) that are so much harder and you’ve done so well.
    I run an art class on saturday and the kids only want to draw from their imagination, but half the time they cant even draw the skulls, robots etc that they want to draw properly.
    You’ve reminded me again of the joy of quick sketches. I tend to get bogged down with my jewellery design sketches (as you can see on my blog) and forget the non jewellery world.

    The sketch books are coming out, and I am going to make every day matter!

    • Glad you’ve been inspired as I was by EDM!

      Thanks for sharing your story about your art class. I know what you mean! It’s even like that with college students sometimes.

      It’d be a fun project to get kids to build skulls/robots/etc. out of everyday objects and then have them do drawings from it. I might have to think about that as a project! Thanks for the inspiration…

      • Absolutely, sometimes I get them to do studies of the actual objects first and then go from there into the imaginary realm or the other way round.
        We have a museum near us in Oxford, Uk, that has real skulls, shrunken heads and ancient artifacts. I so want to take my skull lovers there to sketch-working on the parents though!

  47. amazing drawings!!! the only things i can draw is ugly stars and 3D boxes!!!! :-p

  48. cco90 says:

    Wow! Love ur sketches! Really interesting way of making yourself draw everyday! I’ll probably give it a try and prepare for my uni projects! Thx again for the great idea :)

  49. Ninay says:

    I’m into watercolor portraits recently. Though I tried drawing everyday,I still find it difficult t to come up with an artistic output. I think my works are so plain and safe. I love how you put out your works, edgy and very artistic. This post inspires m to sketch some more and more and more each day.
    I’m really giddy to read articles about art and drawing here on wordpress. Glad to find your blog.

  50. […] or not I should post about it. Someone at WordPress must have been lurking around my head as this post came up recently in Freshly […]

  51. Katie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I think your drawings are fantastic, and you’ve inspired me to pick up my pencils again and start the EDM challenge.

  52. Loving the drawing, I only wish I was that good, keep it up.

  53. […] week, I came across a Freshly Pressed blog post, “Shut Up and Draw.  It’s Good for You!“, which, not only includes some fantastic sketches, but also references Danny Gregory, a […]

  54. […] as just drawing the everyday people and things that surround me on my own. If y’all recall, I started up the EDM challenges again over the summer, and I also used them as an inspirational tool in my Art Appreciation classroom with great […]

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