My character design sucks – so I decided to do something about it: a 100 Days of Character Design Challenge.
I’ve been pondering my self-doubt & self-criticism and a lot of it stems from my character design – or lack thereof. I’m unhappy with my figures, expressions, clothing, you name it. And the lack of character design is holding up the graphic novel pitch packet for my OGN. I know that if I drew one character a day for 100 days that I will automatically be better at the end – thus the challenge.
This wouldn’t be my first 100 Days challenge – I’ve completed one season of 100 Days of Making Comics (along with a failed 2/3 attempt prior to that). I got a LOT done during the challenge, since at its core it’s really a simple ‘don’t break the chain’ exercise.
Don’t break the chain!
Don’t break the chain is a Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. In his case, he needed to write jokes every day. He got himself a big wall calendar and a red marker. And every day that he wrote, he crossed the day off with a big red X.
After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain. Don’t break the chain.Jerry Seinfeld
You know what? This method is dead simple and IT WORKS. The 100 days of making comics challenge was the most productive I’ve ever been creatively in my life. No waiting for inspiration or any crap like that – just doing the work every day no matter what.
(no comment on my productivity after ending the 100 days challenge O.o)
Here are the parameters of my 100 days challenge:
1. Post a character design every day on Instagram, even if it’s not fully rendered
A pencil sketch of a defined character is fine, as long as it has some details. Whether you work on the same character multiple times or draw someone different every day is up to you. The main thing is that we should be able to tell something about the character from the drawing. Emotion, backstory or something else via some details.
2. Use the hashtag #100daysofcharacterdesign
There are only 600 (as of right now) posts with that hashtag so far – and I don’t need a unique hashtag that I own or anything. It just makes sense to use something that says exactly what it is, even if it’s on the long side. And I don’t want to deal with copyright/ownership issues like the misunderstandings over #Inktober.
3. Follow the hashtag on IG and support your fellow participants
This is important because support from a community makes a HUGE difference. Have you ever noticed that successful creators tend to hang out together? That there always seems to be pockets of creators who all become successful? Think of comic creators who all seem to know each other, or artistic movements in history.
Your support can be in the form of likes, helpful comments, follows, etc. I don’t want to define anything specific because everyone’s different, just consider the Golden Rule and how you would like being supported. Just keep in mind that Instagram’s algorithm really likes comments 😉
4. Post at least one non-ephemeral video a week discussing your progress, using the hashtag in the description.
This is where the 100 days of making comics felt onerous, because it required 30 mins of comic work AND a daily video or blog post – both of which take me forever. I ended up making a quick Fb post in the group after spending way too much time making videos.
- By non-ephemeral I mean videos that don’t disappear after 24h like Instagram & Facebook stories. That’s 1 video a week – a short vlog, tbh – that stays online and can be viewed at anytime.
- I suggest IGTV (Instagram’s long video option) to keep things simpler and ‘in one place’ – but if you want to use Youtube or your FB page, that’s totally cool. I’m considering posting each video to IG, Fb & Youtube – and maybe Twitter too O.o. I’m not sure if IGTV requires a Business account or not – though I recommend getting one if you’re serious about being a professional artist/illustrator. Analyze and figure out what works well for you for better results.
- You’re welcome to post more videos a week if you want, I just don’t want to make it too onerous. I’m considering ‘checking in’ daily with an IG story.
What do you think?
Ready to get started? Got a question or comment? Let me know by leaving a comment!