hush, smooth, & smile

Waaaayyy back in June I participated in the Creativity Boot Camp. The idea was to make one piece of art inspired by the day’s theme on that very same day. The whole thing was supposed to be finished in the 2 weeks of the boot camp. I got delayed while working on the second theme, “picnic” because I ended up drawing 5 different things! I realized I wouldn’t finish all the themes in the allotted two weeks, but I decided to continue working at my own pace until I’d drawn something for each of the 13 themes. I finished up 10 of the themes in a timely manner, but the last three lingered on my to-do list. This weekend, about 5 months after the challenge started, I decided to finish it up.

I lost my momentum when I got stuck on the 11th theme, “hush”. I had a really hard time coming up with an idea of what to draw (obviously). As the weeks drifted by, I would occasionally try to think of something for the theme, but nothing grabbed me. Finally I thought, “well I could just do something calm and muted”. I thought of water, and how the drawing for the “fluid” theme might have worked for “hush” so I decided to do another water-inspired drawing.

hush, original

I’m not sure how successful the final drawing is in terms of the theme. The “water” might be a little too choppy, and the outlines might be a little too strong for “hush”, but it’s a pretty pattern, so I’m happy with the results.

The 12th theme was “smooth”. I already had this one worked out as a sketch, but I wanted to post the themes in order, so I held off finishing it until now.


I doubt that this drawing would conjure up the word, “smooth,” on its own, but I like it for the theme because of the idea behind the drawing. I first drew the lines, and then smoothed out some of the angles with a curved line and shading.

The final theme was “smile” and I was pretty much dreading it, truth be told. Every idea I had seemed terribly cheesy and made me cringe a little bit. Lucky for me, I watched Alice in Wonderland this weekend.


As you might imagine, the Cheshire cat inspired this pattern. Maybe it’s still a bit cheesy, but I also think it’s a pretty cute pattern and one of my favorite drawings from the whole boot camp. I certainly wasn’t expecting that the theme I disliked the most would have such a fun solution!

Today I gathered up all the finished drawings and arranged them on the wall above my desk. In all there were 13 themes, and I completed 20 drawings in total. “Picnic” had the most drawings at 5. “Ivory,” “multilayered,” and “heavy metal” each got 2 drawings, and for all the other themes I drew 1 drawing each.

all Creativity Boot Camp drawings

For reference, here is a list of the themes that correspond to the image above, top row to bottom row, left to right:
ivory, ivory, picnic, picnic
picnic, picnic, picnic, multilayered
multilayered, heavy metal, heavy metal, grow
fluid, fly, ornament, drizzle
full bodied, hush, smooth, smile

If you click through to flickr on the above image, you’ll find that it’s tagged with the various themes with links to the original full-sized drawings. Also, if you want to check out the blog posts about the previous 10 themes, you can find them on my old “anika mari” blog.

All of the drawings were done on 6 in x 6 in bristol. When I started the challenge, I had decided to use only pencil and/or Prismacolor markers. A few minor exceptions that snuck in were a silver sharpie that I used for the silver and pink “heavy metal” drawing, blue ink that I used for the outlines of the “ornament” drawing, and black ink used for details on two of the picnic drawings. For “full bodied” I used black ink and watercolor. I really don’t know why I used watercolor. I’m sure I could have colored it with marker, but I probably just wasn’t thinking!

It took me a while, but I’m so glad that I followed through and finished all of the themes.

Would I do it again? It’s hard to say right now, after just finishing. Those final three themes were looming in the background for months, and it kind of stressed me out in a mild, consistent manner. That said, overall I really liked the Creativity Boot Camp. The best part was creating some really nice drawings that I never would have come up with if I hadn’t had the themes to work from. It was a challenging creative exercise that got me to approach making art in a different way. Maybe in a year I’d be up for it again?

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