Preparing for Art Every Day Month

October 27th, 2010

A few folks have asked on Twitter and by email how people prepare for Art Every Day Month. Do folks plan out the month, have one big project in mind, or just wing it day by day? I have seen many different approaches to AEDM and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I think you need to do what will work best for you. To help give you some ideas, I'll share how I prepare and share some links that show what a couple other people are doing.

What I do is a mix of preparing and playing it by ear. I usually go to my sketchbook before Art Every Day Month begins and look at ideas I've had, but not brought to life, make some notes about things I'd like to try or play with, and doodle to see if anything else is coming up. If there are some supplies I need before the month starts, I'll make a run to the art supply store and get stocked, so I'm all ready to go on day one. I think AEDM is a great opportunity to bring ideas to life that I've been wanting to do, but just haven't gotten around to it for whatever reason. For example, I've been wanting to paint a picture of the story "The Owl and Pussycat" for ages, but I haven't done it. I plan to next month!

Having some sketches I might like to play with is a good way to never feel like I'm out of ideas or don't know where to start. If I'm feeling uninspired on a particular day or days during November, I can turn to my sketchbook and pick one sketch as a starting point. These sketches may be fully formed ideas or they might just be a note like, "Tree with houses for leaves." If you don't have any sketches built up like this, try taking an hour before Art Every Day Month begins, to play and doodle and see what comes up. Or keep a notebook by your bed or in your purse so that you can capture ideas, doodles, and things that inspire you, before you forget them!

Along with the ideas and projects I know I want to tackle, I leave plenty of room open for creating in the moment with no plan in mind. I might even do this most days, as it allows me to play with whatever is coming up for me that day. I'll begin by asking myself what materials, colors, and mediums are calling to me in that moment and then I'll let my intuition guide my creations. It's a fun way to create and it often surprises me!

Here are what a few other participants are doing or have done in the past:

Last year, Wendy Edsall-Kerwin did a Doodle-A-Day during Art Every Day Month. This year, she's got a list of ideas for what she might do this year on her blog, including a very creative idea involving the periodic table of elements, which you can read about here.

On Twitter, Julie Jordan Scott wrote, "YAY! I am creating quite a goody-box of raw materials for #aedm2010. I am so gleeful to wake up & ask my heart, "What's next?"" Love the idea of a goody-box, Julie!

In 2009, Jennifer Lee did a drawing a day in a mini journal (so cute!) It allowed her to participate in the challenge in a way that was manageable for her during a busy month. And the drawings were fabulous!

If you feel like you might need some extra support through the process, check out the Art Every Day Month Survival Guide, which is a private blog with daily posts that provide prompts, links, quotes, and creative ideas to help keep you going throughout the month.

I hope that helps you think about how you'd like to prepare for Art Every Day Month. I'd love to hear how you prepare!

29 Responses

Yay! I’m really excited about doing AEDM again this year – even though I didn’t manage *every* day last year, what I did do really moved things forward. And as things are starting to shift already for me, I’m really hoping AEDM is going to increase the momentum.

This year I’m thinking of exploring visual journaling/a sketchbook diary kind of thing, with the aim being a spread a day. I’ve got a nice little quadratic sketchbook that seems perfect – not too big, but not tiny, and I’ve given myself permission to only use materials I’m most comfortable with this time round, because I realised that in the past I’ve felt obliged to do what I’ve seen in books – with lots of collage and mixed media – which really isn’t me. So this time, I’ll be happy with doodles, drawings and maybe a little painting now and then.

Now I just need to get some of those materials out ready for the off on Sunday!

More Yays from me! AEDM was a huge turning point for me last year. Huge. Gigantic.

It brought home to me that my business was originally conceived as a place-holder/springboard for the career and practice I really wanted, which is essentially to make art every day of my life. All sorts of priorities have shifted for me, along with a ton of life-changes (we live in a different state now, my husband has a new job, and I have a room dedicated to making art in… We’re poorer but happier.)

Like Fi, I’m basing a lot of my practice around different notebooks. I want to keep one about artistic influences and take specific works and make notes and practice the techniques I admire in certain passages, etc. (Not copying to steal, never that, but copying and imitating to mindfully learn).

And, like you, I’ve been wanting to do an Owl and the Pussycat for a long time. I’m planning to do several spreads this coming month, but my aim is to complete a whole picture book, exactly as if I had a commission to do one, and then use it as a portfolio piece to try to get a real book illustration gig.

I’m also going to use my own poetry as springboards for pieces this month. I have several poems that I think would love to illustrated.

Can you tell I’m excited…?

i have a lot of ideas for things i want to paint… like you said, all those ideas i just haven’t gotten around to working on yet.

my plan is to stock up on art supplies this weekend, and then each morning i’ll wake up, make a latte and bring it to my art room and paint for 1/2 hour before doing anything else. then i’m going to go swim for 1/2 hour.

feels like a fantastic way to start the day!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Britt Bravo, Leah Piken Kolidas. Leah Piken Kolidas said: New post: Preparing for Art Every Day Month! #aedm2010 [...]

I’ve never done Art Every Day Month before. I’m thinking of participating but will need to find a manageable plan that I’ll be able to do even on a really bad health day. Maybe, a theme & ATC card size art that I can stick in a dedicated book. First I need to read up on the AEDM guidelines….

Kat X

….okay I’ve had a read. November is my busiest month in the year so I may be insane but neverthless I’ve signed up because I really want to join in all the creative loveliness. CED2010 has already been a tremendous support & inspiration so I have a positive feeling about AEDM2010. I’m giving myself no pressure & will take each day health wise – but I feel really excited to take part.

Kat :-)

I am tempted to plan but I know myself too well….If I plan too much I will focus on the outcome and not the process, which will drain the fun out of it for me. SO, I will not plan! I will take each day as it comes and create in whatever way feels right on that day. As far as materials go, I have bunches of things I can play with but an art/craft supply is close by in case of artistic emergencies!

I’m going to leave my things set up on the kitchen table so it will be a creation-station for the month!

I don’t know how I manage to manage AEDM. I just don’t stop, I guess. Particularly since I also do nanowrimo during November. I just can’t stay away from AEDM. In months past, I have had a singular type of art that I do variations of. I’m looking at you, Flying Girl. I also paint during prime time tv, while I am relaxing, after the kids go to bed. But i haven’t been doing that lately, so I don’t know how I will manage it.

I have creativity tiles, where I make 100 little cardboard word pieces, and I can draw out a word or two to inspire me. Also, there is the sketchbook project…. and I have to get busy with that, so I’m planning on incorporating that.

Basically, I’m going to scramble to keep up, any way I can.

Last year, I worked on a recipe scrapbook with family photos and favorite food memories. It was a Christmas gift for my mom and it kept me busy all month. She cried when I gave it to her.

This year, I’ll probably try to be more spontaneous with the activities.

I just made a journal for AEDM (just finished) and I am going to try techniques from Journal Junkies and Journal Spilling to create a visual journal (hopefully)

I’m so glad to be doing it again this year after taking a break last year.
I have this vision of a blank book, which I plan to paint and decorate the pages – to make a sort of journal / photo album. Don’t know how it will turn out – but so far, i know that blank book & paints is how I’ll start.

This will be my first AEDM, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of a daily art practice. I’m planning on checking some art books out of the library, I’m thinking DaVinci, Frida Kahlo, and a couple of books on techniques, maybe collage or painting. I’m looking forward to copying the masters, and I also plan on focusing on finishing lots of linocut carving! It’s going to be great!

What great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

I’m excited for art every day month :) I had lots of fun last year, although I didn’t do any prepping at all..just whatever I fancied that day and could fit into my schedule. For this year, I already started a journal page a day project, so will go through November…although it’s only weekdays :)

Oh goodness, I’m so tempted to start this despite the fact that I’m afraid it will turn into a chore. I have taken on a publishing project i want to finish in November, I would love to do another NaNoWriMo and then add this as well?

I could reason, well, a doodle sketch book is easy to maintain and a nice balance for the writing/computer based work I will be doing in November. I don’t know. I still haven’t decided. Who ever said November is a long, dreary, depression month? No way!! To much to do, to little time. Thank you Leah for your inspiring ideas and challenges.

I´ve been working all year long on tight ship rutines for the house chores to liberate time for other things I want to do. :) I´ll be making a meals plan for the whole November today so I don´t get distracted by the “What will I make for lunch/dinner?”. :D

On the art itself front, I´ve got a list of projects I want to work on and the most joyous preparation has been convincing a couple of local friends to join me. *Yay*

I’m inspired to give it a go this year! I think I’m going to go the doodle- cartoon route because it helps me take myself and art so much less seriously. And the less serious I feel the more inclined I am to try something and then not freak out if it looks like roadkill.8O}

Thanks for the great advice. I think I’ll work on my handmade cards each day and start to tackle a giant canvas that has been intimidating me for years.

I have enough art ideas and projects to keep me busy for a long time. For me, ideas and preliminary sketches are easy to come by. The problem comes when I try to finish them.

Time isn’t a problem for me either. I have all day to make art. It just seems there is always something else to do first, and before I know it the day is gone.

I have been looking for an accountability art group for a long time. I hope I just found it. :-)

If this goes well I will sign up for your Create Every Day 2011 challenge. :-)

i did enjoy so much art everyday of the month last year because it was for me like a therapy, it came at a very sad part time of life and it was so important for me to dive into art. because of the space you made for us to share, it is much more strong. doing art and have opportunity to share it is great.
this year, it is a very busy time for me, hope to be abble to post each day!!! also to have enough time to see others peoples art, it is so inspiring

[...] “Preparing for Art Every Day Month,” Creative Every Day: Leah Piken Kolidas explains the campaign she’s created where people focus on doing one creative act every day for a month. [...]
Here is a link to my post where I decided what I was going to do for AEDM. I’ve been absolutely innundated with creative ideas lately. And I’m just finishing up a month of daily drawings for The Big Draw.

I struggled with overcomplicating my AEDM project (and several others I have on the backburner). But I have come up with three separate “themes” to use with my paintings. This will keep me focused – because Oh Boy! can I complicate a creative project, something that art fear always takes advantage of.

So small steps. One theme for each each week – leaving one week open for inspiration. And the canvases are small enough that I can do one daily.

I’m also wanting to continue my project of sketching, painting and learning faces – and – I’m beginning a project using ATC cards that I still can’t decide what the theme will be – and – return to my circle project….

Meanwhile, I’ve rearranged and organized my studio in preparation. Ready, set…..

I need this. 2010 has been a dry year creatively speaking, but a very large growth year. Time to express all that I’ve learned.
Thank you, Leah.

Can’t wait! I hope I can stick with it!!

I just created a visual art journal in one of the 21 Secrets Playground workshops, created by Connie Hozvicka at and I plan on practicing mixed media art journaling in it. I hope to do a page a day. I am still taking the workshops and learning new stuff, and I have some other projects that I want to work on aside from that, as well. It’s a busy month otherwise, but hopefully I can stick to doing art every day for Nov. I’m planning to use up a lot of materials that I have stacked up, but haven’t used yet. Looking forward to playing with you all! :)

As always, I jump the gun. I was going to use the Halloween cupcakes I made with the grandkids today as my first AEDM post. But no, I blogged and posted them today. So I guess I’m preparing by just trying to keep up.

Leah – Tossing out the excuses why not and joining in! Mary

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