Art + Design

Art + Design: The 642 Things to Draw Challenge

642 Things to Draw is one of those books that seem to resonate with the artist within us all. Whether you are 3 years old or 30, a budding artist, or an experienced sketcher, you’ll be invigorated by this collection of offbeat, clever, and endlessly absorbing drawing prompts. A rolling pin, a robot, a pickle, a water tower, a hammock, a wasp, a safety pin, a kiss. Some are deceptively simple (just try drawing a bicycle), some are conceptually mind-bending (sketching the sound of girlish laughter?), and some are refreshingly basic (the only hard thing about drawing an egg is deciding how you want it to be cooked).

I’ve recently stumbled across a number of artists, moms, dads, college students, and many more who are using 642 Things to Draw to challenge themselves to do a drawing a day—with 642 prompts that’s nearly two years worth of drawings!

I thought you might like to meet some of these intrepid, inspirational people, drawing their hearts out.

Sarah Best

About me: I’m a Chicago based artist working the media of photography, illustration and stitched illustration (embroidery). I live in a tiny vintage apartment with my boyfriend Mark and my awesome cat, Coco.

How I got 642 Things to Draw: My friend Anne gave me the book as a Christmas present—she remembered that I’d made a New Year’s Resolution in 2009 to do a drawing a day. The drawings were great, but they ended up getting derailed because of a bad break-up.

2010 brought my first solo photography shows, a scholarship to take photography classes… and a great new relationship! So Anne bought me the book to encourage me to pick up my pen again.

Why I love 642: It’s a lot of fun to doodle and make art that doesn’t have anything to do with a serious art project, like the photography I make for shows or for class. For me it’s a kind of meditative practice. 642 gives me an idea (like a cabin or fangs) that I then use to draw something totally silly, like my cat dressed up as David Thoreau standing in front of his cabin, or an elderly shark’s bedside table. I share my drawings through my blog and with my friends on Facebook. It gives them a laugh and it’s fun for me to get comments from them.



Summer Woodham

How I got 642 Things to Draw: A friend gave me 642 Things to Draw as a birthday present. He saw it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop and thought I might like it. I’ve been drawing and painting on and off since high school, but I’ve never been very structured or consistent about it and that was something I wanted to change.

About me: I’m a stay at home mom and while I never forget how lucky I am to be able to stay home with my son, it’s not a life I ever planned to have and I had some trouble adjusting. I found I was happier if I set goals and worked my way towards them. This is definitely the largest most long-term project I’ve attempted, but the blog and the book are helping me stay accountable which is actually harder than you’d think.

When you don’t have an outside job, the guilt of engaging in a hobby is really intense because there is always something else you should be doing and it seems terribly selfish to take any time away from those chores because after all you’re not bringing any money in. Stopping to take time for yourself feels like you’re not contributing, but I really think it’s important to find things that are just for you. I think it makes you a better parent and a better partner to carve out that space for yourself.


You can find more posts on 642 Things to Draw here:

Simple + Pretty
Rubin Museum of Art
Nice Enough to Draw
Bubbly Bride

Patti Quill
Art + Design

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  • se7en February 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I just love this idea… a little motivation to actually draw every day , I totally love it!!! Definitely something I would love in my Christmas stocking… only ten months to go!!!


  • Jeannine February 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I am also a SAHM and have found the reality of the new job sometimes frustrating when I had spent my days in a creative environment. Starting a blog about my art & design has helped and it's led me to spending more time with my eldest creating together.

    Thank you for this post. The book looks like a great project.


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