• January 2016 Creative Challenge (with a Prize!)

    I can think of no better way to kick off the year than by exercising your creative muscle … and being rewarded for it with artist-grade watercolors, an art journal made of sumptuous 130 lb. watercolor paper, and two Kolinksy brushes! In short, it’s my pleasure to introduce the January 2016 Creative Challenge!

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to challenge yourself this time of year? I know it’s complete nonsense because today feels like any other winter day, and yet … the slate is clean. 2016 has just begun, and it’s exciting to think about what the next twelve months will bring in terms of your success and personal growth. With that in mind, I have put together a creative challenge for you that is doable, but will still require effort. The challenge consists of four projects that must be completed by February 1st, and I’m happy to say that all of them can be created not matter what your illustration and/or calligraphy skill level is! Once you’re finished, you’ll have a chance to win a grand prize consisting of some of my favorite high-quality art supplies ($125 value) or a gift certificate to Paper & Ink Arts! Before I detail the prize and the rules, let’s talk about the four parts of this challenge:

    Creative Challenge 1: Make a Goal List

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    I know what you’re thinking: “Here she goes again with the goal list.” But, really, humor me here, even if you’re not a “list” person. Writing down your aspirations — especially in a display-worthy way — can help motivate you to make them into realities!

    Printable Goal List with Botanical Border | The Postman's Knock

    Here’s the specific assignment:

    Either print off the TPK botanical border goal list template, or make your own list with illustrated elements or pretty calligraphy — or both! I like writing out my goals in Kaitlin Style calligraphy because it’s very low-fuss compared to the other Learn for a Latté styles, but you can use whatever handwriting or calligraphy style that appeals to you! Create thoughtful goals that are challenging yet attainable, and consider the steps you can take to achieve them. Once you’re finished, display your goal list in a place where you’ll see it every day! The suggested due date for this part of the challenge is January 12th.

    Creative Challenge 2: Create an Illustration

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    Making art can be really good for your emotional well-being. Even if you think you’re not “good” at drawing, illustrating, or painting, I have a hunch you’ll enjoy this part of the challenge. You may discover a talent that you didn’t know existed, or a pastime that you genuinely enjoy!

    Simple Watercolor Portrait | The Postman's Knock

    Here’s the specific assignment:

    Make a drawing or illustration in any medium such as watercolor, pencil, crayon, colored pencil, pastel, etc. The subject of the piece should be challenging for you to make and should require more than a few minutes of your time. You can either make the artwork for display in your home or as a gift for someone else. Alternatively, the artwork can appear as a page in your sketchbook, as shown in the photo below.

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    I chose to draw a Parcheesi board in my sketchbook last week because my family loves playing Parcheesi, and we enjoyed many a heated game over the holidays! Illustrating the board was a great way to preserve the memories I have of Christmas/New Years 2015. You can let your illustration be inspired by a memory as well, though sometimes it’s difficult to choose one! If you’re having trouble coming up with a subject, you’re always welcome to follow a TPK tutorial; here are some suggestions:

    The suggested due date for this part of the challenge is January 20th.

    Creative Challenge 3: Make a DIY Greeting Card

    Four Mail Art Mini-Tutorials | The Postman's Knock

    When you send someone a DIY card, you’re sending more than your well-wishes: you’re telling them, “You matter to me, so I spent time making this for you.” That’s not to say that you should ever feel guilty for sending commercially-made cards; time is, after all, a commodity. However, for the sake of this creative challenge, I encourage you to try making one! Whether you know someone with a birthday coming up, a friend you’d like to say “thank you” to, a family member you want to congratulate, etc., your card will be the perfect little pick-me-up.

    Design Motif Tutorials Part II: Citrus Fruits | The Postman's Knock

    Here’s the specific assignment:

    Make whatever style of card you want to (watercolor, decoupaged, etc.); you have the option of making a postcard instead of a greeting card if you wish. Here are some tutorials that might help you to get some ideas:

    The suggested due date for this part of the challenge is January 27th.

    Creative Challenge 4: Make a Beautiful Envelope

    Calligraphy Swirls Tutorials (Part I) | The Postman's Knock

    If you’ve gone to the trouble of making a lovely DIY card, you might as well send it off in style, right? It’s singularly satisfying to send a thoughtfully-created envelope on its way! You can make a prim, neat envelope like the red Amy Style envelope pictured above, or you can add a ton of elements together and call it good like the handmade envelope below. If any idea grabs at you, follow it!

    How to Make Deliverable Mail Art | The Postman's Knock

    Here’s the specific assignment:

    Make a creative and/or artistic envelope, preferably with some sort of calligraphy or thoughtful hand-lettering. You may make a DIY envelope or draw/calligraph on a commercial envelope. Totally up to you! If you’d like some ideas, the TPK Instagram feed may be of use to you; or you can check out the following tutorials:

    Another great post to take a look at is How to Make Deliverable Mail Art, which details how to send post-office-friendly artistic envelopes. The suggested due date for this part of the challenge is January 31st.

    The Prize:

    The winner of this challenge will receive three incredible art supplies. The first of these supplies is a set of 24 Yarka watercolors ($55 value). Yarka watercolors have a sumptuous and creamy viscosity when moistened, and they come in stunning colors. They’re vivid, artist-grade paints that will help you to make many a gorgeous project!

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    If you’ve got a fantastic set of watercolors, of course you need something equally wonderful to paint on! I am in love with the Mahara watercolor journal ($40 value), which features soft cold press 130 lb. handmade paper. It’s a large journal (15″ x 22″, 381 mm x 559 mm), which makes it perfect for painting larger pieces or using different areas of pages to try out new watercolor techniques.

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    The third part of the prize is high-quality Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes made from Kolinsky (Asiatic Mink) hair. You will receive one size 0 brush ($14.00) and one size 2 brush ($16.00). These brushes have fantastic paint carrying capacity and allow for precise control; they’re among my favorites!

    January Creative Challenge (with a Prize!) | The Postman's Knock

    The total value of the prize is $125 plus shipping cost. If the winner would prefer different supplies from Paper & Ink Arts, he or she may opt instead for a $125 gift certificate.

    How to Enter:

    The suggested due dates listed under each project are just that: only suggestions. Following the due dates should help you to budget your time such that you finish the challenge by February 1st! Here are the directions and the pertinent information for entering the challenge:

    • Once you have created all four parts of the challenge, send a photo of each one (goal list, illustration, DIY card, and mail art) to me at [email protected]Please make the subject of your email “Creative Challenge Entry”. If you are comfortable with me sharing a photo or two on social media and/or the TPK blog, please let me know (I’d love to be able to brag about your skills!). Otherwise, I will assume that you wish me to keep the photos confidential.
    • If you have already created an artistic goal list, you may use it for the challenge. All other works, however, must be created after reading this blog post. Please do not submit past projects you have made.
    • I will respond to your email to let you know that I have received your entry. If I do not respond within three days, please email to check in.
    • The deadline to submit your entry is 11:30 AM Mountain Standard Time (Denver, Colorado, USA time zone) on Tuesday, February 2nd.

    Once all entries have been submitted, the winner will be chosen randomly via an “old school” raffle; upon receiving your email, I will write your name on a piece of paper and put it in a bowl. On the afternoon of February 2nd, I will post a video here on the TPK blog and on the TPK Facebook page of the winner’s name being drawn. Anyone, anywhere is eligible to win: I’m happy to ship internationally!

    I hope you choose to participate in the challenge, and I’m glad to be able to offer this prize to the winner! If you have any questions, please comment below. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your week!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock