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Getting Sketchy: Drawing Challenges For Your Next Museum Visit - Antsy Labs

Getting Sketchy: Drawing Challenges For Your Next Museum Visit

When you’re trying to advance as an artist, drawing challenges are an ideal way to motivate yourself.


I, for one, always got a little lazy as a cartoonist. I’d draw the same poses and the same setups, and I eventually plateaued. That’s when I started to look for new ways to grow.


While streak-based drawing challenges like drawing every day for a week (or a month!) are great for drawing motivation, it’s the challenges that took me to new places like museums that got me past my pleateau.


Once I started going to museums as an artist, I realized just how many opportunities there were for improving my art. Honestly, there are almost too many things to draw!


To help you make the most of your next museum visit, I’m sharing ten fun drawing challenges designed to help you improve as an artist. Along with each challenge, I’ve added a quick note about the technical areas you’ll be working on.


(And for those of you who just can’t wait until the next time you’re in a museum, I’ve also added some examples for each challenge so you can play along at home!)

DOODLE OR DOODLE NOT - THERE IS NO TRY.


Even the best artists need a creative push once in a while. Now you can crush your creative block with the Drawing Pack, a set of artistic achievements for you to unlock as you kick your creativity into high gear. Grab your pencil or pen of choice and get set to doodle, draw, sketch and scribble your way to new creative heights.


Draw me like one of your French IRLAs.



3D Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw from a three-dimensional model in a museum setting, like a sculpture or bust.


How You’ll Benefit: This will sharpen your skills in capturing the human form, anatomy, and proportions (until you’re ready for those daunting nude drawing classes!).


Examples: Michelangelo's "David" statue or Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" sculpture.

Object Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw a museum object such as a sculpture or artifact. To work on size and scale, see if you can sketch a few different ones in the same day.


How You’ll Benefit: This drawing challenge works on observational skills and accuracy in rendering the details and textures of an object.


Examples: Egyptian sarcophagus or Greek vases.

Landscape Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Many museums have incredible grounds and outdoor spaces. For this drawing challenge, capture the museum’s landscape, gardens, or other outdoor spaces.


How You’ll Benefit: Given that museums can often be focused on the art, this is a nice challenge for working on the depth and perspective in a scene.


Examples: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Museum.

Portrait Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw a portrait from a museum painting or photograph. For additional challenges, try to replicate one in its original style, then redo it in your own style. 


How You’ll Benefit: Focusing on portraits will strengthen your understanding of facial proportions and skin tones.


Examples: Rembrandt's "Self-Portrait" or Frida Kahlo's "Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.”

Imagination Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Sketch an imaginative work inspired by a museum exhibit. 


How You’ll Benefit: This interpretive challenge fosters creativity and helps develop your own style.


Examples: Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" or Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory."

Historical Figure Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw a famous historical figure from a museum painting or bust.


How You’ll Benefit: As a nice counterpoint to the Imagination Drawing Challenge, this one is about accuracy in capturing clothing, posture, and facial features.


Examples: Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" or Rembrandt's "Self-Portrait with Two Circles."

Architecture Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Challenging yourself to draw in museums has a number of perks, and one of our favorites is being exposed to incredible, innovative architecture. For this challenge you’ll be drawing the interior or exterior of a museum building. 


How You’ll Benefit: This works on your skills in creating accurate perspectives and showing architectural details.


Examples: The Denver Art Museum in Denver or the Guggenheim in New York.

Shadow Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw the shadows cast by museum objects. 


How You’ll Benefit: Especially if you are working with just a pencil or pen, how you capture shadow is tied to how realistic your drawings are. This challenge works on the interplay of light and shadow and how they interact with objects.


Examples: Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog" or Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks.”

Still Life Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw a still life setup of museum objects, such as fruits, flowers, or pottery. 


How You’ll Benefit: This is a drawing challenge as old as time, but it’s lasted for a reason as it will improve your ability to render light and shadow on objects and create a convincing composition. 


Examples: Cezanne's "Still Life with Apples" or Manet's "Still Life with Peonies".

Action Drawing Challenge

Drawing Challenge: Draw a museum exhibit that features movement, such as a dancing statue or a dynamic scene from a painting.


How You’ll Benefit: You’ve got to think like your camera in this drawing challenge as you figure out the right sketch settings to capture movement and express energy. 


Example: Degas' "Dancers in Rehearsal" or Michaelangelo's "Laocoön and His Sons.”

Take On Your Own Drawing Challenges

If you’re looking to push yourself even further with your drawing, the IRLA Drawing Pack is designed to reward you for achieving your artistic goals. Through your consistent creativity, you’ll unlock real-life coins that you can display as you stick to your plan and get better as an artist!

DOODLE OR DOODLE NOT - THERE IS NO TRY.


Even the best artists need a creative push once in a while. Now you can crush your creative block with the Drawing Pack, a set of artistic achievements for you to unlock as you kick your creativity into high gear. Grab your pencil or pen of choice and get set to doodle, draw, sketch and scribble your way to new creative heights.


Draw me like one of your French IRLAs.



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