What is the 100 day project?

The 100 day project is a creative challenge that anyone and everyone can join. There are no rules or expectations other than to create for 100 days and if you miss a day or even more, that’s ok. Choose a project that suits you and getting creating!

The challenge is recently overseen by Lindsay Jean Thompson who sends encouraging emails along the way. Instagram is a popular platform for participants to share their creations and it’s a supportive community of makers and artists at every level of experience.

Why should I do the 100 day challenge?

The only way to make better art is to keep making more art. This is a way to commit to making a lot of art, surrounded by people who are creating and cheering others along the way. The project is inspiring and while not everyone makes it to a hundred days or makes or shares art everyday, there is no judgement. There is only the joy of finding and watching others make art and making new connections.

What challenge did I set for myself?

The project seemed like a good opportunity to experiment with composition and mark making. I had been playing with tiny acrylic paintings on paper so that became the jumping off point.

I set out to create 100 tiny abstracts on 2″ squares of watercolour paper using mostly acrylic ink and Neocolor II crayons. I decided to share a piece every day in my Instagram stories and save them in a highlight for later.

Small piles of tiny abstract art on paper next to a 100 day project checklist and a tiny abstract in a white frame

Failing at the 100 day project

I have tried this challenge a few times before and failed to make it to the end. Maybe it was just bad timing but setting a goal that is manageable and realistic but also challenging enough is tricky. It can also be hard to fit making art into a busy day and it’s easy to let the project go.

In the past I had just given myself too big a task to do every day or I got bored quickly. This time I just got the balance of ease and challenge just right. Now that I’ve finally completed a project, I’ve thought through what helped me to make it work this time.

How to succeed at the 100 day project

I found it helpful to check in with these questions before choosing a project:

  • What materials do you like to use?
  • How much time will you have to create something?
  • Will you need a project that you can pack up and travel with? Or take to work?
  • Do you have the materials you will need?
  • What obstacles could you meet along the way and how will you deal with those?
  • Will you need time off each week or to take a break for holidays or events?

Get clear on what’s possible before you set any goals. Choose a fun challenge that gives you a nudge to do something more but is sustainable. This is supposed to be fun not stressful.

Most of all choose something that already feels good. Deciding to paint 100 watercolour landscapes when I’ve never tried before might be a fun challenge but could quickly lead to a block if I end up hating watercolour.

Lastly, know that whatever you decide is entirely flexible. You can change your direction, your theme, your supplies, your whole idea if you want to. The aim is to keep creating, that’s it.

A tiny abstract art on paper with the word now visible on the art

Choosing a 100 day project

I painted 100 tiny abstracts on 2″ watercolour paper squares. You can see all the pieces in this story highlight on my Instagram.

I gave myself few limitations except the size but had a familiar set of materials that I could choose from including acrylic ink, Neocolor II crayons, graphite pencil, a Micron pen, a white gel pen, black drawing ink and some letter and number stamps and transfers. I popped them in small tray with some pre-cut 2″ square watercolour papers.

I was allowed to use any combination of these as I liked. Working in sets of three to help me keep track of the number I was on and it meant I had already chosen my colour supplies for three days. It’s surprising how long I could take just choosing colours! I found it helpful to use a little chart with 100 days marked on it too.

A tray of art supplies for the 100 day project

Getting into the habit

Finding a routine was so important for me. After about 3 weeks I finally found a time of day that I could commit to. I was squeezing in art time all over the place until I found a time that worked in the evening. Early bird art sessions were just not sustainable for me.

What to do when you want to give up?

I remember writing a post on Instagram about how I was bored, the art pieces were all starting to look the same, I was getting lazy with them and just not interested anymore. But I really wanted to finish so I made a shift. I was still using tiny pieces of paper but I tried to let go a bit. I literally threw bright blue ink at three pieces of paper!

They were horrible but somehow I had to make something of them. I set myself the challenge of “resolving” these bold splashes. Those pieces jolted me enough to keep going and reminded me I could try new things, risk free on these tiny pieces of paper.

A bright blue tiny abstract art on paper for the 100 day project

Adapting the project

Reframing the challenge and giving myself permission to make ugly art kept me going. I had to let go of the results and get back to experimenting.

I recommend making the challenge what you need it to be. Do you need to simplify your project? Or do you need to make it smaller, use less materials or different supplies? Do you need a find a way to create in your car or at your work desk? What change do you need to make so you can continue? Switch it up and keep moving forward.

*I feel I need to add a note here. If you are exhausted mentally or physically, there is no shame in stopping the challenge. Sometimes creating can help us to get through tough times but sometimes we need to step away. If the project is causing you problems, acknowledge what you’ve achieved and stop.

Here’s my top tips for completing a 100 day project

Choose a project that you already know you will enjoy

  • Do make 100 things that you already know you love to do.
  • Don’t aim to do something entirely new and untested, for 100 days, under pressure.

Create a project that is manageable and realistic

  • Keep your daily goal small, they will add up to something wonderful.
  • Be honest about how much time you have.
  • 1 minute biro doodles in a notepad still count!

Prepare some materials in advance

  • Prepare what you can, cut paper, gather your supplies, choose your colour palette, pack a pencil case, box or bag.
  • Then all you have to do is show up.

Be flexible

  • Take a look at your days and see where you can fit time for your project every day.
  • Be compassionate with yourself if it’s not working and adapt rather than stop.

Find a routine

  • Routine can help to keep you on track so find a regular time.
  • Give it time to feel comfortable but switch it up if it’s not feeling good.
  • Keep track of the days you succeed using a chart or calendar.

Take the pressure off

  • It’s ok to make bad art or things you don’t like.
  • Only share what you want to.
  • Adapt and keep it fun.
  • Stop, guilt free, if it’s not the right time or project.

Would you do a 100 day project?

The 100 day project was a triumph for me this year. I’m so happy to have this gorgeous pile of tiny art that I love despite the ugly ones that popped up along the way. It feels like a huge achievement to have committed to something for this long.

I did have a bit of creative breakthrough too. It wasn’t an intense epiphany or a lightbulb moment that has changed everything. I didn’t create something so beautiful that I’ve gained thousands of social media followers or endless sales. None of that. But I did remember what I love to create.

I went back to bright colour and trusted myself to use it more. I really loved adding words and text to the pieces and they became like tiny journal pages.I noticed that I was really expressing myself creatively, rather than painting what I thought people wanted to see. So yes, it was worth it, for that.


If you’re interested in the materials I have used for this project you can find all the details in this article on my favourite art supplies.

1 Comment

The Big Impact of Tiny Art: Embracing the Benefits of Working Small - Kore Sage | Mixed Media Artist · 21st February 2024 at 1:05 pm

[…] along came the 100 day project and I committed to 100 tiny 2″ squares of mark making and playing with composition in an abstract way. When it was over I found new ways […]

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