36 Days of Type – Typography Challenge

Apr 17, 2020

How to reclaim your creativity by drawing letters everyday


Shut the front door! Who would have thought I was capable of achieving something like this? If you had asked me before the 36 Days of Type challenge started, I would have said to you: certainly not me, I don’t have the time! But with a little bit of self-discipline (and maybe the help of a global pandemic as well), I managed to take on the 36 Days of Type challenge and draw a letter for 36 days in a row. Here’s how.

Working with Self-Doubt

Right before starting the challenge I read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. And yes, the book did its magic on me. I kept repeating to myself: it’s not a baby. My design aren’t my babies. With that in mind, I was ready to post without worrying if my creations would be well received or not. My followers follow me for my lettering which is mostly black and white. How would they receive something so full of colour and illustrative elements? I thought to myself: "Ok Aurelie, if nobody likes it, you don’t care. You’re doing this for you, to improve your drawing skills and to challenge yourself to use more colours in your work.” (By the way, I totally recommend that book).

“You surprise me every day” – Instagram follower

Surprisingly, my designs were really well received, some got more “likes” than others of course, but I mostly received positive feedback. I gained nearly 2,000 new followers in less than a month. A few people even said to me they were looking forward to my next letter every single day (and not just my mum!). Take out from this? You never know until you try. Now, aren’t you curious to know what you are hiding behind your own self-doubt and your “I don’t have time” excuses?

Learning New Drawing Skills

I cannot draw, it's not a proper job. At least, that’s what I’ve always thought. I have always been under the impression that creating "beautiful drawings" wasn’t a real job and therefore wasn’t going to make any money, so why should I waste my time on it? Sadly, in my mind, I’ve always had the image of a desperate artist trying to sell his paintings on the streets. Even though we all know this is completely not true, I got stuck with that idea for so long that I forgot to practice. I lost the passion, I lost my love for drawing carefree and I kept my tools right where they belonged: in the bottom of my drawers. This challenge forced me to get right back into it.

Added Challenge: Colour Theory

Beyond practicing my drawing skills on my iPad, I also learned a lot about colour theory. Colours are such a tricky tool to use, particularly in typography. And yes, black and white are so much simpler to use! Incorporating more colours into my designs was one of my primary goals and now I feel a little less terrified to use them. Now, I won’t say anymore “I can’t use colours” but rather, "with a little bit of effort, I can use colours."

Of course, nothing is perfect here and I still got so much to learn. But taking on a passion project really has some great benefits. Hopefully, this can inspire you to do the same. I hope to find the time again to take on new challenges. Let’s see what the future holds!

FAQs: How long did it take you to draw a letter?

I would try to spend 2 to 3 hours maximum per artwork. On busy days I would try to smash it in under two hours, but some days I had the whole day to myself (thanks COVID-19), so I went into more detail and spent nearly 6 hours on number 5 for instance.

How big is your canvas on Procreate?

My canvas is 4000x4000px. Which only allowed me to have 29 layers!

Where do you find inspiration?

I had to stick to a specific letter and specific colours, which really helped to narrow down my options. But mainly I find inspiration online, in design books and outside. I spend a lot of time planning in my head first before drawing the first sketch.

How do you add that textured effect and make your letters so shiny?

Check out my 3D Letters Masterclass for Procreate!


View all the letters and numbers here.

Now tell me, which one is your favourite letter, and why?

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