500 Sketches by Spencer Nugent
A long time ago, when I was still learning how to sketch and visualize design concepts, my professor at the time, Paul Skaggs, issued a challenge. He challenged the class of design
students to complete 500 sketch pages in one month. 500 blank pages to be filled in 30 days seemed like an immense task at the time, and it was. I started that experiment, only to fail a short time into it. Turns out that sketching 16 plus letter-sized pages each day takes about 3 hours to complete - a sizable chunk of anyone’s free time, especially for a first year design student.
So, this summer, feeling somewhat motivated to get something substantial, something meaningful, something challenging accomplished, I bought a ream of letter-sized printer paper, some pens, and started sketching. I really didn’t know what to expect, but as you can imagine, practicing that much every day makes a noticeable difference.
The first day was difficult. Not knowing what to expect when sketching those 16 pages proved to be somewhat frustrating. Realizing that yes, this would be my life for the next 30 days was daunting. What was even more surprising, however, is that
coming up with different topics to sketch for each day was even
more challenging than filling those 16 pages each day. But, even on those frustrating, time constrained days, I got it done. I promised my wife that I would never do this again. This was my moment, my chance to prove to myself that I could do it. All this
of course was done outside any additional professional workload I had during the day.
By the end of the process, I could feel a change. I could feel a distinct connection to my medium of pen and paper. I could feel a fluidity that I really hadn’t felt since my early days in college. It really was amazing. The age old saying is true - Practice makes perfect, well better.
Thinking of the ways I could share 500 pages of this experience, I thought an electronic format would be the best experience and means of delivery. So here’s my compilation of those 31 days of sketching. I’ve included everything, even the bad pages. Why? It’s about the journey, the process, and the discovery.