The Drawing Megachallenge #2: The Challenges

Following the idea of the 30-day drawing challenges, I made up 10 subject lists of 30 items each (10 “sets”), so that each will take you about a month to complete, if you do a drawing-a-day.

The 10 “sets”:

  1. Objects (everyday objects you can easily copy, plus a couple of fantasy ones)
  2. Human figure, performing specific poses or actions. Every human figure list is divided, 15 male and 15 female, so I have to practice both
  3. Human faces, practicing different expressions and different hair styles
  4. Human figure, now specifying “non-fantastic” roles and professions. Here the goal is to observe more carefully clothing, accessories, manipulating items…
  5. Animals
  6. Human figure, fantastic, historical of sci-fi types
  7. Fantastic beasts and monsters
  8. Vehicles (real and fantastic)
  9. Buildings
  10. Scenery

10 sets means about 300 drawing “challenges” or ideas, grouped by topics and building up towards increasing complexity and difficulty. (There is a sci-fi/fantasy theme in some of the lists, which you can skip over if that is not your thing). Already I am finding the need for some “supplemental” lists, that I will list here as the need for them grows.

Supplemental set 1 (Set 11): Hands

This is a big project. I’m only a few challenges in, so I’ll probably be changing many things as I go. I can’t, obviously, guarantee results; but I can tell you that I have personally learned a LOT just by trying to draw things that I hadn’t tried before.

Since I want to start with the basics (pencil sketches) and incorporate more advanced techniques all the way to digital painting, and hopefully develop something of my own style on the way, I’ve combined these sets with a list of 8 “techniques.” More on these in future posts. This is the list:

The 8 techniques:   (These will be explained further in a new post)

1. Pencil studies: rough sketches of any kind; the goal is to investigate the “inner structure” of your objects.
2. Clean lines (or “line art”): sketches are fun, but now push yourself to finish a drawing!
3. 2-D simplified sketches (like old clipart or signs).
4. Digital line art, going from sketches to cleaned lines but on your computer or tablet. The goal is to become familiar with basic tools of digital drawing (tablet, program, brushes…)
5. Digital doodling. Very basic/abstract, quick representations.
6. Basic digital coloring. Begin exploring tools for coloring. The focus is on learning how to use the tools and exploring palettes, rather than on getting the details (shading, lighting) “right.”
7. 2-D design (traditional or digital), Another foray into the abstract, but here looking more intentionally for a “logo” look.
8. Advanced digital coloring.

For the complete sets (a.k.a. “Challenges”) just expand this post!

This is version 1.0, uploaded on 9/8/2019. Changes and updates will be uploaded here (as I work through these myself and incorporate your feedback).

SET 1: Everyday (observable) objects
This is probably the least interesting of the challenges, but the best to begin with. Inanimate objects are less likely to wander about or get impatient, so they make excellent subjects for copying directly from real life! You will learn a ton about observation and hand-pencil coordination, and later on, about light and shadows. So be patient, work your way through this challenge!

I’ve added a couple of less common objects for fun. No, I don’t carry a helmet around. Yes, I do have a sword.

set01_01 Chair set01_02 Toiletries: soap, toothbrush, razor, etc.
set01_03 Flower vase set01_04 Spear, harpoon or rake
set01_05 Tools (hammer, screwdriver & wrench) set01_06 Table
set01_07 Door handle set01_08 Table lamp with books, candleholder
set01_09 Sword, scabbard & dagger set01_10 Wine glass
set01_11 Power tool (e.g. electric drill) set01_12 Coffee mug
set01_13 Bed set01_14 Caps, hats
set01_15 Old teapot set01_16 Armchair (with sidetable)
set01_17 Pots & pans set01_18 Round shield
set01_19 Empty helmets (Roman, viking, etc.) set01_20 Sitting stool
set01_21 Water pitcher or weird-shaped bottle set01_22 Shovel & bucket
set01_23 House keys in a ring set01_24 Men’s shoes
set01_25 Travel bags or old trunk set01_26 Women’s shoes
set01_27 Coat hanger or rack (with coats, hats, etc.) set01_28 Eyeglasses or shades
set01_29 Large appliance (e.g. oven), preferably old set01_30 Plant pot with plant
SET 2: Human Figures in Action
This is the basis for most of the future sets — none of your extremely-detailed vikings will look right if their pose is awkward or their proportions are off. So sketch, sketch, sketch!

Like in future sets, I propose working alternately on male and female figures (left and right columns respectively), so you get a feel for both. You can switch them once you’ve mastered them.

Tip: picture the whole figure, rather than the “right position” of individual limbs. Sketch vaguely, mannequin-like, then work on the details.

(Male figures) (Female figures)
set02_01 Walking set02_2 Walking
set02_03 Standing, leaning against a wall set02_04 Reading in bed or in a corner
set02_05 Crouching, thoughtful or looking for clues set02_06 Crouching, hiding or sneaking
set02_07 Running in a competition set02_08 Running leap
set02_09 Fighting stance, guarding/punching set02_10 Kicking (martial arts, soccer)
set02_11 Running upstairs set02_12 Cartwheel or pirouette
set02_13 Sitting and drinking set02_14 Sitting, telling a story
set02_15 Climbing a rope or wall set02_16 Hanging from a ledge
set02_17 Running, taking cover set02_18 Crawling, taking cover
set02_19 Swinging a heavy object (bag, hammer) set02_20 Tai chi or yoga pose
set02_21 Carrying a big, heavy object set02_22 Dragging a big, heavy sack
set02_23 Walking on inclement weather (wind, rain, chilly) set02_24 Interacting with clothes (putting on, taking off, trying on…)
set02_25 Watching TV on the sofa set02_26 Sleeping on the sofa
set02_27 Dizzy, kneeling set02_28 Swimming
set02_29 Falling, out of control set02_30 Climbing through a window
SET 3: Human faces, expressions, hair styles
This is a fun but tough challenge. I’m not much help here. Learning to draw different types of hair is not so difficult, but most of my faces look surprised and angry at me. And all my female faces look like geeky guys. (So no wonder they look surprised and angry!)

I have one tip, though: do experiment with different face structures! It’ll help you get a more general feel for face anatomy. (Don’t limit yourself to the typical manga-cuteness).

(Male) (Female)
set03_01 Bald. Smiling. set03_02 Bald. Smiling.
set03_03 Little hair, thick eyebrows. Thinking hard. set03_04 Short-cropped hair. Thinking hard.
set03_05 Roman cut (short-cropped). Angry. set03_06 Short, “stylist” to one side. Angry.
set03_07 Short, forehead curl. Smiling happily. set03_08 Pigtails. Smiling happily.
set03_09 Shoulder-length, loose. Scared. set03_10 Short, unkempt. Scared.
set03_11 Short and curly, goatee. Puzzled. set03_12 Long, complex tress. Puzzled.
set03_13 Medium-length and curly. Crying, sad. set03_14 Long, very curly. Crying, sad.
set03_15 Pointy, manga-like. Shouting, angrily. set03_16 Shoulder length, flattened. Shouting, angrily.
set03_17 Long, flowing hair, bushy beard. Thoughtful, cunning. set03_18 Long, using many fancy pins. Thoughtful, cunning.
set03_19 Short, thick hair, short-cropped beard. Laughing out loud. set03_20 Parted to both sides, twisted tips. Laughing out loud.
set03_21 Medium-length, unkempt. Surprised. set03_22 Simple bun. Surprised.
set03_23 Long and wavy. Having a good time. set03_24 Long ponytail. Having a good time.
set03_25 Ponytail, “5 o’clock shadow” beard. Sad, trying not to show it. set03_26 Just-woken-up hair. Sad, trying not to show it.
set03_27 Just-woken-up hair. Sleepy. set03_28 Thickly curled hair. Sleepy.
set03_29 Medium-length, 70’s, enormous moustache. Cocky. set03_30 Complex bun. Cocky.
SET 4: Human characters, in everyday occupations
Try drawing from memory first; you’ll probably be surprised at how little you’ve really observed! This is a fun challenge because you’ll have to really look at things. Also this is where you learn how clothes fit around a body, and how the whole body pose must look right to make props look realistic.

Tip: If your drawings look irredeemably off, try going back to sketching the body structure before you wrap it in clothes, uniforms and trappings.

(Male) (Female)
set04_01 Beachgoer. Carrying parasol, cooler, lots of trinkets. set04_02 Beachgoer. Doing beachgoing stuff.
set04_03 Going to the ballgame. Cap, rumpled t-shirt, drink & food. set04_04 Going out, daily or dressing up. With a drink.
set04_05 Computer technician, rumpled shirt and tie. Laptop and coffee mug. set04_06 Executive, elegant. Dossier & cell phone.
set04_07 Doorman in uniform, holding the door, or heavy bags. set04_08 Physician, writing on chart.
set04_09 Old professor, bunch of papers to grade. set04_10 Policeman, pistol & walkie talkie.
set04_11 Rock guitar player, rock guitar. set04_12 Rock/pop singer, standing microphone.
set04_13 Priest, glasses, prayer book. set04_14 Orchestra musician. Various instruments.
set04_15 Fireman, water hose or axe. set04_16 Gymnast, using gymnastic equipment.
set04_17 Repairman. Using/carrying tools, ladder. set04_18 Rock/pop singer, standing microphone
set04_19 Secret service/man in black, service weapon set04_20 Carpenter, tools or power tools.
set04_21 Journalist, camera (photo or video). set04_22 Soccer player, soccer ball.
set04_23 Ice hockey player, hockey stick, ice skates. set04_24 Gardener,  gardening shears, can.
set04_25 Baseball player, bat or mitt. set04_26 Skater. Doing cool tricks.
set04_27 Cowboy. Saddling horse or riding. set04_28 Scuba diver, diving equipment (carrying too much of it)
set04_29 Soldier, grunt, bazooka. set04_30 Soldier, pilot, in a plane or on land with binoculars.
SET 5: Animals
Not there yet but so looking forward to it! Two things will probably give us trouble. One is head structure (my cat faces look like dogs’, and my dogs’ look like bears’). The other is the legs. (Tip: many quadrupeds have very long, articulate feet, that make it look as if their knees turn the wrong way. But it’s not really their knees: it’s actually their ankles!)
set05_01 Turtle set05_02 Crow
set05_03 Shark set05_04 Owl
set05_05 Crab set05_06 Mouse
set05_07 Walking bird (ostrich, hen) set05_08 Frog
set05_09 Spider set05_10 Eagle
set05_11 Cat set05_12 Hippo
set05_13 Cow or bull set05_14 Lion
set05_15 Panda bear set05_16 Kangaroo
set05_17 Fox set05_18 Parrot
set05_19 Gecko set05_20 Horse
set05_21 Deer or antelope set05_22 Raccoon
set05_23 Elephant set05_24 Crocodile
set05_25 Scorpion set05_26 Octopus or squid
set05_27 Dog (various breeds) set05_28 Gorilla
set05_29 Giraffe set05_30 Wolf
SET 6: Characters, fantastic or historical
Another one I’m looking forward to. But I’d recommend to give set 4 a go first, so that we learn from observation how clothes and trappings work first.
(Male) (Female)
set06_01 Viking fighter. Buckler and hand axe set06_02 Sorceress. Magical / glowing staff
set06_03 Dwarven warrior. Battle axe or warhammer set06_04 Fair princess. Bird cage with birds
set06_05 Kung fu monk. Chinese curved swords, double-wielding set06_06 Superhero on tights. Shooting rays or lifting a car
set06_07 Medieval king. Scepter set06_08 Medieval queen. Elaborate goblet or wine glass
set06_09 Forest ranger. Bow and arrow set06_10 Rogue / thief. Grappling hook
set06_11 Postapocalyptic warrior (car). shotgun set06_12 Postapocalyptic warrior (motorcycle). Chain / morning star
set06_13 Wizard. Heavy cauldron set06_14 Forest druid. Animal (“familiar”)
set06_15 Ancient librarian. Heavy tome set06_16 Pirate captain. Harpoon or cutlass
set06_17 Roman soldier. Oval shield and short sword set06_18 Cyborg. Missile launcher
set06_19 Musketeer. Rapier or musket set06_20 Sky pirate. archaic telescope
set06_21 Medieval city guard. Spear or pole arm set06_22 Winged fairy. Orb or magic wand
set06_23 Scottish bagpiper. Bagpipes set06_24 Old hag / witch. Old staff / cane
set06_25 Barbarian warrior. Double-handed sword set06_26 Tavern wench. Tray with beer mugs
set06_27 Futuristic soldier. Futuristic assault weapon set06_28 Steampunk mechanic. Huge wrench or sledgehammer
set06_29 Mounted knight (any steed). Shield and lance set06_30 Valkyrie. Shield and sword
SET 7: Vehicles
Planes are easy, cards are hard. Their wheels always look the wrong size to me.
set07_01 Small/ compact car set07_02 Jet ski
set07_03 Sport/ racing car set07_04 Motorcycle
set07_05 Passenger airplane set07_06 Sailboat
set07_07 Jeep or pickup truck set07_08 Tank
set07_09 Fighter plane set07_10 School bus
set07_11 Hot air balloon set07_12 Truck, semi or gasoline
set07_13 Fighter helicopter set07_14 Bipedal tank/ robot (mecha)
set07_15 WW2 Fighter plane set07_16 WWII Bomber (B-2 Fortress)
set07_17 WWI Fighter plane set07_18 Power armor or futuristic personal glider
set07_19 Airship (fantasy or steampunk) set07_20 Tall ship / pirate ship
set07_21 Hover car set07_22 Road warrior car made of scraps
set07_23 Mini submarine / Bathyscaphe set07_24 Tentacled robotic transport
set07_25 Reptilian creature with saddle set07_26 Gunship
set07_27 Sci-Fi space fighter set07_28 Space gunship / frigate
set07_29 Mobile dwelling on a giant beetle set07_30 Walking house/walking castle
SET 8: Creatures, fantastic or prehistoric
Just go crazy!
set08_01 Orc or goblinoid set08_02 Low-gravity alien (long-limbed)
set08_03 Animated furniture set08_04 Lilliputian (diminutive person) riding on small mammal
set08_05 Ogre /cyclops set08_06 Chimera (mix of 3 animals)
set08_07 Golem, rock or mud set08_08 Humanoid alien
set08_09 Dragon (medieval) set08_10 Dragon (Chinese)
set08_11 Troll set08_12 Animated blob / Lovecraftian horror
set08_13 Werewolf set08_14 Feline person
set08_15 T-rex set08_16 Stegosaurus
set08_17 Creature of the deep set08_18 Mermaid
set08_19 Vampire set08_20 Ghostly maid
set08_21 Gargoyle / winged imp set08_22 Zombie
set08_23 Saber-toothed tiger / lion set08_24 Fish or reptilian person
set08_25 Mechanical scorpion / crab set08_26 Hill-sized turtle
set08_27 Minotaur set08_28 Bladed daemon
set08_29 Cyborg/ robotic panther set08_30 Armored lizard
SET 9: Buildings (exterior)
Yep, people have to live in things. Better give them a try.
set09_01 Peasant hut set09_02 Pointy church
set09_03 Corner store set09_04 Inner city building (fire escape ladders, etc.)
set09_05 Gas station set09_06 Bus station
set09_07 Farm or ranch set09_08 Barn
set09_09 Suburban family house set09_10 Docks / port
set09_11 Bridge, ancient set09_12 Bridge, modern
set09_13 Snowed-in bungalow set09_14 Hut on stilts
set09_15 Crooked hovel set09_16 Antarctic base
set09_17 Moathouse or small castle set09_18 Astronomical observatory
set09_19 Mansion set09_20 Roadside inn/Motel
set09_21 Skyscraper set09_22 Futuristic high-rise
set09_23 Airport (interior) set09_24 Government building
set09_25 Cave or cliff dwelling set09_26 Tree house / dwelling
set09_27 Gothic cathedral set09_28 Underwater station
set09_29 Fairie castle or palace set09_30 Evil lair. Whatever that is.
SET 10: Scenery / Terrain
Yep, things have to be on places. Wouldn’t want your evil lair to just fall through, after you spent hours decorating it with the mutilated remains of fallen heroes, would you!
set10_01 Sandy beach set10_02 Seashore with cliffs
set10_03 Skyline set10_04 Antarctica or glacier
set10_05 Desert set10_06 Congested avenue
set10_07 Large cavern set10_08 Clouds from a plane
set10_09 Mountain peaks set10_10 Snowed forest
set10_11 Stormy sea set10_12 Dark alley (ancient?)
set10_13 Prairie set10_14 Mountain canyon
set10_15 Suburban drive set10_16 Venetian channels
set10_17 Farming fields set10_18 Mediterranean town by the sea
set10_19 Northern woods set10_20 Medieval town
set10_21 Volcano set10_22 Tropical forest
set10_23 Ghost town, old West set10_24 Island in the mist
set10_25 Rice paddies set10_26 Alien terrain with strangely-coloured flora
set10_27 Arboreal city set10_28 Underwater reef
set10_29 Futuristic skyline set10_30 Postapocalyptic skyline
Hands are tricky, and also wonderful to draw. Take your time, grasp the shape and dynamics first, and only then focus on details such as nails and knuckles.
set11_01 Resting hands set11_02 Closed fist
set11_03 Clawing hand set11_04 Holding club or racket (one-handed)
set11_05 Benediction, index finger pointing up set11_06 Thinking, holding chin
set11_07 Pleading/ praying hands set11_08 Shaking hands or holding hands, romantically
set11_09 Making the signal to stop set11_10 Holding a glass (transparent, for greater challenge)
set11_11 Pushing an object with both hands set11_12 Pulling a rope
set11_13 Holding and reading a small book set11_14 Using a pen or pencil
set11_15 Holding a cigarette set11_16 Holding a pipe
set11_17 Holding pommel of sword with both hands set11_18 Driving, holding the wheel
set11_19 Holding a pistol or megaphone set11_20 Aiming with bow and arrow
set11_21 Holding knife and fork set11_22 Using chopsticks
set11_23 Throwing a baseball set11_24 Plucking petals
set11_25 Tying tie or bow set11_26 Using game controllers
set11_27 Playing the guitar set11_28 Playing the recorder
set11_29 Resting feet set11_30 Walking feet


  • More on the 8 Techniques
  • The “Rules”
  • How to post and share your drawings so other Megachallengers can find them

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