The 7x12 Challenge

Last summer, while stuck in a rut, I decided to fill my sketchbook every day for 7 days straight. It ended up getting rid of my blahs and once I began, it was so easy to keep going! A theme formed on its own and I found a ton of inspiration from my childhood. It not only got me out of my rut but I felt very inspired by tools and techniques I hadn't thought about in years! Since those 7 days, I have continued to fill up pages in my sketchbook. (If you're curious, here are the pages from my 7 Day Sketchbook Challenge.) As I was thinking of things I wanted to do in 2022, this sketchbook experience came to mind…what if I tried doing more of these 7 day long projects, one per month throughout the year?


I'm going for it and named it the 7x12 Challenge! The idea is to create a 7 day challenge for myself each month that involves an activity I enjoy and want to do more of. I am going to do a different challenge each month this year.  I wanted to share with you because I would love for you to join me! Here are some more details… There are only a few rules then the rest is up to you.


  1. The 7 days must be consecutive--no skipping days! Why? I find that doing something consistently--even for just a week--is when flow and magic happens!
  2. You can choose any activity you'd like for the 7 day challenges--it just has to be something you enjoy and would like to make more time for! You can do something different each month or repeat the same activity. Each day can be different or a project can take all 7 days. Those choices are up to you!


The overall theme for my 7x12 Challenge is exploring creativity(yours can be centered around reading, gardening, writing, journaling, meditation, scrapbooking, learning different things, or random things that interest you--so many possibilities!).  

Inspired by the new year, the prompt I created for my first 7 day challenge is New Tool - Palette Knives-- I'm starting day 1 tomorrow!

Exploring palette knives

I've never used a palette knife before but I've always wanted to and don't want to wait any longer! It looks like there are so many ways to use them and I love the layers and textures they create! 

For the first day, I want to play with them without any knowledge of how they are supposed to be used--we'll see what happens :) Then for the rest of the week, I'm going to learn and try different techniques each day. I also want to try painting something abstract and something based on an object or subject, which I don't normally do. I am keeping the ideas loose and flexible--if inspiration takes me another way, I'll follow it!  

Have you used a palette knife before? I'd love to hear your fave tips or techniques! 

I haven't decided on all the prompts for the challenges yet but here's a list of things I want to try so far: paint clouds, combine music/art/video, mix lettering with paints, finish an iPad lettering lesson, incorporate quotes, create collages from recycled materials, and make art for my copper frames. (If you like any of these, feel free to borrow!) I'll be sharing each day over at @atiliay and recapping/telling you about new challenges here in these notes too!  


What do you think? Want to try it out? You can start out with just one month and see how it goes :) Here are a few more things to consider--

  • Make this challenge work for you--when you do it, how much time you can spend on it, etc. If you only have 5 min, create a challenge that works with that timeframe (5 minutes is better than 0 minutes!)
  • Designate a journal or sketchbook for this project and/or take pics to document the process and journey! Even if you don't share it anywhere, it's fun to flip through the pages/look through the photos at the end! I also like putting all the materials I need in a basket for easy access and easy cleaning without having to fully put everything away (bc out of sight out of mind!)
  • Take it one month at a time instead of committing to all 12--see if this format works for you.
  • Have fun with it!! Explore, play, create :)

Let me know if you'll be joining me! I'd love to hear what you plan on doing! You can also always email me updates or tag me on Instagram @atiliay and use the hashtag #7x12challenge. 

This year, let's do more of the things that add joy, wonder, positivity, and calm into our lives.

First photo by laura adai on Unsplash

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