start your day with check-in cards

  • Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your sketchbook and all of that blank paper? Is it difficult for you to sit down and start drawing? Try keeping things simple with Check-In Cards! This is a quick, portable drawing exercise that you can use as a warm-up before working on another project, or as a way to spend just one minute checking in with yourself before you move on with your day. 

    My name is Avery, and I’m an artist and illustrator living in Portland, OR. I am also a big perfectionist, and I use this timed drawing exercise to help bring my inner artist out of her shell. Let’s get started!

  • STEP 1 OF 7

    Gather your supplies, and set yourself up for future Check-In Card sessions! You’ll need:

    A stack of 3×5 inch notecards (or any other paper cut to a size you like)

    Your favorite pen

    A kitchen timer (any timer will do, even on a phone)

    An envelope, small box or OK Kit for storing your finished check-in drawings , you can tuck your notes inside!)


  • STEP 2 OF 7

    Pick up a card, and write today’s date somewhere on it. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and check in with your brain and body. What are you feeling today? Are you tired, excited, hungry, sad? How much energy do you have today? 


  • STEP 3 OF 7

    Choose a prompt you want to work with from the list below (or create a list of your own!), then set your timer for one minute. Giving yourself a time limit for your drawing might seem scary, but I promise that it’s a great way to keep your hand and brain connected while you’re making art! 

    Check-In Card Prompts:

    Show me how you’re feeling as…

    A sea creature
    A house
    A piece of fruit
    Your favorite art supply
    Your least favorite animal
    The last thing you ate
    A dog or cat
    A reptile
    A piece of furniture
    A flower
    A teapot
    A cloud
    An insect
    A dessert


  • STEP 4 OF 7

    Let your pen flow over the page and draw out how you’re feeling! Not a lot of energy today? Maybe you’re feeling like a droopy flower, or a melted ice cream cone. 

    Since we’re working in a set time limit, see if you can keep your attention on the page without worrying too much about the outcome. Drawing quickly like this will build up your art muscles over time, and your hand will get more and more confident with diving into art projects! 

  • STEP 5 OF 7

    Put your Check-In drawing in your designated storage space, and come back to this process again another day! I like to wait to look at my drawings until some time has passed, then it’s a nice reminder of how I’ve been doing over the past weeks. 


  • STEP 6 OF 7

    If you repeat this project over and over, you’ll end up with a nice stack of drawings that can be the seeds for another project!

    Some ideas for your completed Check-In Cards:

    1. Take one of your favorite drawings and turn it into a bigger piece of art – maybe it could become a stuffed animal, or a painting!

    2. Develop one of your drawings into a character, and give it a role in a comic.  

    3. Staple together your notecards to create your own miniature book

    4. Make yourself a list of prompts that you could use for your own check-in drawings – they can be as specific as you’d like, and the weirder the better! 


  • STEP 7 OF 7

    How about sharing your creations in our gallery? We’re always looking for new inspiration : )