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It was a great run.
End of an Era
Usually I would post drawing prompts on Instagram today. I call this Transmundane Tuesdays and I’ve been doing it for years. The first #transmundanetuesdays post was in October of 2019.
Initially I posted prompts weekly. For the past couple of years I posted them on the first Tuesday of the month. But in May I forgot to post until Wednesday. It just slipped my mind. And the month before, I didn’t post at all. I was in Japan and forgot about it until it was way too late.
I keep doing this - forgetting - and last month, after a little reflection, I decided that it’s time to call it quits. It’s been 3 1/2 years. The #transmundanetuesdays hashtag has almost 15,000 entries. It was a great run, especially by participatory internet art project standards, and it was such a pleasure to see the work that came out of it. But all good chapters must eventually come to a close.
I announced the end of this art experiment on Instagram at the beginning of May, and I was moved to discover that a lot of people did not feel ready to stop. Transmundane Tuesdays has wended its way into art practices, classrooms, and drawing nights. It makes me a little weepy to think about that. I have a lot of disdain for Instagram, especially for the way it’s rewired my attention span. But it’s done a lot of incredible things too - for me, for my career and my art. And - every once in a while - Instagram is the vehicle for some happy, improviso feat of human connection. I feel this way about Transmundane Tuesdays and about the Quarantine Art Club that I hosted there in the earliest days of pandemic lockdown. It was a free platform for a lot of great quarantine-era ideas: Mac’s Book Club Show, Draw Together, Live Cartoons. I can’t totally hate it.
Make Your Own
If you aren’t ready to say goodbye to these monthly drawing prompts: good news! You can create your own and carry on the tradition with your own community, online or off. It’s easy. Here’s how to do it:
First, come up with three categories. The categories I use for my own prompts are:
MUNDANE: these are descriptive words and phrases that are not very out-of-the-ordinary, like BUSHY EYEBROWS, BEAUTIFUL EYES, or CARRYING A BABY.
TRANSMUNDANE: these are descriptive words and phrases that ARE out-of-the-ordinary. Transmundane means not of the physical or visible world. These prompts are weird, unearthly, or supernatural, like HAS THE HEAD OF A FROG, GLOWS, or IS A GIANT.
GARB: these are words that describe attire, like WEARING A BIG HAT, WEARING A MAGIC RING, or WEARING SKIS.
You can use my categories or come up with your own, but your prompts will work better - be more interesting and less redundant - if you have three distinct categories. Here are some other category ideas: Animals, Professions, Colors, Moods, Hobbies, Foods, Locations, Characters from Books, Props, Hairstyles, Monsters, etc. etc. Choose three.
Next, think of as many things as you can in each category and write them down on slips of paper. It’s important to keep the three categories separate - mine are color-coded so I can easily sort them into piles. The more prompts you have, the better. I have about ninety of them. Which is a lot! You could start with thirty - ten in each category - and add more anytime. Put the prompts in three bowls (or hats or coffee mugs), close your eyes, and choose one prompt from each category. Now open your eyes, marvel at this funny combination, and draw it.
Here are the last official Transmundane Tuesday prompts, posted on the first Wednesday in May. If you’d like to draw this and share your art, post it on Instagram using the hashtags #wingedwithascepterreppingyourtown and #transmundanetuesdays. You can also share here in the chat if you have the substack app.
I always like this shirt prompt because I get to see where everyone is from. I’ve shared a few entries from the past month here in this newsletter. There are many more from around the globe at the hashtag. If you see something you love, follow the artist on Instagram!
Well, that’s all for now. Thanks to those of you who participated over the years. It’s been great.
Lots of love,
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