The Commuter Challenge

1 August 2012

The August 2012 Challenge

by CC @ 15:02

This month’s challenge is: Sketchfight!

Throughout the month of August, we will follow the challenges on, but instead of recording songs we’ll be drawing sketches.

If you’re unfamiliar with songfight, how it works is simple. Periodically a song title is posted to the website. During the next seven days anyone can compose, record, and submit an original song with the given title. All the submissions are then posted to the website, and voted on to determine the winner.

We’ll be skipping over the voting part of the process, but otherwise we’ll be following their lead. When a new title and deadline is posted, you have that much time to create an illustration with the given title. All entries will be posted to our website immediately following the deadline.

There are no requirements as to size, materials, style, etc. That said, you should take an informal approach to your submission, as appropriate to a “sketch”. Think first drafts as opposed to final drafts.

Finally, note that also accepts cover-art submissions for reach songfight. You are very much encouraged (but not required) to submit your sketches as cover art.

Sketch Fights

  • Due August 4th: “She Calls Everybody Baby” [warm-up round]
  • Due August 20th: “Hatchet” [standard round]
  • Due August 31st: “No Brakes” [“scribblefight” round]

The Results

Brian Raiter

She Calls Everybody Baby




No Brakes

Ryan Finholm

She Calls Everybody Baby




No Brakes


  1. This one didn’t go the way I expected, which I suppose is the risk you take when connecting your own activities to a larger entity that knows nothing of you. The last time we did a Songfight-related CC (October 2009), new titles were published every ten days. So I was expecting, like then, that we would get two challenges with a full seven-day time frame bookended by two challenges with truncated time frames. But no, this month Songfight was posting new titles every sixteen days. So we got one truncated challenge, one regular challenge, and then one challenge right at the end of the month that we had to scramble to get done in time.

    I feel okay about my submissions, despite that, although I’d like to think that if I had realized “Hatchet” was going to be my only “regular” entry, I would have spent more time on it. But the nice thing about the challenge, for me, is that I used it as an opportunity to explore different tools. The middle entry was done with my usual tool, the everyday rollerball pen, but my first entry was done using a sable brush and my third entry was done using a dip pen.

    “No Brakes” is a reminder that I still have serious lapses in my ability to render angles and sizes correctly, especially when perspective is involved. And “Hatchet” clearly shows my lack of confidence in trying to draw faces.

    by Brian — 2 September 2012 @ 17:04

  2. As Brian already noted, we had almost no time for the first and last challenges. I was on back-to-back work trips that resulted in me having to do “She Calls Everybody Baby” that Saturday morning (for submission prior to 10am), and at the end of the month a work trip to Seattle meant I ended up handing a hastily-scrawled “No Brakes” submission (scribbled onto a hotel notepad) to Brian the evening of the 30th.

    “Hatchet” was the only one I got any wiggle room on, and I didn’t really take full advantage of it in terms of detail in the drawing, but I did have some good prep time. I decided to do a still life, so I took pictures of a hatchet with a few different objects, and the lamp seemed to complement it more than my other ideas. To stick to the spirit of the challenge, I did the entire sketch freehand, just looking back and forth between the picture and the paper, and the perspective and shading suffer a bit due to that.

    For the record, the reason we only had three titles instead of four is just bad luck – had a secret “fight” in August that was all cover songs of previous Songfight entries by longtime Songfight participant The John Benjamin Band. In order to make it a big surprise for John Benjamin, the only people who knew about it were other regular submitters to Songfight (and neither Brian nor I had ever submitted songs to Songfight, so we didn’t know). As a result, there was one fewer Songfight than usual in August. I’m a big John Benjamin fan, so I was happy they did that anyway.

    by RyanF — 5 September 2012 @ 00:25