Every so often there comes a time when you realize you accomplished something great. Today is one of those days for me—for Lunch Note Sketch. One year ago I set a goal to create at least one sketch a day for an entire leap year. And for 366 consecutive days, I was able to do just that. With the help of my family and friends I was able to dedicate time each and every day to create sketches that my wife and I could add to our kids’ lunches. There has been lots of positive feedback in regards to the sketches and I'm proud to say that the original goal has been accomplished.
Oh, The Opportunities
It has been an amazing year. Not just because the sketch-a-day goal has been reached, but because of the opportunities that have been created. The first big opportunity occurred when I was able to attend the Dad 2.0 Summit in Washington, D.C. Back in February, I spent three days surrounded by the most loving, creative group of (mostly) fathers. This summit was about finding inspiration so these gentlemen could continue being great dads, and also continue building their online dad brands/businesses. I went for the sole purpose of learning from people who took their online presence to the next level. I walked away with lots of inspiration and amazing memories. I learned new ways of thinking, but most importantly made some lifelong friendships.
Another great opportunity occurred more recently when I was able to volunteer at the local elementary school’s art show. It was the first show of its kind in the area and I was honored to be able to speak to children about Lunch Note Sketch. I spoke about the benefits of practicing your art form despite wanting to sometimes give up. I was also able to hold a couple of how-to sessions so the children could create their own lunch notes to share with their families and friends. The best part of the day was the “thank yous” I received from the children. I also had one 5th grader create 6 notes that she wanted to take home and give to her parents and siblings. It was a truly memorable experience.
Finally, in the past few months, I have also had the honor of working with people who volunteered their time to support Lunch Note Sketch. All four of these contributors came to me and asked to submit either artwork or a blog post. I felt very blessed to have Dominic share his beautiful sketches for 8 weeks, and to have Keary, Michelle, and Sadai write inspiring stories to share on the blog for Autism Awareness Month. Each one of these contributors brought with them amazing talent and their own spin on what it means to be creative. I hope to work with each one of them again in the future.
Appreciated Around The World
For the last 366 days, I have seen the Lunch Note Sketch audience steadily grow. The LNS sketches have been seen and liked by people in over a dozen countries, and the community sits right around 530 people in the various social media channels. This may be a small audience to some, but I can’t stress enough how grand it really is because it is an audience that was built by you. Not a lot of money has been spent on advertising (roughly $30 for the year), so 99% of the community was built organically. I appreciate every single one of the people who take the time to like, share, or comment on the sketches.
As stated in the mid-year post back in November, the demographic breakdown is still about the same. The Facebook community is completely U.S. based, while the Instagram audience is mostly international. Facebook reaches mostly women, specifically moms and grandmothers, while Instagram reaches mostly parents and is about a 50/50 split when it comes to gender. Another difference between the two audiences is that Instagram is heavily weighted toward the art community.
What is an accomplishment without recognizing the people who made it all possible? First and foremost, I have to thank my wife who has put up with my late nights and continuous sketching. She has been a constant source of inspiration. I also want to thank each one of my three children. The highest priority for Lunch Note Sketch was to always create sketches for my kids. They have inspired me in so many ways and I hope they know that these sketches come from a place of love. I recently shared a quick conversation I had with my 5-year old about getting to day 366, and I want to share it again here:
5-year old: "A whole year?"
Me: "A leap year. It has almost been 366 days in a row."
5-year old: "That's a lot."
Me: "It sure is."
5-year old: *Big smile* "I like them."
Me: "Oh yeah? Why do you like them?"
5-year old: "Because YOU made them for me."
If there was any question whether adding a little note to someone's lunch is worth it or not, well, I have my answer. Every single sketch, every single day, was TOTALLY worth the effort. As a 5-year old, I imagine this will be one of her earliest memories. Since Lunch Note Sketch was really started in order to keep her interested in the arts during a very difficult time in her life, it gives me goosebumps thinking that she has worked through all the pain and turmoil and still takes the time to appreciate the effort.
I also want to thank my extended family because they have really helped propel Lunch Note Sketch by sharing and commenting on Facebook. Lastly, I want to say thank you to every single person who has supported Lunch Note Sketch either by contributing, asking questions, saying nice things, or interacting in person or on social media. Without you, the sketches—and their messages—wouldn’t be reaching people who need a creative pick-me-up.
Where Do We Go From Here
I have had a lot of people ask me what happens when I reach day 366. After a lot of thought, I have decided to continue sketching. I keep going back to my highest priority, and that is to create something for my children so they get to see a little creativity in their lives. You will most likely continue seeing a sketch every weekday, but weekends might be focused on other areas of opportunity for Lunch Note Sketch. I’d like to spend a little more time writing about creativity and parenthood. So please check the blog every so often for more posts.
Presenting at the art show gave me a chance to see how people (kids) react to lunch note tutorials. With that said, I want to introduce the first Lunch Note Sketch video tutorial. Please take a look and send me your feedback and suggestions for what kinds of lunch notes you’d like to see done. I am hoping that both kids and parents will learn how to create their own notes to share so the creativity can be passed on.
Thanks so much for your support. Now, let’s get creative!