In an effort to practice painting, I made this little set of colorful forest creatures. Say 'hi' to my little friends:
I've been trying to put in a few hours every week of deliberate practice with improvement as my main goal, so, I drew these little guys with a grid over them. Filling in the grid and trying out different paintbrushes took a lot of time, but I think that I got a little better just doing this project. I think of it more as an exercise and less of a fine art piece, but it does make me happy when it works out well enough to have something visually pleasing. It's kind of like technique exercises on the piano: tedious but totally worth it because you can feel those muscles in your arms burning.
Do you deliberately try to improve your skillz? What kinds of exercises do you do to keep that good burn around?