How to Keep a Sketchbook

Ideas for Getting Your Sketchbook Started

Keeping a sketchbook is a great way of keeping track of creative ideas and getting in the habit of regular drawing, as well as being a useful resource for large works when you are feeling short on ideas.

A Different Mindset

Remember that not every drawing you do needs to be a finished work of art. You can use a sketchbook for rough notes, thumbnails and ideas, too. When you open your sketchbook, think about what your intention is for your drawing session.

While trying something challenging is always worthwhile, simple subjects can often be rewarding. Don't feel constrained by what others think art should be about - make your drawings about whatever you find interesting, be it an unusual object, an interesting face, a beautiful landscape or an invented fantasy. Check the related resources box for more great sketchbook ideas.

Sketchbook Suggestions

Follow a lesson from a web page or book:
  • Work through lessons in sequential order
  • Choose a one-off lesson that takes your interest
  • Find lessons in various sources on a theme of interest
Practice drawing exercises:
Record something that caught your eye:
  • rapidly sketch the scene
  • draw some selected details
  • make color notes, or use colored pencil
Note down some ideas:
  • Write as well as draw - your own ideas, or quotes
  • stick in inspirational photos or clippings
  • jot down composition possibilities
Try out a new technique or material:
  • draw a familiar subject so you can focus on the medium
  • try a lightweight watercolor paper if you like to use washes
Create a finished sketch or drawing:
  • use a good quality sketchbook for a reliable paper surface
  • perforated pages make removal easier