What to Draw

Sketchbook Drawing Ideas and Inspiration

Close-Up Of Hand Holding Pencil
Daniel Lustig / EyeEm / Getty Images

When you're struggling with artist's block, there are never too many drawing ideas. One of these easy drawings might joggle your creativity and help you put the pencil to the page. If you're unsure of what to sketch, let this article serve as the starting point of your brainstorming session. Hopefully, you'll land on some sketchbook inspiration that will launch you back into regular drawing sessions.

For best results, quickly read through this list of sketchbook drawing ideas and mark off any ideas that strike you. Next, build off of those ideas with others that come to mind. Finally, pick your favorite and just get started. Try not to overthink this process. Make your selection based on impulse instead. Don't worry if the drawing turns out poorly; that's the beauty of a sketchbook. Nothing is meant to be perfect — progress over perfection.

Everyday Objects

Landscapes

Young woman drawing scenic View Of Cliffs Of Moher, Ireland
mikroman6 / Getty Images
  • Head to a local body of water and sketch the shore.
  • Lay on the grass and draw the clouds.
  • Go somewhere you've never been and draw one nature find.
  • Draw the tree outside your window.
  • Find a landscape with depth, like a long winding road.
  • Have a friend send you a photo of a landscape from their phone to draw.
  • Draw an image from outer space.
  • Draw the same scene in the morning, afternoon, and night.
  • Sketch the exterior of your current home or a dream home.
  • Draw the scene outside your house after a tornado.
  • Learn how to draw waves in the middle of the ocean.

Still Life

Draw Two Apples Using Colour Pencils on the Table
wenyi liu / Getty Images
  • Use colored pencils to depict a pair of apples.
  • Draw one object that's on your desk.
  • Sketch out your last meal.
  • Throw a piece of clothing on the ground and then draw it.
  • Draw out your favorite food from memory.
  • Sketch out a picture of something that was given to you.
  • Pick one object and draw it from three different perspectives.
  • Draw an entire series of flowers, one stem at a time.
  • Sketch out one small section of a houseplant.
  • Squeeze a piece of citrus fruit and then draw it.
  • Draw an object in an unexpected place, like a toothbrush in a milk carton.
  • Create a drawing of your favorite crystal specimen.

People / Animals

Portraits

portrait drawing ideas
Duey's Drawings 
  • Learn how to draw a charcoal portrait.
  • Work on one part of the face, like a series of eyes.
  • Turn your face into a cartoon character.
  • Take a selfie and then sketch it out.
  • Draw a small, obscure part of your face in detail like one eyelash.
  • Sketch yourself as an infant.
  • Draw a series of the same face depicting different emotions.
  • Draw a portrait of a person you wish you could meet.
  • Draw a face with at least one striking characteristic like a unibrow.

Figure Drawing

figural drawing ideas
Lavi Perchik / Unsplash 
  • Work on your nude figures by drawing bodies in multiple positions.
  • Draw a self-portrait of you in your favorite outfit.
  • Sketch out an imaginary family portrait.
  • Draw a pair of holding hands.
  • Sketch out a person who is dancing.
  • Recreate your favorite photograph of you with family or friends.
  • Draw a piece of jewelry on a body.

Breeds and Species

sketch ideas
Annie Spratt / Unsplash
  • Draw a fantastical series of butterflies.
  • Sketch an image of your pet.
  • Ask a friend their favorite animal and then draw it.
  • Go to the zoo and draw an animal up close.
  • Invent your own animal.
  • Draw a school of imaginary fish.

Get Creative

Characters

sketchbook drawing ideas
freestocks.org / Unsplash 
  • Quickly sketch out a picture of Frankenstein.
  • Pick and draw your favorite superhero.
  • Turn your pet into a character.
  • Draw a scene from your favorite fairy tale.
  • Design a high-tech robot or machine from the future.
  • Draw a random scribble and then turn that scribble into a character.
  • Craft your own anime character.

Typography

drawing prompt
LUM3N / Unsplash 
  • Practice your calligraphy skills.
  • Sketch out your favorite quote.
  • Turn a word or letter into a drawing.
  • Design a custom typeface.
  • Create a logo for a make-believe business.
  • Recreate an existing business logo like Nike.

Doodles

what to draw doodles
 chuttersnap / Unsplash
  • Create make-believe characters.
  • Turn fruit into a person.
  • Draw an image from the last dream that you remember.
  • Fill an entire page with doodled objects then create a key of things to find.
  • Recreate your favorite famous painting in your style.
  • Draw a series of five three dimensional squares and shade each one a different way.
  • Sketch out a series of basic shapes like hearts, stars, and diamonds.

Abstract

ideas on what to draw
jose aljovin / Unsplash
  • Turn a mountain landscape into an abstract fantasy world.
  • Make a drawing depicting your current emotion.
  • Ask the next person you see to name the first word that comes to their head, then draw it.
  • Create a custom pattern or wallpaper.
  • Draw a series of objects where each object is the wrong scale.
  • Create a custom paisley or mandala pattern.
  • Doodle whatever comes to mind without thinking.

When You're Stuck

If none of these drawing ideas got you out of your rut, then perhaps it's time to try something different. Considering the following drawing tips if you're in need of a fresh start.

  • Change your location. If you always draw at the same desk at the same time of day, try to switch up your positioning to get inspired. Move to a different room or go outside in the shade. You might have the best technique at your desk, but inspiration could strike for a new sketch out in the world somewhere.
  • Switch up your medium. One effective solution is to experiment with different media that you're unfamiliar with. Instead of a pencil, try out crayons, pastels, or charcoal. You might even enjoy some painting projects.
  • Get accountable and set a deadline. If you draw for fun, chances are you might not have many deadlines. However, if you want to take your drawing hobby more seriously, set a deadline. You can do this by joining an online drawing challenge on Instagram or taking on drawing commission for a friend.

We hope these sketching ideas gave you hope that blank pages aren't all that awaits you. If all else fails, go back to the basics and start with some simple drawing exercises. You could also find and follow along with an online drawing tutorial. Good luck!