Tips for Keeping a Sketchbook

How many times has a creative professional told you, “you should keep a daily sketchbook”? I’ve heard this piece of advice countless times, and still find it difficult to follow well.

  1. I personally like to keep an HB pencil, sharpener, blue and red colored pencils, a brush pen, and a few Micron pens. I don’t always have them on hand, but I’m more likely to draw on a moment’s notice if I’m comfortable with the medium I’m using. For Inktober last year, I brought one bottle of a drawing ink to work as well to finish up drawings at lunch. Having a wildcard tool, like a Krink paint marker in a distinctive color can really liven up your page.

  2. Although I prefer drawing on big sheets of paper, it’s not very convenient to tote my tabloid-size sketchbook around the city. I might not do my finest quality line with ballpoint pen and a tiny 3″x 4″ page, but if it’s what I have, it can more than make the moment worthwhile.

  3. At the risk of being obvious, if you’ve scheduled time for drawing, you’re much more likely to break out your sketchbook and draw. Just saying “oh, I’d like to draw every day” is a nice thought, but if you don’t pick a specific time for it, you’re likely to either forget about it until you’re too tired or keep finding excuses of why you shouldn’t do it. I am very guilty of this and haven’t been as good about it lately, but last October, during Inktober, I made a commitment to draw at every lunch break and paint the drawing when I got home. At the end of the month, I had 31 drawings. Even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes, get drawing on your calendar.

  4. Another thing I found really helpful about the Inktober challenge was having daily prompts. Knowing I was going to draw something related to the word “wet” on day 16 gave me time to think about what I wanted to draw in advance. It was really exciting to have a word every day. On Pinterest and Deviantart you can find 100 day drawing challenge lists and other themes. On Instagram, many people use the hashtag #100dayproject, perhaps deciding to draw a hundred day of hands or another topic to really push their creativity. Whatever it is, having an idea of your theme before you put pencil to paper can encourage your mind to explore before you sit down, so that when you do, the blank page doesn’t feel nearly as intimidating.

  5. Telling a friend about your goal or posting about it to social media can help you feel more committed to keeping a sketchbook. If you use #100dayproject, you may feel a positive momentum to keeping up daily with your goal. I have definitely been positively influenced by a few of my peers on social media and also artist friends who hold me accountable. I also really enjoy the sense of community. It’s wonderful to get to share art from our sketchbooks with one another and inspire each other.

1 thought on “Tips for Keeping a Sketchbook”

  1. This is so relevant for any kind of work one is doing. I struggle to meet daily goals, and usually it’s because I’m expecting too much out of myself, but this is a nice reminder that a little bit every day goes a long way. Thank you!

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