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7 Tips on how to use a sketch book

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

My sketchbook

The glory of a new sketch book. The stiff pages, crisp and clean, just waiting to be filled with the imagination of its new owner.

I always find that first page the hardest. To crack the seal and set the tone for the rest of the book. With most thing in art making that first stroke can sometimes be the most intimidating.

Scrolling through videos of beautifully laid out sketched books leave me feeling like perhaps I have not been utilizing them to their full potential.

My sketch books are not aesthetically cohesive most time. They tend to be fragmented pieces and glimpses into the things I want to remember, a vague idea that needs development or just moments of mindless doodles.

Although I like this format. With no constraints just a fun, enjoyable time. I also wanted to utilize it better to incorporate my practice and studies. Scaling down from doing the large pieces to a more bite size morsel.

So here's the tips I already incorporate:

#1. Have fun

I feel, for myself at least, not putting pressure on myself and just having fun with what I am doing is when I am most productive and willing to push past my existing boundaries.

#2. Draw something everyday

This one always seems daunting to people when I say it but drawing everyday doesn't mean you have to render a Rembrandt everyday. Today I drew my stapler. It took 10 mins. That is all I had time for and that's ok.

#3. Write down your ideas or do a simple sketch for inspiration in times of need.

I am horrible for sticky notes with random nonsense written on them or the simplest of drawings that no one but me could actually tell what they are. For me that helps especially at times I'm not feeling especially motivated.

#4. Use a piece of paper or wax paper over material that will transfer.

I learned this one the hard way. Even now sometimes I still forget. With pastels or graphite especially, they will tranfering to the page opposite. Sometimes it's not to bad but other times it just makes a mess. By placing a piece of paper just slightly smaller than my sketchbook over it I'll save myself the trouble of erasing later or ruining a drawing on the opposite page.

Tips I've come across and want to try:

#1. Set a theme

I've seen this one done in a few different ways. Some were by medium, others by topic or function and some were used as portfolios. Google Calart sketchbooks and you'll see some amazing ones.

#2. Divide the page

I never thought to divide the pages into quadrants. I have two styles all (whole page drawings) or everything (mash up of everything) i wonder if this would give my sketch book a more organized look

#3. Write in your sketchbook

When you think about sketchbooks with writing in them, I always think of leonardo da vinci. His mirrored italian writing a puzzle to cypher and just as artful as his drawings. Notes to accompany pictures or pictures to accompany notes. It's an interesting blend.

What tips do you have for sketchbooks?

Jackie ♥️

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My latest series of paintings are all from my sketchbook. I too write in my sketchbook.. I have notes, reference to other paintings, recipes, test pallettes. I do most of the intellectual "heavy lifting" in the sketchbook, before rendering the finished work.

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