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5 Reasons to Carry a Sketchbook

By Edited Jun 11, 2015 1 1



There are those times that we can finally take a moment to sit during these busy lives we live,whether you are sitting in an office waiting for the dentist to call you back, waiting for guests to arrive at a restaurant, waiting for your oil the be changed in your car, whatever your reason, you now have an opportunity to draw. For those looking at progressing in art this is no time to be lazy, quite the opposite, it's time to pull out your sketchbook and draw.

These moments, no matter how short, are great opportunities to work on your drawing progression. Even if you only have time to do a few gestures, you will still be surprised how much that can help you progress.


One of the most common questions an artist will ask themselves is what to draw. With a sketchbook you can simply look around and you will find all sorts of inspiration to spark your imagination. If you are outdoors and you are trying to think of the next creature for a fantasy book, you might see a spider and consider putting a human body to it. Maybe you see a snake and think of Medusa, or maybe see a horse and think of a unicorn. Those are just a few things for fantasy.

If you are a fine artist maybe you see a road lined by trees that are casting beautiful shadows. Maybe some children playing in a stream or a beautiful tree casting a shadow over a picnic table. It's essential to have your sketchbook with you to capture this inspiration the moment it hits.


Sometimes you don't have time to do a drawing at all but you do have time to jot down a quick note to help you remember an idea at a later time. Much like the inspiration hitting you whenever you go out or look around, you need to be able to record this inspiration so you remember it when you finally have a chance to get back to your studio. Your sketchbook is a great place to record these ideas. Often times a simple thumbnail for a composition can help remind you of the scene as if you where standing right in front of it.

A sketchbook is there to record ideas and not to make a masterpiece so use it and use it often. Load your sketchbook with quick drawings, notes, experiments, and more. Another good way to use your sketchbook would to simply reference objects. Perhaps you see a tree and the bark is pealing back and you would like to record it. Take a moment and draw it, capture the texture, the way the bark curls, the texture of the tree beneath, and even the lighting. Not only do you get a good amount of textures and references built up but you also get the experience drawing them.


As I mentioned a sketchbook isn't for masterpieces but you also shouldn't be afraid to show it if someone asks. There are many times I am asked to show my sketchbook and I will pass it around. It doesn't stop there, I let people know that they are free to contribute if they would like. You will sometimes flip through my sketchbook and find other artists work in there that can be very inspiring. Sometimes you will see scribbles from children or some mind blowing work by artists with more experience than myself. All of this will help you to progress.

Children's scribbles can often have all sorts of incredible line work that can lead to new ideas and they don't even know that they have done it. They where just having fun scribbling but you can use it to see all sorts of great ideas. As for the artists better than you that contribute, it serves as something great to look back on to see how they have handled a certain area of a drawing that you are attempting to do. Don't be jealous of those better than you, learn and progress from them.

Even though the goal isn't for a masterpiece don't be afraid of drawing for prolonged periods of time and making some incredible drawings in you book. The goal of these is to draw.


By drawing a lot you are in a constantly warm state which will help you progress to new levels faster. As your hand/eye coordination improves so does your speed and your understanding of your subject. For those who want the secret on how to improve it is simply to draw and draw a lot. A day shouldn't pass without putting something new into your sketchbook and if possible, a few pages. I always set a goal to finish a sketchbook by a certain date because that will keep me motivated to hit hit my goals. As I stay motivated that means I am drawing as much as I need to be which means I will progress.

No matter if you are a beginner who just purchased your first sketchbook or if you are an experienced artist there is always room to process. Carry your sketchbook everywhere you go and use it as much as possible. No matter your level, you will progress.

Now you know why do carry a sketchbook you might want to consider the size. There are many different sized sketchbooks with different paper. Go to the art supply store and spend some time in the isles, feel the paper, hold the book, get an overall feel for it. I prefer to always have at least two sketchbook going at all times, my favorite for the small versions is a pocket sized Moleskin® hard cover which is approximately 5x7, my other is a Strathmore that is approximately 11x14 and I use these for different reasons but if I am unsure which to carry I will chose the 5x7 for the convenience.



Nov 14, 2011 6:22pm
All very good points!
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