10 Ways To Tackle Your New Sketchbook

So you come home with a new sketchbook!


It’s such a wonderful feeling. The crisp, new, unspoiled paper. You may even be a book sniffer and be able to smell how fresh it is.
Then the ‘new sketchbook’ block happens, you want the first drawing to be perfect and set the stage and standard for every other drawing to come

I am deeply sorry to inform you that it’s a sketchbook and that’s just not the way it usually happens. Sketchbooks are for practice and experiment, but here are 10 ideas to help you on your way

1 Start with what you are good at!

There may be things your are better at than others such as cartoons or observational drawing. Start with one or two things that you have confidence with and let it flow on from there. Just don’t forget to try new things once the ball is rolling!

2 Do a front title page

It might sound like I’m telling you to go back to primary school but title pages can be a really helpful way to just get into your sketchbook! Start with words from a quote, your name or even just “Sketchbook 2016” then doodle design  and colour like a champ!

3 Do some swatches and colour wheels

These can be so handy at the start or back of your book where you can flick to easily. Swatches allow you to plan ahead and know the colours and textured marks that are in your arsenal.

4 Try a new medium

Get excited and out of your normal art routines and pick up a new medium to work with. new paints, pens, chalk, coloured card, pastels, inks, coloured pencil, collage, resist techniques (water based over oil) the choices are endless! Pick something new to do, maybe something you have always wanted to try!

5 Do a senseless scribble with the pen in your mouth!

Scribble senselessly and try the ‘loose association‘ technique I showed you guys! Take breath and just dive into your sketchbook Rambo style!

6 Do a collage

I want to bring special attention to something already vaguely mentioned. Collage is a good way to just get images into that first page. It’s easy to cut stuff out and creatively arrange them with some glue and tape. maybe adding stickers and some marker here and there.

7 Start in the middle

You don’t have to start on the first page. If its just the first page holding you back, dive into the middle. You can always stick something over it later if it turns out that offensive. Though I do recommend keeping all your drawings, even the crappy ones because you can use them to get better and observe your improvement over time.

8 Scroll through Pinterest or Tumblr for inspiration

Find stuff that inspires you! mash your favorite features together or try an recreate a work of art you like. Studies on other peoples work will help you understand their techniques and clarify what it actually is that you like about their work and how it was made.

9 Doodling, mandala’s or zentangles

These styles of work are great when you don’t know what to draw because you don’t have to have a clear direction. Play around with texture shapes and patterns in a simple meditation like style.

10 Draw a self portrait

Don’t forget, you always have yourself to draw! Use a mirror and practice the age old art of the self portrait. It’s a great way your sketchbook can introduce the viewer to the piece of yourself that is your sketchbook!






About Page

So I finally sat down and gave you guys an about page. This I hope will reflect where I want this blog to head, and thus, helping you decided if it’s the blog you’ve been looking for; as it is the blog I was. I will be beginning my projects soon but first I will be doing a few blogs on finding things to develop your ideas from, because the world is so full of stuff to use! It’s not just about where but how to look. I will be doing this in a few parts so it’s not overwhelming and than picking one for myself to start with. From community events to your local learning hubs, there is no excuse to not find something that gets your brain firing!

Todays sketchbook

Improve Your Character Design Dramatically With Three Steps

One of the exercises I used to do and that I feel really helped me when it came to character design was called ‘Loose Association’ drawing. What also makes this particular type of practice so good is it gives you something to fall on when you don’t know what to draw or you pen just wont coordinate with your paper. It loosens your drawing up and is a cool way to start getting the hang of stronger flowing gestural lines and thus more convincing character gestures.

On a side note, all of these can be done without the pen, looking for shapes in clouds or bushes helps build your minds ability like any other skill that is practiced. Originally it was a way the brain could spot dangers such as hiding tigers and predators in camouflaged environments, so it should come very naturally to most.

Here are 5 cool things to use

  1. Plain old scribbles (Like I have done below)
  2. Cracks in side walks, pavement or walls
  3. Chipped paint
  4. Torn or crumpled paper
  5. Random scribble from a friend

IMG_20150114_101556Step one: Draw your scribbles,

If you chose another method such as cracks, replicate this process by drawing the items lines and curves or having lines and curves drawn onto some paper.

IMG_20150114_101631Step two: Scribble gazing.

Spend some time gazing at the shapes the scribbles build until you find shapes you either like or start see characters in. It can take some time, but don’t feel daunted, the more relax and open you are to using your imagination the better. So if you feel frustrated take a brake and come back. Once you have found what you were looking for, draw over your chosen lines adding eyes, shading and some details if it helps.

IMG_20150114_103047                         IMG_20150114_103115

Step three: Development

Take your basic character design and work on it! Keep in mind that loose gestural lines made it in the first place so don’t be afraid to curve and sweep the lines around like a magic wand! Being to meticulous and slow will end in your drawing looking tight and awkward, the point to the exercise is loose confident strokes, so have fun!


Blessed be from Geeks and Graphite