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Sketchbook Voyage - Week 4!

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Greetings beautiful Sketchbook Voyagers!

We are in week 4 and hopefully you are uncovering and discovering ways of connecting with and to your sketchbook practice that serve you.

I truly appreciate your willingness to be here in whatever capacity you have - and to make it “work”. Your presence is vital!

“I follow where I am enthusiastic - my detective says go this way and I go that way!” - Grayson Perry

This week we looked at artist Grayson Perry to explore PLAY and FUN. I invite you to watch this video and peruse some images for inspiration.

Grayson Perry

Images to look at

I also referenced this article and we looked at Dina Brodsky’s work for ideas around working into a pre-existing book, or including words/journaling in your sketchbook.

Sketchbook Reminders:

At this point, I hope I sound like a broken record!!! LOL! The hardest part of a sketchbook practice is to just GET STARTED. So here's some of my favorite ideas of what to sketch:

  • Just Doodle

  • Work from another artist

  • Test materials and supplies

  • Make color swatches

  • Lettering/Words

  • Still Life

  • Go outside in Nature!

  • Travel & Draw

  • Pattern Drawing

  • Urban space

  • Self portrait

Another idea for you is to join or self initiate some kind of “Art Challenge”. You know I dont love the word “challenge” but the idea is to set up parameters for a sketchbook project that definitely has an expressed end in sight.

My favorite “invitations” include

  • 100 of something (100 heads, 100 ordinary objects, 100 trees… etc),

  • Fill a sketchbook within a certain amount of time (60 page sketchbook in 60 days - 600 page sketchbook in 60 days - etc)

  • Daily timed “challenge” (5 minutes a day for 5 days- etc)

  • Themed challenge (Inktober, for instance)

All that really matters is that you find the idea playful & fun (that's our theme right now!)

Some thoughts to keep you going:

Remember WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT keeping a sketchbook? A sketchbook helps you

  • Grow and develop new ideas

  • Make connections and foster creativity

  • Improve your drawing ability and observational skills

  • Maintain and ignite inspiration

  • Builds focus and concentration

  • Experiment with new techniques and materials

  • Encourage happy accidents or those unforeseen and unplanned creative discoveries

  • Learn to accept your mistakes

I like to find other blogs/posts that re-iterate what I’ve been saying but in someone elses voice. So today I offer you this!

Tips for Keeping a Sketchbook or Visual Journal

Don’t worry about making perfect pictures in your sketchbook—focus on practicing your skills, recording fleeting thoughts, and capturing moments of life. It's more about the process than the product. If you happen to create an exceptional composition, that's great, but that is not the goal. Keep your visual journal projects fun and fresh with the following ideas.

  • Mark up your pages ahead of time, so that you’re not facing completely blank white pages. Paint layers of color, draw lines, use a hole punch—anything to make them less precious, and enable you to be free with what you draw and create.

  • Notice everything around you. Nothing is too mundane to draw—your cup of coffee, the materials you’re using to draw with, squirrels at the park, a bike in a rack, or even a trash can.This is how you make your observational skills stronger.

  • Don’t edit yourself. Spend no more than 10 minutes on a drawing and don't go back and erase. Instead, restate any lines that you'd like to change.

  • Try new materials. Don’t be stuck using the same old pencil. By all means, use it if that is all you have, but don’t be limited by it. Try different supplies, including forgotten markers and pens you may have lying around the house.

  • Try using an iPad, iPhone, or tablet. This is an interesting way of testing your sketching abilities in a fresh format. See David Hockney’s iPad Paintings. See how Jorge Colombo drew a New Yorker cover using the Brushes app in Cover Story: Finger Painting.

  • Use color. Don’t just stick to black and white. Alternatively, it can sometimes be helpful to give yourself specific parameters, like only using brown, red, and gold, to see what you can do within those limits.

  • Draw abstractly as well as representationally. Draw the same thing multiple times, becoming increasingly abstract with each drawing. Draw things up close so that they appear abstract, or draw small objects at a large-scale so that they go off the page and lose their context.

  • Take a line for a walk. Do one continuous line drawing of ten different objects. Keep your pencil on the paper as you draw and connect one item to the next.

  • Try a blind contour drawing. Look only at the subject and not down at your paper. It doesn't matter if the result looks like chicken scratch—this exercise will help you sharpen your observational skills.

  • Keep your sketchbooks and date your drawings to record your progress and artistic development.


Check out this site of cataloged artists sketchbooks. Peruse through by theme or subject for inspiration and ideas. Remember - if you find an idea you like… try it! That's called being inspired!


Work from REAL LIFE!

This week take your sketchbook on the road, to the cafe, to a park bench, the beach, on vacation, onto the subway, wherever!

Remember to keep it simple- follow the fun. Sketch the landscape or the people you see.

Creative Quest

  • Make your own “sketchbook challenge”. Fill A 30 page sketchbook in 30 days? Fill a 300 page sketchbook in 30 days? Who knows what will inspire you and sound fun! Follow the fun and see where you are guided. What is here for you?

Dont forget your DAILY PRACTICE

  • One mark a day.

  • One page a day.

  • 30 seconds a day.

  • Fill in your own daily practice

  • All of the above?

See you Friday at the River at 12noon (providing its not Thunderstorming out!). PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING! Thank you.

Toodles & Doodles!


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