I’ve committed with my friends Shawna and Jen to draw a sketch in my sketchbook everyday this month. I usually draw in my book often but committing to everyday is going to be a bit of a challenge. It’s the fourth day of the month and so far so good…. only not quite, because even though I’ve sketched everyday I’m finding getting the ideas for what I want to draw is being pretty hard. But there are some tricks I like to use.
In the past I wrote this post about my sketchbook idea generator. It includes a free download so you can make your own. Since I wrote the post there are a few apps I use on my phone that do a similar thing. I use these pretty often. Theyare the Brainstormer App, and Character Design Shuffle by Silver.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Sketchbooks are for Practice is a post I wrote about how I practice things I need to work on in my sketchbook. You can use your sketchbook to practice pretty much anything: figures, trees, composition, value, expressions, animals, etc. You can draw from life or use photos. Don’t be afraid to draw crapy drawings in your book. My sketchbooks are full of drawings I really hate and a only few that I love. Here’s another post I’ve written about how you can use your sketchbook for making mistakes. It also has some links to see some fun sketchbook inspiration from other artists.
Draw from Photos
This is one idea of how you can practice in your sketchbook. I use photos a lot and over the years I’ve gotten smarter about how I draw from them. Photos are good for getting reference of things your can’t find out your front door and for getting ideas. For more info check out this post about how you can use photos but not be completely tied to them.
Sketchook as a Journal
I use my sketchbook as a sort of Journal. It’s fun to draw sketches of what I am doing in my day to day life. I drew the ones above when I was called in for Jury Duty and the fire alarm went off. Everyone had to sit around outside the building for 20-40 min while they made sure it was safe. It was, and the jury selection continued after we were let back in. It’s a funny story and now it’s recorded in my “journal” for me to remember. As you might be able to tell I also used the moment to practice composition.
Online Sketch Groups
There are lots of fun online sketch and illustration groups you can participate in. Illustration Friday is an old-y but a good-y where you are given a weekly topic you can draw and share on the Illustration Friday website. @sketch_dailies on twitter is fun for a daily inspiration topic. And if you keep your eyes peeled you can also participate in yearly events like Jake Parker’s #inktober.
Sketching with a Theme
Pick a theme for your sketchbook and stick with it for a while. I don’t think I’ve ever done this but I want to. So, for my sketchbook challenge this month I’m going to draw my sketches with a theme. The theme I’ve picked is Fantasy Land Creatures, and I want to make sure to practice gestures and expressions. You can follow my progress on my twitter or instagram and at the end of the month I’ll report back with some of the drawings I’ve done. Here is the sketch I did for this theme yesterday.
Here is one last closing thought about how great sketchbooks can be.
What tips do you use to help you make your sketchbooks better?