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How To Keep A Sketchbook From Start To Finish

How To Keep A Sketchbook From Start To Finish

Having a sketchbook is ideal if you want to take a few minutes in your day and sketch something or even experiment with different mediums before you get started on a new project. 

It’s the perfect place to turn to that will give you an idea of how your artwork should proceed.

I’ve recently made drawing a priority and keeping a sketchbook seemed like the best move right now. 

Keeping a sketchbook encourages you to maintain a drawing habit that will help you get more experience and improve your drawing skills.

Also if you’ve been feeling stressed with having all your sketches on loose pages, it would be a better option to just draw in one place – your sketchbook.

It’s not only easy to draw in but you can carry it with you anywhere you go and you have your whole collection of drawings in one place making it more convenient.

If you’d like to explore more into why sketchbooks are fantastic and find out exactly how to keep a sketchbook, here’s everything that I’ve learned from my experience:

Types Of Sketchbooks To Use

Now before we begin, it’s important to be advised on the different types of sketchbooks that you can use.

Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, some sketchbooks may be more annoying to have than others. 

You will also need to consider the size, paper texture, color, and durability. 

TypesPaper TypesSizes
PaperbackRough A4

Reasons Why Keeping A Sketchbook Is Great

Once you’ve decided on using a specific sketchbook (although you can use more than one sketchbook for specific things you’d like to focus on), I’d love to go over a few reasons why you should keep a sketchbook for those who need a little nudge.

Freedom To Express Yourself

By no means is a sketchbook supposed to have completed artwork (although you totally can if you want). In fact, it’s completely the opposite.

Your sketchbook should be a place where you can turn to when you want to try something new or come up with ideas.

You’re encouraged to be messy and have incomplete sketches if you feel like it.

There’s no pressure to be great at anything and you should be free to express yourself in any way that feels right, even if you do have a few not so great sketches.

Ability To Practice More Often

The more often you draw and the more practice you get in, the better your skills will become.

If you allow yourself to push out those bad sketches, your drawing progress will be way more advanced than when you first started drawing.

A sketchbook will help you keep those skills sharp and you’ll be able to maintain them over a longer period of time.

A Great Way To Experiment With Different Art Styles

If you’ve looked at some real sketchbooks, you might have noticed different mediums used.

On one page, you’ll see a few loose doodles in graphite pencil and then you’ll see watercolor being used.

A sketchbook is a great place to try out these new styles and you might even come across one that you really love.

It Can Drive Motivation And Inspiration

Do you know how they say ‘motivation comes from doing’?

This couldn’t be more true.

Rather than waiting for motivation to hit (which could take anywhere between weeks to months), building up that habit of drawing will keep the motivation going as you see yourself accomplish more.

Inspiration, motivation, and creativity will come naturally if you’re always working on what needs to be done and pushing yourself when you don’t feel like it.

This way you’re not relying for it to just happen but you’re making an active and conscious effort to build your skills.

Easy Ways To Keep A Sketchbook

1. Write Down The Start Date Of Your New Sketchbook

The very first thing you should do when starting a brand new sketchbook is to date it.

So that when you finally do finish this one, it will be easier to tell how long it took you from start to finish.

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. You can write the date on the actual cover of the sketchbook
  2. You can leave the first page blank and write the date at the bottom or top right hand side
  3. Create an epic illustration drawing on the first page
  4. Do it anyway you like

Depending on how simple or extravagant you want your sketchbook to be, it’s totally up to you.

2. Don’t Fear The Blank Page

I know how intimidating a blank page can be and in your sketchbook, you’re going to have many of those.

However, a great way to push past this is to just scribble a few lines. This will make you feel less pressured and it won’t make you feel like you need to create anything outstanding.

You just have to get started.

If you’re really blocked and not sure what to draw in your sketchbook, then you can either use drawing prompts (for eg. Inktober prompts) or you can look for a list of easy things to draw that will spark some creativity and interest.

3. Use A Sketchbook To Study And Practice

Now the best part about keeping a sketchbook is that it allows you to study other people’s work.

If you’ve ever looked at a drawing and it completely blew you away, then using your sketchbook to breakdown that drawing will help you better understand how the anatomy of that drawing works and why the artists went about it in a certain way.

A sketchbook is great for practicing and learning new things, so be sure to keep drawing as much as you can but also take the time to understand why and how you’re drawing something.

Try to figure out how you’re supposed to draw it or ways that you would have went about it.

See also: How To Learn To Draw (A Detailed Guide To Drawing)

This will insanely helpful when you’re making your own big art projects.

4. Draw Everything You See (From Real Life And Pictures)

Drawing doesn’t only have to be about creating drawings from your imagination.

It’s important to use references that will have an impact on your art and one of the best places to do this is from real life.

Draw simple objects from around your home or go out and draw things you see (buildings, cars, people).

If you have a small sketchbook, it’s easy to whip it out and start sketching.

Related Post: What Can I Draw In An Art Journal? (29 Amazing Ideas)

5. Draw Something New Or Redraw Something Old

keeping a sketchbook

Your sketchbook is meant to be a place for you to experiment and try new things.

This makes it ideal to draw many new things but also to try redrawing past drawings to see just how much you have improved or notice the difference in how your art style has changed.

Try not to be overcritical or hard on yourself but rather enjoy the process more than the outcome of your sketches.

6. Be Quick In Sketching And Don’t Fuss

Although a sketchbook can be used for practice and studying, it’s best to also just use it for quick sketching.

Try not to fuss or beat yourself up when a sketch looks terrible but instead make it a goal to do really bad sketches.

For example, if you want to study gesture, try doing timed sessions where you only can draw that subject for 30 seconds, 5 minutes, and 30 minutes.

This challenge is great to see the coordination of your hand and eyes at work and the decisions you can make without overthinking.

7. Write Short Notes Or Thoughts Beside Each Drawing

Make your sketchbook fun and exciting by writing down a few notes beside a drawing.

You can be humorous about it or you could even recount what happened while you were sketching that object.

This adds interest to your sketchbook and it’s a great feeling to remember something you had previously forgotten when you look back.

8. Collect Things That Can Be Used As A Source of Inspiration

Another fantastic way to make your sketchbook feel less formal is to include little things that will spark inspiration.

This could be images from magazines, receipts, leaves, flowers. Literally, anything can be included as you see fit.

9. Use A Sketchbook As A Travel Journal

If you find yourself having to travel to somewhere new, carry your sketchbook along with you so that you can draw and paint the things you see.

Using a sketchbook for this purpose is a great way to make your sketchbook more interesting and fun.

You can also reference these drawings that you have done later when working on a new project to find and take inspiration from these.

10. Make Use Of Different Art Styles Or Mediums (Eg. Pencils, Paint)

how to keep a sketchbook tips

It’s important to try new things and this is where different art mediums play a huge role in your life as an artist.

Your sketchbook is a great place to experiment and try out these new mediums to discover and learn to use supplies that are way different from what you typically choose to use.

11. Create A Drawing Routine

If you want to ensure that you’re always drawing in your sketchbook, then it’s best to set a small challenge for yourself or create a routine. Maybe you can spend 20 minutes a day drawing and this way you are always taking the time to sketch even if it’s just rough sketches.

List Of Easy Things To Draw In Your Sketchbook

I know how scary a blank page can be and when you just don’t know what to draw, it’s easy to close that sketchbook and just not draw at all.

So, to avoid this happening to you, here’s a short list of fun and easy things you can draw in your sketchbook.

You can keep referencing this list whenever you’re looking for something to draw.

This way, you’ll never hit a slump or creative block.


  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Birds
  • Rabbits
  • Snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Pandas
  • Monkey

See also: Cute Animal Doodles Anyone Can Draw (20 Easy Tutorials)


  • Trees
  • Leaves
  • Ocean
  • Foliage
  • Seascapes
  • Farms
  • Skylines
  • Places


  • Homes/Houses
  • Apartments
  • Cities
  • Architecture


  • Burgers
  • Fries
  • Pies
  • Cool Drinks
  • Milkshakes
  • Donuts
  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes


  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries


  • People Eating / Dining
  • People Relaxing
  • People Sitting
  • People Playing Sports (Basketball, Cricket, Soccer, Swimming)
  • People Running

Final Thoughts

Keeping a sketchbook is beyond valuable but it should never be something that makes you feel frustrated or stressed.

A sketchbook should be used in such a way that will allow you to freely draw and express yourself without the added pressure of trying to create amazing art or restrict you from trying something new in case it turns out terrible.

In fact, the main purpose that a sketchbook should be used in a way where you can do anything and everything with it.

Your sketchbook is not there to prove your skills as an artist but rather a way to mess up and learn something from those mistakes.

It’s really easy to keep a sketchbook as long as you don’t view it as something where it requires your best effort.

Otherwise, you will find yourself not wanting to use your sketchbook at all, and years from now the blank pages will be staring back at you.

Funny enough, when you’ve completed your very first sketchbook, you’ll love those terrible lines and messy artwork and appreciate them even more.

The goal should always be to have fun and enjoy yourself.

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