Are you trying to use your sketchbook more/more efficiently? Try six these tips.

There are tons of reasons why keeping a sketchbook it’s really beneficial for every artist.

It helps you improve, let lose with your sketching, serves to do studies…

But that’s not what I’m gonna write about today.

Though if you’d like a post with ways to fill your sketchbook, let me know, I have a few ideas!

In this post, I’m gonna tell you six sketchbook tips to give a better use to your sketchbook or help you use it more.

Most of us struggle with the same problems when it comes to sketchbooks; we try to make it look perfect. Or we don’t know what to do with it sometimes we are afraid of all that white space.

It’s fine, I’ve been there, I feel your pain.

Through the years I’ve tried my best to use my sketchbook better.

I’ve read tips about sketchbooking, learned what other artists do that helps their work and – the most important – experimented with it myself.

So, let’s start.

6 tips to improve your sketchbook practices (2)
6 tips to improve your sketchbook practices

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1. Carry your sketchbook EVERYWHERE.

I mean it.

You probably have heard about this, cause it’s the first of the sketchbook tips everyone tells you.

arteza gouache hand study
Gouache painting practice in my sketchbook

But it’s true, take a sketchbook and a pencil case with you anywhere you might be going because you never know when you might have some time to kill.

There’s a wide variety of sketchbook sizes, like small ones that are really easy to carry around.

This way, instead of playing with your phone or just check it in a loop to see if somebody texted, you can take your sketchbook out and draw.

Get in the habit of taking it even when you think you won’t have time for it.

I can’t tell you how many times you will be glad you brought it with you.

Not only that, but it’ll come handy to have your sketchbook around; you never know when an idea might come to you!

And, if that happens, you might want to do a quick sketch or add a little note for later so you don’t forget.

  • Bonus tip: start the habit of taking notes of ideas you have, it’s really useful later if you’re feeling uninspired or you don’t know what to draw!

It’s not only a sketchbook, but it’s also a creative log for us creatives!

2. Feel free in your sketchbook.

A sketchbook it’s your place to practice, to doodle, or whatever you might want to do with it.

So, don’t feel pressure about make it look beautiful or cohesive, make a mess with it if that’s what you feel like.

You don’t have to show your sketchbook to anyone if you don’t want to.

This is mostly where our fears come from when it comes to sketchbooks.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be beautiful, you don’t even have to work on consecutive pages if you’re not feeling it.

When you get this pressure out of the way it becomes much easier and effortless to grab your sketchbook and work on it.

I’ve gotten used to using my sketchbook and doodle freely, not all is pretty, but I don’t mind!

If you don’t believe me, check my latest sketchbook tour:

3. You buy a ton of sketchbooks but you never finish any. STOP!

This might be because of different things:

1 Maybe you ruined a page and now you don’t like that sketchbook.

Well, there’s more than one option here: you might just leave it and forget about it, or, you can cover the pages with paper/stickers/doodles/painting over it etc.

And keep going!

2 – There’s the case when you got a sketchbook you don’t like.

Maybe you can give it to someone you know or give it a new purpose as a journal or notepad, take out the pages to use individually,…

3 – The last one I can think of it’s when you keep buying new ones so you start all of them, or assign them different projects and then you don’t come back to them.

pile of sketchbooks artist life
My very own pile of sketchbooks, believe me now?

I used to do this.

I still do, sometimes, upss

My solution was to stop buying them – or try my best to buy waaay less – and keep using & finishing the sketchbooks I already have.

For example, if I have some with projects I long forgot about – like, I haven’t touched them for 3 years or so I’m not gonna do it anymore, we all know it.

So, I’ll use that one when I finish the one I have instead of buying a new one.

Furthermore, a sketchbook is usually expensive so try not to waste your money, find ways to reuse it!

And if you feel intimidated to work on big or long sketchbooks try buying those tree pack small sketchbooks, they are like 20 pages and it’s much easier to fill.

I’m trying these types right now and they are really easy to carry around and it’s quicker to fill (I show one of these in my video up there)

4. Try sketchbooks & sizes until you find the ones for you.

It’s hard to find the perfect sketchbook. And even harder to keep working on a sketchbook you don’t like.

In my case, I still buy different ones every time I finish the one I’m working on.

Cause I like to keep changing and experimenting.

Or I even try to make my own… Yes, you can see the post & video here.

See what size works better for you. Maybe you feel more comfortable with having a couple of sizes for different purposes.

If you still have trouble when it comes to picking the right sketchbook for your needs check my guide to pick the perfect sketchbook here!

How’s this another of the sketchbook tips?

Well, feeling comfortable with the sketchbook you’re working in helps you want to go back to it every time.

5. Things to actually fill it with.

  • Try different things: different mediums, two-page spreads, …
  • Shape challenge: you fill a page with random shapes (or do a series of them) with markers or paint or whatever and then you fill them with whatever you see in them. Fun and creative!
  • Studies: Life drawing sessions or figure drawing – if you can’t go to them there are also online pages that have a huge stock and you can set a timer for you to work. And maybe other studies and practices from references.
    For instance, I do these sessions of figure drawings that take 3-9 min each. It helps a lot and fills a couple of pages of my sketchbook.
100 heads challenge art sketchbook ink portraits
100 heads challenge head studies
  • Thumbnails, concept sketches and character studies: I do all of these practices in my sketchbook before taking it to a final piece.
  • Try an art challenge in your sketchbook, for example like the 100 heads challenge I talk about here.
  • Colour compositions.
  • Doodle in your sketchbook as a warm-up: Take 10 min or half an hour before you actually start drawing. I’m trying to make a habit out of it because it really helps!

Want me to make a full post with more examples? Let me know in the comments!

6. Add some time in your schedule for your sketchbook.

gouache painting nathan fowkes landscape painting class schoolism

It might be only half an hour a day, or if you don’t have time an hour every couple of days, but make it a habit.

Put it in your schedule.

This helps you keep a healthy drawing relationship with your sketchbook.

If you know your sketchbooking time it’s about to come you’ll get ready for it or even pumped.

You can also add it as a reward for after you do any chores; your homework, class/work projects or when you come home from work.

This way it would be way more enjoyable and part of your routine, like rewarding yourself.

Did you find any of these sketchbook tips useful? Do you have any other tricks or tips you use on your sketchbook?

I would love to hear about it, let’s chat in the comments below!