Whether you’re creating art for the first time or you’re deep into your art journey keeping a sketchbook will be beneficial to your growth as an artist. It’s easy to say you don’t have enough time or you don’t know what to draw. However, we make time for what’s important to us and you don’t need to know what to draw. Keeping a sketchbook can help you come up with ideas for your current and future projects. Sometimes I will draw a random creature or person not knowing where they will go. Sooner or later I will be working on a character for a story and something from one of my sketchbooks might be a close fit.
Your sketchbook is also a great place to experiment with new techniques and further developing your fundamentals. Recently, I’ve been focusing on capturing motion and exaggeration in my characters and scenes. Another thing your sketchbook is great for is capturing the world around you.
Talking about keeping a sketchbook is great and all but I know from personal experience that it can be difficult until you make it a habit in your daily routine. So here are some tips that I use to keep sketching:
Don't be precious about your sketchbook. Hardbound sketchbooks look nice but can make you feel like everything in it has to be a masterpiece. To avoid that feeling I recommend you get an inexpensive saddle stitch bound or spiral bound sketchbook.
If you miss a day, or two, or seven it’s okay. Every day is a new day to work towards achieving your goals. You just have to be intentional about scheduling a small chunk of time to draw. 10 minutes is more than enough time to scribble something in your sketchbook.
Set a theme or subject for several pages in your sketchbooks. You could use a whole sketchbook to sketch out ideas for a story you want to tell or not. You could draw the first thing you see or think about in that moment. Most of all, it’s important that you enjoy what you’re doing.
Don’t feel obligated to fill up the entire page. You could divide the page into sections if your sketchbook is larger. Or get a smaller sketchbook so that there is less page to fill.
Experiment with different mediums. If you only draw with graphite pencils try ink or add color with a pen, markers, color pencils, or watercolors.
Don’t rush into drawing elaborate details. Focus on general shapes and build up to details.
Keep your sketchbook portable. Being able to sketch anywhere you are will make it easier to draw. A larger sketchbook can be a hassle to carry around everywhere you go. Smaller sketchbooks, like sizes 3.5x5.5 inches to 5.5x8.5 inches are more manageable to carry in a small backpack or your pocket than a large 9x12 sketchbook. Also take the overall thickness, page count, and cover weight into consideration.
Take notes in your sketchbook, even write the date and or location in the top corner of each page. It can help you keep track of your sketching consistency, ideas for projects and things you’re learning.
Don't worry about finishing things. Your sketchbook should be a catalyst, a place where your ideas are sparked. Getting started is more important than finishing. However, when you start a project, finished is better than perfect.
Use only one side of the page. This is more about not ruining your sketches than growing your sketching ritual. Drawing on both sides can cause the graphite to smear your drawings together. A workable fixative would help reduce that issue should you decide to use both sides. However, ink, markers and watercolor may bleed through the page depending on the thickness. At the end of the day your sketchbook shouldn’t be precious so
Keep these tips in mind as you’re making your way through your next sketchbook. I recommend you write the tips them down at the beginning of your sketchbook as a reminder. Also remember, nobody finds the time. We have to make time for what’s important to us. If you want to sketch you have to schedule it into your day and make it a habit.
Lately, I’ve been sketching environments, characters, and props for my comic titled, The Isle. In the story Spencer Alexander, a young museum archeologist, dreams of visiting a mysterious island his late great-grandfather was marooned on for years. He finally receives the opportunity to materialize his dream but the expedition is not what it seems. For now below are some character and world sketched. I'm excited to start sharing more soon!