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Jumpstart Your Sketchbook

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Jumpstart Your Sketchbook
Sketching Pencil

You know you should draw every day... but every time you think about it, you don’t know what to draw!

Here are some ideas to get you going:

Start a series—you will always have something to draw! Pick a common item—chairs, coffee cups, lamps, shoes – and draw every one in your house, then all the ones in your office, your classroom, your favorite coffee shop. Add to your “collection” when you travel or visit friends.


Find a photo and draw it in as many styles and with as many mediums as you can find.

Buy yourself flowers - and draw them!

Find an artist whose drawings you admire, and copy a few to learn their technique. Copying masterworks has been a part of artists’ training for centuries. Then do some original sketches in that style.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

Really stuck? Pull out every pencil, pen and paint set you have in your stash, and start making marks. Make value studies with the pencils, test the nibs and ink of every pen, paint swatches of all the colors in your watercolor box, or all your colored pencils. The idea is just to start making marks on paper—experiment and don’t worry about making art.

Take a class or find a sketching buddy. You would take an exercise class or run with a buddy, right? It keeps you motivated and you have someone to give you a little push when you need it.

Map your day—make a visual “map” made up of 5-minute sketches of all the places you go and things you do in a day.

Make a “collage” drawing. Draw with torn or cut scraps of paper.


Use a photo as a drawing “starter”. Cut or tear a piece from a photo, and finish the image with your own drawing. Don’t worry about making it look like the original—don’t even try!

Have a hobby? Make your drawing practice a part of it. Love baseball? Sketch a portrait of every player on your team. Love to cook? Illustrate a recipe.

No time? Limit your drawings to 5-minute thumbnails. Fill a page in your sketchbook with 2" x 3" boxes. Make some vertical and some horizontal. Then carry your sketchbook with you and start filling them with quick sketches.

Make it easy to draw! Have materials you like—you will be more likely to use them. Draw where you are. Don’t wait to go someplace scenic or exciting to pull out the sketchbook. And draw something you like, or work on a skill you want to master. Later, when you have developed the habit of drawing, you can push beyond your comfort zone. By then, you will be hooked, and each drawing will lead to ideas for the next.

Print these tips to Jumpstart Your Sketchbook

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