Staring at the blank page is always the hardest part of making art. That’s where an artist sketchbook can come in handy as a place to practice and casually create with zero pressure (since nobody but you has to see it). Read on to learn more about how to find the perfect sketchbook for you, how to use it as part of your creative practice, plus plenty of sketchbook drawing ideas to get you started.
How to Pick an Art Sketchbook
There are so many types of sketchbooks out there—and picking the right one for you can be critical to making sure it doesn’t just collect cobwebs (unless, of course, that’s what you’re drawing).
Consider how a sketchbook will fit into your life to narrow down your choices. For instance, the size of the work you like to create (or the size of the bags you like to carry) may determine whether you want a large or small sketchbook. If you like to draw on the go, you may want to look into hardcover sketchbooks or sketch pads so you have a built-in surface to work on. You can even work with online sketchbooks or tablet apps like Procreate if you’re more digitally-minded!
Also consider the sketchbook paper inside: Do you prefer a rough or smooth texture? Do you want to be able to work on both sides, and therefore need a thicker paper? What mediums do you work with, and what paper works best for those?
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer—experiment until you find a sketchbook you love!
What to Draw in a Sketchbook
Artist sketchbooks can be used for so many purposes—it’s impossible to create a list of all the things to draw in a sketchbook! You could use the pages for practicing technical skills, working out an idea for a bigger project, doodling throughout your day, experimenting with new media, and so much more. You may do simple sketchbook drawings just to get your hands moving, or use the space for more intricate work to develop your creative style.
There are really only two rules to keep in mind when using a sketchbook: Draw often to develop your practice, and let yourself make mistakes so you learn and grow.
Get Started With Your Sketchbook Practice!
Always Drawing: How to Start and Keep a Daily Sketchbook
Sketchbook Drawing Ideas
If you’re still a little intimidated, read on for plenty of ideas, from easy things to draw in a sketchbook to more advanced sketchbook prompts.
Sketchbook Drawings for Beginners
Think you’re not talented enough to start a sketchbook? These sketchbook ideas for beginners
will prove you wrong—and help you get pencil to paper.
Draw Blob Monsters
Use a marker or watercolors to draw random blobs on the page, and then use your pen or pencil to turn them into fun creatures.
Draw Simple Shapes and Patterns
Don’t feel like you have to draw a specific object to have a sketchbook. Try filling your pages with meditative drawings instead, playing with simple shapes, patterns, and lines.
Easy Sketchbook Ideas
These easy sketchbook drawings are great for lazy days when you want to be creative without working too hard.
Draw the Same Thing to Create a Pattern
Don’t waste creative energy thinking of new things to draw. Simply choose an item and draw it over and over again—with slight variation each time—to create a unique pattern.
Try Blind Contour Drawings
One common way to let go of perfection and just practice is blind contour drawings: where you draw something without ever looking down at the page. They always turn out wonky—but oddly beautiful!
Small Sketchbook Ideas
Working on a smaller scale shouldn’t keep you from doodling some big ideas. Try these sketchbook prompts for some fodder.
Draw a Group of Icons
Since icons are meant to be small, they’re perfect for playing on a tiny page! Pick a theme and draw some simple icons inspired by it.
Draw Tiny Humans With Creative Hats
Find small objects around your house to practice drawing—and make it extra fun by adding faces to transform them into tiny hats.
Cool Sketchbook Drawings
Still want your sketchbook work to be totally Instagrammable? It’s easy to create cool results with these sketchbook prompts.
Draw Your Day
Create a combo sketchbook and diary by capturing your day. You could draw everything from small details to bigger memories and moments you don’t want to forget.
Draw a Travel Map
Create a (non-realistic) map of your favorite place by drawing different landmarks and memories you have there.
Fun Sketchbook Ideas
Let loose with your creativity and try these fun and unique sketchbook ideas!
Draw to a Song
To create a unique and more abstract work, pick a song to play on repeat, and try to evoke the feeling of the music in your sketchbook.
Draw a Bunch of Tattoos
Draw a body and then cover it in tattoos! You could draw real tattoos you have (or wish you had), or just go wild with some imaginary ink.
Learn More Creative Exercises for Your Sketchbook!
Creative Breakthrough: 8 Exercises to Power Your Creativity, Confidence & Career