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Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook

Leah Goren, Illustrator

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5 Videos (31m)
    • Introduction

      1:34
    • Leah's Sketchbook Practice

      11:33
    • Exercise 1: Drawing Patterns

      5:40
    • Exercise 2: Drawing from Life

      7:12
    • Exercise 3: Drawing Your Space

      4:59

About This Class

Let popular illustrator Leah Goren inspire you to start and keep a sketchbook that helps you stay creative and record beauty in your world.

Leah’s sketchbook practice stands out for its beauty, cohesion, and accessibility — all while remaining experimental and pushing her illustration process. This 30-minute class shares her approach and 3 of her go-to prompts for overcoming creative block:

  • drawing a pattern based on an object
  • drawing from life
  • drawing the space around you

All levels of illustrators are welcome! Bring any materials you love to work with (pens, watercolors, gouache) and any kind of paper. This class is all is about getting your creativity on the page. By the end, you’ll have the beginnings of a sketchbook that feels polished and personal.

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What You'll Learn

  • Introduction. In this lesson, Leah Goren will take you through several drawing exercises as you fill up your own personal sketchbook. You won’t just learn how to draw in this class; you’ll also get a handle on preparing for client projects, creating patterns out of everyday objects, and even laying down a complete composition.
  • Leah’s sketchbook practice. Leah will take you on a tour of her sketchbook, where you’ll observe how her sketching techniques have come together to create prints and products she now sells in her shop. You’ll learn how Leah approaches sketching and how clients have found her through social channels like Instagram to commission her work for their stores. From her first sketchbook at Parsons School of Design to her current landscape sketch work, you’ll see how Leah’s style has evolved over time but remained unique enough to adhere to her personal brand. You’ll explore a variety of media, from colored pencil drawing to watercolor. Finally, Leah will show you what materials you need for painting on the go and explain how a sketchbook can act like your visual diary.
  • Exercise 1: Drawing patterns. In the first of Leah’s sketching tutorials, you’ll learn how to use a photographic visual reference (in this case, an old book of cat photos) to create a pattern. You’ll learn how to approach a blank page, apply color repetition to patterns, and fill your space efficiently.
  • Exercise 2: Drawing from life. You’ll watch Leah draw a flower-filled vase from life. You’ll start by making a decision about the colors you’re going to use in your work, and from there, you’ll choose how to interpret the real-life object in a variety of ways. You’ll learn how to fill up space on a blank page by improvising and departing from the real life object just enough to adapt it to an appealing 2-D image. You’ll also learn to see one image from multiple perspectives and how to turn a physical object into a design fit for a pattern. You can always use your sketchbook drawing as a reference image for later, more professional works!
  • Exercise 3: Drawing your space. You’ll observe how to draw a portion of a room, learning to use perspective, contrasting colors, and moving from object outlines to fine, identifying details. You’ll learn to start with objects in the foreground and fill in the background after, and you’ll figure out how to capture moving elements in an otherwise still scene. Additionally, you’ll see how Leah adds fictional elements and seemingly insignificant details to her space to bring increased dimension to her design.

875 of 906 students recommendSee All

Short but really helpful class for practicing and knowing where to look for ideas. Also made me wanna experiment with paint/watercolor. I mostly use pen/pencil, and this class made me interested in the difference between making art using primarily lines/values (for pencils) and primarily colors/values (for paint/watercolor). Overall great quick course. Highly recommended! :)
so inspring. thank you
What kind of paper do you use for your sketchbooks?

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Leah Goren

Illustrator

Leah Goren is an illustrator and surface pattern designer living in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2012 with a BFA in Illustration. Her clients include Anthropologie, Ban.do, Chronicle Books, The Land of Nod, Loeffler Randall, Penguin Random House, Lenny Letter, and Revlon.

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