Using your sketchbook to level up your art | Cara Ord | Skillshare

Using your sketchbook to level up your art

Cara Ord, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Using your sketchbook to level up your art

Cara Ord, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

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11 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. What is a sketchbook

    • 2. Three ways to plan your sketchbook

    • 3. Starting a fresh sketchbook

    • 4. Draw that first picture

    • 5. Drawing through observation

    • 6. Observing the imaginative

    • 7. Doodle and Experimentation

    • 8. Drafting ideas

    • 9. Practise Exercises

    • 10. Fill the pages

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

This class will help you rapidly enhance your art and illustration skills using your sketchbook. View this class if you are looking for tips and advice on how to utilise this simple tool and are ready to progress your art to the next level.

We will be covering the best content to produce in your sketchbook, ideas to fast track your learning and a variety of exercises to enhance your skills.

This class is best taken in conjunction with Warming up: Exercises to help you create your best art which is a detailed course on specific planned out drawing exercises to enhance your basic art skills, perfect things to do in your sketchbook.

Meet Your Teacher

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Cara Ord

Illustrator & Graphic Designer


My name is Cara and I am a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator with 5 years under my belt. I am very passionate in what I do and love to share this passion with others. 

Other loves of mine include ice skating (I am also a professional performer), dogs, nature and snuggling up with a good book on a rainy day.

I am so excited for this opportunity to share my knowledge with you all and learn as well. I hope I can become a helpful resource for you and I am here at your beckon call if you need any assistance with anything I offer.

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1. What is a sketchbook: everyone and welcome to this month's skills class. I'm so excited to bring this one because it's about one of my favorite tools in our design and illustration, and that is this sketchbook now. I just bought this 80 and I thought it would be fantastic if you and I could rip it open and start a sketchbook, journey together and really discover how we can use this device to make ourselves level up as artists. So what even is a sketchbook? As sketchbook is not a place for finished artworks? That's a sure It is a place where you could just be yourself, experiment and land without any judgement whatsoever. This thing is going to get filled with ideas and just mind from it straight on the pages. It is where I'm going to lead to experiment with different mediums. It's where I'm going to learn what I like. What I don't about myself, how I express myself and where I practice things which I feel less confident about as an oddest. So if you already to level of your game using such a simple tool as a sketchbook that come with me on this journey, as we do at the short course on using a sketch 2. Three ways to plan your sketchbook: So, guys, before we rip open our sketchbooks, we want to kind of go into it with some sort of idea. Often people will get their sketch book, open the plastic packaging, get their pencil and then not know where to go. Also, when you plan what kind of sketch book you want to do, it really enhances your learning experience using your sketchbook. So there's three different ways which you could play in your sketchbook with. The last one is planning through theme. So by theme, I mean the content of your artwork. Whether it be, I went to learn how to drill hands better. So I do an entire sketchbook dedicated to pitches where I'm utilizing the hands where I'm studying them, whether I'm setting them, like in a nun, me aspect right through to find fosters and on to my Kochan Sell it. That's what I choose. The thing could also be something broader, like landscapes or flowers or portrait. It's This is one way that you can plan your sketchbook so you know, every time you open that page, you're gonna be drawing a portrait or whatever your thing, maybe a second way Teoh plan your sketchbook is to do a medium study, which is sort of along the lines of what I'm doing now. A medium study is basically picking any meeting what you want to practice and enhance and using sketchbook purely in that medium. So for me, I really want to toe crack, open my calories, pencils and use them. So my entire sketchbook is gonna be easy. My calories, pencils and every now and then adding in some pen sketches and you'll see why later. But you could also do things like a watercolor passed stools, even acrylic sketchbook. But you just play around in background of medium in there before doing your may, not books elsewhere on canvases and on fancy papers. A medium sketchbook can be a great way for you to let a whole new phase of odd and to practice things that masters do in their paintings on a small scale. Finally, the third type of sketchbook, which is kind of the most common to, is a time period sketchbook. So basically what it is is, you can draw anything in then any medium, but you set a time period. This could be anything from awake. If you're really good schedule, Right? Teoh? A year. And be like, this is my sketchbook for 2018. And your goal is to filial sketchbook with sketches of anything and everything within that time period. So before we get started, I love you to choose what kind of sketchbook yours is going to be. And if you're not starting in u n and you're working on when you already have, figure out what yours is currently I'll see you in the next episode when we go into getting started in on. 3. Starting a fresh sketchbook: Okay, guys. So you're ready to get starting a sketchbook? You just bought a new one, but your pens paper, and then 90% of us, the nerves take over. You have this beautiful, pristine book which hasn't been touched, and you're afraid that you're just gonna mess it up? Well, don't worry. I have a few solutions for you. Teoh. Get something into your sketchbook to easier nerves and just bury yourself to fill it up with the beautiful Albert, which I know being that you're practicing enjoyed learning. So I've kept it down to three simple examples. But you can expand. It changes. How you like. My first example is if you have a sketchbook like mine where it's got a solar finding to go into a sketchbook into a random place and actually rip a page out that way is not pristine anymore. And it's not perfect. So you're not going to be the one messing it up if you're uncomfortable with ripping. Another thing I think that you could do is you go in with Monica and draw random scribble on a random page, not the 1st 1 A random page to eventually get to in your sketchbook again. That way you know it is going to be no pristine and that you already stuffed it up. So anything you do will be an improvement, and you can just relax into your sketchbook. 1/3 alternative I have is actually hanging your sketchbook over to a friend before you draw in it and get then store in a random page. This one I really love, because when you hand it over and they're drawing a red page, you don't know where that sketch is. And then eventually, as you're drawing through your sketchbook, it's kind of a reward to get to it and see it. Now your friend doesn't have to be a must. Odd. It's like, I'm sure you, uh my husband has done swimming and he is not a drawer at old. He's a photographer. He's op skills in a completely different territory. So I had a cute little stick man from him, but it made me really happy to know that was in there. And also I was in the first touch, sketchbooks on my nerves were gone, touching it. Now those are three things you can do. I am not gonna show you what I'm gonna do in my sketchbook and it is not drawing, and it's not ripping out is actually riding myself a literate affirmation. Now I know that consent a little wishy washy, but basically what I'm doing is getting ink onto the page, telling me that it's okay to draw whatever I feel like in and things on the page, my things no longer pristine. And then every time I can look at that and smile knowing that this is a place of growth and a place for perfection. So let's get into doing that. - So have you guys enjoyed my little? Which will she let on that if you want to do it, too, I would say Go ahead and do it and take that first page turn into something which were really motivating to get sketchy, and then we can go on to drawing up a story in a basket 4. Draw that first picture: Oh, nice Opened a sketchbook, made it not pristine, so we don't have to worry about breaking it. Time to start our first story. Now, what is going to be that first drawing? I would recommend every time you miss sketchbook your first during to be something you love something you draw all the time and enjoy for me That's people. So I went in and I drew a simple sketch off a go this ago, which I was reading a book. This is not good. That's just me expressing myself and doing something that I really enjoyed doing. So go ahead and make your first sketch and just enjoy what you're doing. This is ESPN and Dribbles experience as well as a learning experience. From here on, I'm then going to give you tips on what you can do in your sketchbook to improve your odds as well as exercise that you could do to enhance your skill set in drawing. So go ahead, drawer. Have fun, and then we'll get to the nitty gritty off other things you can do in your sketchbook to really enhance the experience and use it to its full potential 5. Drawing through observation: So one of the best things about a sketchbook is that it is a portable media. I always choose these a small little sketchbooks that can fit into a post of any size so I can take it with me wherever I feel like and whip it out whenever inspiration hits me. But I don't just have to whip it out When inspiration hits me. I could also go at specifically with the intent to use it, and I use my sketchbook for observation sketches, which I do off people in places around me, for example. I've gone to a few cafes, and I've drawn people in place, really getting their expression in the movement of daily life under my belt. This form of observation of observing people android, whether it be in a cafe, on your train to work or school, or just sitting in a park. Seeing people interact with each other and their environment is a really key way of learning how to draw. And how did you get proportioned and getting emotions and all that sort of stuff into your drawing? I highly recommend doing this at least once a week in your sketchbook. Just pick your theme or whatever you have chosen And utilize that in your sketches while you're observing so he can see me in a cafe. I end just drawing a couple of the ladies I store and they're having a conversation around a cup of coffee. I really like the way that they were just really people. They weren't two de they weren't stiff and waiting for me to draw that they would just relax. And in their environment, this observation has really helped me, boss track my growth enduring portrait and people because you have to be really quick with your drawings. You have to know, like with eyes and nose in math. Go in relation to one another and you have tow whip it out really quickly because your person is gonna move. They're not standing still. This is a vital thing you can do in your sketchbook to really grow yourself. Another full observation I like doing is a landscapes. Now, this one isn't so much gonna change in the blink of an eye, but the lighting is gonna change. The environment is going to move around you and you're going to be drawing something which is three dimensional, no two dimensional photos. It was going to be over hot so he can see me. I just went out to my local park, wins and sat down inside of drawings and trees. Now, trees, you say they're not that difficult, but when they're in a big bush and have to find them, how you want to interview them in your drawings can be quite tricky. Observing your environment, enduring landscapes and other items for your environment. Whether it be backer things such as flowers or a full mountain range can be vital. Teoh. Your learning during these outside rather than inside on your computer screen is a great way to enhance your observation skills and your eye and your hand. If you want to know more about I hand, you could go into my drawing from reference video class, which I have here on school shit. But just know that you have to go birth, your observation and your hand skills in order to be a better artist in this way of using your sketchbook in observing your environment and drawing, it is ideal to fast tracking both those skills, so I want you at the end of this class to go out into the world, take a sketchbook and spent at least half an hour sitting somewhere drawing something based around you're seen and plan for your book. I can't wait to see what you come up with. See you in the next video. 6. Observing the imaginative: so I know the last class might have been a little nerve racking for people out there like me and socially introverted and don't want to go out and interactive people well. That last cross technically didn't have to interact with anyone. But if that is nerve in you, add another great way of using observation at home. Used to sit, relax, watch a movie and sketch at what you see. You will still get that interaction off fast takes moving people in environments that change. It won't be the same as going out and being surrounded by your environment, but it is a great way to relax and still work on your I love just sitting down with a cup of hot chocolate, putting on a maybe and spending two hours willingly in my sketchbook. You don't understand the amount of inspiration that you could get from a movie. This also I find, is next size that I liked adult next to my observation because you can watch movies which are animated and you can watch movies with fantasy elements and things, the things that you would not get in your environment. So, for example, you might be watching an animated things such as a mango. And then you can understand this style in the way things move. Just dark. Pause the screen to drop because that is early cheating. You can draw your favorite characters in that way you can understand someone style in aesthetic. You can also be watching a movie with dragons and see that the way that the animators have got their wings moving in their body moving. And I understand that and add a skeleton to it in your sketchbook and really get a comprehension if that is the kind of thing you want to draw. So now you're going out and done the big, scary, well thing of doing now sketching outside. How about you grab a cup of coffee with me? Sit down, relax, watch movie and sketch away. 7. Doodle and Experimentation: Okay, guys. So I've done enough talking for these videos. I am going to start drawing for you. So the first thing I want to talk about is doing And experimentation dealing and experimentation is vital to a sketchbook. I feel this is where you basically go in and with just your imagination stock during now, the experimentation pot comes down to it. In my respect with the medium I'm using, I am using colored pencils. And frankly, I am definitely not a monster of them. So my entire sketchbook, instead of using my hey HB pencil is using my color pencil. Sometimes I use my hate she pencil because it is definitely a conference, but for me, But I really am trying to get out of that. So what? I'm basically gonna draw, and it's weird because my sketchbook sideways for me. I'm just going to go in, and I'm just going to draw faces and something I'm really comfortable with. And I'm going to experiment using three different colored pencils and how to work with them . Now you're doodling my could be anything but you could be doing and trying to practise different ways of drawing hands. You could be working out your style, which I have another video series on if you want and being figuring out how to draw eyes. It could be absolutely anything. Dealing is kind of when you let your mind wander and draw on the page. And experimentation, as I said, is experimenting with something new. So I am going to deal an experiment right now for you. - So you guys go. I did some random illustrations and doodles. I started off with the face based on a computer game which are currently playing on. And then I really wanted to kind of experiment more with the medium I'm using and see, like how light, how dark it can make colors. Whether I could make Grady in. Then I started up this week doodily pattern, which is the doodle. And then I was like, Maybe I'll try putting some text on fruit, which went does off seriously wrong, but that's great because it's in my sketchbook now when you're driving in your sketchbook, I always recommend just released the labeling with the date of when you drew things, because that way you can see half ie group when you look back so it is August here. I think it's 20 ninth when I'm making this video. I don't know. So, uh, that way I just did it. So I know in the future that these two passes Oh, scribbles which I love having in my sketchbook. Uh, here now and in maybe 10 days or 10 weeks, I could look back of, um and see how much better have improved. So that's diddling experimenting in your sketchbook. It's what is meant for and I recommend to keep doing it, whether you'd be experimenting with medium the style of drawing, drawing specific things such as hands or just dealing away your brain mindlessly to release some creative energy. 8. Drafting ideas: along doing and practicing in the learning in your sketchbook. Another great thing a schedule book can be used for is drops. So drafts differing, whether your designer and illustrator or artist I'm kind of old three s. So I'm just going to show you some draft examples off and artwork that I will be working on later today. Now, I just want to do something really simple for you. So I am going to be working through and trying to figure out the posing of the goat, which I went in this illustration. Now again, I'm just use. I guess I can call them my trusty color pencils because this is a book experimenting whether I could do with colored pencils and start off. So with your drafting, um, first off, you've got to figure out what you're drafting. Four. So this piece I don't have a specific set canvas, because I am going to be doing it digitally so I can choose my canvas based on the pose that I choose. But if you had chemise is I would go through and make rectangles or squares or whatever it is off your canvas so you can work off that the next is throwing out themes. So I know that I want to draw ago and I wanted to be flowers, and I want it to be less over just standing there. I wanted to beam or off a surreal pose more of a mother nature style thing just because I feel like drawing ago on flowers. So I'm going to go through and I'm going to make here about three or four different poses and dropped out what I wanted to look like before I do the actual outwork. This will get rid off a lot of that arming and hiring when I'm during my actual up. But I just wanted to come in here and apologize that I was using my pink pencil when I was doing these illustrations. So basically, I'm going to give you an older description of what I'm doing. I am drawing a woman Figge in three different scenarios. Uh, she is gonna have different Posen is in each of them and different flowers and each of them when I'm drawing this, I android miss in like a stick figure foot ascent. I'm using just a drawing rather than using at fully fledged chattering because this is a dropped after all, I also go through and try and work out how I want her face to bay. It's just super quick sketching understanding of how I wanted to be posed in the post that I have. And I also go through and work on the lips and change my idea toe have flowers and a snake didn't their side or a little bit of the snake as well. Sorry for the pink. Okay, So, as you guys can hurt Boise here, I have actually dropped it out. Artwork and I've changed it as I've been drafting. So it started off with a girl with a bunch of flowers, and I've moved to a girl with a snake entwining with her with flowers in it. I think it's going to be a little bit old and sell in the way it looks, but kind of like Tardio. I don't know, somewhere in between they and then I was thinking I'm like, I want her lips to be party. So I was playing with that. And then how will this neck look? I've picked that. I wanted to be portrait and I did all of this through the drafting parses. So using your sketchbook for drafting it is really important. Teoh really Level up your art because without this process, I would have probably had this kind of stiff configuration instead of this kind of esque of configuration. Eso using your sketchbook two dropped definitely a thumbs up for that. Um, don't forget, you can use a more than one page. You can spend more than five minutes and really dropped out your full process right from here, making your full competition. Teoh the details in your drawing. Render it a bunch of times in your sketchbook. You can figure it out your Latin shadow in here and then move on to your finished Our so definitely a good tip if you want to level up your using your sketchbook. 9. Practise Exercises: the final thing I wanted to present you guys lives to do in your sketchbook is warm up exercises. I think that your sketch, because an amazing opportunity to be able to put one of exercises in there and really express and work yourself to grow as an artist now will not excite. It's probably the biggest, the Compagnia sketchbook, to help you grow. And I have a whole video Siris on called Warming Up to make yourself a better artist. So if you wanna watch them go to the link down below in the description off these videos theories and you can watch all of them. But for now, I'm just going put pulling a few clips of different close eyes that you could do so I just put in like, two snippets of exercises. I think the overall class has about 10 and things to adjust, drawing with controls and creating blub illustrations where you have to really think about how the faces work within the blood secure for creating on No Paige, there's plenty other the exercises like this in my warm up tutorials, which are here on still share 10. Fill the pages: so I know you're probably getting tired of seeing my talking face now, but I do have a lot of stuff to say, and it is important to your learning, especially in using your sketchbook. And the biggest thing I wanted to say is, Fill your sketchbook. Don't give up on it. Don't just buy a new pretty pad and start using that fill the one that you're using. You feel so accomplished after it, and then you'll be able to close that chapter on your learning for Ott and then stop a fresh on a new one, please. This is going to be my project for you. So it's a very long winded project. Fill your sketchbook. Enjoy the process completed in that time period that you set. Oh, Philip was that thing. The whole idea of creating a theme in a plant feel sketchbook is because you know that in the 152 100 pages that you have in your sketchbook, that every single pages that will be a leading experience for you and enhance you are If you only do five pages in here, you're not going out. Excel in the art like he's I feel like you should because you started your sketchbook. You have to complete the process of learning. So please, from you fill all of your pages and enjoy your experience. 11. Final Thoughts: So I really hope that you enjoyed this short course on using our sketchbook toe level yourself up. Azan. Artist. I heard we can use some of the tricks and techniques and ideas that have expressed in this for you to pull your sketchbook up a level and have it as a learning experience and not just a place to do so. Now, don't forget your sketchbook is your private place. You never have to show anyone anything in your sketchbook. That's why for this class project, I've made recommendations of what you should do. But you don't actually have to show me any pictures off. This is your private space. If someone tries to take it from you, don't let them. This is where you're learning. If someone wants to show see gold often. Show them your real stuff. This is your mind set. This is an extension of yourself in your brain. So go wild. Enjoy using your schedule. Do the doodles in him, Make the experiments, make the mess drop down our works in him. Make the exercises in here pride during your artwork. Go out in the world and observed. This is a master tool which old creatives should use any form. I really hope that you enjoy these classes. If he did feel free to leave a review, I always like a learning and enhancing my causes for you for every time I make a new one. If you did enjoy this class and you want to learn more about illustrating, I have a ton of different clauses which are based on illustration everything from the woman exercise I was telling you about drawing from reference and how to draw a portrait for beginners. So I'm so excited that you drawing to me. And I heard that you find all the other beautiful closets here on skill shed to your liking . And hopefully I'll see you in another class. So five now.