5 WOW Creative Ideas to Fill Your Sketchbook | Olga Bonitas | Skillshare

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5 WOW Creative Ideas to Fill Your Sketchbook

teacher avatar Olga Bonitas, Watercolor girl

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      WOW Idea 1. Illustration with a Cut Out Window


    • 4.

      WOW Idea 2. Collage


    • 5.

      WOW Idea 3. Come Alive Picture


    • 6.

      WOW Idea 4. Calendar


    • 7.

      WOW Idea 5. Illustration with Real Objects


    • 8.

      Final thoughts


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About This Class

Discover 5 WOW ideas to illustrate your daily life, your dreams, and your emotions in an artist's sketchbook.

For several years I've been illustrate my own universe by mixing styles, materials, and techniques. I'm constantly looking for new ideas, techniques, compositional solutions and effects for my illustrations.

You find 5 of my discoveries in this class. These are very simple but spectacular ideas that you can easily apply and adapt to your needs. And get wonderful illustrations. I'll show you a few examples of how each idea can be applied.

I believe having fun is one of the most important components of the creative process. Therefore, I made the class short, dynamic and practical.

This class is for illustrators of all levels who would like to learn cool methods how to tell the stories.

To take this class, you will need your usual favorite drawing materials, a sketchbook (or loose pages), scissors, a stationery knife, glue, white gouache, and paper clips.


  • BONUS:
    30 Topics to draw when you want to draw, but you don't know what exactly
    You will find it  in the class resources (Projects & Resources tab).
    Download it, choose the one that inspires you, and draw.

The classes I mentioned in the video:
Sustainable Sketchbook: Create with Recycled Paper & Learn How to Draw
Secrets of the Perfect Watercolor Washes


xoxo, Olga

Meet Your Teacher

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Olga Bonitas

Watercolor girl

Top Teacher

Hello, my name is Olga.
I'm a professional illustrator working both traditional and digital media. But my passion is watercolor.

I like to experiment and come up with something new (for example, mix watercolor, collage and embroidery ...), to make small animations and film my creative processes.

For the past few years, my passion has been sketching. This is an absolutely exciting and mind-changing topic for me. The world of a creative person changes once and for all when he begins to draw from life in a artbooks. I have created several classes that help you to start your very first sketchbook and keep draw regulary.

I share my creativity and workflow on my instagram @olga_bonitas.

See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Hi there, I'm [inaudible]. For several years I've will illustrate my own universe in an artist sketchbook by mixing styles, materials, and techniques. I'm constantly looking for new ideas, techniques, compositional solutions, and effects for my illustrations. You find five of my discoveries in this class. They are very simple but spectacular ideas that you can easily apply and adapt to your needs and get wonderful illustrations. I think this class will be great for beginner artists and intermediate artists too. I believe having fun is one of the most important components of the creative process. Therefore, I made the class short, dynamic, and practical. You will definitely be impatient to open your sketchbook and start to draw, I promise. Creativity should be fun and enjoyable. Now let's start. 2. Materials: First, let's talk about the materials we need. They are your usual favorite drawing stuff. I have watercolors, brushes, colored pencils, your favorite sketchbook, of course. I love albums of a fairly large format, but you choose what you want. Unusual tools that come in handy are scissors, a stationery knife. By the way, it is convenient to use a kitchen cutting board, so not to damage the table surface. Any glue, whitewash, and paperclips can also be handy. That's all. 3. WOW Idea 1. Illustration with a Cut Out Window: The first idea I want to talk to you about is an illustration with a cutout window. On one page, there is a window, on the other, the illustration itself. This is the idea for two pages of your sketchbook, and it works exactly when you turn the page. This video was a huge success on my Instagram and Pinterest. Very simple idea to do, but spectacular. We seem to be peeping through the window behind what is hidden on the next page. Such an element of intrigue and mystery. The window can be of different shapes. For example, round, the heart shape is meaningful, showing your attitude towards what is depicted on the next page. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this illustration is quite detailed. I drew it for an hour or maybe two, but there is not always so much time and, let's be honest, there is not always so much desire to draw in such detail. What to do? Here I would like to say a few words about my approach to drawing any sketchbook. I truly believe that sketchbook takes as long time as you have. Of course, it's really cool if you have the opportunity to spend half a day on one spread, one illustration, enjoying the process and all that. But often we are all limited in time and it is not a reason not to create. If you have 30 minutes, then you need to think about how you can help yourself save time and create an illustration quickly. For example, you can use a photo. Print a photo of what you want to remember and use this idea to capture the moment in your sketchbook pages. Here you can add some details, words, or so on. One more example of this idea. Autumn has come, it always hard for me to accept it. The rains began and one gloomy day I started drawing rain. But actually, I was drawing my mood. This is meditation for me. As you can see, here is the illustration for the entire spread and look what I did next. I drew raindrops on this page and cut them out. There are two ways, you can use scissors. It is quite convenient for large shapes and such small drops are more convenient to cut with stationery knife but don't forget to protect your desk and sketchbook. Put a kitchen cutting board down. Here is such rain and I added some more clear details. See, if you use a stationery knife for cutting, then the parts remain intact and can be used in the illustration. Find a suitable place for them and glue. Here are the illustration, on this side there are rain and the puddle, and on the other side, falling drops. Such a two-sided effect. This is the first page of my autumn sketchbook and since I associated autumn with long rains, then such a beginning is quite natural. Here on the flyleaf, I glued the envelope. It is convenient to put all sorts of little things there, tickets, cards, for example, which I want to keep because they help to remember me the atmosphere and emotions of the moment of my life. 4. WOW Idea 2. Collage: The next idea I want to share with you is a collage. There are two reason to try collage in your sketchbook. First, it saves time. Remember what I told you in the previous video, often printing the picture and cutting it out is much faster than drawing it. Especially if the picture is quite complicated. Secondly, it looks modern, cool and fashionable. Look at, for example, a big brand advertisement, or magazine designs, or popular blogs, collage techniques are often used there. In this spread, I want to capture my family at a specific point in time. I picked up the photos and printed them on a black and white printer. In fact, is that September 1st was an important day for my family. Each of us has experienced great changes. The son went to a new kindergarten. The daughter entered a new school. The husband has a new job, I also started a new art course, but my main task was to support everyone in this stressful time. Life hack, if possible, it's better to take fresh photos on a light background. In this case, it will be easier to make all the people the right size. Cut out all pictures. It's pretty funny to hold miniature of my family in my hands, like toys. Now, I need to find a way to place them. I like this composition. Now I want to make a background. Just think in what color you would like to paint this memory. I have this beautiful, warm, delicate peach color. The brush is dirty, it happens, I'll fix it now, that's better. This technique is convenient to use when you want to save an important situation. It may be those day events, your thoughts to the people about whom this spread will be. It can only be about you and your photos here, or about your friends, partner, colleagues, pets. Who will be the hero of your collage? Believe me, very little time will pass maybe in a couple of month, you will look at this spread and say thanks to yourself for keeping this moment in your sketchbook. I wet the paper and paint the background easily. I enjoy this process. Why do you need to wet the paper? So that the paint runs smoothly without visible brushstrokes. Actually, I have a class on how to make perfect watercolor washes. If you're interested, check it out. It helps make your washes look more professional. The background has dried out, I take my toy family and glue us on. Now I want to choose color of pencils that will look good on the background color. I'm just trying colors right now. Each of us will have his own color. Now, I am drawing bubbles to write inside a message with information about what important happened with each person. I add a little magic to make sure everything works out. From the artistic point of view, this line united all the figures. As a final touch, I add a contrasting stripe here and write a date on it. Well, my illustration is ready. I love how black and white characters look against the peach background, and I like the bright green spot at the bottom of the page. You can add some more elements, but I'll probably stop here. As you can see, that is a very simple technique, but there are so many meaningful and important memories in this sketchbook spread. 5. WOW Idea 3. Come Alive Picture: The idea Number 3 is to add movement to your illustration. For those of you who have watched my other classes might have noticed that I like, make my illustrations come alive. Let's see how it works. For example, last winter, I painted a cityscape. This is a street not far from my home. It used to be my son and I often draw well on it on a scooter. I planned to draw us on a separate paper and glue us on. But at some point, I felt of making it more interesting way. Look what happened. I love this story very much. I covered it in detail in my class sustainable sketchbook. Check it out. You'll find the old process of creating this spread there. Let's take a look at another example of this idea. I have a balcony garden. This year I planted strawberries in pots for the first time. It turned out that it blooms with scarlet flowers. Can you imagine? Did you know that this happens? I actually was surprised. This is my first harvest. But when I drew all these, I realized that there is still some nice detail needed. Then I added a little bee. I really like this trick. To us, stories like this always have great success on social media. We all know that videos are getting more attention now and a color of picture is a super cool way to surprise your friends. 6. WOW Idea 4. Calendar: The idea number 4 is to use calendar in some way in your sketchbook. I think there are a lot of ways to apply this idea. I'll show you a few of my examples. For example, here I am drawing June. June is my month. I mean, my birthday is in June. I treat this moth in special way. I made it in a minimalistic style because it was important for me to complete the picture on the right, but not to argue with it for attention. Therefore, drawing the calendar on a piece of paper in the same color at the background, turned out to be the perfect solution. This is my birthday. This is how it looks. On the right is a garden seasonal sketch and the next to it is a calendar for the month. In this example, I turn the calendar into an art object. As you might have guessed, this is again my attempt to accept the fact that autumn has come. Drawing in the sketch book is therapeutic. As you can see, there are a lot of details here. I added the 2021 label inscription, let's get started and captions. Another idea of how you can play with the calendar in a sketchbook, is to do small sketches every day. In 2015 when I was just starting to draw regularly in sketchbooks, I tried it. Everyday I drew a small illustration of what happened that day. You see, I didn't finish this part. But if you are more disciplined person than me then maybe you will like this idea. The last example with the calendar. This is also my pretty old sketchbook. It says here, just a few days and spring. I was looking forward to spring very much then and I wrote each of the remaining coming todays in a different way. I felt each of them. I realized that soon, very soon spring will come and I decided to feel every day of waiting with something pleasant. I wrote it down here. Such a spring advent. I always say that in a sketchbook you draw yourself and for yourself and if you get a cool illustration, then this is a nice side effect. But the main thing of creativity is your feelings. 7. WOW Idea 5. Illustration with Real Objects: That this idea will blow your mind is to add real objects in your illustrations. This moose made a lot of people fall in love with him and the video went viral. The idea is very simple. I cut the flowers and was about to throw this twig away, but my imagination quickly saw the moose antlers in it. You already know what happened next. Then I decided to finish drawing the spread with a pattern of branches. I replaced the actual branch with the printed one to keep my moose in a sketchbook. In this illustration, I put real flowers in a bicycle basket. I really like how the mix of drown and life looks. The picture is fresh and juicy. I even printed postcards with the sketch for my friends. This is a portrait of my daughter. Here I weaved a real chamomile into her hair. The short-lived beauty of the flower remained on the photo. I'm going to put the printed flower here to save it in my sketchbook. I am sure that you will find your own way to use flowers, plants, or maybe other objects in your illustrations. 8. Final thoughts: Well dears, I hope you've got what you're expected from this class, inspires to draw and experiment, or maybe you've already drawn some illustration while you were watching this class. Please, share your artwork here in the Project and Resources tab. I'm looking forward for your class projects. Please leave your feedback, it's important for me because I am an ordinary person who really appreciates your opinion about my class. It is important for our Skillshare search engine. Your feedback helps this class be more visible. Follow me on Instagram and Pinterest if we haven't met before, I am open to communication. Remember that creativity makes people happier. Bye-bye.