7 Creative and Fun Ways to Fill Your Sketchbooks

As an artist, you’ve probably decided to keep a sketchbook where you can doodle, experiment, and play with your creativity. However, filling up those blank pages can be overwhelming, especially if you fear making mistakes and creating terrible art. Fortunately, you are not alone in this pressuring fear of filling sketchbooks. Many artists struggle with deciding what to draw, having a creative block, and wasting good paper and mediums. And while that fear may keep you in your comfort zone, leaving your sketchbooks blank might not get you out of your safety bubble and help you improve your art.

If you want to enhance your art, especially during these times when you spend most of your daily life at home, take note of these seven tips on how you can fill your sketchbook. You might discover new ways to create paintings and conceptualize art ideas in the future.

Create Color Swatches

Don’t know what to draw on the first page of your new sketchbook? Create swatches of your favorite art supplies. Doing so will get you started filling the first page without pressuring yourself to draw something perfect or gallery-worthy. You’ll also avoid feeling guilty for “wasting money” because you’re not using your drawing book. 

Color swatch your favorite drawing and painting mediums. Whether they are color pencils, watercolor, markers, pastels, or paints, testing your mediums gives you a more accurate example of what your pigments look like. Besides conquering your fear of empty pages, having color swatches is convenient for selecting colors you want to use for your future art projects. You will also assess which supplies work best for your techniques and style.

Sketch What You See

Sketchbooks are excellent avenues for you to practice your drawing and painting skills. Suppose you need inspiration for your future art projects. Sketching your surroundings might boost your creative juices and unlock your most incredible ideas. Go to your kitchen and assemble fruits or silverware to practice drawing shapes, tones, and values. Your plants are also suitable subjects of nature for future art references.

The outdoors also offer many potential subjects for you to draw in your sketchbook. The warm and relaxing tones of your favorite coffee shop will look beautiful with your new watercolor palette. Put your dip and micron pens to the test by drawing neighboring structures or the city skyline. For example, some Pag-IBIG houses and lots for sale have unique architectural designs and garden themes perfect for sketch practices. Even your local park might be a suitable spot for you to set up your easel and paint your surroundings.     

Doodle and Scribble

Who said your sketchbook shouldn’t be limited to thumbnail sketches and art studies? Fill a few pages with doodles and loose drawings. You may also scribble your thoughts, supplies you used in your drawings, dreams, goals for your art career, and plans for the week. Make a few bullet journal pages with your favorite markers, highlighters, stickers, and random pictures you’ve saved. Treat your sketchbook like a creative journal and playground where you can let your imagination run free. You might even get inspired to design your own home after hours of scribbling and free-flow writing.

Write Your Art Ideas

There are times when you’ve got an art idea but have no way of executing it in drawing or painting form. Some artists write their ideas down to help them envision the details and elements they might need to create their piece. If you need reminders on starting on your new art projects, writing your thoughts and art concepts down might help you remember. Doing so may also guide you to sketch possible references that you can choose from for your paintings or illustrations.

Bring your sketchbook with you wherever you go. Your surroundings are ideal triggers for you to start journaling your creative ideas. Take notes from what you see in your favorite museums, parks, and dining spots. Even cosmopolitan cities like Las Piñas in the Philippines may provide references that you can write about for future art pieces.

Practice Your Handwriting

Sketchbooks are also great for writing. Take out that quill and ink set you’ve been keeping in your drawers and use it to practice calligraphy. Use your metallic pigments to create shimmering words and sentences. You may also practice your signature to watermark your future artworks.

Use some pages of your sketchbooks to develop clearer penmanship. Test out various pens and inks to write your favorite song and journal entries. Write down your schedule to establish better control of your pen and keep track of your daily activities.

Start a Quote Journal

Take your calligraphy skills to better heights by starting quote journal pages in your sketchbook. List your favorite book, movie, or TV series quotes and choose which you would like to scribble. Use washi tape, stickers, and scrapbooking paper to decorate your quote journal pages. 

Having sheets other than drawings and paintings relieves you from the pressure of creating the “perfect” art all the time. Making quote journal pages also keeps your creative juices flowing and avoids a creative rut. Plus, you’ll also have cute journal spreads to upload on your social media feed that may inspire other artists to create their own.

Follow Art Challenges

Monthly art challenges such as SketchTember, InkTober, and HueVember are excellent exercises for filling your drawing books. Daily prompts allow you to draw the themes in your own style. They also help you explore subjects you might be too scared to draw, or too fascinated with to add to your new artworks.

Artists that you follow on your social media may also post “draw this in your style” challenges. Participate in those exercises to practice anatomy, form, color selection, and composition. Art challenges may seem counterproductive for you to fill up your sketchbook, but the prompts and drawing ideas are great ways for you to overcome your fear of making mistakes and “messing up” your sketchbook.

Overall, keeping a sketchbook is about practicing your drawing skills and exploring new subjects, materials, and inspiration. It might be intimidating to start doodling on your new art journal, but leaving them bare won’t improve your creativity. Consider practicing these seven tips to get you started on using your sketchbook without feeling overwhelmed.