Tips and tricks for keeping a sketchbook

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Why bother?

If your asking yourself, why bother? I feel ya! I often feel disengaged and don’t touch my sketchbooks for days because I feel my phone is easier to keep notes in. Often I’m ‘too busy’ to come up with interesting thoughts or ideas and to be honest, I’d much rather watch Netflix than sit doodling in a book. Eventually it comes full circle and once I get back into the habit of keeping a visual journal I really enjoy it. I should also mention ‘sketchbooks’ aren’t just for sketching, so don’t tap out quite yet if you don’t believe yourself to be much of an artist.

So, a few reasons why keeping a sketchbook could be beneficial to you…

  • It’s a really nice way to record your everyday, kind of like a diary – that you can then look back on in years to come.
  • Positive use of time – you can still be a couch potato, but be a couch potato doing something interesting!
  • Brain training – encouraging your mind to think and develop thoughts that are usually disposed of.
  • Being creative is an excellent tool – skills developed through creative thinking can be applied to all jobs and walks of life. Practicing creativity will encourage us to think outside the box and stand out from the crowd a little!
  • And most of all, it’s just a handy thing to carry around… especially when our phones run out of battery and we need to note something down!
10 Tips and Tricks
  1. Keep it portable – if its small enough to stick in your pocket or in your bag then your more likely to carry it around with you. The most uninspiring sketchbooks I have are ones I’ve bought and hardly touched because they’re too big or heavy to take around with me.
  2. Use it for everything – as I said, sketchbooks aren’t just for drawing – write in it, design in it, take notes. Wether your sketchbook contains nothing but shopping lists and silly poems or the next NASA rocket design it doesn’t matter –  just fill it up!
  3. Don’t be precious – accept mistakes and imperfection, sketchbooks can be what you want them to be, but they’re usually more interesting when they’re unedited and uncalculated.
  4. Keep it up – a sketchbook is really easy to start, but even easier to stop! Thankfully its a forgiving hobby in that there are no wrong answers and no time limits – but the more you make it a habit the easier and more enjoyable it becomes!
  5. Break the rules – not that there are any rules to break, but avoid being neat and tidy – use the pages differently from how you were taught in school – write from right to left, draw upside-down, be inventive!
  6. Jumpstart your pages  – sometimes a white page is daunting, so to avoid ‘fear of the blank’ I suggest prepping some of the pages before hand. Add a wash of paint, or a few random lines and scribbles so you worry less about making mistakes when you turn onto a new page.
  7. Cheat – by this I mean nicking ideas from other people – creativity often comes from inspiration (nicking ideas from other people) – so if you like the way something looks, or the way someone else has done something then try it for yourself – the art world calls this ‘appropriation’ and it’s totally encouraged!
  8. Play with medium and colour – monochrome is fine, if that’s your style. But don’t forget about colour! Also use mark making tools other than a pen from time to time,  I often use a twig and some ink to draw with, but it could be anything!
  9. Don’t try too hard – sketchbooks aren’t for masterpieces, they’re to help ideas develop and end up being a place for happy accidents to occur!
  10. Draw – try not to draw ‘things’ as you see them literally – in my opinion that’s what cameras are for. I find the most interesting drawings are those where the subject is the least important thing! If you find this hard, start with blind drawings (drawing without looking at the paper)!

If anyone is interested in the art I do, I have a separate artist Instagram – so take a look if you like! @ronamcmillanartist 

Ciao for now

Rona X @ronamcmillan

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One thought on “Tips and tricks for keeping a sketchbook

  1. I love this!! I have a bullet journal and I have about a million lists of things to do there; but also random drawings and some reflections on my adventures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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