When I was a freshman in high school, I started my first sketchbook. All freshman students in art class got one, so I never really questioned its purpose. As an adult, though, I do look for specific reasons why I sketchbooked then and why I continue to sketchbook now! Today, I’d like to take you through some of the sketchbook pages I’ve made, both old and new. By doing so, I hope to give you inspiration to start your own sketchbook and perhaps prompt you to try some new lettering or art techniques!
Technique Sketchbook Pages
I rarely make portraits anymore, but I’ve always loved drawing them! Pencil portraits make up a big part of my 2005-2006 sketchbook, mainly because I wanted to perfect my technique. The portrait on the right is my grandmother as a young teenager.
Five years later, I used my sketchbook to experiment with the watercolor technique that led to the Artistic Ornaments-Themed DIY Christmas Card Tutorial!
On-Location Sketchbook Page
This 2006 sketchbook page was created at a coffee shop. To make it, I asked the barista for a very strong-brewed coffee, and I used that coffee to paint a background. Once the coffee dried, I dropped more coffee on the page to make dark splatters! Decoupage, lettering, and oil pastels finished this page off.
Friendship Sketchbook Page
One of the purposes of a sketchbook can be to reflect what’s important to you in certain phases of life! In high school, I had a fun friend group, and several of my pages centered around my friends. The pages featured decoupaged photos, postcards, and little hand-written stories. I haven’t spoken to several of my high school friends in years (life happens!), but it’s still fun to take a trip down memory lane with my sketchbook pages.
Reflection Sketchbook Pages
In my experience, sketchbooking can help you to reflect on important events, either past or upcoming. In my junior year of high school, a lot of sketchbook pages focused on the next step! The page below features a decoupaged map, letters, and photos. A quote by Langston Hughes on the right side helps to add balance to the spread as whole.
The “reflection” sketchbook page below examines all the different emotions that come with graduating from high school. As an adult, we tend to forget these emotions, so I’m grateful that I kept this visual record!
Memories Sketchbook Pages
When you’re feeling nostalgic, a sketchbook can be your best friend. After moving away from Lawrence, KS, I decoupaged some of my everyday scraps of paper from my time there– business cards, sketches, and even a yoga fob — onto one page. This technique is great for the little things that are no longer useful, but you can’t quite bring yourself to throw away!
I really love using my sketchbook to re-live a favorite vacation or day. In 2016, I found a photo from our trip to Brazil and used it as the main subject of my sketchbook page. The Cristo, part of the Brazilian flag, and the map of a small village we stayed in punctuate the background!
A sketchbook can be a great place to write down and examine your goals! This 2013 page uses faux calligraphy to highlight seven basic goals for the year. And, for what it’s worth, I saw these goals so much in my sketchbook that year that I did manage to complete them!
Pretty Projects and Patterns
Now that I’m older, I notice that I tend to enjoy making “just because” pages in my sketchbook. It gives me joy to make pretty things, like the botanical letter below.
I also enjoy making simple patterns. Patterns are something that can be created while hanging out with a toddler … which is important at this stage in my life!
My Sketchbook Forecast
You’ll likely be seeing a lot more of my sketchbook projects on the TPK blog! Since becoming a mom, my sketchbook has become a fun haven for me. It’s something that I can use to explore my creative side while watching my son at the same time. Working in a sketchbook is an example that I feel good setting for him; and it’s a release that helps me to be a happier, more balanced person.
First of all, if you aren’t sure what you’d do with a sketchbook, take heart: there’s no wrong way to go about it. If you want to focus on it as a personal journal, you can do that! If you want to take my recent approach of using it for projects, that’s perfect, too. The point of a sketchbook, really, is to give you a place to make progress and grow as a creative being.
If you’re looking for a killer sketchbook, try a Shinola! As you probably gleaned from this article, I’ve worked in a lot of sketchbooks. The Shinola is by far my favorite. It’s got a great size, a wonderful paper weight, and is reasonably priced — which is why I named it as an ideal holiday gift for 2019!
For more sketchbook information, check out the TPK article How to Make a Sketchbook Journal (and Why You Should!). In it, you’ll find step-by-step photos of the creation of a sketchbook page plus additional inspiration! My list of 8 Artistic Books can also help to bring out your inner sketchbooker extraordinaire.
I hope that this little gallery of sketchbook pages encourages you to start your own sketchbook. Keep in mind that maintaining a sketchbook could be a great happiness-boosting goal for 2020! If you have any questions about sketchbooks or sketchbooking, please feel free to ask — I’m always happy to answer. 🙂 Otherwise, thanks very much for reading TPK, and be on the lookout on Thursday for the 2019 Holiday Worksheet!