My sketchbook passion took root in high school. Every year, my art teacher supplied us with fresh new sketchbooks, and every year, I relished working in mine. Now that I’m older, I still love working in a sketchbook, even if I go in spurts! There are some months that I create several pages, and others that I’m just not feeling it. Part of the goal of today’s article is to show you that a sketchbook isn’t a project that puts pressure on you! Instead, it waits patiently and is ready whenever you feel like adding interest to its pages.
About My Sketchbook
These days, I’m rocking a Shinola sketchbook. I wasn’t aware of this particular sketchbook until Jess of Greenleaf & Blueberry told me about it. “It’s my ‘Goldilocks’ sketchbook,” she told me. I immediately purchased one!
This sketchbook is the perfect size at 8″ x 9.25″ (20.32 cm x 23.49 cm). It’s small enough to carry anywhere, but big enough to accommodate any artistic subject I want to tackle. Its 100# paper stands up pretty well to watercolor, even if it might bubble a bit. That said, you don’t have to splurge on a sketchbook to have a good experience! You can use anything as a sketchbook/art journal — see this article for more details.
You’ll probably recognize several of these pages from previous blog posts or my social media accounts. I hope that seeing all the pages here together gives them a new context and inspires you to work in your own sketchbook!
1. The Inaugural Page
As often happens with new sketchbooks, I had “white page syndrome” and was unable to think of a good topic. So, I looked to Samantha Dion Baker’s Draw Your Day for inspiration. I drew my day — but I have to admit that the day took an entire week to finish. Despite the time it takes, I love the idea of commemorating special days in my sketchbook!
2. Simple Pattern and Botanical “B” Spread
I created the “B” in this spread for an illustration tutorial. I chose to create a “B” because it’s the first letter of my last name. The laurel doodles with gold dots took me about a week to make. They were a good project because I could use a regular pen and sit on the couch while my toddler played. After I finished the laurels, I made Arabic Gold dots to help the page come to life!
3. Instagram Copycat Page (Unfinished)
This page is a “copycat” page. I saw this watercolor pattern on Kirsten Sevig’s Instagram (see her original artwork here), and I decided to recreate it in my sketchbook. The beauty of a sketchbook is it’s personal, so you can try out all sorts of different techniques! Sometimes, it’s helpful to replicate others’ work to see if you can learn something new.
4. Gold Geometry and Houseplant Spread
I actually don’t love this gold/white/black geometry page, which is why I haven’t completed it yet. Maybe I’ll be able to make it cool with some lines or lettering, so I’ll work on it more in the future! The houseplant is just a fun little illustration that I made with a Pilot G2 pen, brush pens, and water.
5. RELAX and California Spread
Black and white is always an elegant color scheme! The “RELAX” is a doodle I made during our evening family hangouts in the basement. I created the California word map for a blog tutorial. Eventually, I made it into an art print.
6. New Year’s Eve Page
After I made that first “Draw Your Day” page (and realized how much time it took), I vowed only to draw special days. New Year’s Eve qualified as such a day! There was excellent food and even better company, and I wanted to commemorate that. I made a two-part tutorial out of this page: A Foolproof “Day in the Life” Sketchbook Layout Formula and How to Add Color to Your “Day in the Life” Sketchbook Layout
7. Keep Calm & Carry On Galaxy Page
I made this page in response to the coronavirus crisis. It just felt good to try out a new artistic technique and write soothing words!
8. Coronavirus Crisis Quarantine Page
I created this page to record what the coronavirus crisis looks like for us. In a year or two, the details will be foggy, and I want to help myself remember — and have something to show my toddler when he’s older.
9. Landscaping Plans Spread
To be honest, after I drew the Coronavirus Quarantine page, I realized that I want to change our house’s appearance. So, I took to my sketchbook to plan out a landscaping overhaul and new paint job! It was fun to get to reimagine the house, and this page has a practical purpose: we’ve been able to show it to landscaping companies and painters to get price quotes.
10. Porch Layout Page (Unfinished)
This is a page I’m still working on. Here, I’ve used my sketchbook to design a screened-in porch that we want to add on to our house. The sketchbook helped me to come up with an effective furniture layout and imagine what the outside of the porch might look like.
11. Keep Your Face to the Sunshine Page
This one probably looks familiar: I just wrote a tutorial over how to make it last week!
12. Remy at 20 Months Page (Unfinished)
I don’t have a baby book for my toddler, so I want to put some of his milestones here in my sketchbook. I am using waterproof ink here so I can go over the illustration with watercolor. The finished page will feature lettering and calligraphy to the left of the illustration.
13. Remy’s Sketchbook Spread
This is the last thing in my sketchbook so far: an … um … abstract piece created by Remy. I have to admit that I was delighted he had an interest in drawing in the sketchbook! If he wants his own Shinola when he’s a little older, I’d get it for him in a nanosecond. How great would it be to get to sketchbook with your kid/s?
I hope that you enjoyed looking through these pages! After I build up 15 more or so, I’ll write an update blog post. In the meantime, if you have any questions about sketchbooking, please don’t hesitate to ask! I think that a sketchbook is fabulous for anyone to have, and I’ll be thrilled if I can help you get started. Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend!