• Simple Year End Sketchbook Page Tutorial

    This simple sketchbook page concept came about as a way to pass the time as we waited for power to be restored during a windy Colorado afternoon. (Little did I know that one of the biggest occurrences of 2021 was unfolding as I wrote!) Today, I’ll walk you through how to make a satisfying sketchbook…

    Simple Year End Sketchbook Page Tutorial

    When I was younger, I kept near-daily diaries. Now that I’m older and I have less time for writing, I like to make the occasional sketchbook page that summarizes a year or an event (like the pandemic or a celebration). For this sketchbook page, I used casual calligraphy and a stream-of-thought writing style to record the notable things that happened to me in 2021. This type of sketchbook page is so cool to look at in a couple of years! If you have a bit of extra time, I encourage you to make one!

    1. Make a Pencil Draft

    Grab your sketchbook (I use this one), then use a ruler and a pencil to mark the vertical and horizontal centers of the page. Draw a vertical line in the horizontal center, then draw a horizontal guideline in the vertical center. Then, draw two additional horizontal guidelines 1″ (~2.5 cm) on either side of your original horizontal guideline.

    Making a Sketchbook Pencil Draft
    A parallel glider makes easy work of this step.

    Now, use a Sans Serif lettering style to freehand draw a “0” to the left of your vertical guideline. Then, draw a “2” to the right of the guideline.

    Writing numbers on a sketchbook page
    It’s easiest to center a collection of four numbers if you start by drawing the middle two numbers.

    Finish up by sketching out the remaining two numbers — the “2” and the “1”. Then, draw four wavy pencil lines starting from the upper right of the page to the bottom left, as shown.

    Writing numbers on a sketchbook page
    You can draw the “2” and the “1” in the order that you prefer.

    2. Write Calligraphy

    Now, get out your favorite pen and nib combination and an ink that you enjoy. I chose to use a Brause EF66 nib (in an oblique pen) and iron gall ink, which always descends from the nib smoothly and is easy to work with. Start in the left corner of the sketchbook, and use Kaitlin Style calligraphy to begin writing out the songs you listened to the most this year.

    Writing in my 2021 sketchbook page
    While you can use any calligraphy style you want for this project, I find Kaitlin Style to be the easiest. It’s so quick and casual!

    Then, write something like your go-to 2021 outfit or the best book you read this year. As you write calligraphy, don’t go past the pencil guideline that’s furthest to the left.

    Writing in my 2021 sketchbook page

    Next, move on to filling in the middle part of the sketchbook page. I used content like “places I traveled to this year” and “the biggest surprise of the year”. Try to really hug the calligraphy around the 2021 guidelines, adding extra flourishes and loops as necessary.

    Writing in my 2021 sketchbook page
    The tighter the calligraphy wraps around “2021”, the easier it will be to identify the numbers’ outlines.

    Continue to write until you reach the end of the page. You can pick any content to include, but I decided to write about the two scary things that happened in Boulder this year.

    Writing in my 2021 sketchbook page
    2021 wasn’t a great year for Boulder, Colorado. In March, the community endured a horrific shooting at our neighborhood grocery store. Then, as I made this sketchbook page, we experienced destructive wildfires less than a mile from the house.

    Finish up by writing the date between the guideline on the right and the right edge of the sketchbook page.

    Writing in my 2021 sketchbook page
    I actually got my date wrong — oops! Yesterday was the 30th, not the 29th. Even if you’re not completely accurate all the time, it’s important to date your pages. You’ll be glad you did as you peruse your sketchbook later!

    3. Erase Your Pencil Lines

    This is the part where your sketchbook page really comes to life! Use a good eraser and gentle motion to get rid of all the pencil guidelines.

    Erasing pencil guidelines on a sketchbook page

    If you need to, add a couple of extra curls and flourishes around the “2021” numbers to help them stand out. Then, sit back and admire your simple year in review sketchbook page! It’s so interesting to revisit a page like this because it’s personal history and art all at once. (And — bonus: it makes for fabulous calligraphy practice!)

    Simple Year End Sketchbook Page Tutorial

    If you like this sketchbook page concept, you can browse some of the other sketchbook tutorials here on the TPK site! For the ultimate 2022 jumpstart, get Creative & Collected for the New Year! Among other limited edition items, it’s available in the TPK Catalog through Tuesday, January 4th.

    This was my view as I worked on this sketchbook page … you can see the smoke from the Marshall wildfire, which was burning a couple of miles east of our house.

    Thanks to everyone who checked in on our wellbeing after the fires yesterday! We were lucky to evade their consequences, save for not having electricity for a couple of days. And, honestly, that was okay … because it gave me an excuse to sit down and make this sketchbook page. Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year — and a prosperous, productive, and creative 2022!


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