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