sketchpad pencilsOne important thing which I learned from my art school experience is to regularly use an artist sketchbook.

At first, it wasn’t easy finding time, and usually I would rather be painting than drawing.

But over the years I grew more fonder of sketching.


Nowadays, I regularly draw and doodle. I still do it for many reasons, and I will list them below.


Ways my Artist Sketchbook Drawing Has Helped Me Grow as an Artist


  1. pencil eraserIt is something that helped me immensely in developing ideas for full scale artworks. Many of my oil paintings, such as Triumph,  originated from basic sketches that I developed while watching T.V. or on a road trip. I have learned to make good use of my time in such cases, since it can often be difficult to dedicate adequate amount of time to drawing in my daily routine.

  2. I have learned the hard way to always have one nearby. I have a hardcover one near my bed, a couple spiral bound sketchbooks in my studio, and a small sketchpad in my car. I also have a healthy supply of drawing pencils, erasers, and pencil sharpeners. There is nothing worse than a great idea springing to mind, and having nothing to record it on. I learned that in such cases, when I finally do get to my sketchbook, the real inspiration is gone.

    These days, I try to always have one on hand all the time. There is nothing like the spur of the moment expression that a sketchpad provides.

  3. sketchbook drawingI learned how to sketch a picture the right way. I treat my sketchbook like a journal. I write in it, jot notes, draw, and mainly doodle. For me, it is very relaxing to doodle. I often look at them afterwards, and say to myself, “Wow, I did that?”. This is how my main process often originates. I produce a doodle that has a subconscious theme. Actually, the theme is often discovered afterwards by staring at the doodle. I then pattern a detailed drawing or design after the doodle. I have many drawings produced in this way. Some of them have become inspirations for full scale oil paintings!


Here, I will share with you some things I have learned over the years concerning the value of a sketchpad.

Sketchbook Tips and Ideas


  1. Consistently sketching allows artists to greatly increase their drawing skills. Early on, to hone my drawing skills, if I saw something worthy of recording, I would sketch it!

  2. A sketchbook is expressive. I have found that by doodling and doing free-form drawings with pencils in my sketchbook, I am expressing particular feelings I am having at the time. Many of my sketches there are completed very fast. Of course these are not meant to be shown publicly, but have often been the basis for many drawings and paintings.

  3. pencil sharpenerDrawing a sketch everyday. One thing I learned very early in my art career is to dedicate myself to completing at least one sketch a day. Doing so has resulted in a huge collection of sketchbooks.

  4. I always try to have at least one large sketchpad available in my studio. This allows for more freedom to draw, and often results in expressive sketches for myself.

  5. Sketch books are often cheap and affordable. If you cannot afford to buy good quality hardcover or leather bound sketchbooks, do not worry. A cheap sketchbook from a department store like Walmart serves the same purpose.

  6. I love to look back through my old sketchbooks occasionally. Sometimes I see long forgotten ideas that I have recorded, and am inspired to create a painting or drawing based on it.

Nowadays, children learn early about drawing by using Etch a Sketch. Many are learning to sketch and draw online or on their computer, by using programs such as Corel Draw, Google Sketch Up.

One thing is obvious: Sketching software and online drawing will never compete with the value of a good old fashioned sketchbook!


Do you use a sketchbook to record your ideas? How often do you use them?




  1. Sketches does help on developing your drawing skills that's why I believe on what has been said on this site. Plus you can always comeback to them analyze and later on make some improvements for your next drawing.

  2. B"H I love this article and have shared it on F.B. I agree with all you say. I love to sketch myself and carry a sketchbook around with me. Sometimes what catches my eye is so fleeting that my 'sketch' is more like shorthand. I have a SKETCHBOOK page on my website where I show some of my sketches, many unfinished.

  3. @Graham Matthews
    .. just shared your sketchbook page on Facebook! :)

  4. B"H Wow - thank you, Graham, for your fantastic support. Thanks for looking at my website and leaving a great comment on it about my sketchbook - and for sharing my sketchbook page. May you enjoy using watercolour in your sketching, too. A pencil is needed, too, for speed. Also, a pencil (or watercolour pencils, which can later be turned into watercolour paintings) can be used more easily when standing - in shop doorways when sheltering from rain, for example (which is where I sketched many of my rain drawings).

  5. I think this is information is great yet i don't know how to draw with a pencil, i started with a brush and find it easy to just paint with out a full sketch. I know it may sound backwards yet i never went to school for art. I started painting on nails(finger nails) and spray painting. Maybe i should go to school to further skill and craft. yet i never thought i had to because it's q God given gift and talent. I would like to learn more about charcoal and pencils. I would like if you check out my site; it's just a few pieces.My site is and tell me what you think

  6. @Anonymous
    Well, I would like to say that even though I have given all these tips about how sketchbooks have helped me, I do not think anyone who does not sketch is any less of an artist. On the other hand, sketching will help you get much better at drawing, and give you a load of ideas for further paintings. I recommend trying to sketch regularly. It doesn't matter if you think your drawings are bad. No one will ever see it if you do not want them to.

    As for charcoal and pencils, check out this link

    I think you have a great start on your site. I recommend adding social network buttons. You will also find more tips if you go here:

    I will be writing an article here soon on how to enhance an artist website or art blog to make it visually appealing, organized, and search engine friendly, so check back soon!

  7. @Chana Helen

    Thanks so much Chana... much appreciated!!

  8. I came to this site, and your article, from Chana's coaching; thanks Chana, thanks Graham; good advice, pleasantly presented. jeff shapiro

  9. I came to this site from Chana's coaching; thanks Chana, thanks Graham; good advice, well-written. jeff shapiro

  10. @Jeff Shapiro
    Your very welcome Jeff! Glad to have you here!

  11. I would be lost without my sketchbook/art journal!
    It's my peace and sanity... :d


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