Keeping a sketchbook is a great way to document your creative development. It also helps you to get yourself drawing and practicing regularly. At the same time, the sketchbook also has a very practical purpose: It improves your observation skills and can help you sketch individual parts of an entire motif. Later on, you can assemble those individual parts in larger works.
Keep in mind that even Leonardo da Vinci was a major proponent of using his sketchbooks. The arguably most reputable painter of all time took his little helper with him wherever he went and drew objects while he was observing them.
Apart from all the artistic advantages of keeping a sketchbook, it is even required to do so in many art degrees.
Let us find out how to start a sketchbook and use it to properly to improve your drawing skills.
1. Don’t worry, it’s just a sketchbook
Not every one of your drawings has to be a masterpiece in its own right. Sketchbooks are – as the name suggests – for sketches you are supposed to learn something from. After all, the final examination does not take place with the sketch that serves as a reference, but with the actual work.
That being said, not every sketch has to be a complex motif. If you have problems filling your sketchbook, you should draw simple things that interest you. This can be a landscape or a glass in front of you just as well as a study of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”. You are free in your choice of subject and technique.
If you are given a guideline as part of your studies, you should of course stick to it in order not to miss the subject.
But look at it this way: If you are given a task at least you don’t have to worry about what and how to paint anymore.
2. Make it yourself comfortable
A sketchbook should be suitable for taking it with you wherever you go. You also want to sketch where the subject is directly in front of you and you can observe it up close – like in a museum or in a landscape scenario.
A smaller sketchbook is the ideal companion when you’re on the go. A larger version is more suitable for more detailed work on the road, but only as long as you can take it with you without any effort.
If you are serious, you can keep two separate sketchbooks: One for travel, one for home.
3. How to start a sketchbook: Sketch more often!
As with everything in life, you have to practice to become better at art. It is best to use your sketchbook every day. A little bit every day will improve your drawing skills more than if you do it once a month for a whole day.
Learning the technical basics of sketching and painting is like learning vocabulary in school. Constant practice in small doses beats irregular practice in very high doses.
4. Divide the page into different sections
We all know this nightmarish feeling when the white side stares at us and we do not know where to start.
First of all: Don’t worry – it’s the same for everyone and only gets better with more experience.
Second: Divide your sketchbook page into individual parts. You can subdivide these sections freely. Either divide the page into a strict grid or keep the separations more flexible. Either way, it will be easier for you to begin if you don’t have to fill the whole page with a single motif.
5. Keep your sketchbook like a lexicon
Just as you can divide the pages of a book into several designs, you can also use it to add notes or descriptions to a sketch. In this context, you can also work on your calligraphy skills.
The finished mix of sketches and captions, if properly managed, will look incredibly beautiful and professional at the same time.
6. Date the individual sketches
Only if you assign your sketches to a specific date, you can later track your progress like a diary.
Apart from that, a sketchbook is also a unique reminder of all the experiences you have made while filling the pages.
7. Use your sketchbook like you want it
Ultimately it is your book and you alone decide how you want to use it.
If you take into account some of the suggestions presented here, you will be happy about your collected works in many years to come. How to start a sketchbook becomes easy once you actually get going and fill the first blank page of your book.