Filling up a sketchbook is one of the best things you can do as an artist. With a sketchbook, you are able to track your development as an artist and have the freedom to practice anything. It seems like it is a daunting task, but don’t let it be, just get wild with it!
I’m going to show you some of my old (and terrible) sketchbooks I have done in the past, while also giving you some more tips along the way! After all, it’s Tip Jar. I mean, what do you expect?
Buy a cheap sketchbook. If you buy an expensive sketchbook, you will be afraid to touch it. When I bought my first Moleskine journal, I refused to draw in it for fear of ruining it. But that’s not what sketchbooks are for!!! Buy an inexpensive sketchbook, and get all cozy with it.
Sketch in pen. (Plus use post-its!!) Drawing in pen is a SCARY commitment. When you draw a line, you can’t go back. Although it may seem stressful, it can help you gain confidence in your linework. AND there is a way to go back on mistakes. Lay a sweet, ol’ post-it over a sketch you don’t like, and keep drawing over it.
Copy your favorite artists.* Look at what inspires you, and mimic it. BUT this tip comes with an asterisk: DO NOT CLAIM THEIR STYLE AS YOUR OWN ART! Keep those style practices in your sketchbook just for yourself. They are just for you to develop your art, and help you grow into your own style.
Study real life. One of the things that greatly improved my art was going to figure drawing classes. I used to search for pictures of models online, but it’s different using people who are directly in front of you. If you live in the Bay Area, there are free classes at the San Francisco Art Institute on Friday nights, and depending on what city you live in there is probably something similar at other local art schools. You can also draw people you see at cafes or supermarkets.
Make BAD drawings. Grab a pen and just draw. Draw uneven circles, lopsided bodies, and crooked backgrounds. Fill up all your pages with paints, shapes, and glitter. My best sketchbooks are filled with drawings I hate, but ones I worked around with colors. Have a lot of fun with it!!!!
Honestly, keep a sketchbook. Carry it wherever you go and try to draw in it as much as you can. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t draw as often as you should or have perfect sketches. Just draw. A lot of my sketchbook pages were included in my portfolio for colleges, but when I was first drawing on those pages, I didn’t have the intention of including them. I had fun with it, and luckily, it scored me some sweet acceptances to art schools!