Drawing and accountability are two words that don’t automatically spring to mind as comfortable bedfellows. After all, the creative process is intensely personal and not necessarily for sharing either!  

Accountability summons to mind opening yourself up to another person to hold you to account! 

(My sketchbook incidentally has become my accountability mechanism over the years – more on this below.) 

Many of us would have experienced this by heading off to a local art class to get feedback and learn how to draw. What happens though on a continuous basis? Do you ever really think about what being responsible with the creative talent you are developing needs to look like? More importantly what types of things you need to put in place to support you achieve it?

How do you reconcile something like setting a goal with aiming to complete a drawing? Goals we have inadvertently set for ourselves when we pick up a sketchbook to draw! 

Or perhaps you don’t really want the pressure or headache of too targeted an approach! You’re happy to simply carry on with what you do and how you do it. 

This article is for those of you who are passionate about improving their drawing skill or talent and not for those that are perhaps happy with their status quo and current standards! 

Accountability may just be the key to unlocking the struggles you feel you have with becoming better at your creative skill. 

When we pick up a new project, we start down a road paved with good intentions. We don’t realise it but we are employing visioneering. Our imaginations take flight. Our visions of the beautiful drawings we will fill our sketchbooks with give us enough of an impetus to get us started. 

Think about it. How many of us buy beautiful sketchbooks, paper, art materials and so on…with the picture of how we will use them and what we will fill them with? 

Here’s the truth! It doesn’t matter how good you feel yourself to be! You may be amazing at drawing but have no wherewithal to see things through to completion, or fail to stay motivated long enough. You may get discouraged and fall at the first hurdle of perfectionism. Or you may not know how to get going…And so on….  

Getting started is sometimes easier than maintaining momentum! 

Our first and foremost reason for turning to a creative pastime such as drawing is that many of us are detaching ourselves away from the day to day trivia of life. We create to have fun, we don’t necessarily have a goal or a focus to what we want to produce! 

Our creativity has been largely labelled as a hobby or we have been culturally conditioned to believe that being creative is not as valuable or valued as other areas of day to day living. 

The irony of course is that through developing a creative habit you can be truly proud of, developing a set of “sportsman like” proverbial qualities should be part of your learning agenda, even if you are simply drawing for fun or as an outlet. 

There are ways of embedding these principles without feeling as if you are turning your creative talent into a chore. 

Aside from consistency and good old fashioned practice, the other quality that needs to get added to the mix is accountability. 

Accountability is rarely spoken about within the context of creating but it is one of the most effective ways in which you can learn FASTER. 

The Pre Steps to Drawing and Accountability! 

There are a range of pre steps to think about when approaching drawing which I have spoken about in great length in other blog posts. 


What you are aiming to achieve? What do you want to draw? One thing? Fill a sketchbook in order to paint a painting? Is there a time frame? Is there a learning outcome….and so on. Start to visualise holding the finished article in your hand. Defining what you want to achieve is the first step in working out the many steps of the journey to get there. It is the steps of this creative journey that enable you to be accountable for something.


Good communication either with yourself (yes, you can be accountable with only yourself if you have the will power to see it through) or with another person who is on the same journey as you are! 

Check in

Create opportunities where you check in with yourself regularly. Just the idea of doing this creates conscious action taking different to how you may have previously approached this. This is great if you are sticking to it, but what if you have fallen off the wagon or not really got out of the starting gates with things? Having someone with whom you can do this is very important. 

Follow through. 

Yes – even through the good, bad and ugly! This is why the sketchbook format is such a wonderful medium for this. I mentioned earlier that my sketchbook proved my solid companion with regards to remaining accountable. I became focused on drawing in it on a daily basis and charted my progress by stamping the date in the sides of each page! 


Implement a bit of dutch courage. Accountability is the pillow of courage! It becomes a welcome respite where you can share your challenges with another and take a moment to reboot, reflect and then use as a launchpad to get going again. 

Top tips with accountability and drawing! 

The below top tips are the ones I incorporate into my Scratch to Sketchbook Programme which is designed to take you through a process of learning to draw, grow and develop into a great artist. 

  1. Be clear about how you want accountability to work for you. Revisit the tips above. Always aim to have a short term or longer term goal. Get to know yourself. 
  2. Find someone who can support you in a similar position. The great thing about drawing is that it is portable so you can meet others and build a network of likeminded individuals. One of the reasons Emily’s Notebook is so successful is that it is founded on a community principle – my signature programmes encourage interaction with others and one naturally develops a strong connection with others in a similar position of learning to draw. 
  3. Celebrate the fails and get back to it! Keep going. When it comes to drawing we are so easily dissuaded and made to feel as if its not meant for us. Hold that vision of you holding a sketchbook in your hands and keep going. Did you know that the most successful people are not the most talented but the ones that persevere. 
  4. Focus on one thing at a time and avoid overwhelm! Develop laser focus and go step by step. We can sometimes jump from one lily pad to another with our creative projects and many of us have unfinished projects as a result. Do you understand the key foundational principles of learning to draw for example that can support you map out the areas of focus? 
  5. Keep learning! Even if you are fabulous at drawing – BE CURIOUS. Go explore, read and keep pushing yourself further. By expanding your potential to learn you expand your potential for growth too!
  6. Stay motivated. Motivation is fed by different sources of inspiration. Work to understand what gets you inspired. 
  7. Tomorrow is a new day! Keep moving forward and don’t let discouragement stop you!
  8. Stay present. What do I mean by this! Enjoy the magic of being creative. Although you have some ideas about the goals you may have set when it comes to being creative, always enter into the spirit of the present moment. I talk constantly about enjoying the journey and not the outcome. In our culture we have been taught to focus on the perfect outcome. Rather than strive to achieve it, aim to simply enjoy the present moment. You will reach your outcome faster if you do! 
  9. Budget your time! Stephen R Covey famously quotes that “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” The biggest reason people do not engage fully is that they start the process thinking they need to invest copious amounts of time in what they draw. 
  10. Reward yourself! Woohoo. Order that sketchbook the moment you complete one. Remember to celebrate your wins. 

So my friends ready to be accountable? I want you to drop me an email me if you would love to discover ways to be accountable when it comes to your creative process.  

If you’re ready to take this to the next level I’ll be watching out for you on my Sketch from Scratch to Sketchbook Programme which you can find here! 

My concluding point to my message is that once you master this process of accountability you will find other areas of your life falling into order too. Your creativity and lessons learned whilst drawing will stand you in good stead. You are creating an ordered way of thinking when you draw and your actions surrounding your drawing practice will spill into other areas of your life as they have mine. 

To your drawing success.