Why do you need to create sketching lists?

Ever asked yourself “what shall I draw?”

Thought so….

….And feeling stuck is enough to put you off maintaining a sketchbook habit.

I thought I would share the exercise I use to keep my sketching ideas flowing.

Suggestions for inspiration are around us everywhere and all the time. If you search for 30 day sketchbook challenges for example,  you will get thousands of ideas to try if you get stuck.  Whenever I have tried one, however, I tend to find myself dipping in and out of the lists provided or picking and choosing my sketchbook subjects. You may have different experiences to this though.

I think that there is an important factor when it comes to sketching and staying inspired linked to creating meaning. You see, alongside knowing what you want to draw comes another challenge. How do you maintain the momentum to keep going?

First off, remember my post about how to stay inspired?  In this post I talk about your what and your why and challenge you to figure out what motivates you to want to sketch. Do have a read of it as it will start to get you thinking and will form a great approach for building your sketchbook ideas.

….Why is this powerful? You will discover your artistic style and voice as a result whilst you sketch!

Here is a 10 minute exercise I do when I get stuck and as often as I need to replenish my sketchbook lists;

I’ve included a snapshot picture above of one of my sketchbook ideas lists.

  1. Identify 3 things that interest you or you are passionate about. Write them down in the middle of a piece of paper.
  2. For each of these 3 things make a list of things associated to them.  So, for example, one of my 3 things was my community.  Associated to this concept were buildings, people, the local school, shops, my street.
  3. For each of the items listed I then broke each of these things down further and listed the objects, people and places that interested me. Each of these were enough to keep me busy for weeks! I filled an entire sketchbook and made a filmed series on the back of this map technique!

The other things to consider when building your sketching lists is the formats you want to opt for to help you arrange your work.  Again, if you’re interested I write about it here.

I choose a format and then with each item on my list proceed to fill my pages!

I also set myself 7 day challenges linked to the themes.  (You can see some of these on my social media). Buildings across Yorkshire feature heavily in my feeds, home life too and quick 5 minute sketches were some of my challenges.  You may love to also just focus on one type of thing like front doors! Imagine a sketchbook full of front doors.

Then suddenly you will find a groove and discover what you love to draw and then just want to draw it all the time.  I love the fact that there are sketchbook specialisms from buildings to food to people to flowers…..

Thanks for reading!

Emily x