I get it! You flip open a brand new sketchbook, keen to get going and then stop and think, “where do I start this thing?”

No amount of the best will and intention in the world is going to start and maintain a habit if you don’t have some idea or direction where to start.

Something called a sketchbook journal may be an option for you to explore. If you write a daily entry or have had experience keeping a written journal, a sketchbook version may work well for you.

A sketchbook journal is a visual journey of personal thoughts, experiences and interpretations of the world we see.

The first thing is to take a look through the flip through video I have included as part of this post.  Journalling often comes as a welcome relief at the end of most days. In actual fact I can flick through these pages and reminisce about this extraordinary time called Covid in human history – a time that my children will remember.  This sketchbook is a special one too as it has seeded so many new and creative ideas.

There are a few points to note that might help you get started  with your own ideas;

  1. Break up a page. A full page to fill with sketches is daunting. Draw a few boxes ahead of your day and then set yourself the challenge to fill them with different things over the course of your day.  Make a list of objects that will trigger memories about your day.
  2. Write as you would do normally (if you keep a journal) or start to write about your day. What images leap out at you from the text you have set down on paper? Have a go drawing what you visualise. This does not have to be realistic images. This could be abstract images as well as representational.
  3. Set yourself quick sketching challenges to fill your page.  They could just be in pencil or ink. Don’t think about what you draw just set something down on paper.
  4. Set yourself a daily theme.  So, for example, one day I drew breakfast things across one page, the other a page full of tea cups. I do have other blog posts that list ideas to try such as 12 drawings in a day. Setting out a grid of 12 small boxes and just filling these with a theme. Sometimes I like sticking to a particular colour or outdoor scene or indoor one. You could have a different focus every day.
  5. Insert a date on every page you manage to draw. Sometimes embellishing the numbers or lettering with elaborate numerals or practising how to write in a new style helps build confidence.  You never know you may discover a new calligraphy habit out of it to accompany your writing skill set. When you grow in confidence set one date forward in advance in your journal. You will be excited to come to it the next day and fill it.
  6. Don’t feel as if you need to fill a full double page spread in one go. On days that I am busy I will fill small pockets of the page in at a time – sometimes 5 minutes at a time. Waiting for my train to work. My lunchtime cup of coffee. Vegetables in my evening meal. All quick sketches. And there are days that I only get one sketch done with some accompanying text.

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Thanks for reading.

Let me know how you get on!

Emily x