How to start a new sketchbook

It can be really daunting starting a new sketchbook can’t it? All that white paper and the nice crisp newness of it. It can actually end up being quite debilitating – we feel we don’t want to ruin it by doing any ‘bad’ drawings.

So I’ve put together a few tips which may help you to start that new sketchbook and get drawing!

Use a smaller sketchbook

When we choose a sketchbook we often choose a nice thick one with a hardcover. They feel so lovely and so full of potential. But these can be quite hard to get started in. I often find that getting a small sketchbook, with a lot less pages in, really helps. I think there is less of a feeling of worry that you will mess it up – they feel less precious but in a good way. Plus they are nice and lightweight to carry around or take with you on holiday!

I really like these small ones from Seawhite, which come in a range of paper sizes.

Get a ring bound sketchbook or tear out pad

Another good workaround to the fear of using a sketchbook and messing it up, is to get a ring bound sketchbook, or a drawing pad with tear out sheets – so the pages can be easily removed!

You could also get a little portfolio like one of these, which you can slot the drawings in that you are most proud of.

Give yourself permission to not draw perfect pictures!

Hard I know, but our inner critic does tend to get really noisy when we are drawing, and will tell us that our drawings are no good because they aren’t perfect. But they don’t have to be perfect! Try and think about drawing as a process – each drawing you do you will learn something from and your skills will increase the more you draw.

Do some warm up exercises

Warm up exercises are a really good way to start with your drawing too – think of it like doing some stretching before doing some exercise, or scales before starting to play an instrument. Warming up your fingers and brain will help your drawings run more smoothly. Try a page full of scribble, or full of lines or repeating shapes like circles or triangles. Doing drawings that aren’t meant to be anything also helps that white page feel less daunting.

You don’t need to show anyone else

Sometimes we might feel that because we have been drawing in a sketchbook, we should show our friends or family what we have been doing. But I hereby give you permission not to if you don’t want to! Your sketchbook is your sketchbook – to do what you like with, and to show to who you like as and when you are ready.

Not sure what to sketch?

Why not sign up to do one of my Termly Art Projects? Plenty of drawing ideas to get you filling a sketchbook in just a few months.