With so many of you starting to receive your sketchbooks in the post, I thought that now would be a great time to talk about different exercises that you can do to tackle that first-page fear!
1 - Timed Drawing Exercises
I love a timed drawing exercise. Not only does it help you get through multiple pages at once (and move past that dreaded first page!), it also stops you from overthinking due to the time limit. This exercise works best with picking an overall theme (such as landscapes, a still life set up in front of you, etc.) and sketching multiple images throughout an hour or so. Start with short 1 to 3 minute sketches and work your way up to longer 10 to 20 minute ones. This helps you loosen up at the beginning, whilst still getting satisfaction from a slightly longer drawing.
Timed drawing exercises also work great in conjunction with other techniques, such as continuous line, blind contour, and non-dominant hand drawing.
I host free guided drawing sessions through Zoom once a month that follows this timed format. If you're interested in joining along, sign up to our mailing list and get all of the information on the next event.
2 - Life Drawing
Life drawing can be very beneficial for your creative practice. It will improve your skills in capturing the human form, give your lines more confidence, and build your hand-eye coordination. Also, with so many poses in a session, you're sure to fill up your sketchbook much quicker!
Most towns and cities have life drawing classes that you can take, just search on the internet for life drawing sessions near you. You can also take classes online through Zoom and many different schools and organisations host these. My favourites are Drawing Life Glasgow and Reconfigure Life Drawing.
3 - Drawing On Location
I find that the truest joy from sketchbooking comes from drawing on location. There's just something so special about experiencing the scene that you're capturing - the smell, the weather, the memories attached to it. My location drawings always have so much more character than my other sketches. So grab your sketchbook and a handful of your favourite supplies, sit on a bench in a park, visit the seaside, or go for a walk, and start drawing!
4 - Colour Palettes
Use your sketchbook to record colour palettes that inspire you when you're out and about, scrolling online or daydreaming! These are so helpful to keep a record of so that you can refer back to them when you're working on a project and are unsure of what colours to use.
Our Artists' Palette Sticker Sheet makes it so much easier to make and record colour palettes - no paint mixing required!
5 - Thumbnails, Notes & Ideas
Your sketchbook isn't just a place for 'finished' artwork or experimentation. It can also be used to write notes (about the work, a project, shopping lists, journal, etc.) and come up with ideas! Often, this is what helps make the sketchbook feel less precious and integrates it more into your everyday life. It's also a great place to create thumbnails for illustrations that you would like to create. Thumbnails are an effective first step to help solve problems and explore ideas without wasting time during the finished piece. Learn more about the benefits of thumbnails here.
And there you have it, five ways to fill your sketchbook! Let me know in the comments if you plan to use any of these exercises or if you have any other ones to recommend - I'd love your suggestions!
Thanks for reading!