If you are a cartoonist or on your way to being one, you most likely already know what a sketchbook is. In case you don’t know, it is the classic notebook with blank pages that we are always advised to keep close, and that we use to explore ideas and draw whatever we want.
However, do you know how to use this simple yet powerful tool to progress your art? Have you already found yourself making a lot of drawings without seeing significant progress? In this article, I will give you tips on how to unlock the potential of your drawings by using a sketchbook, and how you can consistently develop your artistic skills.
Have a goal!
Doing things without a clear goal in mind is the most effective way to get nowhere. When you have your sketchbook in your hands, think: what do you want to practice with it? Do you want to improve your drawing skills? Try a new material, like watercolor or markers? Do a drawing challenge, like Inktober?
Think objectively about what you want to achieve with your art, be it drawing hands better or learning how to draw different animals. So go do it.
Make drawing a habit
More important than drawing pictures that look beautiful is making drawing a habit. Just as we learned to brush our teeth, we can learn to draw consistently.
Drawing every (or almost every) day will help you see your progress, develop your drawing faster, and try different things in less time. Also, it will cost you less to draw diversified things for a client if you have already had the experience of doing them before.
Practice observation drawing with everyday things
The temptation to open Pinterest and draw the millions of beautiful photos and drawings available there is huge, I know. But before you do something that is already done, try to draw the landscape of your window. Someone from your house watching TV. Your estimate animal. The apples that are on the table, waiting for someone to eat them.
Drawing the things around you and the moments you live can also turn your sketchbook into a diary. As well as practicing your drawing skills, with three-dimensional objects and people that can move at any minute, it can be a nice way to record your memories.
Put perfectionism aside
The sketchbook is dedicated to your study and testing. I know that the idea of having a notebook full of finished drawings is beautiful, but it will take time and you will take longer to progress than if you make quick sketches, which many times will not turn out as you imagined.
Remember that this notebook is a safe space, and that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to show it to anyone. But also keep in mind that receiving feedback is important to know where we are going wrong.
Here, the most important thing is to understand the structure of the drawing than to actually finish it.
If you feel that your drawing is stagnant lately, it is very likely that you always draw the same characters in the same poses.
Try to draw different things if you are going to use internet reference. Draw bears, squirrels, octopuses, eagles. Focus on the shape, the composition, the lighting of what you are drawing. If you go looking for reference photos, find poses you’ve never drawn before, or someone with a different physical type and clothes than you would normally draw.
Finally, let’s remember everything step by step: understand for what purpose you want to use the sketchbook. Try to draw a little, at least every other day. Draw things you see live. Don’t try to turn your sketchbook into a masterpiece. And in the end, pay attention to what you are drawing, consciously trying to improve the drawing and fix your mistakes.
The sketching process is liberating, and producing something from scratch, on a blank sheet of paper, is a magical act. Creating habits is hard, and maintaining them is even harder, but with focus and dedication, ¡you can do it! 🙂